Happy Earth Day everyone! I hope everyone is doing their part for the earth. I know in the past year I have become a recycle maniac! I even make the bf dig out trash that can be recyclable haha! To reward his/our good effort I decided to make macarons inspired by our beautiful planet! Yup, they taste as good as they look.
The world may just be seeing this post now, but I’ve been baking macarons for the past month/year. I failed at least 10 times, cried twice, cursed the bf out at least on every tried etc. I was going to give up, but that would mean I failed as a “cook” (using the term loosely here people). I always challenge myself to cook the hardest thing out there just to say “Hey! I did it!” and macarons are the hardest thing I ever had to make!
I now understand why shops charges an arm and a leg for these beautiful delicate cookies. These cookies are so picky! First, the ingredients aren’t cheap ($10 for almond flour?! c’mon!). Second, you have to mix your ingredients just right or EVERYTHING will go downhill. Third, don’t even get me started on the waiting, the baking, and praying that they will get those lil “feet”.
I have done enough research to write a book on the madness of macarons (I won’t bore you). I have tried them both way: the Italian method (never achieved it once) and the regular French method (still hard, but it’s doable!). I finally achieved it with good old Martha Stewart’s recipe. Of course! What I love about Martha’s recipe…no scale weighing (what a pain!), no aging the eggs (one recipe I aged the egg for like 3 days…aint nobody got time for that!), no crazy equipments (sorry, but I’m too broke to afford a silpat mat). But I did tweak some steps that I picked up along the way with my research. I won’t promise you that you won’t fail because I don’t want to upset you if you do. I know I was really upset when I read blog post about “fail proof” macarons, only to end up failing horribly. Just give the recipe and this method a try. It worked for me (sorry for lack of pics, I even doubted my effort this time too and decided I won’t take that many pics)!
Macaron – 10, Savy – 1.
Earth Day Macarons adapted from Martha Stewart basic Macarons recipe
For macarons shells:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
For the chocolate ganache:
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon butter, room temp.
For Earth inspired: blue and green gel food coloring and paint brush
Sift almond flour at least twice to get rid of any big pieces. Next sift confectioners’ sugar into almond flour. Combine and sift mixture at least 2 times. You want to do this because you don’t want any big pieces or you will have lumps or it can weigh down your mixture.
Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Stop mixer and add half of the sugar. Mix until incorporated. Add rest of sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. YOU REALLY NEED TO WHISK FOR 8 MINS! Do not get lazy and do 5mins or 7 mins. 8 mins to get a really stable meringue. Sift half of the flour mixture (yup, we’re sifting again…you’ll be surprise to see that you still have huge clumps) over whites.
Mixing….this is the part where EVERYTHING can go wrong. If you undermixed your batter: flat, no feet, spreading, and cracked. JUST FUGLY! If you overmixed your batter: Hollow, dry, and still FUGLY! You want to go slowly. FOLD half of the flour mixture slowly into the meringue, until it’s almost fully incorporated. Fold the rest of the batter into the meringue. Now here…you don’t want to go overboard. Mix it until its incorporated and when you lift your spatula it flows down easily in a thick stream, but disappear into the batter within a few seconds. If it’s too runny…you already overmixed. If the batter is still fighting with you (still a little clumpy and and super thick/sticky) give it a few more folds.
Prepare your pastry bag. With a new paint brush, paint some lines with GEL food colorings (as shown in the pic). You don’t want to use liquid cause it can add weigh to your mixture.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag and pipe rounds (you can trace a quarter on your parchment to make it easier) 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air (I tapped it at least 6 times…nope you won’t look crazy).
Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Yup, you read that right. 1 hour will form skins on those macarons. Skins = feet when baking.
30mins into rest time, turn on your oven to 325 degree. You want your oven to be at the right temp. 30mins is ample time for your oven. Bake 1 sheet at a time on the 3rd rack, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees. Yup, those cookies are that picky! You don’t want to skip this step!
Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Coarsely chop chocolate. Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 10 minutes (don’t stir — doing so will cool the ganache too quickly, making it grainy). Stir in butter with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify cream and chocolate. Let ganache cool to room temperature, stirring often, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Beat it with a mixer on medium-high speed until paler and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. (This will yield about 2 cups)
Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.