Pt 1 Macarons - Parisian Style


I got my hands on a real Parisian Macaron recipe based on Christian Godneau instructions. Macarons are the essence of air. Egg whites whipped, folded with a few dry ingredients and baked to until crunchy and a touch chewy. The dainty cloud like cookies are sandwiched with whatever gooey delight your mind can dream up between. The recipe is a simple list of ingredients, that require the utmost skill and technique, a few specific kitchen tools (pastry bag and icing tips, silpat/parchment paper, standing mixer, sifter/sieve)and experience. The recipe is more tips than steps.

French Macarons:

12.5 oz or 3 1/4 confectioner's (powdered sugar)
6.33 oz or 2 cups almond flour
5 egg whites (brought to room temperature)
2 oz or 4 tblsp extra fine granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sift the almond flour with the confectioner's sugar, and pick out large almond bits which were not ground finely.

In a standing mixer whip the egg whites on medium speed until soft, or past the foamy stage. Gradually add the fine granulated sugar and continue to whip until medium peaks form.

Remove bowl from the standing mixer, and hand fold in the sifted almond and confectioner's sugar. Dough will be slack and fall in ribbons. Add food coloring to dough, color represents filling, so pink=berry or green= pistachio etc.

Attach a 1/2 inch round icing tip to the end of a pastry bag, fill with dough. Pipe quarter-sized circles onto a silpat lined cookie tray. Allow to rest for 20 minutes or more until a dull skin forms. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool, and fill. Example fillings include: fruit jam, lemon curd, mocha butter cream, chocolate ganache, pistachio/nut paste, salted caramel, etc.

Key Tips to Remember:
-- Best made on dry days. Humidity prevents the cookies from properly drying out and egg whites from whipping well.
-- Make sure your tools are exceptionally clean. Keep water away from your standing mixture, your whites will never firm.
-- Pre-crack the whites, and let sit uncovered in the fridge for 1-2 days. Is this an evaporation thing? Could be, I don't know what this step is about.
-- Keep the handle of a wooden spoon in the door of your oven to prevent it from getting too hot. I found this tip on serious eats where you will find another tutorial.
--If cracks appear in your cookies:
--a- your oven is too hot
--b- too much humidity in the air
--c- egg whites were over-beaten
--d- dough was too moist, allow to form more of a skin/dry before baking
--e- the almond flour contains too much fat
--f- all of the above

Even if you screw up, your macarons will taste great. Dive right in and make some mistakes. You can tell all of your family and co-workers about it while they delight in your hard work. Thanks to Claire Michie for sending me the info.

Final Note: These are macarons not coconut mounded macaroons, but those are tastey too.

Originally Posted 6/28/09

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