Today’s been a good day, for the few hours that I’ve been awake. Just one of those days where I woke up smiling, you know? Recently, those days have been few and far between. Life has been so busy between baking for a HUGE order (100 bags of cookies…so much work!) and attempting to finish my college applications before my best friend Sarah from Canada comes to visit for Winter Break. Today though, I just woke up and thought of how good the things I have to stress about are.
I stress about baking, which I love, so I really just stress about getting it done, not the actual process of doing it. And if I really think about it, college applications are pretty exciting. Yeah, they’re a bit of the pain in the butt (I never though I would have to write my name and birthday so many times) but it’s COLLEGE. This is the first step of the rest of my life. Jeez, that sounded cliche, but you know what I mean.
Another reason today’s been so great?? Well, I had an AMAZING baking day yesterday! I made the best little doughnuts, they were so good and so so cute. Don’t worry, they’ll be posted really soon. But I took a Twitter poll and people wanted to see the French macarons first. Yes. You heard correctly. I MADE FRENCH MACARONS. They worked. The first time. I’m magical!
Just kidding, I’m not. I think I’m just lucky. The first pan that went into the oven only rested on the counter for about 10 minutes because I read in a few places that it didn’t make a difference whether you let them sit or not. Well, it obviously does because that first batch completely deflated me. I had ugly, cracked, footless macarons. Ew. No one wants those. But as I sat on the couch feeling bad about my ugly cookies, my second batch just chilled on the counter…doing whatever it is that makes macarons work. Because when I remembered the second batch and stuck them in the oven with my fingers crossed, the came out with feet, with flat tops, with beauty. My cousin Sami was over and she can attest to the screams and jumping that happened when I saw my little princesses coming out of the oven in all their glory. Such an exciting moment!a
So, here’s proof: let them sit on the counter for AT LEAST an hour before sticking them in the oven. Worked for me, so it’ll work for you, right?
These things were a pain in the butt, but the excitement of getting them right is totally worth the kitchen covered in almond flour, powdered sugar, and batter. Seriously. These cookies are totally PMSing. You better treat them right or they are NOT going to do what you want them to do (Sorry for the awkward analogy boys…but it’s totally true). Anyways, if you haven’t yet, I suggest you try making them. The sense of accomplishment you feel is amazing. Do it do it do it! I actually am excited to make another batch to try some pretty colors and flavors!!
Of course, for my recipe, I went to the one and only Macaron goddess herself: Tartlette. She knows what she’s talking about. I used the basic recipe with my vanilla sugar and filled it with a chocolate french buttercream. Yummy! Go try them if you’re feeling ambitious today!
French Macarons with Chocolate French Buttercream
Recipe from Tartlette
- Confectioners’ (Icing/Powdered) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
- Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
- Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g, .88 oz.)
- Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)
Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) (If you have two ovens, turn one onto 200°F and the other onto 375°F). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery. If your almond flour is a bit wet, put it into the 200°F oven for about 10 minutes or until it’s dry.
Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks. It will be shiny and about quadrupled in size.
Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper). Leave sitting on the counter for at least an hour.
Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes in the 200°F oven. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C) (or move the pan right into the other oven that’s already at 375°F). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
Cool on a rack before filling.
Chocolate French Buttercream
Recipe from eHow
- 3 oz egg yolk
- 1/2 pound (8 oz) granulated sugar
- 2 oz water
- 1 1/4 cups butter (2 1/2 sticks)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
Add water and sugar to a small sauce pan, place on med high heat until 115 degrees Celsius. Do not stir once it begins to boil. While the sugar syrup is boiling, begin to whip the eggs yolks on med speed until they are light in color and have thickened considerably (they should vaguely resemble a custard). Very CAREFULLY and SLOWLY pour the sugar syrup into the egg yolks while the mixer is still going (have a friend do it, if you’re using hand mixer). You don’t want to scramble the eggs or crystallize the sugar. Continue on medium speed until no longer hot (feel side of the bowl, it should be about body temperature). Slowly add the butter in chunks, allowing it the be incorporated fully before adding more. Once all the butter has been added, add the vanilla, cocoa powder and melted chocolate. Add more cocoa powder to taste. It will be runny, but will thicken once refrigerated. Once thickened, fill the macaroon with a pastry bag.