Thursday, July 28, 2011

Love and French Macarons

One of my closest girlfriends is getting hitched this weekend so I wanted to bring something special, since the formal wedding present is not quite ready yet. Enter French macarons with raspberry jam and chocolate ganache fillings! There is a reason entire books are devoted to  this cookie (some say pastry) of mythical proportions - they are unmistakably chic and are a joy to make. After reading some strong warnings about the potential pitfalls of baking them, I nearly lost hope.  However, don't believe the hype or those persnickety fans out there, macarons should be celebrated by all! I followed this annotated Martha Stewart recipe and while it was virtually fool proof, scroll down for some additional tips. 
Oh and the stars were aligned tonight since I had also just gotten the new Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX lens which works wonders in low light and in portrait settings. I could still use a better lamp however as it was difficult to get the light pink to show through. Lastly, because the macarons are so stylish, I needed packaging to match. I found an inexpensive hat box and mitigated its terrible girlie printed design with a few coats of spray paint. Then, I threw on a band of craft paper, a cute tag, and a ribbon. Next time I would love to make more in different pastel colors.  

Images via: Me
used this recipe which is an annotated Martha Stewart original. Giver'slog had some very helpful hints but here are a few more words of wisdom. See Martha's version for the filling suggestions.

-Yes, Almond Flour is a tad pricy but each recipe uses such a small amount that it's a worthy investment. Store the sack in the freezer or fridge to prolong the shelf life.
-Use a food scale. This was the first time I used one, since the recipe lists the ingredients in ounces in addition to standard cooking measurements. I would not consider myself Miss Precise but baking is a science so the scale will save one much trouble and guesswork. You would be surprised how much the weight varies using just the cup measurements!
-The recipe calls for piping 3/4" rounds. I found 1" or 1 1/2" rounds to be much easier to create consistently plus tiny rounds make for tall, narrow specimens which tend to topple over once assembled.
-1 teaspoon of filling is recommended for each cookie but I found this to be a little too much as it obscures the macarons' delicate flavor plus you do not want filling to spill out.
-Ideally, macarons are consumed the day of baking, which is why some call them pastries. I had to make mine a few days ahead of time so I baked the shells and refrigerated which worked great. Just try to fill them no earlier than the day before you want to eat or give.
-Whatever you do, do not over bake! Ovens are crafty and just one minute too long can hurt. Be careful with the pastels as the pretty hue will lose its brightness and acquire an unsightly tinge of brown if left in the over too long. The chocolate ones were much more forgiving thanks to their already dark color.
-Be gentle!  The cookies are super delicate and will crack easily. Be careful especially when spreading the filling as to not indent the inside surface.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...