Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kate: French Macaroons

I used a recipe from this little book I have called Simple French Desserts by Jill O'Connor. She used Almond meal instead of paste with a little almond extract.
So I did two versions to start. Chocolate with orange buttercream and almond with the same orange buttercream. I used the same base mixture then for the chocolate added cocoa to half the dry mixture before I combined it with the egg whites. I piped (I used just the opening of the bag without an attachment on) the plain almond ones first and found that I liked the texture but they spread very easily, it was a little too fluid. I let far too much come out and ended up with almond pancakes. So for the chocolate ones I went easier on the egg white mixture and these were better to pipe but the texture was too thick and they ended up being quite fata and cakey looking as you can see.....

The orange buttercream was delightful. I put a few drops of Bojan Orange Oil in my buttercream and that ws it.
I was a little disappointed with my overall results and felt with my now experience I could come up with something better. So I tried again.

I decided to stick to almond. I read somewhere ( I think on the link that you sent round Ashley) that the mixture should resemble molten lava so with this in mind I combined the dry with the egg whites having more egg white if necessary. I ended up adding another 1/2 cup or so of egg white than the originial recipe asked for. I tried to pipe slowly and they were better but still, I think, too big. I dont know what is wrong with me when I get that filled piping bag in my hand I just want to squeeze.

The other thing to mention with the almond ones that its very easy to over colour them whilst cooking. So adding some sort of colour be it choc or dye makes sense to avoid them looking over cooked.

Overall I think they are pretty simple to make once you get the consistency right. To eat, they are to die for and I suspect thats whatever combination of flavours you choose. Good call Elaine!

Just before I go check out what happend to my favourite Global paring knife...that was cutting cheese. Shouldnt these have a lifetime guarantee?


Blogger Elaine said...

Poor little knife. Your almond macaroons are as gorgeous as Laduree! I was hoping to get that smooth glossy texture on top like yours but it had cracks and bumps of a regular cookie. Can you post your almond macaroon recipe with your adustments? Wow, I'm so impressed you made 3 different kinds.

11 April, 2006 08:37  
Blogger Kate said...

I suspect you could use your recipe you and increase the egg whites.
I used the recipe for all of them but for the last one made more egg white mixture and added more after I had combined the two mixtures to get that 'molten lava' texture. The original recipe just didnt work like that and actually the pictures of her macaroons werent smooth either they were slightly bumpy and peaked.

Here is the recipe with adjustments:

Almond Macaroons
Makes 20 sandwiched 1 inch macaroons

1 1/2 cups slivered blanched almonds ( I used same weight in ground almonds.)
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 egg whites at room temp ( I prepared 5 and probably used 4 )
1/8 t cream of tartar ( i didnt use as I didnt have)
3 T granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/8 t almond extract

1. Place an oven rack close to the top. Preheat to 450F. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Combine the almonds and confectioners sugar in a food processor and pulse until very fine and powdery ( I made sure I did this well as i'm sure its the almonds that add bumps.
3. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar ( if using). Using an electric mixer set at a medium/low speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating, adding the granulated sugar 1 T at a time, until stiff peaks form.
4. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the almond mixture, salt and vanilla and almond extracts into the meringue. It will deflate slightly after the sugar and almonds are folded in but the batterr should not be so loose or runny that it cant be piped into mounds and hold its shape. Now this is where i kind of diagree, dare I. I think if it totally holds it shape it is too thick. It should spread slightly and loose its peak if you are going for the Laduree look.
5. Fill a large 16 inch or 18 inch piping bag with the mixture, there is no need to fit a tip, the bags opening is the perfect size for piping the macaroons. Pipe 1 inch mounds of batter onto the prepared pans.
6 Let the macaroons sit for 20 minutes. this allows a crust to form; this helps "the foot" develop.
7. Bake the macaroons for one minute. reduce the oven the temp to 375F. ( I cooked at 375F the whole way) She also says to slip another unlined sheet underneath the sheet of macaroons to preserve the delicate brown of the macaroons. I didnt do this mainly as i didnt have another sheet. I would be interested to know if it helped.. bake for 8-10 mins.
She goes on to give a detailed method of how to remove them. I used your method elaine turning the sheet upside down and peeling the paper from the macaroons rather than the other way round.

11 April, 2006 13:55  
Blogger Elaine said...

Thanks for posting your recipe. I'll definitely make this one along with the pistachio macaroons once passover is over.

11 April, 2006 14:24  

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