Monday, April 03, 2006

Recipe 6: French Macaroons

Passover and Easter are coming around the corner. I thought French Macaroons would be the perfect sweet nibble. Hopefully they'll come close to Laduree in Paris but doubtful. I've been meaning to make macaroons for the longest time. While researching for the perfect recipe, I came across too many great flavors: I tried to find a recipe that didn't use almond paste or corn syrup because I know how hard it was to find those ingredients in Brussels. Unless, I just didn't know what it was called in French. So I narrowed it down to the chocolate or pistachio. I still can't decide so here's the recipe for both. Feel free to make your favorite french macaroon: coffee with a ganache filling, coconut with a lemon curd filling, hazelnut chocolate, orange blossom water, caramel, raspberry, or just plain old almond. The options are endless. I'm going to put a couple in a little glassine bag for everyone to take home after one of our Passover dinners. Looking forward to seeing which macaroon you decide to make.

Chocolate Macaroons
from The Food Lover's Guide to Paris
by Patricia Wells

1 c (140 g) almonds
3 1/2 oz (110 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 oz (80 g) egg whites
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. (15 g) unsalted butter, for baking sheet

1 3/4 oz (50 g) bittersweet chocolate
2 T. creme fraiche or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 275 F (135 C)
Toast the almonds until browned, about 5 min. Remove and cool. Grind the almonds to a fine powder in a food processor. Melt the chocolate with the vanilla.
Mix egg whites, almonds and sugar until well blended. Continue blending while adding the melted chocolate mixture.
Butter a baking sheet or line with parchment paper, then butter the paper. Pipe or spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of batter for each macaroon. Bake until the macaroons are set, 15-18 min (slightly firm but not dry). Transfer to rack to cool. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Melt the chocolate. Add the cream. Set aside to cool. When the macaroons and filling have cooled, spread a heaping tablespoon of the filling on half of the macaroon. Cover each with a second macaroon, making a sandwich. They can be served immediately though they are best if they sit for a few hours.
*I've read the trick to peeling the macaroons off the parchment is to flip over the sheet of cookies and peel back the parchment from the cookies vs the cookie from the parchment. If the cookie is still sticking to the paper, brush water onto the paper(make sure the brush is not dripping wet, just damp enough to put moisture on the paper) or wipe the paper with a damp cloth and the cookies should release from the paper.
*I might try spreading some raspberry jam on half of the batch or mix some orange peel pieces into the ganache. Macaroons last a long time in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you wanted to make them before the holidays.

Pistachio Macaroons
from How to Be a Domestic Goddess
by Nigella Lawson

1/3 c. (3 oz) pistachios
3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
2 large egg whites
1 T. sugar

Buttercream filling:
1/4 c. (2 oz) pistachios
1 2/3 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 F
Grind the pistachios in a food processor along with the confectioners' sugar until as fine as dust. Whisk egg whites until stiff, sprinkle sugar and whisk until very stiff. Fold the whites into the pistachi-sugar dust. Pipe small rounds onto your parchment lined baking sheets. Let them sit for 10 min to form a skin. Bake for 10-12 min until set not dried out.
Remove from oven and cool on their sheets while you make the filling. Grind the nuts and confectioners' sugar in the food processor. Cream the butter and add the nut dust. Sandwich the macaroons together with the pistachio buttercream.
*The bakery would add a little green food coloring into the macaroon batter to create the faintest color of pistachio green.


Blogger Jer said...

What a festive idea. I've never made french macaroons but recently had some magnificent ones and thought -- I should try making these! A friend is having a birthday bbq on Easter Sunday so I will make these to bring to her to the party on Easter. Fun!

03 April, 2006 19:47  
Blogger Elaine said...

If you want to make a Chocolate Macaroon with a Peanut butter filling, I found a peanut butter buttercream recipe:
Peanut Butter Buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

03 April, 2006 20:45  
Blogger Ashley said...

I'm so excited to try these - they will totally be cute for easter.

04 April, 2006 22:56  
Blogger Kate said...

Wow Elaine, I'm a little nervous. I have those Lauderee macaroons in my head...hmm i can but try.

ive had a good look around as ive always been a bit confused about what macaroons/macarons are. So both the smooth almond and the texture coconut carry the name. I thought it may be the "French" part but I think the French claim the coconut ones too. Do you remember the conversation with my mum about what macaroons were? well I think she was thinking coconut.

Anyway I am planning on doing these tomorrow...almond..of course and maybe chocolate.

09 April, 2006 14:07  
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