Yes, the French Macaron. Those perfect little beauties that stare back at us from the patisserie window. Decadent, rich, vibrant, and yet somehow exceedingly delicate, the Macaron fetches a high price in any shop across the globe. What if I told you that you could make them at home, would that peak your interest?... And what if I told you that they really aren't as hard to make as they look? Sure they take practice, but the process can be fun, entertaining and very informative! Plus, just look at those delicious fancies! When's the next time you will be able to scarf down 20 of these bad boys in a sitting and not feel financially guilty?... although you may feel a bit queazy from the sugar coma...
Red Velvet Swiss Meringue
Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
3 egg whites - 100 grams
1/4 cup caster sugar - 50 grams (fine granulated sugar, not powdered sugar. You can put granulated sugar in a food processor to accomplish this)
1 2/3 cup confectioners sugar- 200 grams
1 cup almond flour 110 grams (You can buy almond flour pre-ground or put unsalted blanched almonds into your food processor).
pinch of salt
Customizing of cookies (Gel food colorings, instant espresso, chocolate power, vanilla bean)
Beat egg whites until foamy.
Add in the caster sugar and beat until you form soft peaks. (preferably with a stand mixer, I accomplished this by hand but it will take some patience and arm strength)
In a separate bowl mix together the confectioners sugar, almond flour, and pinch of salt and break up any lumps.
Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue and fold into all of the flour and sugar has been incorporated and the texture is shiny and smooth. (at this stage you can add in any of your customizable extras. I used a varying array of Gel food colorings, instant espresso for the Tiramisu and chocolate powder for the hazelnut cookies. Experiment with your favorites, just try not to add any extra liquid to your batter.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the batter into a piping bag. Pipe the batter onto the paper in 1inch circles leaving at least an inch between each cookie.
Bang the tray hard a few times to release any air bubbles and let these stand at room temperature for 45min to an hour until the top forms a dry skin.
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
When tops of cookies are dry, put them in the oven for 12 minutes, keeping a careful eye on them.
Remove from oven and transfer the cookies on parchment paper to a cooling rack. Let stand for 5-10 min before removing from paper. Let cool completely before attempting to add filling.
Once the cookies are cooled you can add any filling you want between them. I ended up making a batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream and mixing some instant espresso into 1/3 of it, raspberry jelly into 1/3, and left the last 1/3 alone for the Red velvet cookies. You can get creative here, any flavor combo that yields a strong non-runny cream or gel will work. Try Jams, ganaches, frostings, or whatever you can come up with!
Using weight will give you the best results when making Macarons. Get out that scale!
I highly suggest using a stand mixer for making the meringue.
For perfect sized circles use one of the silicon baking mats that have the macaron shape on it.