Time just flies! It is April already, which means it is time to celebrate you April babies’ birthday! Oh dearest, happy birthday! A shout out to R & M! Yes, I will bring cakes to the party ;)
As you all know that I live in the Bay Area, which is known and praised itself on culinary diversities. As much as I don’t want to admit, there is not much to offer on macarons! How sad! So when I discovered macarons in jewel like colors in the displaying domes of the Dean & Deluca café window at the SoHo location, I had my mouth open in awe. Simply exquisite! Sheepishly, I bought one in every flavor and took my time savoring them; each bite filled me with this fuzzy happiness ~___~ That was my 1st encounter with macaron! Then seeing so many blogs and books presenting gorgeous pictures of these popular mini-hamburger look alike little fellas (over and over again), I have an urge to try my hand on macarons. How can I resist?! They are just sooooooo cute!
Judging from the vast number of patisseries with macaron-clad window in Paris, I think no one would doubt that macarons are in vogue and crazy popular over there. In recent years, macarons are gaining popularity at lightning speed through out the rest of the world too. Among all Parisian macarons, Pierre Hermé’s macarons are said to be the most lust after especially the ispahan (rose-litchi-raspberry) macaron, and also for his dozens of exciting flavors such as the combinations of chocolate and fleur du sel - caramel, pistachio and apricot praline, and chestnut and green tea. Many believed that PH has single handedly revolutionized and elevated macarons to a whole new level, and started a macaron cult according to macaron fanatics. So what is macaron (sometime they spelled macaroon and no, it is not that coconut cookie!) and why are people so crazy about it? Well, it is a traditional French pastry. The original macarons were made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar, sugar, with no special flavors and no filling. Nowadays, the flavors and texture are limitless. Macarons has a round meringue-like dome with a flat base, it has the little bubbly ruffle that forms around the base a.k.a the frilly “foot”, a crust that's thinner and more fragile than an egg shell, innards/center that are preternaturally light, and tooth-achingly sweet. They are often filled with buttercream, ganache, or a fruity filling of jam. Traditionally round but they also come in shapes like square, oval and heart shape.
Crunchy yet chewy, and picture-perfect macarons are notoriously difficult to get was the conclusion I got after reading numerous horror tales from many fellow food bloggers. As stated by many, macarons are all about technique. Too airy, they dry out and crumble; too dense and they become tough and gluey; one extra fold, it's all over; not enough, you won't get that little foot, which is the characteristic of perfection!
Armed with tips, I tackled my first macaron making over the weekend. Since it was my first, I experimented with a recipe from one of my trusted Japanese books and chose to go with the chocolate flavor. Surprisingly, I don’t have horror story to tell. Could have been that I was lucky that day! My macarons came out perfectly smooth and round; no cracking, and the “feet” were visible although not the perfect frilly one that I hoped for. I believe practice makes perfect so I foresee myself doing this over and over again until I get that perfect “feet”. I beg your pardon but you might see a rainbow of colors of macarons in the very near future ;)
I found that many recipes stressed to let the piped cookies sit for a range of 20 minutes to 2 hours before baking so to develop a shell to prevent them from cracking during baking. The recipe I used also stressed this drying process but only for 10 minutes. I’m not sure if this is the reason that my macarons came out smooth since I didn’t bake a batch without the drying process. I shall report back when I tried both methods. So for my conclusion of this macaron making experience; it is not difficult but definitely need some attention and the look and taste of these lovely dainty thing is worth sacrificing my girly figure for =)
Macarons au Chocolat – 20 sandwiches
2 large egg whites
40g granulated sugar
120g powdered sugar
55g almond flour or finely grounded blanch almonds
8g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- First, sift the almond powder twice then add it to the powdered sugar and cocoa powder mix, and sift again.
- Refrigerate the egg whites well and take it out only when called for.
- On the back side of 2 parchment papers, trace 1 inch circles about 2 inches apart. Flip them over and line the baking sheets.
- Preheat the oven to 440°F/220°C.
I thought you should know:
- Fold with a light hand to prevent bursting the air bubbles.
- Must let the piped cookies sit out for 10 minutes before baking.
- Press the tip on the baking sheet and pipe for uniformly shaped macarons. Do not suspend the tip in the air.
In a large dry bowl, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and the color turns white. Gradually add the granulated sugar, increase the speed to high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form – the whites should be firm and shiny.
With a rubber spatula, fold in half of the almond/sugar/cocoa mix into the egg whites until incorporated then add in the remaining mix, and fold until completely incorporated - the batter should be glossy.
Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch round tip, or take a 12 inches plastic piping bag and snip off one corner. Fill the piping bag and pipe the batter from the center of the drawn circle onto the baking sheets. Pipe about 40 circles. Let dry at room temperature for 10 minutes before baking to allow skins to form.
Bake for 6 minutes at 440°F/220°C, then turn it down to 260°F/130°C, continue to bake for 12 minutes. Remove macarons from oven and transfer to cool on the cooling rack. Once cooled, slide a knife underneath the macaron to remove from parchment paper.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Filling
120ml whipping cream
140g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Scharffen Berger chocolate.)
25ml rum (Myers)
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl then set aside. Bring the cream just to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat; remove from the heat. Slowly pour the hot cream to the chocolate, stir until smooth, add the rum, and stir until incorporated. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pair macarons of similar size, pipe about 1 tsp of the filling onto one of the macarons then sandwich macarons. Let them set in room temperature or refrigerate to set. Make 20 sandwiches. If refrigerate, bring macarons back to room temperature before serving.
時間還過的真快﹗四月都過了四分之一了﹐我趕來給四月壽星送禮了。生日快樂﹐春天出生的小孩。特別要跟R & M 說﹐我不會忘了帶蛋糕赴約的^^
我居住在有美食多元化之譽的灣區。雖然我不想承認﹐對於近年極流行的macarons~馬卡龍﹐真是沒太多可喜的選擇。對於美食主意者的我是很燜的事。So當我在NYC的Dean & Deluca的cafe廚櫃看到五顏六色的﹐造型呈小巧可愛飽滿的胖圓形的馬卡龍的時候，歡喜得嘴巴都合不起來。不自禁的給它每個口味買了一個來品嚐﹐每一口都讓我感受到前所未有的細緻與喜悅及一種暖暖的幸福感。香氣逼人﹐香軟可口﹐又入口即化。這是我與馬卡龍的首度邂逅留下的印象。跟著在不計其數的甜點書及美食布落格看到這個長相像迷你漢堡的傢伙的蹤影﹐讓我蠢蠢欲動要試做看看。說來﹐又會有誰看過馬卡龍那可愛的模樣後還能抵擋得住它的魅力呢?﹗我就不能了。
聽人說﹐巴黎幾乎各主要知名甜點店的廚窗都在展現色彩粉嫩繽紛的馬卡龍。由此可見﹐法國人對馬卡龍相當瘋狂。正確的說﹐近年馬卡龍旋風正席捲法國。巴黎的知名馬卡龍又以Pierre Hermé 甜點店的出品最受人推崇。一般人認為甜點界的神-Pierre Hermé-是將馬卡龍的可能性推至顛峰極致的推手。出自他之手由玫瑰口味馬卡龍夾著荔枝奶油餡心及覆盆子gele組合而成的ispahan是馬卡龍迷喻為完美之作的經典。外帶PH其他形形色色的馬卡龍口味如巧克力+鹽之花+焦糖﹐開心果+杏praline﹐栗子+綠茶等等也極受喜愛及熱賣。
巧克力馬卡龍 - 20個
8g Dutch-process 可可粉