We were cautioned at the beginning of the class that the macaron is not a hard cookie to prepare, but rather, it was a temperamental cookie. The basic macaron recipe is fairly simple to prepare. It's nothing more than egg whites, superfine sugar, almond meal and powdered sugar. Precise measurements and a calibrated oven are essential. Well, precise and calibrated are not adjectives that best describe my cooking style. I am more of a "pinch of this" and a "pinch of that" kind of cook. I suppose this is the "precise" reason that I am not a baker. No worries, we were all here for fun, so let the baking begin.
We were given this basic macaron recipe from the book Mad About Macaron's, by Jill Colonna.
150g Egg Whites, aged at least two day, at room temperature
100g Superfine Sugar
180g of Almond Meal/Flour
270g Powdered Sugar
Step 1: Line baking sheets with parchment paper
Step 2: Place almond flour and powdered sugar in food processor and pulse 4-5 times. Sift dry ingredients using sieve into mixing bowl. (when making flavored shells, add the flavoring during this step.
Step 3:Whisk the room temperature egg whites into glossy firm peaks, adding the superfine sugar gradually. If coloring the shells, add at the very end of this step. Use powdered or gel food coloring as liquid will change the consistency of the batter.
Step 4: Fold the beaten egg whites into the dry ingredients using a large spatula. Mix well. The result should be a cake batter consistency. Do not over mix.
folding egg whites into dry mixture
egg whites are folded properly
Use a rubber pastry scraper for the final incorporation
Step 5: Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitter with a large tip. (Wilton 1A)
Step 6: Pipe out mixture onto prepared baking sheets. Using a circle template under your parchment will help ensure equal sizing of shells.
Strawberry shell batter, piped onto "polka dot" template
Step 7: Let shells set for no less than 30 minutes. They are ready to be placed in the oven when they are somewhat hard to the touch
Here are some lemon shells that are waiting to dry before going into the oven
Step 8: While shells are setting up, move racks to the center of the oven and preheat to 325 deg. It is a good idea to use an oven thermometer.
Step 9: Bake shells, one tray at a time, for 10-12 minutes
Step 10: Remove shells from oven when done and place tray on cooling rack to cool thoroughly
Step 11: Once shells are completely cooled, pipe your favorite filling (butter cream, ganache etc...), onto half of the shells. Place partner on top using a circular motion to squish filling toward the edge of shell.
I may have "squished " too hard. Mine looks more like a Whoopie Pie
Step 12: Eat and enjoy!
As Renee said, they may not always be pretty, but they will always be delicious. This was the truth. While none of the groups produced a pastry shop worthy specimen, we all learned a lot and most certainly could not have found a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. A glass of wine, three flavors of French macarons and time spent with passionate food lovers.
Jennifer, Brenda, Nancy, Renee, Moi, Mary Rob