Monday, July 8, 2013

Patriotic Macarons

     Ok, so my ALL TIME favorite cookie, well I'm not sure if you can call it a cookie, I think they are more of a delicate little pastry...anyways..If you have never had a French Macaron you are missing out!!! The sweet cream sandwiched between a crisp yet fluffy shell is oh so wonderful!  A mouthful of A-MAZ-ING-NESS!  So, knowing that...guess what I attempted to make for the very FIRST time!  Yep, you guessed it! I made my very own French Macarons!  Last year for my birthday my Bestie, Kristi, gave me this awesome book, Macarons Chic & Delicious French Treats by Annie Rigg.  I thought why not try my baker's hand at these.  I have to admit, they weren't that hard, just time consuming.  I made three batches, the first was definitely a test batch (the red ones).  The next batch (the blue ones) turned out a little better.  The last batch (the white ones) turned out the best!  They all tasted good, but with every batch I became more confident and comfortable with following the recipe, meaning going by instinct on the egg whites on the folding in of ingredients, etc.  Of course, they weren't perfect like the ones you find in a bakery, but I am determined to try making them again, and again, and again....I LOVE those things!  Maybe I'll try chocolate next.

** Since I didn't have a template to pipe the cookies on, I made one by using a small round circle cookie cutter.  I traced the inside of it with a marker on a piece of parchment paper.  Then turned it over to pipe the batter on. **


1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar (sifted)
2/3 cups ground almonds (almond flour)
1/2 cup egg white (about 3 eggs)
pinch of salt
3 TBsp superfine sugar
piping bag, fitted with a 1cm/ 1/2 inch round tip
2 solid baking sheets, lined with parchment paper

Vanilla Creme Filling
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 TBsp cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla pod/bean (split lengthways
3 TBsp unsalted butter (diced)
1/2 cup heavy cream

How to make them:

Pour the confectioner's sugar and almond flour into the bowl of a food processor and blend for 30 seconds or until throughly combined, set aside.
Pour the egg whites into a spotlessly clean and dry mixing bowl. 
Add the salt and using an electric mixer, whisk until they only just hold a stiff peak.
Continue to whisk at medium speed while adding the superfine sugar a teaspoonful at a time. 
Mix well between each addition to ensure that the sugar is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next spoonful.
The mixture should be thick, white, and glossy.
At this point you should add any food coloring paste you are using.
Dip a toothpick into the paste then into the mixture., mixing thoroughly to ensure that the color is evenly blended.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Using a lare metal spoon, fold the ground sugar and almond mixture into the egg whites.
The mixture should be thoroughly incorporated and smooth - this can take up to 1 minute.
When it is ready, the mixture should drop from the spoon in a smooth molten mass.
Fill the piping bag with the mixture and pipe evenly sized rounds - about 5cm / 2 inches across - onto the prepared baking sheets.
Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply, once on the work surface to expel any large air bubbles.
You can scatter any edible decorations, liquid food coloring etc. onto the unbaked macaron shells at this stage.
Leave the macarons for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour, until they have "set" and formed a dry shell.
They should not be sticky, tacky, or wet when tested with a fingertip.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Bake the macaroons on the middle rack of a preheated oven, one sheet at a time, for 10 minutes.
The tops should be crisp and the bottoms dry.
Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Vanilla Creme Filling
Put the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a small heat proof bowl and whisk together until combined.
Heat the milk, along with the vanilla bean in a small saucepan until it only just starts to boil.
Remove the vanilla bean and pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly until smooth.
Pour mixture back into the pan and cook gently over low heat, sirring constantly until the custard comes to a boil and thickens.
Strain into a clean bowl, add the butter and stir until the butter has melted and is incorporated into the mixture.
Cover the surface with plastic wrap and leave to cool before refrigerating.
Whip the cream in a bowl of an electric mixer until it will hold soft peaks.
When custard is cool, remove from fridge, fold in the whipped cream.
Spread vanilla cream on the bottom of a macaron, top with the bottom of another macaron.

 The 1st Batch...Good.

 The 2nd batch....better.

The 3rd batch...THE BEST!

My beautiful Patriotic Macarons

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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