by Heather Harris-Brady
With two kids in school May is always super-busy around here, and I feel like my fellow baking fiends have been a little neglected. I’m here to make it up to you. Say bon jour to French Pastry Week!
I’m kicking it off with a bang – french macarons. I’ve had a minor success and several abject failures with these, but after getting a new scale for my birthday I was determined to master them once and for all. I’ve tried them without a scale and I wouldn’t recommend going that route. If you don’t have one it’s worth investing in, there are some decent ones out there for around $20. I followed Bravetart’s guidance pretty much to the letter, and voila – here they are!
French Macarons, Makes about 24 1″ macarons
5 oz. egg whites
4 oz. almond flour
8 oz. powdered sugar
2-1/2 oz. granulated sugar
Combine the egg whites and granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat on 4 (low-medium) for three minutes.
They’ll thicken up but they’re not very fluffy. Turn it up to 7 (medium-high) and beat for another three minutes.
Okay, starting to look like meringue here. Turn it up to 8 and beat for another five minutes.
They should clump up around the beater like this. If they haven’t, beat them for a little longer until they do. You can add a drop or two of food coloring at this point if you like and beat for another minute. (But if you’re doing this for the first time you may not want to add anything, to get a feel for the process.) Preheat the oven to 300 and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together. Dump it all into the meringue at once. Fold for 25 strokes. (I was concentrating so much at this point I forgot to take a picture.) It will look clumpy at first but keep going, it will come together and become lava-like. If you’re not quite there fold for another 5-10 strokes. (I used 30 strokes myself.)
Put half of the macaronage in a piping bag and pipe small mounds. My oven is iffy, so I kept mine tiny and cute to make sure they baked through.
Smooth out any points with your fingertip and rap the pan on the countertop sharply three times, to remove any air bubbles from the batter.
Bake for about 18 minutes. Open the oven and try to lift one off the sheet. If the top comes off they’re not done.
It seemed like they rose up and then fell slightly as they were baking. Let them cool on the sheets and then lift them off with a spatula.
A few of mine cracked and a few were hollow but I think it was because of my crappy oven.
When they are completely cool sandwich them together with a filling of your choice. I threw together a quick batch of dark chocolate ganache.
Store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bon appetit!