Joyeux jour des macarons! Comment célèbrez-vous aujourd’hui? I just realized that despite the French name of my blog, I don’t use French on my blog at all! So, I wish you a Happy Macaron day! How are you celebrating today? Toronto has a huge Macaron day where all the top notch patisseries are giving away free macs. I would gladly join, but alas, I am afraid of large crowds and I hate standing in line on the off-chance that I am okay with large groups of people. As a result of my homebody-ness and my lack of motivation to stand in line for free macs, I opted to make my own. Because I can. And you can too! (Not that I’m discouraging you from buying them outside, I’m just a very DIY kinna girl so if I -can- make something at home for cheaper, by golly I will.)
I’m not sure if any of you were around JSA this time last year, but this was when I released a macaron week! I posted seven different flavours, one flavour each day, and I actually covered a lot of amaaazing flavours. Last year I made lemon poppyseed, salted caramel, black sesame seed, peanut butter chocolate, rosewater, raspberry dark chocolate, and hazelnut. My personal favourite was the raspberry dark chocolate, but they were closely followed by the salted caramel and hazelnut.
This year I’ll be postponing my macaron week until May because I don’t really have the time to bake seven batches of macarons for this month, ain’t nobody got time for that (grad school + March = papers and seminars). But May! I got time for that. Although I’ll probably be reducing it to five batches of mac flavours, the first day will be a tutorial on macarons, and the last day will be a round up of macarons from all across the blogosphere. But today! I’ll post these lovely blood orange macarons with cacao nibs sprinkled on top for you.
From many failed mac batches and constant research on how to bake beautiful, shiny shells with lovely feet, I have finally found the recipe that did not yield a single cracked or flawed macaron. Stella from Bravetart has graced the internets with her amazing recipe for macs: they’re sweet but not overly sweet like the italian style macs I’ve made in the past. Granted the recipe is only half the equation. The rest is the technique. Don’t be discouraged if you mess up the first time. Or the second. Or the seventh. Don’t give up. Just read, practice, and eat your mistakes! Things I’ve learned?
- Bake low and slow
- Weigh your ingredients
- Whip your eggs until stiff peak!
- Don’t overmix the macaronage (the scrape, fold, and smush technique)
Now I’m not an expert by any means, but for my macaron tutorial in May, I want to answer any questions you may have about the process. If you have questions, please comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to answer your lovely questions about macarons! And tell me how you’re celebrating macaron day today =)
Recipe adapted from Stella at Bravetart
- Measure out all ingredients by weight! That is possibly the most important part.
- Preheat oven to 300F.
- Sift together almond meal, salt, and icing sugar. I had to pulse the mixture through a food processor before sifting because some of my almond chunks were pretty big. If your almond meal doesn't completely sift through, put it back in the food processor until you're only left with about 1 tbsp of bigger bits.
- Using an electric mixer in a separate bowl, whip egg whites and sugar until stiff peak. The meringue will be stiff inside the beater and when you pull out the whisk, the peak at the end of the whisk will be stiff and stick straight up.
- Add the almond sugar mixture to the meringue and gently fold the mixture until things have started to incorporate. I did maybe about 15 turns (where you take a spatula, scrape around the outside of the bowl to gather the batter, and then gently press the spatula flat in the middle to smush the meringue down a bit.) You're essentially pressing out some of the bubbles.
- Halfway through the macaronage (that's the folding/pressing technique), add your extract and food colouring.
- Continue to scrape, fold, and press until your batter is a thick, lava-like texture and the batter falls from your spatula in a flat ribbon.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a 12 Wilton tip (1/4 inch opening).
- On a lined baking sheet (either with parchment paper or a silicone mat), pipe either 1-inch circles for large macarons, or 1/2-inch circles for cute little ones!
- Add cacao nibs (or sprinkles) on top for garnish, and let the macs sit outside for about 5-10 minutes. By the time I was done piping and washing the dishes, my macs had formed a little skin (if you touch them they won't glob to your finger). That skin will help you from getting cracked macs.
- Bake macarons for 12-15 minutes at 300F until they don't wobble when you touch the tops of the domes when in the oven. Rotate your pan halfway through the process if you find your oven heat distribution is uneven (which is almost always).
- Once the shells are baked (Domes don't move when you touch them in the oven and they can easily lift off the sheet), remove and set on wire rack.
- Remove the shells off the pan after about a minute or two, and let cool before filling.
- To make the buttercream, beat the butter, icing sugar, and blood orange curd (or juice if if you aren't going to make the curd). Transfer to a piping bag.
- Match same-sized shells with each other, and pipe buttercream onto one side. Gently sandwich the other shell over the buttercream.
- Macarons are best served the next day so that the flavours of the buttercream and the macarons have a chance to settle together. Store in an airtight container in the fridge prior to nomming =)
This post has been linked up at Pint Sized Baker’s Two Cup Tuesday , Chef in Training’s Tuesday Talent Show, and Mom on Timeout’s Creative Timeout Party! It’s also been submitted to the EatInEatOut Christmas in July Cookie Contest