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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Macaron Madness!

What better way to celebrate Mother's Day than with MACARONS! Macarons are delicate, airy and melt in your mouth. Traditional fillings are buttercream, jam and chocolate ganache. One little bite transports you to a quaint Parisian cafe. This was my first time making these delightful French confections. My mom, aunt and sisters LOVED these sandwich cookies and so did I!
This Mother's Day, I wanted to share this beautiful tribute to all the moms out there from our friend, Ingrid Skousgard.

I wanted to make this Mother's Day special by making macarons. I heard that making macarons is as easy as baking chocolate chip cookies. Well that is absolutely not true! Technique is critical. You need to follow the recipe to the T. Martha Stewart is one of my favorite online resources. Her recipes are easy to follow and sometimes she even includes a video that demonstrates her process.
Martha's recipe is suppose to yield 35 sandwich cookies, but I only got 25. I paired them with three fillings: Dalmatia's sour cherry jam, buttercream and chocolate ganache. I've used the ganache filling for cupcakes. It's delicious! I'm trying a new buttercream recipe from Hisako Ogita that pairs well with macarons. 
Here are some tips to avoid macaron madness: 
  1. Use a KitchenAid Stand Mixer
  2. Age your egg whites! Crack eggs and store the whites in an air tight container for 1 - 2 days in the refrigerator 
  3. Sift almond flour and confectioner's sugar to remove clumps
  4. Use gel food cooling; liquid food coloring can alter the texture of macarons
  5. Color should be added during the egg white stage (color will get diluted by the almond flour / confectioner's sugar mixture)
  6. Eyeballing concentric, similarly sized macarons is hard! Use a silicone macaron mat to make your life easier
  7. Pipe macarons with Wilton tip 12
  8. Less is more when piping macarons (macarons will expand while baking)
  9. Allow piped macarons to rest for 10 - 15 minutes before baking
  10. Let macarons cool before moving the macarons to a cooling rack
This weekend wasn't just about macarons. I also prepared a delicious Mother's Day brunch with mascarpone stuffed french toast with berries, baked eggs with tomatoes, herbs and cream and mimosas, of course. Williams Sonoma's delicious brunch cookbook is a must have for anyone that loves brunch!
After brunch, I took my nephew, Dylan, and niece, Keira, out for a bike ride and some playground fun. I hope your Mother's Day weekend was as fun as ours!
XOXO Archana

"No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you–life."––Anonymous

Martha Stewart
French Macarons
Yield: 25 macarons
Ingredients
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/4 superfine sugar (can use granulated sugar) 
Directions
  1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny
  3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees
  4. Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons)
  5. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months
Hisako Ogita
Buttercream Filling
Yield: 24 macarons
Ingredients
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Cut butter into pieces, and mash with a spatula until the consistency resembles mayonnaise
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then add the granulated sugar, and whisk until the mixture lightens to an off-white and you can no longer see the granules of sugar. Add the milk, and whisk to combine
  3. Pour the egg mixture into a small saucepan, and heat over low heat, whisking frequently to ensure that the mixture does not curdle or scorch. Cook until the mixture becomes thick and custardy, like pudding
  4. Pour the egg mixture back into its bowl, and whisk constantly until it returns to room temperature. Whisk in the butter in three batches, add the vanilla, and stir until smooth and all ingredients are fully combined. Pipe or spread onto one macaron half and sandwich between the other
Chow
Chocolate Ganache Filling
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Directions
  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside
  2. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes
  3. Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly before using
Recipes From This Post
Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast: Williams Sonoma
Baked Eggs with Tomatoes, Herbs and Cream: Williams Sonoma
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Stand Mixer: Kitchen Aid Tilt HeadKitchen Aid Bowl Lift (we prefer the bowl lift model, but it's more expensive)

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