First Post + Macaron Recipe :)

14 Aug

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my blog! If you don’t know me, my name is Nikki and I love to bake!  Baking has been a passion of mine, and I’ve been wanting to start a blog about my culinary adventures for a long time, but never seemed to have the time.  I’ve just recently finished graduate school, so that has given me some free time to finally get to work on this project : ).  If you’re wondering about the title of my blog “Science and Macarons” those of you who know me, will already know about my obsession with French macarons.  As for the science part? Well, science plays a big part of my daily life as an engineer, so what better name to describe myself than two subjects that I am very passionate about!

In order to kick start my blog, I figured I would make my favorite item, which is of course a French macaron.  For this particular entry, I’ll be doing an unusual variation: Lemon Cherry Blossom macarons.  The reason being was that I wanted to make something a bit more unusual than the average macaron as they were going to be a gift for a dear friend of mine : ).  Also, I’ve been dying to use some Cherry Blossom ingredients that I have laying around.  Fear not if you don’t have some of these ingredients, I’ll list substitutions when possible : ).

Let’s begin!

To give some background, I’ve been making macarons for a couple of years now.  The first recipe I ever tried was for chocolate macarons, and soon after I began doing research on different flavor variations.  There are many macaron recipes out there, and finding the one that works for you can be tricky! Through my experience and a lot of trial and error, as well as personal taste, this is the recipe that I like to use for my macarons, as I feel it works best for me!

Tools/Containers
2 mixing bowls
Whisk or fork
Spatula
Electric mixer
Baking sheets
Parchment paper
Round shaped item (for marking)
Piping bag

For your ingredients you’ll split them amongst two bowls.

Bowl 1: Dry Ingredients

2/3 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups of confectioner sugar

Bowl 2: Wet Ingredients
3 Egg Whites
A pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons of Cherry blossom sugar (or for a standard macaron, you can use regular white granulated sugar)
Pink food coloring

Prep:

Take sheets of parchment paper and cut them to fit your baking sheets.  Using a round shaped item of your choice, trace circles on the parchment paper.  Make sure you space them (usually 1-2 inches apart) so that your macarons will have enough room to grow!  I use the bottle cap of my shampoo as I find it to be the perfect size for me : ). You can do this a few days before if you’d like to speed up the process.

Begin by sifting almond flour and confectioner sugar in your first bowl.  It’s important to sift these dry ingredients (especially the almond flour) in order to make sure there aren’t any big chunks in the batter!

Using a whisk, or a fork mix the dry ingredients so that they are evenly incorporated.

Before I begin to talk about making our meringue, I thought I’d address the topic of egg aging.  In traditional macaron baking, it is common to “age” your egg whites.  This usually means that you take your egg whites and leave them out for 24-48 hours before using them. The idea here is that this process will reduce some of the moisture in the egg whites.  I have used this method, and YES, it does work! Does that mean that you can’t make macarons if you don’t age your egg whites? Absolutely not.  If I have forgotten to age my egg whites, or I’m in a rush, I will take my eggs (not cracked) and place them in a bowl of some hot water.  I use the hot water to take eggs (which are cold from the fridge) to room temperature, and then proceed as normal.

Ok now, on to the meringue!

Take your three eggs and separate them carefully, making sure the egg whites have no traces of the egg yolks.

At this time I also like to measure out my sugar.  I will be using some Cherry Blossom sugar that my best friend got for me in Japan, but if you don’t have any, just use regular granulated sugar : )!

In your second bowl (which must be very clean, and very dry), place your egg whites and a dash of salt, and begin to beat with your electric mixer until the egg whites thicken and become foamy. 

At this point, slowly start incorporating the sugar into your mixture until soft peaks form.

When you see that soft peaks (they’ll have form, but will still droop slightly) have formed, add food coloring.  It is best to add gel food coloring as liquid food coloring can add too much moisture to the meringue.

You should also note, that the color of the meringue will be muted once it is mixed with the dry ingredients, so you might want to make the meringue slightly brighter/darker than what you actually want your final color to be.

Continue to beak with mixer until stiff peaks have formed.  My mom always told me that if I can turn the bowl upside down without anything falling, then you’re set!

If you’ve successfully made it this far, congratulations, you made it pass the tricky meringue.  Next comes the part that will determine the fate of your little macaron friends.

Macaronage.

The term macaronage refers to the act of folding the meringue into the dry ingredients.  One would think this wouldn’t be difficult, but you’ll find that macarons can be temperamental.  Undermix the batter and your macarons will crack and have lumps.  Over mix and they may not grow feet!  And if you don’t know what macaron “feet” are, stay tuned, I’ll explain more on that later!

Back to the recipe, fold your meringue into your dry ingredients (aka bowl 1) with a rubber spatula.  Note that folding is different than mixing.  When folding one does not vigorously stir the contents of the bowl, instead one should carefully incorporate the ingredients so as to not flatten the mixture.  This is a technique done often with whipped toppings or meringues.

The final consistency of the batter should be ribbon-like, and even.  I usually test my batter by lifting my spatula and letting some batter drop back into the bowl.  If the batter that has fallen down melts back into the batter in the bowl without leaving much imprint, then it’s ready.  There is no magic number of how many times to “fold” the batter to achieve this. I’d have to gauge that it’s between 15-25 folds… depending on how hard or light you are folding. Some will say it’s more or less.

Preheat your oven to 325 F  and place your previously prepped parchment with the drawn circles face down (making sure that the part that was drawn on is not the same side you pipe on).

Take your macaron batter and place it in a piping bag.  You can use a pastry tip if you’d like, but I find that it’s not necessary. Carefully pipe little bits of batter into your circle patterns.  You’ll probably notice that when you lift the bag little peaks will be left on the piped macarons.  If your batter has been properly folded, this should eventually meld back into the batter. If you don’t see the peaks going away, it might be a sign you’ve undermixed your batter.  If your macarons are spreading all over the place, it could mean you over mixed!

Lastly, before baking, take your baking sheets and carefully tap them against a hard surface (your counter for example) in order to eliminate any air bubbles.

It is customary to let the macarons sit for somewhere between 15 minutes to an hour in order for them to form a “shell”, this usually ensures a glossy shell as well as proper baking.  The amount of time you should let yours sit out will depend on your cooking environment, some places are drier than others and will take less time. You should be able to glide your finger on the macaron without it sticking.

Once your macarons are ready to go, place them in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.  Baking time can sometimes differ from oven to oven, so you may want to keep an eye on them.

I like to check my macarons (through the oven glass) at around 4 minutes.  At this time they should be growing their “pied” or “feet”.  The “feet” of the macarons are the frilly/ruffly edge that forms around the macaron.  Here’s an example of a fully baked macaron shell with feet.

At about 8 minutes I’ll check my macarons. I’ll place a finger on top of the shell and try to wiggle it a bit. If it seams fairly stable and can just slightly jiggle, then I know they are done.

Once your macarons are done, let them cool on the baking sheet before attempting to remove them. This extra time will allow for the macarons to continue cooking, without over baking, and will reduce the chance of breaking the macarons when removing them from the baking sheet. Once slightly cool, I like to remove the macarons and place them on a cookie rack.

After the macarons are removed and completely cooled it’s time to fill them!

I always start by pairing the macarons off so that I can sandwich them as I ago.  For these macarons, I decided to fill them with lemon buttercream.

For my buttercream recipe, I use the following

1/2 cup of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of shortening
3-4 cups of confectioner sugar
The zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1-2 lemons (depends on taste).
Food coloring.

To make the buttercream, cream the butter and shortening together until soft and incorporated. Start sifting confectioner sugar until you reach a consistency you like. I like my butter cream soft, so I tend to use less sugar.  Add the lemon juice to taste, I like mine very tart, so I use a lot!

For the lemon zest, wash your lemon very well, it also helps to purchase a lemon that has a nice rind with little to no blemishes.

Lastly, add the lemon zest, and if you’d like some color, add some food coloring.

I like to fill the macarons using a piping bag, and then twist them together to form a nice edge on the macarons.

And that’s it!

If you’d like to store them, I recommend gently placing the macarons in some tight tupperware and placing them in the fridge : ).

For this particular occasion, I put them in these cute plastic containers that I purchased specifically for my macarons. I like to decorate them with ribbons and stickers to make them look cute : ).

Macarons are highly temperamental, so if you try this recipe and it doesn’t work out, don’t give up!  There are numerous obstacles to achieving the perfect macaron, so don’t be discouraged.  Remember that practice makes perfect : )!

I hope you guys have enjoyed my first entry, and know that I’d be happy to answer any questions regarding this recipe, or anything else : ).  I wanted to thank to my wonderful friends Joani and Laina for being my macaron assistants during this tutorial, and of course to anyone reading this, thank you for reading and happy baking!

– Nikki

Advertisements

5 Responses to “First Post + Macaron Recipe :)”

  1. Annette Wegrzyn 08/19/2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Oh Nikki it makes me so happy to see this posted! Every time I see your macarons I’m so jealous and it is unbelievably kind of you to disclose what has worked for you to help other nublets out. I will give this recipe a try *keeping my fingers crossed*!

    Kudos and I can’t wait for more macaron posts, particularly about the science behind it!

    • macaroneer 08/19/2012 at 10:55 pm #

      Aw thank you! Keep me posted how your macarons turn out! ❤

  2. Michelle Davis 06/17/2013 at 11:19 pm #

    Hi Nikki, thank you so much for posting this. I am about to attempt macarons for the first time. I am excited and yet nervous because I hear they can be so temperamental. I have a question about aging the egg whites. When you leave them out for 24-48 hours do you leave them out still in the shell or do you separate the eggs first and then leave the whites out at room temperature for that long? Thanks so much.
    Michelle

    • macaroneer 07/07/2013 at 1:45 pm #

      Hi Michelle!
      I always separate my egg whites first and put them in a cup to age : )!
      – Nikki

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Lemon Macarons with Lemon Curd « Science and Macarons - 01/22/2013

    […] shells isn’t very different than making regular macarons,  to make the shells please see this post.  The only thing different is that you’ll need to add the zest of one lemon, and a […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: