What baked good do you love most? My list goes on and on and on but I have always loved macarons, ever since the first time I ate one. I love bitting into that crunchy outside layer before getting the gooey meringue in the middle. I have seen them baked on so many baking shows I can't even count. Everyone always seems to panic and freak out when it's meringue week or a meringue challenge. So I decided I had to see what it was all about. Not quite sure what all the fuss was about because my first time making macarons went quite well, I think! They aren't all the same shape or size but I'll get there. For a first time I think they came out just as I wanted them too, both chewy and crispy with a great flavour.
I have been toying with the idea of going to pastry school lately. A few of my loved ones have said how I should be baking for a living (Dani and Dave.) It's kind of a daunting thought since I already have a diploma in Fashion Design, undergrad degree in Art History as well as an MA in Art History. The idea of going back to school again isn't my idea of a good time. So in the meantime I am trying to challenge myself to bake new and exciting recipes, like these macarons. I decided to go for a summery flavour using raspberry jam in the centre and almond extract to highlight the almond flour already in the macaron shell. I wanted to have a feel for an afternoon tea with clotted cream (which I did with vanilla buttercream) and raspberry jam, as if you were having a bite of a scone. I can't wait to make my next batch, I have so many different flavour ideas to try out! Stay tuned!
Recipe for Macarons: (Food Network)
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3 large egg whites (at room temperature)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2-3 drops food colouring
- 1/2 tsp vanilla, almond or mint extract
- assorted fillings
- vanilla buttercream (recipe on my blog)
- homemade raspberry jam (by Dave's mum)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees (convection setting.) Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Mix almond flour and powdered sugar together. Sift it through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl to get out any almond flour chunks.
- Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium high and gradually add the sugar. Beat until stiff and shiny (roughly 5 more minutes.)
- Transfer the beaten egg whites to bowl with almond flour and sugar mixture. Gently fold mixture together until well incorporated.
- Add the food colouring and flavour extract. Continue folding until the batter is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thin flat ribbon (2-3 minutes.)
- Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with 1/4 inch round tip. Pipe 1 1/4 inch circles. Firmly tap the baking sheets twice against the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to 1 hour (I had to leave mine out for 1 hour due to the humidity in Ucluelet.) They should no longer be sticky to the touch.
- Before placing in oven put a second baking sheet under the baking sheet with the macarons on top. This protects the macarons from the heat.
- Bake for 20 minutes, the macarons should be shiny rise 1/8 inch to form a "foot." Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
- When the macarons have cooled, peel off of mat and fill with assorted fillings.
The macarons freeze quite well. I made them on a Saturday and froze them when they had cooled. I removed them from the freezer on Tuesday morning and let them defrost before filling them that evening to be eaten for dessert. They were just as fresh as the day I baked them!