Another way I prepared to make these was looking up information from other sources. Here is a good tutorial, with a ton of info. I recommend reading it all before starting. I found out some things: they are not spelled, or called "Macaroons" with two o's, but "Macarons", pronounced like the word "Macaroni" but without the "i" on the end. They are made out of egg whites, two kinds of sugar, and ground almonds!! You can fill them with anything your heart desires. To color the meringue shells, the best thing to use is powdered food coloring. I have some on the way. :)
Everything went well until I started piping them out onto my baking sheet. I realized I didn't know the "right" way to pipe. As a result, I was "swirling" the batter, and that isn't the correct way. Youtube to the rescue!!! View this super short vid to make everything clear.
After piping, your shells will "rest" for about an hour before baking. This is to harden the shell. I think it has something to do with the "foot" of the macaron as well. (The foot is the ruffly, little sticky-out part on the bottom of the macaron). I had some errands to run, so my macarons rested for more like 2 hours, oops. Next time I'll remain home and do exactly an hour!
Like Portuguese Girl, I filled these with a ganache. I used mostly milk chocolate along with some semi-sweet, since I love milk chocolate. I increased the amount a bit, to make sure I would have enough. It wasn't thickening fast enough, even though I stuck it in the fridge, so I whipped it with the whisk attachment in my Kitchenaid. This thickened it nicely, and I was able to pipe it neatly into the Macarons.
I'm SO excited I finally tried Macarons, and that they turned out decently!! Now I just have to find uses for the leftover egg whites. I used to have the opposite problem when I made homemade ice cream all the time- trying to use up those egg whites! (My ice cream maker is sick now :( )
It's important to use a kitchen scale with Macaron recipes. Also, a food processor is good to have on hand, along with a stand mixer, and piping bags/tools.
adapted from Portuguese Girl Cooks
110 grams blanched almonds, ground (OR use 110 grams almond flour/meal)
200 grams less 2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
100 grams egg whites, aged at room temperature for 12-24 hours
50 grams granulated sugar
6oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used milk + semi-sweet)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1. Using a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are finely ground. Alternatively, you can use ground almonds. Add in the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder and process until fully blended. Set aside.
2. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the granulated sugar, and continue beating until the meringue is stiff, shiny, and stiff peaks form. Add the almond mixture to the meringue mixture, and using a rubber/silicone spatula, mix swiftly but gently until no streaks remain. The whole process should take no more than 50 strokes.
3. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (I used Wilton #12) with the batter. Pipe small rounds (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) onto the baking sheets. Once you have piped out all of the batter, tap the cookie sheet on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the maracons rest at room temperature for about an hour to allow them to harden their shells.
4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on size. Let the cookies cool completely before removing cookies from the cookie sheet.
To make the ganache:
5. Chop the chocolate and place in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium high, heat the heavy cream and let it come to a simmer. Remove and pour over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Gently whisk until the ganache forms. Set aside to cool until it is thick enough to pipe. May want to place in the refrigeratot for faster cooling/thickening.
6. Once the cookies are completely cooled, match them up according to size. Pipe or spoon a layer of ganache onto the flat side of one of the cookies. Sandwich together with the remaining cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies.
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