Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quince de Mayo Macarons

I have been quite studious when it comes to learning and attempting to succeed (I'll work on mastering later) the art of macarons. I keep reading and scouring the net for resources, tips and tricks. These are such fantastically intriguing little sweets, I must say.

Here is my second attempt at macarons. This time, I had smoother caps and, again, feet! However a few of the macarons cracked... and I'm still trying to figure if they were overmixed (the ones that cracked were the last ones to be piped) or if they were too wet.

These macarons were made for the birthday of my sister, Beth. Coloured a bright green (her favourite), I named them "quince de mayo" as she was born on the 15th of May and filled them with dulce de leche, a further homage to Cinco de Mayo and Mexican independence. Small, sweet, decadent little treats.

120g almonds (I measured the almonds whole, then ground them.)
200g powdered sugar
30g granulated sugar
3 egg whites
*You will need a piping bag to pipe the meringues onto your parchment lined baking sheet.

The day before you plan to make your macarons, separate your eggs and let them sit, covered on the counter. Or you can use the microwave trick. (Macaron tips and tricks from the first post here...)

Begin to whip your egg whites. As they begin to come together, slowly add in your granulated sugar and mix until hard peaks form. Add your food colouring at this point. (All of the sites tell you to use powdered food colouring, which I have yet to find... *sigh*... which is why I said my macarons could have been too "wet." I opted now to increase the amount of almond meal, just slightly, to compensate for the additional moisture. Seems to work out.)

Now, time for the almond meal… I added the almonds in about four parts. I folded, as the one site had recommended, vigorously at first, then slowed to incorporate the almond fully. Then added more meal, fast folding, then slow folding. Repeat two more times.

Fill your piping bag with the almond-meringue. Now pipe 1"-1.5” rounds onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. I didn’t trace out circles… I hoped that I could size up these meringues by sight and didn’t do badly at this task. Now let your meringues sit and rest for 30 – 60 minutes to help form a slight “crust” on their surfaces. Start to heat your oven to 300F.

Put your macarons in the oven. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, depending on how well you eye-balled the 1”-1.5” rounds. I practically had my face pressed to the oven door for the duration of the baking… fearful of overcooking and burning. If the batter above the “feet” is still damp, bake for a few additional minutes, then check again. Move the trays to wire racks to cool. The macarons should pop off of the parchment quite easily after they have cooled.

I left the macarons overnight and filled them (with dulce de leche) closer to the time that they would be consumed. I didn't want to risk any sogginess.

Beth... and her macaron. (self portrait) Couldn't wait until we reached our destination. :)

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