Friday, January 8, 2010

mi cocina {macarons}

photo from Mad Baker's flikr stream

So I've talked about these delicious meringue sandwich (so much more than) cookies before and have been wanting to make them for quite some time. But every time I searched for a recipe I got intimidated by the whole process. There are entire blogs dedicated to making the perfect macarons! Every recipe or description I read told me to do something different. It was too much!

But when I finally got to taste the little suckers in San Francisco (and not just imagine that they were the most delicious things ever) my fate was sealed.

I chose to make my first attempt in Tennessee and enlisted my mom and aunt (and her stand mixer) to help since they are experienced bakers. After looking at dozens of recipes, I decided to go with the simplest to understand, which ended up being Martha's. I went with a simple chocolate ganache filling from Serious Eats.

The Macaron Cookies

There were a few things I decided not/forgot to do so my execution differed slightly than the recipe and everything I have read about cooking macarons. For example, almost all of the detailed instructions for cooking macarons stress the importance for aging the egg whites. Which just means leaving them out on the counter in a bowl for 24-48 hours. I forgot about that so ours only aged about 2 hours.

We also didn't blanch the almonds. I probably will next time, but they were really fine they way they were. They tasted nuttier and weren't as smooth as the others I have tried, but it worked fine. My aunt beat the eggs (which is what I was probably what I was most nervous about). The batter was supposed to "flow like magma" when we piped it out and it didn't quite do that. The eggs may have been a bit over done - or maybe it was the lack of aging.

All in all the cookies turned out pretty good. Martha's directions say to let the batter stand after you've piped it until the surface is dry and dull, about 15 minutes. It took much longer than 15 minutes for us. More like 2 hours. Also, she says to cook on 350 for 15 minutes which is higher and longer than other recipes I have read. Luckily I had three sheets of batter piped so I could experiment with time and temp. The first sheet we did exactly like the recipe said and they were a little over done; crunchier and toastier than they should have been. The second we did at the same temp for more like 12 minutes. They were a little better but not quite what I was looking for. The third batch was great....but by accident. My dad thought we were done and turned the oven off. So, they baked for about 12 minutes at some temperature less than 350. All three pans
of macarons developed the coveted "feet" though not as pronounced as they probably should have been.

The Chocolate Ganache

I did the ganache pretty much exactly like the recipe said. The only change was because my mom misunderstood the amount of chocolate she was supposed to get (and it wasn't Valrhona Guanaja...whatever that is). We ended up using 4 oz of chopped Ghirardelli and approximately 4 oz of chopped-ish Hershey's chocolate chips. It was delicious!! I could probably make this again just to eat with a spoon! We let it sit for probably an hour and a half and it was the perfect consistency. We did also leave it out on the counter in a ziploc bag overnight and it was just a perfect squeezed into my mouth!

In Summary

For both of our piping needs we skipped pastry bags and tips and used ziploc bags with the corners cut off. It worked fine but I will probably eventually get real bags and tips. We ate some right out of the oven, tried a few more an hour or so later, and refigerated the rest and ate them over the next couple of days. The refrigerated were by far the best but I will never be able to resist them right out of the oven!

I was pretty happy with my first try at macarons. None of the tragic stuff happened that I read about and they were quite good. I am looking forward to my next attempt, which may come next weekend! I will be branching out next and trying some new flavors. I may stick with the basic cookie recipe but with a new filling and maybe they will even be colorful!....oooohhh...

Here are my options for the next try:

Blackberry & Raspberry with Ginger Lime Buttercream via Mowielicious

Chestnut Macarons with Pink Champagne via Mowielicious

Macarons with Salted Almond Butter Filling via AlpineBerry

Lavender & Rose Macarons via Pease Pudding

Stay tuned!


  1. I've never known what a macaroon was...I think I don't like that word, macaroon - it rubs me the wrong way.

  2. Actually a macaron is different than a macaroon. Macaroons are a coconut cookie-ish thing. Maybe you like the word macaron better?