Baking: Making Macarons
For four years, my friend Catie and I have talked about making macarons. So after I turned in my last paper of college, we finally decided now was the time to do some baking. Macarons are gifts from the Gods, and, as such, are really difficult to make. In my one prior macaron baking experience, they did not come out right. This time around, we were much closer.
For a filling we decided to go with strawberries and cream. I took the left-over strawberries from my fridge, chopped them up, added a little butter, sugar, and water and melted them down into a jam-like consistency.
For the actual macaron cookies we decided to use David Lebovitz’s chocolate recipe because he has a friend at Fauchon and because he is awesome, recipe: here. Since we are/were in college we didn’t have all the necessary ingredients and culinary tools. We didn’t have fine almond powder so we ground down almonds to make a meal in the food processor and this works well.
Beating the egg whites to the right consistency can be hard. Catie and I found ourselves wondering what was enough. This is something you sort of guesstimate and over time must get better at.
Once you have the almond meal, cocoa powder, and sugar combined, you begin folding in the egg whites. David said to do this in two batches, we sort of did it in one, adding small amounts slowly, and it worked out.
Of course, we didn’t have a fancy pastry bag, but we had Ziplock! Just cut the end off of a corner and you’ll be set to go. You really should use parchment paper when you begin piping the macaron batter onto a baking sheet. We used a wax paper and it is a bit difficult to later separate the macarons from the paper after baking.
Now, we baked two batches. One batch we baked immediately. The other sat around for awhile. Neither batch developed the pied (feet) that macaron cookies should have. There is a lot of contradictory advice out there on waiting to bake or not. You really need to know your oven well so you don’t over bake the cookies. Since even David had difficulties with the feet, we didn’t let this bother us too much.
We only had whipped cream in a can (college, I know). I would suggest making your own whipped cream and the thicker the better, to combine with the strawberry filling.
Another Ziplock piping bag later and we were assembling our macarons:
They turned out to be really tasty. A nice combo of strawberries ‘n cream and chocolate – a combination that I really liked.
So it is possible to bake macarons in college and I wish everyone out there who is going to attempt to bake them much luck. I know I’ll be trying again soon so that my macarons grow some feet.