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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Macaroon Challenge

A few months ago, my parents went on vacation to Paris. Knowing me well, all the gifts they brought back for me were ones I could eat. One of my favorites was the beautifully decorated box from Laduree filled with eight, delicate, delicious, Parisian macaroons (or macarons, if I were French); smooth, flavourful filling sandwiched between two delicate, melt in your mouth almond meringue cookies. I had tried French style macaroons before, but none had tasted like these.

 Doing some research on the internet I combined a few recipes, to try to duplicate these cookies, so here lies THE MACAROON CHALLENGE!!!! I decided to start small and just try the most basic flavour, a vanilla cookie with vanilla buttercream filling. I decided to throw in some food colouring, just to make them look a little bit more interesting.

Here is the recipe I used:

  • 1 3/4 Cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 Cups almond flour or finely ground blanched and peeled almonds
  • 3 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • food colouring (optional)
Buttercream Filling
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • food colouring (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, using a permanent marker trace circles onto the paper, using something the size you want your macaroons to be, then flip the paper making sure you can still see the circles.
3. Sift icing sugar and almond flour into a small mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
4. In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy, add the salt and continue to mix while gradually adding the granulated sugar. Continue to beat until the egg whites form medium peaks.
5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the almond mixture, vanilla extract and food colouring (if using) into the egg whites until just combined. Tap the bottom of the bowl on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
6. Transfer the mixture into a large piping bag, with a medium sized plain tip. Pipe the mixture into the traced circles on the baking sheet.
7. Place in the oven and bake until the macaroons become slightly firm on the top and can be lifted off the parchment paper, about 20 to 25 minutes. The bottoms of the macaroons should be completely dry.
8. While the macaroons are baking, prepare the buttercream.
9. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, add the vanilla then gradually mix in the icing sugar until combined, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the cream then increase speed to high and continue to beat until icing is fluffy, about 3 minutes. Tint with food colouring if using.
10. remove the macaroons from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about five minutes, before lifting the entire parchment onto a wire rack to cool completely.
11. Once completely cool, spread about 1 tsp. of the buttercream mixture onto the flat side of one macaroon, and then sandwich with another macaroon.
12. Macaroons can be stored for about 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Here is how my macaroons turned out:

Generally, the cookies turned out pretty close to the ones I had from Laduree. Obviously, nothing is as good as the orginal, but these are lot easier then flying to Paris. I just have to practice my piping to get them into perfect circles. I'm looking forward to trying out some different flavours. Stay tuned.....


Anonymous said...

what food coloring did you us this color be perfect for my baby shower cant wait to make this

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