This year, I am suffering from an inflamed tastebud or something equally painful that makes it difficult to speak, eat, and drink, so I'm not too excited for it. I was hoping I would feel better and be healed this morning though, so I did make a dessert to bring to my friend's house just in case. Looks like I'll be eating them all by myself instead, tough life.
This was my first time making macarons. I hit up Laduree again on Friday which was probably bad because then I was sure how bad mine were comparatively, but for a first try I'd say they came out pretty good.
Pain au Chocolate from Laduree - so good
My major problem was being judicious about grinding the almonds up to make almond meal. I was afraid I would start making almond butter so I stopped too soon, leaving chunks of almonds that were obvious in the finished product and not so great for it, texture-wise. Now I know for next time to keep going past the point of being worried about over-grinding and well into the realm of freaking out about over-grinding.
I learned two important things in doing this that I did not know about making macarons.
- You have to age the egg whites by putting them in a bowl covered in plastic wrap with some holes poked in it for 1-3 days. You then must bring these to room temperature before using them.
- After piping out the macaron cookies, you have to let the batter dry for an hour or so, or until you can touch them and feel a somewhat hardened film around them.
resting the macarons... I didn't do a great job of even sizing
Other than that though, they were surprisingly easy and I was happy to see little feet forming when I checked on them in the oven (generally a sign that the batter was the right consistency and folded the correct amount).
not sure why they're neon green here but I wish they were in real life too
For those who have been holding off on making them because of horror stories like I was, don't! Give it a shot, you might be surprised. And even if they're ugly, at least they'll taste good.
Bailey's Irish Cream Macarons
cookie recipe and technique from The Macaron Diaries,
filling recipe adapted from The Pleasure Monger
- 3 large egg whites (90-100 grams total), aged and at room temperature
- 130 grams almond meal
- 160 grams confectioners' sugar
- 65g superfine (caster) sugar (5 Tbsp) [GE: If you don't have superfine sugar, you can make it by grinding regular granulated sugar in a food processor until it is fine but not yet powdery]
- Green Food Coloring
- 10 Tablespoons (1.25 sticks) of butter, room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 Tablespoons cooled coffee
- 2.5 Tablespoons Bailey's
- Make the cookies: Age your egg whites by putting them in a bowl and covering with plastic wrap, poking holes to let them dry out, and putting them in the fridge for 1-3 days. Remove them from the fridge an hour before ready to use and let them come to room temperature.
- Combine your almond meal and confectioners' sugar and sift three times, or process together in a food processor.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy and then add your food coloring.
- Once foamy, add the superfine sugar 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until thick, shiny and stiff.
- Fold half of the dry mixture with the egg whites until combined. Add the rest of the mixture and mix lightly in a circular motion.
- Macaronnage - Spread the batter against the sides of the bowl, smoothing out air bubbles and then scoop it up from the bottom, turning upside down, and plop it back into the middle of the bowl. Do this again a bunch of times until when you scoop out a spoonful and allow it to drop back into the bowl it sinks back in slowly. These two videos from The Macaron Diaries were very helpful with this complicated yet vital step
- Line a baking sheet with double layers of parchment paper to avoid burning and put batter into a piping bag with a 1/2" tip.
- Pipe out small mounds of batter onto the lined trays.
- Once done, rap the tray against the counter or other flat surface to help them hole their rounded shape.
- Set aside to dry for about an hour.
- Preheat your over to 300 F, and once ready (when you touch them they feel dry to the touch, as though there is a film around them), turn the oven down to 266 F.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until you can pick a shell up easily with your hands and the bottom is flat and smooth. Make the filling while these cool.
- Make the filling: Cream together the butter and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar.
- Add the coffee and Baileys and then beat until well combined.
- At this point the mixture will seem runny - continue adding powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
- Pipe (or be lazy and spoon like I did... pastry bags are such a pain) onto cooled shells, trying to make the layer of filling about as thick as a shell.
The original recipe for the filling called for salt but I found it way too salty for my tastes. Of course you could add a dash of salt in if you'd like, but no more than 1/2 teaspoon. I put in 3/4 (the recipe said 3/4 to 1 teaspoon) and regretted it.
What should my St. Patrick's Day dessert for the real day be? I haven't seen anything too interesting this year, though there's always Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.