I've finally moved into my new apartment in Paris, purchased an oven, and organized my baking kit to squeeze into my generous 26 metres squared flat. Stoked. All there is left for me to do is bake! As a house warming treat, I'm sticking to my favourite dessert of all time: the macaron.I know, I know... I claim that I'm going to give you all these magical delicious vegan treats and the first thing I pop out of the oven is 50% made up of eggs. The worst. I know.
However, it is EXTREMELY important for EVERYONE to know that you, yes: YOU, can successfully make these finicky French treats! Ok, perhaps it takes some practice, but just imagine when you rock up to a party with home made macarons? ... Or, equally acceptable, imagine when you can sit at home with a bottle of wine and the Star Wars Trilogy (the original, obviously) and eat your own home made macarons! ... definitely not something I'm planning on for my Friday night. No, never.
This recipe comes from raspberricupcakes. I have tried a dozen recipes so far for macarons, and her recipe is literally the best! Along with providing adorable macaron animal how-tos, this blog also gives extremely helpful hints for perfecting these bad boys. Today, I'm going simple:
Macarons - What you need:
- 100g aged egg whites (I let mine rest on the counter in a sealed container for 24 hours)
- 110g almond meal*
- 200g confectioner's sugar
- 50g caster sugar
*For optimal results, I recommend drying out your almond meal by popping it in a 110 degree celsius oven (~230 F) for about 10 minutes. Weigh the almond meal AFTER you dry it out... a lot of moisture evaporates.
Macarons - What you do:
In a large bowl, sift together the almond meal and the confectioner's sugar.
(EVEN BETTER! if you have a food processor, quickly pulse the almond meal and confectioner's sugar together, then sift.)
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then, slowly, add in the caster sugar until stiff peaks form. Careful not to overbeat! A funky tip I use is to beat the egg whites until you can just turn the bowl upside-down without the egg whites falling out!
Add the meringue (err, also known as whipped up egg whites, seen above) to the almond/confectioner's sugar mix. For the first few turns, stir quickly to incorporate the meringue into the dry mix. After, slowly "fold" the meringue in to the almond/powdered sugar mix. Tip for folding: think of your spoon as a wand. Now, wrist circles as if you're about to cast a nasty spell. Put your wand to your magical concoction, and turn the meringue in to the almond powder. It's all in the wrists.
You really don't want to over beat your macaron mix at this stage. I count my stirs to try to keep them under 50. The mix should be shiny and fall from your spoon like a ribbon. Dazzling.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the mix into a pastry bag, and pipe small circles (around 3-4 centimetres) on to the parchment paper. Make sure you don't pipe the macarons too closely to one another - they will spread out a bit! This next step has proven essential in my macaron experiments... After you've piped out all of your macarons, leave them alone for an hour. They need to "set" in order to bake with a clean, uncracked shell. At this point, I typically go for a jog, read a book, or prepare the macaron filling! (Insert your favourite hour-long activity in the previous statement!)
(I have a very mini oven that doesn't fit your normal rectangular baking sheet... hence the tart pan.)
Once settled, bake the macarons at 140 C in a pre-heated oven for 15-17 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through. Let the macarons sit for a minute or two, then pop them off the sheet. They should come off easily, and if they don't, just put them back into the oven for a few more minutes. Allow your macarons to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Magic. You made macarons! (This should make around 20-22 macarons, depending on how big you pipe them.)
Below is a simple and fool proof method for chocolate ganache that works perfectly with these macarons.
Ganache - What you need:
- 150g chocolate (I used chocolate with hazelnuts! Delicious.), finely chopped
- 100mL, or a touch less than half of a cup, of cream (go fat or go home, my friends!)
Ganache - What you do:
Put the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan on medium-high heat on the stove. Heat the cream until it is simmering slightly. Pour the cream into the chocolate, allowing the chocolate to melt. Stir until you have a smooth texture. Place the chocolate ganache into the fridge to cool for about an hour. You're going to have to let it re-adjust to room temperature before you can pipe it onto your macarons. (Alternatively, you can just leave it at room temperature until it becomes thick.)
Ideally, the macarons should sit in your fridge overnight before serving them. They stay excellent for 3 to 4 days!
Voila. So, next time: you get vegan... but please don't be bummed with my excessive love of macarons, because you're going to be seeing a lot of them... they're good for you, I promise.