Easy French Macarons

 

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Macaroons or macarons? No, it is not a typo error. These are entirely two different things. Macarons,  are French cookies made with almond and egg whites that are sandwiched around a cream-based filling . These cookies come in a rainbow of colors with creamy fillings to match. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache or butter cream sandwiched between two biscuits. Macaroon is a  a flourless egg-white-based cookie. Most often made with coconut, it can also include nuts or nut paste.  They are chewy, meringue like cookies.

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Everyday is a new day. Every post a new experience. And every dish a new revelation. This macaron recipe is one such dish. You want to try  it, but you are scared to try it. This is one bake that stubbornly holds its own and refuses to  oblige to the makers distractions. It screams all the way ” you want to eat me, make me properly”.  And that is the secret behind making this delicious delicate cookie – the macaron.

When making macarons remember a few essential and you are all set. For colored macarons, use gel food colors not a liquid as using a liquid alters the macaron texture.  Secondly weigh out all your ingredients beforehand and have them ready at room temperature.  Use egg whites that are a few days old and at room temperature. Before whisking make sure your whisk and bowl are clean and grease free.  When mixing the almond sugar mixture  to the beaten egg whites, use a slim spatula and fold quickly and gently.The batter should still be thick and airy.   Make sure to open the oven door halfway through cooking so that some steam can escape.

Now armed with this knowledge, lets move on to  the macarons.

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MACARONS
Source Deepthi George

71 gms Blanched Almonds
117 gms Powdered Sugar
2 large egg whites room temperature, eggs kept outside or a day
53 gms granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 300°F and place the rack in lower 3rd. Place the almonds and in the food processor. Process it until as fine as possible.
Add the powdered sugar to the almonds and then process it for another 1 min. Sift the almond mixture and process the solids left in the processor until less than 2 tbsp of solids are left. Add it to the almond mixture. This way you get finely ground almond meal with minimal solids in it.
In a dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until its froths a bit. then gradually add  one spoon at a time the sugar to the mix and beat until soft peaks form.  At this point, add the cocoa powder to make chocolate macarons or the food color and other flavors you intend to use. Whisk the mixture until stiff peaks form.
Once the stiff peaks form, add the almond sugar mixture and fold it in. The mixture will lose some air and become quite loose, don’t worry, this is the way it should be. Now at this point you want to remove few of the air incorporated into the meringue. Fold the mixture until it flows like a lava. This would be approx 35-40 complete strokes. Take care, the mixture should be smooth and a very viscous, not runny. If you over-mix your macarns will be flat and have no foot, under mix and they will not be smooth on top.
Using a piping bag with a 3/4th inch round tip,  pipe out the cookies. You do this by piping straight down, flooding the area, and then pulling quickly up. Form uniform rounds. pipe small blobs onto the sheet remembering that less is more at this stage because the mixture will settle. Pipe onto trays lined with baking paper,  tap them on the work surface to help the macaron mixture to settle and to break any air bubbles, then leave to dry for 20 minutes – the surface of the macaron will become smooth and shiny, it forms a crust. That would take any time from 15 minutes (in dry places) to 1 hr (in humid).
Bake the macarons for 10 mins  turning them halfway for uniform baking.  You are looking for the meringue to be just firm, with no browning at all. The cookie should be opaque in color. They will be they feel firm and are slightly risen. That would indicate that it is completely cooked.
Remove the macarons  onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely Do not be tempted to remove the macarons from the mat until they are cold or you will break them. Once they are cooled you can fill it with your choice of filling.
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Filling Variations for Macarons  

  1. For pink macarons: raspberry, strawberry are good matches, or for contrast add a little vanilla flavouring to the buttercream.
  2. Green macarons work very well with a pistachio flavoured cream, use either food flavouring or finely ground, pistachio nuts. Alternatively, add a little coconut flavouring, fresh lime zest and a tiny squeeze of the juice for a zingy filling.
  3. Purple, blueberry flavour is perfect.
  4. Cream coloured, use vanilla extract for an extra creamy flavour.
  5. Yellow, lemon works really well.

Source for filling pairings – about.com

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