Happy Macaron Day everyone!
Reading food blogs, watching more food related TV, and exploring the grocery store and restaurants with an open mind has introduced me to foods I had not even heard of before. Such as macarons. I went from never hearing about these dessert cookies to them popping up everywhere I looked, and I was intrigued. I had heard that they were a finicky dessert that were difficult to make correctly. I was determined not only to try a macaron but to make them myself. So on one of my days off from work, I got busy in the kitchen.
It was some intense, focused baking that day. As I was putting them together, I made multiple (read: at least 15) trips back to the computer to see if I was making them correctly. With a few flubs in the process (such as using almonds with the skins still on), I put the batch into the oven and crossed my fingers, expecting the worst and hoping for the best. When the timer went off and I checked the cookies, I did a little happy dance in my kitchen when I saw the elusive feet characteristic of the macaroons. Success!! While this batch didn’t come out picture perfect, they tasted delicious.
For those of you who were like me and never had a macaron before, stop what you are doing now and go have one. Here is the rundown of a macaron: sweet icing is sandwiched between two cookies. The macarons are crisp and crackly on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It is a perfection of sweetness in bite size form.
I am definitely ready to make some macarons again already. While slightly time intensive, they were definitely fun to make! The possibilities are now endless, and I am ready to try a new flavor combinations very soon…
For the Macarons:
110 grams slivered almonds
200 grams powdered sugar
100 grams egg whites, room temperature
1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons raspberry jam
Red food coloring, optional
For the Macarons:
In a food processor, combine almonds and powdered sugar. Process until finely ground.
In a large bowl, whip egg whites with a hand mixer until foamy. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the egg whites. Add vanilla extract. While beating on medium speed, gradually add granulated sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form and mixture is a glossy meringue. Fold almond mixture into egg whites.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer meringue mixture to a pastry bag. Pipe filling into 1 inch round circles. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, until they develop a hard shell.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Bake for 12-18 minutes. Macarons are done if you can easily remove them from parchment paper without cracking. Set baking pan on wire rack and cool completely.
For the Frosting
With a hand mixer, blend butter and cream cheese together. Add powdered sugar and raspberry jam. Mix until thickened and mixed. Add red food coloring to reach desired color.
Pipe frosting onto one macaron and top with another macaron. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours before consuming.