Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Mighty Macaron.

I blame it all on Erica.  I had never even dreamed of the idea of making a French Macaron.  In my known recollection I have only ever even eaten one, and I don't know if it counts because it was in the shape of my favorite character....

And to be honest.... sometimes I am mad at the French.  I have had more French people yell at me or be rude to me than any other nationality combined.  I don't understand why they can be so rude.  I even jokingly said to someone the other day, if I travel to France and someone is rude to me I want to yell, "REMEMBER Normandy?!?! Remember how without us you would all be speaking German?" BUT on that note, I have to stop and tell a story.  A super cool story!!!! A super duper cool story!!!! My mom and dad just got back from France and they actually went to Normandy.  There was a lady who was in her teens when the war ended.  She saw the huge sacrifice made by the Allies to save France.  Sp every time an international tour group comes walking by her house to go see the historic battle sites of D-Day she opens her window and does this:
She waves her American, Canadian, and British flags saying repeatly, "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you."

That is enough to bring me to tears.  

Anyway, Back to French Macarons. (I will come back to my parents trip in a moment.)

So my dear Erica from reading my post about international treats or about Gelato discovered my love of lavender.  I absolutely love lavender.  And Erica has something worth it's weight in gold, specially crafted lavender buds from a lavender farm in Teton, Idaho.  

So Erica decided we should try out this lavender on French Macarons.  (how she made the jump from delicious lavender to THE most difficult cookie on the planet, I have no idea, but man I am glad she did!)

You see, when we started trying to make macarons, we didn't understand the CHALLENGE that it was.  I truly had no idea.  I thought I'd measure out the ingredients, follow some directions, and we'd get a macaron.  ha. ha. ha.  Also since neither Erica or I had really eaten a macaron we had no idea what they were even SUPPOSED to be like. 

So this post is going to be a journal entry of the trial and errors associated with attempting to perfect The Mighty Macaron.

What a French Macaron is SUPPOSED to look like.
So the recipe we used:
1 C almond flour
2 C Powdered sugar
Sifted together

3 room temperature egg whites
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t Cream of Tarter
dash of salt
 Whip to stiff peaks

Fold ingredients together 

Pipe on parchment paper

Let sit for 30-60 minutes

Bake for 20 minutes on 300

*I have attempted this recipe so many times that I have it memorized.  

We learned very quickly one of the most challenging parts of the Mighty Macaron.  The feet.  (The bottom part of the cookie.)  A guess a lot of people have the problem of the feet not rising at all.  My constant problem that I STILL haven't perfected is my feet spread.  Here is our first disastrous, but oh so delicious, batch.

So our first batch.................... well let's just say it didn't turn out so well.  We learned very quickly the necessity of using a scale to measure out the powdered sugar and almond flour.

120 g almond flour
200 g powdered sugar

Our next attempt was much better.  But still a little rough.

Here's the dough piped on the tray drying.
Here's anxiously watching them bake
Still those darn feet spread too much!
But the finally product wasn't too shabby!
I am happy to report that these first macarons we made with a delicious lavender frosting were hands down the best homemade dessert of my life.  Granted I love lavender.  They were also different from any other cookie or dessert I had ever had, especially homemade dessert that they rocked my world!

They were so delicious that the moment I got home from visiting Erica in Colorado I drove straight to Costco and purchased a 10 pound bag of Almond Flour and got to work. 

Of course reporting back to Erica my progress.

Not bad.

But STILL the stupid feet of the cookie kept spreading.  So I read everything I could online about how to fix the problem.  I purchased a silicon mat, I double panned my cookie sheet, and in this attempt, I even tried not folding the ingredients as much...  But that was a bad idea.  They turned out pretty bad.
BUT THE best thing happened from this attempted!  I discovered the MOST delicious frosting of all time!  I have no idea why in the world I had never had it/made it!  Raspberry butter cream frosting!  IT IS AMAZING! And relatively easy, 
1/4 c room temp butter
3/4 C powdered sugar
2 T seedless raspberry juice (push 1/2 c raspberries through a sieve)

The frosting was so delicious and I was so disgusted by my macarons that as soon as I finished I started again, with a much better result.

My next attempt (while still trying to perfect the cookie, which I haven't been able to do) I wanted to make a not as sweet lavender frosting.  I HATE how sweet buttercream frostings are!  But I couldn't figure out how to thicken a frosting without sugar.... UNTIL I found a recipe from my dear ol' friend Pioneer Woman!
She calls the frosting "The Best Frosting I Ever Had"
It uses flour to thicken the frosting!  AMAZING.  SO I made lavender frosting using that recipe and it was AWESOME!  I'll never made a regular buttercream frosting again!

I've also attempted strawberry and lemon macarons.

But I figured it was high time for me to actually eat a professionally made macaron.  It was rose flavored one.  It may have been the fact it was at an Indian bakery that smelled of saffron or maybe it was just a poor macaron.... but it was definitely nothing to write home about. 

BUT THEN I thought of the most wonderful thing!  My parents were going to France!  And they had a direct flight straight from Paris to Salt Lake where I would be picking them up at the airport.  So I tried to explain to my mom my new found passion for French Macarons.  I explained I needed so badly to taste a true Parisian macaron.  Long story short, she tried her hardest to get me some at the airport right before they boarded but it didn't work out.  I must admit I was embarrassingly devastated but she did take some pictures of them for me.  So for now I will have to settle with looking at these pictures of the most beautiful cookie on the planet, the Mighty Macaron.

Maybe I'll just have to go to Paris? ;)


We finally successfully made a Macaron without the feet spreading!!!!!

We used a completely different recipe.  A recipe that makes an Italian meragine.  So a whole 'nother step... ugh.  But we did it!  And I figure I should put the recipe here so I can have it for safe keeping in case I ever decide I want to make a successful macaron again!

One important note, it has more sugar.  I hate that.   If it wasn't such a crazy science experiment I would consider trying to cut the sugar in half.  Anyway

212 grams Almond Flour
212 grams Powdered Sugar

About 5 egg whites seperated into
82 grams
90 grams

236 grams granulated sugar + a pinch for the whipped egg whites
158 grams water

Mix the sifted Almond flour and powdered sugar with 82 grams egg whites.  Set aside
Beat 90 grams egg whites + pinch of sugar to make a soft peak.

Boil water and granulated sugar to 248* (super hot, like straight syrup)

Add syrup to fluffy egg whites with the beaters going and then whip egg whites mixture for 5 minutes until it is cooled.

Fold into flour mixture until ribbon like batter.

Pip onto parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400* and then when you put the cookies into the oven reduce the temperature to 325*.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are oh so slightly tinted golden.

Fill with any delightful filling.

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