This post is long overdue. The Cinnamon Macarons were made 11 months ago with our friend Cindy, who traveled from Oklahoma to spend a weekend with us. It was our second adventure to perfect these finicky babies, and Cindy, being way more organized than yours truly, brought a bunch of notes about what should have been improved from our previous attempt. Of course, we had so much fun cooking together that we barely paid attention to the notes, and managed to overlook a couple of tips given by Kathryn Gordon in her beautiful book Le Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home.
CINNAMON MACARONS WITH CRUNCHY CACAO NIB FILLING
OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE
Equal amounts of almond flour and confectioner’s sugar plus a pinch of salt are mixed with a little cinnamon in the food processor and pulsed a few times. Then some granulated sugar and powdered egg whites are added, pulsed a few more times. The whole mixture is sifted.
A French meringue is prepared with 4 egg whites and a bit of cream of tartar, added to the sifted ingredients, and piped into rounds.
Our filling of choice was a Crunchy Chocolate Ganache made with semi-sweet chocolate, light corn syrup, heavy cream, a bit of butter and – for the final pizzaz: roasted cocoa nibs.
(full recipe can be found in Les Petits Macarons)
Comments: The only problem we had in the making of this recipe was that in some shells the feet “slipped out.” It was hard to find a precise reason for that boo-boo, so we are left with the suspicion that macarons do not appreciate being watched during baking. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. But, you want to know something funny? A little sharp knife worked wonders to trim the runaway feet, and the resulting crumbs go UNBELIEVABLY well over some ice cream. Life gives you lemons? Make lemonade! Macarons give you extra feet? Sweet crumbs it is! Full-disclosure: Cindy and I nicknamed them “toe nail clippings”, much to our husbands chagrin. Oh, well… We could not resist. They were mighty tasty, though.
MACARONS, TAKE THREE
Back in February I felt the urge to make macarons again. You know, Valentine’s Day, romance in the air, but winter still lingering around. I wanted a batch of super bright and sexy macarons. Is there anything sexier than raspberries? Obviously not. I opened all my macaron cookbooks (thanks to our friend Gary I own several), searched the net, but when I stumbled upon this recipe, I could not stop thinking about it. Tricia shaped her macarons as little hearts! Of course, knowing my limitations I did not even try to go there. They would end up more like rodent livers or something. But maybe next time…
(adapted from Saving Room for Dessert)
for the shells:
150 grams almond meal, sift twice
150 grams confectioners’ sugar, sifted
55 grams egg whites, aged overnight
for the meringue:
150 grams granulated sugar
37.5 grams water
55 grams egg whites, aged overnight
gel food color, red
for the filling:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, pureed and strained
a few drops of vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (more or less as needed for desired consistency)
Place the almond meal and the confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. In a large mixing bowl sift together the almond meal and confectioners’ sugar. Make a well in the center and add 55 grams of egg whites. Fold the mixture with a spatula until it becomes a thick, paste-like batter.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Definitely some major improvement this time, thanks to a new sifter with a slightly bigger mesh size. Sifting the almond flour/sugar mixture was a breeze, and I decided to simply discard the small mount of coarse bits left in the sieve. Every recipe insists on a fine mesh, but I suspect you don’t need to go too fine, unless you enjoy spending 20 minutes to sift 1 cup of stuff… Nope, not happening again. I am pretty happy with this arrangement. This is a OXO brand sieve, found in our grocery store for very cheap. I love it!
The meringue worked very well, although I was in full hyperventilation mode trying to negotiate the temperature of the simple syrup and the beating of the egg whites all by myself. A second pair of friendly hands would be more than welcome… The final batter had that flowing lava consistency, which always gives me a smile, after all, how many people have actually seen lava flowing? Hopefully not that many, not the type of stuff I’d like to face. At any rate, I guess now it’s a matter of working on technique, piping circles more consistent in diameter, doing a slightly better job in the “macaronage step.” I was afraid to deflate the batter too much and ended up with some spots where the flour mixture did not fully incorporate. When that happened, the shells cracked during baking. I was lucky that it happened to just a few. Being the magnanimous person I am, I quickly swallowed them before Phil even had a chance to see them. What can I say? I give, and give, and give.
I hope you enjoyed my little Tale of Two Macarons… I now realize how much I love making them, and hope to try a slightly different take on the subject by baking up a batch of…are you ready for it? Savory Macarons! Kathryn’s book has many variations. Don’t you think Saffron Macarons with Tomato Confit Filling sounds amazing? I might just have to go for it…
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