KALEIDOSCOPIC MACARONS

One more take on my ongoing obsession… But first, a relevant question: how far can we stretch the boundaries of these adorable cookies and still be comfortable calling them macarons? Apparently the boundaries are very blurry. From colors, types of fillings, decorations on top of the shells, we see endless variations. I cannot call myself a purist, as I am often taking liberties with classics, but I think my standards would be: macarons must be prepared with almond flour as the main component.  If other ground nuts are added, let them be a very minor player. Must contain a meringue incorporated with the flour by the macaronage method. Must have discernible feet. Other than those three requirements, I’ll accept anything. Savory fillings, neon-like colors, cute alternative shapes. For this batch, I experimented with a color effect. Some newbie errors took place, but I still performed better than I do at the golf course. Much, much better.

KALEIDOSCOPIC MACARONS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, slightly adapted from Craftsy.com

Yield: About 72 shells; 36 assembled macarons

for the shells:
198 g powdered sugar
113 g almond meal
1/8 teaspoon dried lavender
113 g egg whites (I aged mine for three days)
1 g or a pinch of cream of tartar
100 g granulated sugar
Purple Gel color from AmeriColor
2 drops vanilla extract
for the filling:
chocolate ganache with finely chopped hazelnuts
recipe in this post

Line 2 or 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered sugar, almond meal and lavender in a food processor or mini processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 15 seconds. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and pinch of cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are impeccably clean. Starting on medium speed, whip the whites with the cream of tartar until they look like light foam. The whites should not appear liquid. The foam will be light and should not have any structure.

Slowly rain in the granulated sugar, trying to aim the stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Turn the speed up to medium-high. Continue to whip the meringue until it is soft and shiny. It should look like marshmallow creme. Add the gel color and the vanilla. Staying at medium-high speed, whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Bet until firm peaks form. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.

Fold in the almond meal mixture in three increments. Paint the mixture halfway up the side of the bowl, using the flat side of a spatula. Scrape the mixture down to the center of the bowl. Repeat two or three times, then check to see if the mixture slides slowly down the side of the bowl. Open a plastic wrap on the counter, paint three lines of gel color of your choice separated by one inch. Pour the dough on top, wrap the plastic around, and insert the whole thing in a piping bag, making sure to have an opening in the wrap connected to the piping tip. Pipe shells on the prepared baking sheets.

Slam each sheet hard four to six times on the counter. Then fist bump each end of the sheet’s underside twice. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. Ina dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes.

While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 330 F (170 C/gas mark 3). Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide, then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. The macarons should release without sticking. Check one or two. If they stick, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Assemble the macarons: find two macarons similar in size and add a good amount of ganache to the bottom of one of them. Place the other on top and squeeze gently to take the filling all the way to the edge.  Ideally, store in the fridge for 24 hours for best texture.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I know it’s hard to believe but I used three different colors for the shells, the green is barely noticeable, only in a few of them. Many of the shells got zero color. Puzzling? Read on, and the mystery will be solved. There are essentially two types of strategies to get more than one color in the macaron shell. You can make the dough, divide it in two (or three) portions, color each one separately, add them to the piping bag and allow them to mix during piping. I decided not to do it, because I was a bit insecure as to when to divide the dough, and maybe deflate it too much when mixing with the colors. I normally add the color very early in the process.  That brings me to method number two, which gives a very interesting marbled effect, when done correctly. You start by opening a plastic wrap over your counter. Then, you paint two or three solid lines of gel color over the plastic. Pour your dough with the optimal lava consistency over the plastic, wrap it around, and insert the whole thing inside a piping bag. See the photo below.

I realize it’s hard to see the lines of gel color on the first picture, but trust me, they are there. To my disappointment, the first 20 or so shells I piped were totally white! The reason is, when painting the lines they must go all the way to the icing tip, otherwise obviously you’ll get no color until the dough moves through and gets in touch with the gel.  Alternatively, you can use a long brush and paint the inside of the piping bag itself, making sure to reach down all the way to the tip. I must re-visit this technique and get the effect I was hoping for. It was quite frustrating to keep piping shell after shell, with no color, and then a little bit here and there. But hopefully practice makes perfect, and I will succeed next time.

As I mentioned before, the parallels between making macarons and golf are truly amazing! Once you take that golf club back, it’s over. For macarons, a little misjudgment and you don’t get what you want. The Macaron Gods are not very forgiving. And I’ve probably been extra naughty lately. You’d think?

Almond flour: $9.99

12 eggs: $3.50

Powdered sugar: $2.50

Matching outfit to macarons: Priceless!

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28 thoughts on “KALEIDOSCOPIC MACARONS

  1. Gorgeous as ever. I am with you in applying the colour inside to the piping bag: much easier and it preserves the “integrity” of the oh-so-carefully made up mixture, so you don’t end up over-mixing it. It also gives, I think, a nicer visual look

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was actually curious to see your opinion on the method – and glad that you see the problem with the solid color in the dough.. Plus, when the marbled effect is done correctly, it’s quite beautiful

      Like

    • the crunch in the filling was actually very nice – a leftover bonus from my 8th blog anniversary cake… (can you believe I made macs and cake on the very same day????)

      Like

  2. Hi, Sally–

    I found your blog only about two months ago but I love it! You have inspired me to bake some macarons as soon as I get home! (I’m not home now but hope to be in a couple of months). I’m not so bad of a baker for being an amateur. What really intrigues me, though, is the dog. He looks like he might have been sampling a bit too many macarons over the past few months, lol. I know that you have three dogs but does the Dalmation have a special fondness for macarons – like a certain Brazilian we all know and love?

    Liked by 1 person

    • oh, how cool! Two months! I feel so “ancient” blogging for 8 years, that whenever someone tells me they “found me” recently I feel like a baby blogger! There you go

      In the name of accuracy, I should say that no, Bogey’s love affair spans all types of food. Savory, sweet, colorful, not colorful, and it also involves paper – envelopes, tissue paper, toilet paper, and just yesterday, a 10 dollar bill he stole from my handbag. I had neglected to put it in the wallet, and it was laying on top of the open bag. He acted like a master thief, and very slowly and discreetly pulled the bill and once I realized what was going on, ran away with it all over the house. Fun times were had by all… (sigh)

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  3. Those are pretty incredible. I had to read it a couple of times to figure out where the color came in. Wow! Of course, my favorite part is the fist bump, which I still have to visualize! You are the master my friend.

    The worst part about golf is that the worse you do, the longer it takes. They both require an incredible amount of time invested, but at least with these, it’s still 10 to 15 minutes in the oven, while “willing” them to develop feet as you stare at them through the window. And no one has to know if they don’t work out, ha ha! And you have pups to hide the evidence!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I realize now that I could have done a better job in the recipe description, I took the easy way, and just cut and paste from my previous post… I might edit it soon… to be more clear about the color… now to find the energy to do so… when it’s so sunny outside 😉

      Like

    • I tell you, they can be tricky – after this batch I had a 50% failure, in which half of my cookies were hollows – still cannot figure out why… but still, I managed to get half a batch that was pretty decent. Shall blog about them at some point… I am so obsessed…

      Liked by 1 person

      • After just reading about the hollow shells, I did a quick internet search. I found a site, indulgewithmimi.com, whereby she has a troubleshooting list along with the offending pictures. It seems that hollow shells are caused by not beating the egg whites to a stiff consistency. Check it out. It looks like she’s a macaron afficionado, too.

        Like

  4. Let me count the ways I love this post! The matching outfits was the cherry on the gateau. You are priceless. Your kaleidoscope macarons are too gorgeous and while there isn’t a chance in this lifetime of me making macarons, if it’s alright by you, I’ll admire the view and dream of their taste or characteristic texture (it’s all about that slight crunch that dissolves into a melt – I’m hopelessly entranced by it – it’s breakfast time here and you have me craving). Adore the photo of you & Bogey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH, you made me smile! So wonderful you enjoyed the post, and I must say I adore the expression on Bogey’s face in that photo, Phil capture it perfectly! I never thought I would be baking macarons, but what can I say? I am hopelessly in love with them….

      Like

    • oh, my! Coming from YOU, this is a huge compliment – I hope my readers will stop by your site to meet a real Macaron Queen in person.. . well, maybe not in person, but almost 😉

      Like

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