Today my original plan was to share a series of macarons with different styles of decoration. But, I am so over the moon with these, they elbowed every macaron in the waiting line and here they are. Alone in all their golden glory.
OVER THE MOON BLUEBERRY-LEMON MACARONS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
For the shells:
200g powdered sugar
115 g almond flour
115 g egg whites at room temperature (approx. 4 eggs)
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar (optional)
100 g granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla paste or extract
blue and black food gel color (I used Sugarflair and Americolor)
Egyptian gold luster powder
60 g unsalted butter softened
160 g powdered sugar
1 tablespoon blueberry jam
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp lemon oil
pinch of salt
heavy cream if needed to adjust consistency
Line 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment/baking paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered sugar and ground almonds/almond meal in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 12 pulses. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl or to a sheet of parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the egg whites and 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. Add all the sugar at once and keep whisking until the meringue is soft and shiny. Add vanilla and food colors.
Whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Check the peak. It should be firm. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.
Fold in the ground almond/almond meal mixture in two 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. Put the mixture in a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip (round, ¼ or ½ inch in diameter or 6 – 12 mm). Pipe shells, I like to count numbers in my head and use the same count for each shell so they end up similar in size. If making snowmen, make a template with two circles joined together to form head and body, and pipe each section.
Slam each sheet hard four to six times on the counter/worktop. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. In a dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes. When they form a skin, use a very small fondant baller tool to draw a moon.
While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 300 F. Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide or move (independently of the ‘feet’ when you gently twist the top), then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. Check one or two. If they move when gently touched, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes until they don’t move when touched. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. The macarons should release without sticking. Mix the golden luster dust with everclear and paint the dimpled region. Flick some of the suspension to get a few golden dots on the smooth part of the shells.
For the filling, use a hand-held electric mixer and whisk the butter until creamy. Add the other ingredients except the heavy cream, and whisk until creamy and smooth. If needed, add a bit of heavy cream to loosen the mixture.
Assemble the macarons: find two macarons similar in size and add a good amount of filling 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. Store in the fridge for 24 hours for perfect texture.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: I recently saw macarons on Instagram with this dimpled effect but absolutely no mention of the technique used. I realized it was similar to what I’ve done with sugar cookies before, so I played with it a bit. At first I thought that I should bake the shells and make the dimples while they were warm. Don’t even try it, it just cracks in a pathetic way. Could be a nice effect too, depending on how you manage to create cracks, but definitely not what I was hoping for. So what you do is allow the skin to form, and right before you bake the shells, very delicately press the surface with the smallest fondant baller tool you can find (mine is the smallest from this set). You can also use the handle of a small painting brush. Bake as you would normally do, then paint the dimpled region with gold luster powder. I used Egyptian gold which is the brightest kind.
Fling some extra gold with a brush over the surface, and that’s about it. The recipe was my default, but I changed one important step: instead of adding the granulated sugar in stages, I dumped the whole amount after the egg whites were starting to leave traces as the whisk moved through them, maybe 1 to 2 minutes after starting the Kitchen Aid. The meringue will take slightly longer to firm, but what that does is give a better chance for the sugar to fully dissolve. You would not do that if making an Angel Food Cake that requires a very light and airy meringue, but for macarons it works like a charm. You can read the rationale behind it in this article. Interestingly, this method is the one favored by JC Gregg, The Macaron King, former contestant of the Great American Baking Show, season 3. I really like how much simpler it is, and how it improves the shells. Particularly the base, there are no crystals making the surface rough, or the shell threatening to glue to the silpat. Smooth like a mirror, as you can see in my composite photo above. I am sold.
It still amazes me that you can totally mess up the surface of a macaron and have it bake as if nothing happened. The possibilities of decoration are mind-blowing, so if you are into baking macarons, consider trying this method. Way too cool for words, don’t you agree?
Some shells baked without the dimpled effect were decorated with a stencil. Silver stars to go along with the golden moon…
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