Saturday, April 10, 2010

War is over!!!

No... not that war... I'm sorry (hang head down in shame)... It's just the war between macarons and I.

Today, after the seventh attempt to tackle those sons of b****** cutie pies, I declare peace. A success with shine, dome and feet reigns upon us. The sun even came out to celebrate our victory. I can almost hear the music...

This has been a long and somewhat disastrous voyage, haunting me since last year.  The first time I tried to make macarons, they ended up shine-less, dry and feet-less... *sigh* it was a sad day... Then there were the ones that somehow became amaretti cookies... Then last week, they were just down right hollow, extremely shiny with feet, as if just to piss me off.

Thank goodness I'm so f**king stubborn. I wasn't giving up until I get it right.

So this is it, no more swearing and pulling out my hair at 2am talking to baked egg whites.  No more over-dosing on epic failed cookies with increasing anger after every bite. No more mumbling bad words at people who walk by with tubes of macarons from the cute pastry shops on the Plateau. No more! Yes, I mean it, I might never make macarons again now that it's done. LOL!!!!!

I read a lot on macarons, more than I'd like to remember, and  most people "fold" with delicacy. A few however, beat the crap out of the meringue when mixing in the almond meal. (I would have had to use that if the lucky seventh  failed) Fortunately, this war ended with no violence.

So after reading many awesome bakers and dessert chefs out there (David Lebovitz, Tartelette, A La Cuisine!, etc) this is how it all went down:

Macarons shells 
(makes about 60 shells, so 30 macarons)
  • 1 cup almond meal (I ground my own natural almonds, then put it in the oven on a baking sheet with really low temperature to dry it out)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 100-110 g egg white, left out on the counter loosely covered for at least 24 hrs (about 3-4 egg whites, I actually used the stuff from the box because of so many fails, I didn't want to have all the yolks left over)
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • powder color
Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar together, making sure there are no lumps.

Beat (in a stand mixer or hand-held, with a whisk attachment) the aged egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the 1/4 of sugar. When soft peaks form, add desired color and continue beating until peaks are firm. 

Add the almond meal mix into the meringue, in 3 batches. Fold the mixture delicately to not break the meringue and do a total of not more than 50 times.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a piping bag with a plain tip of 1-2cm or so and pipe equal circles of your desired size (1.5-2 inches is usually the case) Let them sit for 30-60 minutes, until they have formed a skin on top, then bake in a 300F oven for 8-12 minutes depending on the size of the shells.

Cool completely before filling

Quick peanut butter, Nutella & banana liqueur filling
Mix peanut butter and Nutella together and add the liqueur. Fill the macaron shells.

Enjoy!!!!! Because nothing tastes better than victory!