Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Macaron Making

There are so many blogs and sites that teach the basics of macaron making.  I showed you a few of my favorite sites here.

A few things I learned, trial and error is the only way to figure out how to make these.  I was lucky the first time I made macarons they came out just right.  But I have had many fails!  Cracked macarons, no feet, under cooking, over cooking, and I have had to throw away a few a LOT of cookies.  Shame!

Macaron making, my favorite tools include:
Artisan Kitchen Aid stand mixer, unless you have biceps of steel and a lot of time, invest in this!  I LOOOOVE it!  It makes whipping up egg whites a breeze.  Best thing I ever bought for my kitchen! 

The Magic Bullet, I make my own almond flour because it is inexpensive and almond flour is hard to find in my area.  You can find it at Whole Foods or Sprouts, both too far of a drive for me.  I buy slivered blanched almonds from Trader Joes and grind them into flour.  I have used my mini Kitchen Aid food processor to do this before, but the magic bullet works better. 

Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Cookie Sheet, I was gifted one for Christmas and this has been the best cookie sheet I have ever used, I liked it so much I bought myself another set.  Cookies cook evenly and do not stick to the sheet, well except macarons. 

Silpat, with macarons the cookies will to stick to the cookie sheet, so I use the silpat.  It makes peeling the macaron off a lot easier and I don’t have pieces of wax paper sticking to it.  I read on a blog that advised against using a silpat because the feet do not form, but it has been working great for me.

Macaron template, I need to use a template when piping.  I cannot draw a straight line to save my life, much less pipe, and it helps me keep all the cookies the same size.  Here are the templates I made and use. Click to get the original size. 
1” macaron template. 
1.5” macaron heart template

The attached version is for 11x17 inch paper.  This goes under the silpat perfectly.  Don’t forget to pull the template out.  I made the mistake of leaving a template under the silpat once.  The cookies did not bake well at all and I had to throw them out.  

Piping rounds is pretty simple; I start at the center and count to five or wait until the cookie hits the edge of my template. 

For the heart macarons, I pipe the outline of the heart and fill in.  I had luck the first time making heart shaped macarons here.  When I tried again this past week,  for my friend's wedding shower, it just did not look right, I think it may have been because I over folded but the feet were really big and the hearts did not look good.  I tried twice before I finally gave up and decided to just make them round.

This led to the "perfect batch" no cracks, smooth shells, cooked perfectly, and best of all they were accidentally coral.  (I just squired some red color gel in to the batch) This was great because this was part of her shower color scheme.  Third time is a charm!

I also made a swiss meringue buttercream for the first time and I'm going to use it all the time now.  Here is the recipe.

I watched this video before I attempted and it was very helpful!

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