Tuesday, January 14, 2014

French Macarons with Strawberry Buttercream

One think I've always wanted to learn is how to make french macarons.  After spending way too much time "Google-ing" tips and tricks on how to make the perfect macaron, I finally found a recipe that looked promising.
Now it may look like there are a lot of instructions, but making french macarons is actually easier than you think.  With my first batch, I neglected to age my egg whites, didn't sift my almond flour and then tried to fold in gel food colouring that had dried up.  However, even with all that, my macaroons still turned out amazingly (the picture below is of the first batch of macarons I ever made)!  Not perfect of course, but all things considered, I was super happy with them.  Since then, I have been using a bit of trial and error to perfect my basic recipe and came up with the recipe bellow.
For the filling, I chose to pipe strawberry buttercream between the cookies.  (You may remember, me using this same recipe to top my pink lemonade cupcakes!)  But of course, if strawberries aren't your thing, the options for filling macarons are endless!

How to make french macaroons with a strawberry buttercream filling.  A tested recipe by Pretty Little Details.

The Perfect French Macaron

Adapted from: Food Nouveau

3 egg whites (33g each)
30 g regular granulated sugar
210 g powdered sugar
125 g almond meal
Gel food colouring

1. Separate egg whites from yolks (make sure to save the yolks to make ice cream with later!) and place in refrigerator overnight to age.
2. The next day, take eggs out of refrigerator and leave on counter for about half an hour in order to bring eggs up to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, measure almond flour and powdered sugar and place in food processor (this is the one I use).  Pulse food processor for 30 seconds - 1 minute to mix together and break up larger pieces.
4. Sift almond/sugar mixture into a bowl and set aside.
5. Beat egg whites with mixer until foamy (I use the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer for this).  Add in granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
6. Slowly begin folding almond mixture into egg whites little bit at a time. Once all of the almond mix has been folded in, proceed to add in food colouring.  
7. Pour macaron batter into a disposable piping bag and cut the tip off the bag to create a 1/2 inch opening.
8. Pipe macaroons into circles (about 1.35" each) on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  To make all of your macarons the same size, it's a good idea to print a template to slide under the parchment paper while piping.
9. Lightly bang pan with piped macaron shells against the counter a few times to remover air bubbles.  Let macaron shells rest for 20 minutes.
10. After 20 minutes, the shells should be dry to the touch and are ready for baking.
11. Bake macaron shells for 16 minutes in an oven preheated to 290 degrees.
12. Let macarons cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
13. Once finished cooling, pipe frosting on half of the macaron shells and gently press together.

Strawberry Buttercream

1/4 cup softened butter
1+ cup(s) powdered sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup freeze dried strawberries

1. Chop strawberries in magic bullet, blender or food processor until they are a fine powder.
2. Mix butter, powdered sugar and cream together, adding more sugar until the icing reaches the desired sweetness & consistency.
3. Fold in strawberry powder

And there you have it!  Your very own home-made french macarons.  If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer all of them! Happy Baking!

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