The French connection

Yes, macaroons are the top of ‘Frenchness’, and I have tried to reach that top. I did not reach it just yet, but at least I (we actually) survived to tell:

Recipe for about 40 macaroons:

  • 40gx2 egg whites
  • 100gr almond powder
  • 100gr sugar
  • 100gr confectioner sugar
  • vanilla and /or food paint

These measures are from a French macaron cookbook.

Make a very fine almond and confectioner sugar mixture by grinding them together and straining them trough a fine strainer, the finer this mixture is, the finer the macarons will come out. Mix in 40g egg white and color (if desired, and if you do desire, you need to put a whole lot of it to get nice color after backing).

Beat the remaining 40gr egg white until stiff, while making the sugar syrup. the sugar syrup is made of 38ml water and 100gr sugar, boiled to reach 110-120C…depends who you ask. Some even do it with fine sugar and not syrup. We are still working on the recommended temp for us. when the sugar reaches the right temp pour it to the stiff egg white while whisking them (in a mixer…) in a small stream. Whisk for 10min. Mix the ready stiff egg whites into the almonds, one third of the egg whites at a time. You should get a homogeneous sticky mixture, not too stiff and not too runny (yes, kinda vague, I know).

Fit a piping bag with a 1 cm round tip (or without…). Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets or silicon sheets, (in the previously drawn circles, if you want them orderly like soldiers). Tap the underside of the baking sheet to remove air bubbles . Leave in room temp for 30-60min or longer until they get a fine crust (if you touch it gently it won’t stick to your hands). Bake in 150C for 12-14min. Let them cool and then take them out of the backing sheet. If you took the macarons out when they look perfectly caked, take them off the pan so that they won’t continue backing on the bottom. If they might be a tad undercooked, I guess you can leave them to cool on the pan.

My favorite filling is the butter based filling. I recommend using the butter based recipe and adding some jam, according to desired color or taste. I think it tastes better than white chocolate ganache with strawberries, for example (I hate white ‘chocolate’). I used for the second batch of macaroons rhubarb jam together with the whipped butter, sugar and ground almonds (2tbs, 100gr, 50gr, 100gr accordingly).

The first macaron try was not successful: the almond powder was probably too thick, and the temperature in the oven we used is not accurate. Also, we brought the sugar syrup to 105C which is not enough.

The second try was much better: we used a really fine stainer to strain the almonds and confectioner sugar & we had a good oven(s). But this time the syrup was too hot and made the batter stiffer than desired (we went to 118C, which is too hot). They came out beautiful, but too stiff/ dry.

Future plans: To make perfect macaroons. I will use a thin strainer, and sugar syrup at 115C, only in my mothers kitchen where there is a good oven!  Can’t wait..

After waiting quite a while in the fridge, the stiff macaroons actually got very good (not perfect) because of the moist they got from the butter and surrounding. Usually macaroons don’t last too long, but I guess there was some benefit in making ones that are a too stiff… So, I learned something today: stiff macaroons get better with time. Really good macaroons will probably go bad (we made them over 2 weeks ago, and the last one was eaten today!! this is a true story!).

Reporting from: a house with dogs.

Thanks to Oren for being the macaroon-knowledgeable one and Matan for the pictures.

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