French Macarons

In chocolate, cookie, nuts on May 22, 2010 at 10:04

Week 14 | 5.17.2010

Macarons, macarons.

These darling little bugger cookies have a bunch of despicable characteristics. They are temperamental and inconsistent. Yet in spite of their drama, French macarons, with their nutty shells and creamy, yielding fillings are small mouthfuls of casual sophistication. Plus I’ve discovered after many a batch that they taste a lot better after all the trouble I spend fussing over them.

I turned to Facebook to learn more about this finicky cookie. Here’s the dialogue between a friend (who’s attending culinary school in NY) and myself in response to this query I posted.

Me: macarons…what is your secret?

Friend: Egg whites and sugar.

Me: feet? smooth tops? thin crispy shell…yielding interior?

Friend: Aeration is going to affect you feet and interior. Consistency of the dough and piping will affect the tops. And as for a thin crispy shell.. I’m thinking the appropriate balance of time and temperature.

Me: Walk me thru this step-by-step? … the latest batch i made had good feet but a thicker shell / hollow interior / not as chewy (more of a dissolving consistency). Fewer tops cracked but weren’t as shiny as a previous batch that I overmixed. what the max time you should leave them out to dry to avoid too thick of a shell? Also my oven is super inconsistent. bum.

Friend: I’d say around 30 minutes drying time. You could also try moistening the tops with a damp towel, hitting the tops with a little more sugar and then baking them without drying. Are you using almond paste or almond flour in your recipe?

Me: almond flour. how does almond paste affect texture / baking / taste? would you cover the baking sheet w. a damp towel & for how long?

Friend: Almond paste will give you more of a chewy/soft interior and perhaps a more intense almond flavor. Baking time and temp will be pretty similar. Don’t cover your macarons with a damp towel just lightly touch the tops to moisten them before baking.

Egg whites whipped to stiff peaks. Macaronage (almond powder, powdered sugar, cocoa) folded in to the “correct” consistency. What is “correct”? A very good question.

Shells baked and cooled.

A smooth ganache or caramel buttercream filling and into the fridge for a full 24-48 hours to mature. The moisture in the filling will soften crisped shells.

Bon Appetit.

  1. […] a month ago I dished out the latest American trend in French treats. Macarons. (Find a fun pronunciation guide […]

  2. […] for creaminess. Simple but oh man, so tasty. Not to subject you too soon to yet another round of macarons (my discovery batch of curd ultimately wound up here), it’s back to tarts. Stay tuned. […]

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