My traveling is nearly over and I will be so happy to be back to my normal routine. I know you’ve enjoyed discovering some of my friends and their amazing blogs and today is no different. In fact, it is truly remarkable and had me saying OMG when I first saw it. I can’t wait to have time to get in the kitchen again and make these beauties for myself!
Today’s guest post is from the lovely and talented Angela Roberts, the author of Spinach Tiger. Angela is a member of the Secret Recipe Club and always thrills us with the recipes she creates. I know Spinach Tiger will become one of the new most-visited blogs in your daily routine! And Thank You Angela for your kind words … I am humbled and grateful.
Enjoy Angela’s awe-inspiring macarons!!
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When I think of Jane, I always smile. She is one of the nicest food bloggers I’ve come across. She is approachable, and yet disciplined. Every single Monday without fail, she delivers the world’s most favorite food, chocolate. When she needed a few guest bloggers, I signed up right on the spot, because she’s the kind of person who deserves that sort of blogger sweetness. She deserved a chocolate dessert that was not just a delicious guilty pleasure, it needed to take a bit of effort. Thus, black and white macarons inspired by the Milano cookie.
A template made with a 1-1/2 inch biscuit cutter works great as a guide. Keep in mind, the macarons will spread.
French Macarons are the French dessert that can bring smiles because they are so beautiful and frowns when a baker attempts to make them and fails. They are the sweetest of the French desserts that are a very simple recipe that must be executed with a bit of precision. Macarons are fussy and they don’t always turn out perfectly. They just take a bit of knowledge and a little practice, much like any kind of baking.
This is the story of misconceptions, determination and pure kitchen joy. I thought I would never make a successful macaron, so I never jumped into the macaron craze. At the urging of a neighbor, I gave in and started researching, thinking I might have sweaty palms the whole day for fear of a flop.
These are my very first macarons I’ve ever made. I know that’s hard to believe. I’ll admit that some subsequent attempts have not come out so perfectly, but to get it right the first try has me totally hooked. These black and white French macarons are my absolutely favorite macaron to date. I was inspired by the Milano cookie, and the turnout was beyond my expectations.
I researched so many different recipes and read way too much information for my own good. I even studied five pages on macarons from Thomas Keller’s, Bouchon cookbook. I found this basic recipe with some amazing tips over at Brave Tart. I followed her basic recipe (sort of) for the shell and then used my own recipe for the ganache and a bit of my own creative bent to dip them in chocolate.
I don’t see a lot of chocolate dipped macarons, but I love the idea as the dark chocolate works well to counter the sweetness, as I find so many macarons way too sweet for my taste.
The proof of this success was when I gave a few to one of my very well-traveled foodie friend who has eaten macarons at the famous bakery in Paris, Maison Ladurée’s. I asked her for some honest feedback and she wrote me this.
The frayed edges of the macaron are called the feet. Success. You want those.
“Just had a macaroon. It was amazing! Seriously. Perfection. You could sell these! Seriously, if I may go I to detail, the chocolate that you used (made?) is incredible. And I love the amount of salt you used in the macaroon. The texture is right on. Very well done. I just had another one.”
I admit that this made my day, because that means the texture and balance came out right. In spite of having forgotten to add the sugar into the egg whites until they were nearly finished. Yes. I made a mistake and they still turned out all right.
After I made these, I read more about macarons, and adapted some of the instructions to try to help you make the very best macarons.
Let me encourage you to take the macaron challenge, play around, experiment with colors and flavors. It’s fun. You will most likely have some good ones, some bad ones, but with every macaron, you’ll learn something. And the best news of all, is even when they don’t turn out perfectly, they still taste good.
Please visit my beautiful food site, Spinach Tiger
Milano-Inspired French Macarons
From Angela Roberts of Spinach Tiger
Yield: 40 shells to make 20 macarons
French Macaron Shell s
115 grams blanched almond flour
230 grams powdered sugar, sifted
144 grams egg whites room temperature (important to weigh the egg whites; I used 6 small eggs)
72 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla paste (can use scrapings of one vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 ounces chopped dark chocolate (The darker the better; do not go under 60% cacao – I used Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet )
1/2 cup scalded milk
1 tablespoon butter
6 ounces chopped dark chocolate
PREPARE COOKIES: Mix together almond flour, confectioner’s sugar and salt. Whisk until well incorporated. Sift. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites for a total of 10 minutes. This is best done with a KitchenAid type mixer, but you can use an electric hand held mixer.
Add 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar to the egg whites and beat for 4 minutes on number 4 or medium-low speed. Begin to add more sugar gradually and beat for 3 more minutes on number 7 or medium-high speed. Continue to add in the sugar to completion and beat on number 8 for 3 more minutes. Beat for 1 more minute on highest speed, adding in the vanilla.
Add the egg white mixture to the dry ingredients using your largest spatula, folding the mixture together. Blend no more than 40 times. The egg whites will deflate a bit and that’s fine. The texture should be like a running lava, not a pancake batter.
Put into a piping bag with a plain 1/2 inch tip and pipe onto your circles, piping from the side. On my second batch I used a tip made for cake batter and that worked super well.
Give each baking tray a good bang on the table three times to get the air out. Rest for 60 minutes. By this time the macaron is flattened, which is a good thing, as this will help to prevent a hollow macaron.
Bake at 300°F for 16 to 18 minutes. Spin the pan around in the oven at 8 minutes. Check to see if they are done by lifting a macaron up with parchment and trying to pull away. The macaron should pull completely away when done. Remove from parchment paper and cool on baking tray.
MAKE GANACHE: Put chocolate in small bowl. Pour scalded milk over the chocolate and let sit for one minute. Stir from center in small circle until all the chocolate is melted. Add in butter, continue to stir until melted. Allow to cool before filling. If you have left over ganache, you can freeze it or refrigerate for another use.
MAKE DIPPING CHOCOLATE: Chop and melt chocolate in saucepan double boiler over simmering water. The best way to dip the macaron is to put the chocolate into a very small container.
ASSEMBLE: Once macarons are completely cool, fill each with ganache.
Dip halfway into melted chocolate. Place on parchment paper. Once chocolate hardens, refrigerate for a few hours to overnight before serving. Take out one. Macarons can also be frozen and thawed in three hours.
A few tips to help you make successful macarons:
- Weigh your ingredients. I needed six egg whites instead of 4 because they were small.
- Use white parchment paper. Never use aluminum foil.
- Make your own almond flour and blanch almonds first. It’s cheaper than purchasing almond flour. It’s tricky at first, but not difficult. It eliminates any skins. Do not use almond meal. Use almond flour, sifted.
- Sift everything three times. Once you incorporate the confectioner’s sugar with the almond flour, sift again. You might even consider running the confectioner’s sugar with the almond flour once through the food processor to get a good incorporation and silky texture.
- Make a template for the macarons. One template for all batches. Just put another piece of parchment over the template.
- Don’t get discouraged. Remember that even the failures taste good.
To learn more about Angela, follow her food adventures and discover her delicious recipes, make sure you visit Spinach Tiger. And to follow her on social media, click on these links:
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