Strawberry Macarons

strawberry macaron 3I cannot think of another cookie that is as beautiful and finicky as the macaron.  The saying goes “beauty is pain”, and this beauty is indeed a pain.  A pain in the butt to make.  Why?  It uses several kitchen tools (which translates to a lot of dishes), needs to dry for over 30 minutes, and after all the meticulous measuring, sifting and baking, you can still fail.

Strawberry Macarons 2Why bother making them then?  Because, when done right a macaron is indeed a beautiful and perfect thing.   The smooth shell that breaks into a moist, airy center might as well be heaven in a cookie.

strawberry macaron 1I must warn you; this is not a cookie that you bake on a whim.  You must premeditate your actions and read through the recipe a few times before taking the dive.  You must weigh out your ingredients,  sift your flour mix, age your egg whites, and I don’t recommend making this on a humid day.  Do I sound bossy?  I just don’t want you to waste your expensive almond flour because those bags aren’t a dime a dozen.  I love you, my readers and best of your luck on your quest!

strawberry macaron 4

Strawberry Macarons

Basic French Macarons
Adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
pink gel food color
optional: sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.  Add two drops of the pink gel food color and mix until batter turns a light shade of pink.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, you can pipe one of two ways:
    1. Pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds (as shown in above photo)
    2. Pipe 1 ¼ – 1 ½ in. triangles that resemble the shape of a strawberry (as shown in above photo)
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter have dried*, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  11. Optional: If using sesame seeds, sprinkle it on top about 5 minutes after the batter is piped. (as shown in above photo)
  12. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot, go for 275˚ if not then 325˚.
  13. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  14. Let cool and fill.

For the strawberry macarons, make the strawberry frosting and strawberry puree in my Neapolitan cupcakes post.

Assembly:

  1. On a cooled macaron shell, pipe a circle around the edge with the frosting, leaving the center empty.
  2. Once all of the halves have  a frosting border, chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes until set.
  3. Take out the macarons and fill the center with the strawberry puree. (as shown in above photo)
  4. Optional: you can pipe green frosting on the other half of the macaron shell to imitate leaves.
  5. Top it with another macaron shell.

Macarons taste best after aging.  To age macarons, put assembled macarons in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.  They should be perfect for consumption at this point.


*When you lightly touch the macaron shell, it should feel dry and not stick to your finger.

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