While living in Colorado I enjoyed month after month of humidity-free days. My hair never looked to good. In fact, in the two years that I lived in Colorado I never once got a haircut. It was so well behaved I was able to wash and wear. Run out the door without being concerned about the craziness that would take over my head later in the day. The East coast hates me, or at least my hair. I step outside of my apartment building and the little frizzies start to creep in. Just this morning a gentle mist in the air destroyed my perfectly straightened hair. Just the right amount of curl at the end. Then BAM! Humidity, blast.
But one thing was not going to beat me. I would succeed at the French Macaron! These cookies are the talk of the culinary world. Adorable little cookies, filled with decadent frostings, ganaches and jams. Walk by a shop that sells them and you encounter a rainbow of cookies. Do a Google search and you’ll find so many different suggestions and recipes. There are cookbooks about macarons being published every month (I have three!). Yet with all this information, there is nothing to do but throw yourself in the deep end and give them a go.
My first attempt was less than successful. The macarons rose like cookies. They were feet-less monsters. Yet I still filled them with peanutbutter and ate every single one of them. Yes, the texture was off, but they still tasted delicious.
My second attempt, armed with a new cookbook, was much better. Weighing out the ingredients and following the directions perfectly I was rewarded with cute little chocolate cookies. Shiny tops with a high foot (or pied, as the French would call them), my macarons were beautiful. And since I’m a sucker for the chocolate peanut butter combo (and I was too lazy to whip up a ganache at ten o’clock at night) I sandwiched them with Jif. Fantastic. Even better after sitting in the fridge for a few days.
Give these cookies a try. All you need in patience, and a good recipe to use up all those leftover egg yolks. I recommend making pie (more to come!)
Adapted from Mad About Macarons!
I bought this cookbook while I was on vacation in Amsterdam, so my friends in the US might wind up paying a little extra for this book. Trust me, it is amazing! It is filled with fantastic flavor combinations, including sweet macs, hot macs and spicy macs. You won’t be disappointed! Just be sure to follow the steps precisely, these cookies are tempermental! I’ll be sure to photograph the process next time!
120 g egg whites (about four eggs)
86g granulated sugar
156 ground almonds
234g powdered sugar
9g cocoa powder
1. Whip egg whites until they are foamy, at least doubled in size. Gradually add sugar and whip until the egg whites are glossy and shiny.
2. In a food processor, whip together ground almonds, powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Pass thru a sieve to remove any large pieces of almond.
3. Add almond mixture to the egg whites and start mixing. No need to be kind to the egg whites, you have to stir and press out the air from the first step. This is a fantastic video of how to stir, enjoy, it’s in French.
4. Equip a piping bag with a 1 cm tip (something smaller than a half-inch). Prop it up in a tall glass and add macaron batter to the piping bag.
5. Line baking sheets with either parchment paper or a silpat. Preheat the oven to 320 °F (160 °C)
6. Pipe 2-inch circles on the baking sheets, leaving about ½-inch spaces between the cookies. They shouldn’t spread, so they can be pretty close to each other. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. This will help develop a shell on the outside and helps create the foot when baking.
7. Cook macarons from 10-12 minutes or until they don’t wobble on their feet when touched.
8. Remove from the oven and remove from the baking sheet (just pick up the parchment or silpat) and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Flip over half of the cookies and spread with peanut butter, top with a shell of roughly equal size. Store in the fridge, but don’t eat for at least a day. This will let the macarons meld together and get all delicious!
And if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying! You’ll get it!