Macarons – Part 5 – Eureka!

Yet another trial in my quest for a perfect macaron. If you have been following, this is trial number 5.

Building on my progress in part 4 I decided to try the Italian meringue again. This time I would use a mixing bowl and my hand blender rather than my mixer. The bowl on my mixer was too big for one batch of macarons and left at least 1/4 of the syrup on the side of the bowl.

I am using the book “i ♥ macarons” by Hisako Ogita.

Macarons Part 5

For this recipe I used:
30 ml of Water
65 Grams of Sugar
85 Grams of Almond Meal
150 Grams of Icing Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites – at room temperature
5 ml of Vanilla

Macarons Part 5 – The Ingredients

Following the recipe I use my food processor to grind the almond meal and icing sugar together and then double sifted the mixture.

Macarons Part 5 – Double Sifted Almond Mixture

In a medium bowl, using my hand mixer, I started whipping the egg whites until slightly frothy.

Macarons Part 5 – Slightly Whipped Egg Whites

Over on the stove, in a small pot, I combined the water and sugar and heated the mixture.

Macarons Part 5 – Water & Sugar

I boiled the syrup until it reached 235˚ F.

Macarons Part 5 – Bringing the Syrup to Temp

Once the sugar was at temperature I slowly drizzled the syrup into the egg whites while beating them on high.

Macarons Part 5 – Finishing the Egg Whites

After about 10 minutes of beating the meringue was cool enough to add the vanilla.

Macarons Part 5 – Adding the Vanilla

When the vanilla was mixed in I switched to a large spatula and folded in 1/2 of the almond mixture.

Macarons Part 5 – The first 1/2 of the Almond Mixture

Then I added the second half of the almonds and gently folded them in.

Macarons Part 5 – The second 1/2 of the Almond Mixture

Then it was time for macaronage – the final 10 folds.

Macarons Part 5 – Macaronage

And it was off to the pastry bag.

Macarons Part 5 – Filled Pastry Bag
Macarons Part 5 – Ready to Pipe

I piped a round of macaron batter in each of the marked circles, then gave the pan a hard rap on the counter to disperse any air bubbles.

While the oven heated to 400˚F,  I let the macarons rest on the counter to form a slight skin. Then it was off to the oven for 11 minutes.

This time everything came together.  No excessive spreading and perfect feet!

Macarons Part 5 – Perfect Pied

I filled this batch with Meyer Lemon Curd. For a more traditional macaron use a filling like Swiss Buttercream.

Macarons Part 5 – Eureka!!

Macarons – Part 4 – i ♥ macarons

Still working towards an elusive perfect macaron I decided to put my 3 previous unsuccessful experiences (found here, here, and here) behind me an start again.

By the time I got to this point I had watched the Great British Bake Off Season 1 and had seen success with the Italian meringue method of macarons.

Using my book “i ♥ macarons” by Hsiako Ogita, I used the section on the Italian meringue method.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons

For this recipe I used:
30 ml of Water
65 Grams of Sugar
85 Grams of Almond Meal
150 Grams of Icing Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites – at room temperature
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

I gathered all of the ingredients together.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – The Ingredients

I used the marked parchment paper I used on the last batch of macarons for the new batch.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Marking the Parchment

I once again ground the almond meal and the icing sugar together in my food processor

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Processing the Almonds and Icing Sugar

Next I double sifted the almond mixture twice to ensure the finest possible flour consistency.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Double Sifted Almond Mixture

Next I placed the water and sugar in a saucepan with a candy thermometer and heated it until 235˚F – hardball stage.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Bringing the Syrup to Temperature
Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Just about there

While the syrup came to temperature on the stove, I placed the egg whites in the bowl of my mixer and whipped them for a minute or so until foamy. As soon as the syrup was at 235˚F I turned the mixer on medium high and added the syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites. I continued to beat on medium high until thick glossy peaks had formed.

Sadly my attention was on the mixing of the hot sugar and not on documenting the next bit.

As in my Macaron’s Part 3 post I added 1/2 of the almond mixture, then the vanilla, then the second 1/2 of the almond mixture. Folding after each addition.

Then it was time for the 10 folds with a big spatula called Macaronage.

I then transferred the macaron mixture to a pastry bag and piped the batter onto the circles on the lined baking sheets. I then gave the baking sheets a firm rap on the counter to release any air bubbles. I let the pans set for 15 minutes while the oven heated to 400˚F.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Piped Macaron Batter

This version of macarons produced a batter that stood up! A great  start. Then I noticed that there was a lot of hard ball sugar syrup residue in the bottom of the mixer bowl.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Syrup Residue in the Mixer Bowl

I baked the macarons for 11 minutes until they were showing a little bit of colour. As you can see the macarons held their shape, mostly. You can also see that the macarons cracked. The best part was… they had a foot. This was the best version of macarons so far.

Macarons Part 4 – i ♥ macarons – Baked

I was close but I needed to master this cookie!

Baker’s notes:

  • I used a mixing bowl that was much too big for this recipe causing a bunch of the sugar syrup not to be incorporated in to the macaron batter

Macarons – Part 3 – i ♥ macarons

So now I have tried the MS recipe twice (here and here), and the recipe did not turn out. I am thinking it might be my proximity to water, but I am not sure.

 

In my travels in the past year I picked up a small book called “i ♥ macarons” by Hisako Ogita. This book has really detailed descriptions on how to make macarons and fillings.

Hisako describes 2 methods for making macarons: The meringue method and the second is the Italian meringue method.

The two recipes have a lot more steps that one I had tried before. I set out this time to try the meringue method.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons

For this recipe I used:
85 Grams of Ground Almonds
150 Grams of Icing Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites
65 Grams of Sugar
5 ml of Vanilla

I started by marking circles on a sheet of parchment paper using a 2″ cookie cutter and a marking pen. Be sure to turn the parchment over!

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Drawing Circles

In the small bowl of my food processor I further ground the almonds and the icing sugar together.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Further Processing the Almonds and Icing Sugar

After processing I sifted the almond mixture twice. Ensuring the resulting flour was as fine as possible.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Double Sifting the Amonds

In the bowl of my mixer I beat the egg whites while slowly adding the sugar.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Egg Whites and Sugar

I continued beating until stiff peaks had formed.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Stiff Peaks

I scraped the edges of the egg whites with a large spatula and mixed in the vanilla at the same time. Next I added 1/2 of the almond mixture and gently folded it in.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Adding the Almonds
Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – First Almond addition just mixed

I then added the rest of the almond mixture and folded again. And here is where I learned a new term: macaronage. This is where you fold the batter 10 times after the almonds have been incorporated. No more than 10 though!!

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Final Almond addition and Macaronage

Once fully combined I added the macaron batter to a pastry bag.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Getting the Pastry Bag Ready

This mixture was a little runny and a little easier to control while piping. I gave each pan a couple of solid raps on the counter to release any air bubbles. Then I let the macarons rest for 15 minutes while the oven heated to 375˚ F.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Pans Resting for 15 Minutes

I baked the macarons for 11 minutes and they were pretty dark. The recipe stated 15 to 18 minutes. The recipe time was probably right for macarons where the batter was thicker.

Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – Just out of the Oven

This recipe for macarons did not work for me either! The results were none the less tasty!

Time to try something new.

Baker’s Notes:

  • as mentioned in a previous post, it is really difficult to over beat sugar and egg whites – this was undoubtedly a factor in my experience
  • I still think being close to water plays a role in the making of macarons
Macarons Part 3 – i ♥ macarons – The Book

Macarons – Part 2

Just after I moved to the new place last year, I committed myself to successfully making a macaron. Since then I made one attempt. I failed – tasted OK but still failed. It wasn’t until this year that I got the time to try again.So, again, I try the Martha Stewart Recipe for Macaron’s from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. I must have done something wrong last time to it was worth trying again. I usually have great success with Martha’s recipes!

Macarons Part 2

For this recipe I used:

1 1/4 Cups of Sifted Icing Sugar
4 Ounces of Ground Almonds
3 Large Egg Whites – Room Temperature
1 Pinch of Salt
1/2 Cup of Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla

I started by gathering all of the ingredients together. I lined 2 baking sheets with parchment and marked 12 circles on each sheet with icing sugar and a 2″ cookie cutter.

Macarons Part 2 -Marked Baking Sheets

In a large bowl I whisked together the ground almonds and sifted icing sugar.

Macarons Part 2 – Almonds & Icing Sugar

Next in my mixer, I added the egg whites and started whipping them I added the salt, then  I slowly added the sugar and continued to whip until the mixture had what I thought were medium stiff peaks.

Macarons Part 2- Whipping the Eggs Whites and Sugar

After the egg whites had been whipped, I added the 1/2 of  the almond mixture and folded it in.

Macarons Part 2 -The first Almond Addition

After the almond flour had been just mixed in I added the vanilla.

Macarons Part 2 -Adding the Vanilla

Then it was time to add the rest of the almond mixture and fold it in. Once folded in I firmly tapped the bowl on the counter to release any air.

Macarons Part 2 -Final Almond Addition

At this point I noticed the mixture was much too liquid. There was nothing else to do but continue!

Macarons Part 2 -Ready for the Pastry Bag?

I loaded up the pastry bag. The clip at the end held the liquid mixture back.

Macarons Part 2 -Ready to be Piped

As carefully as I could, I piped the mixture on the sheets.

Macarons Part 2 -Trying to keep in the Lines

I baked the macaron’s in a 300˚ F oven for 20 minutes, turning the pans in the oven to ensure an even bake.

As you can see these macaron’s did not turn out, but I did get the “Pied” or foot! This in itself was a success.

Macarons Part 2 -Baked with Feet!

I was the proud recipient of cracks too! Time to try another recipe.

Macarons Part 2 -Wrong but Tasty!

Baker’s Notes:

  • with this recipe I think the egg whites should have been beaten into very stiff peaks
  • I have since found out that it is very hard to over beat egg whites and sugar
  • it’s possible that humidity is a big factor in making macaron’s – I have no proof, but I do live within 200 meters of the water

Macarons Part 1 – Martha Stewart

A little while back I mentioned that I was going to try my hand at Macaron’s, a known finicky confection to make. I love them but hate to shell out $2.50 for one at the pastry shop. Frozen ones just don’t do it for me either.So I set out to try my hand at them. How hard could it be? I normally have great success at almost everything I try to bake.

I chose three recipes and the first one is from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook page 137.

My success wasn’t the best but here goes:

For this recipe I used:

1 1/4 Cups Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Almond Flour
3 Large Egg Whites
Pinch of Salt
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Macaron – The Book

More after the jump…..
I did not end up filling the macarons so I have not listed a filling.

I started by lining 2 baking sheets with silicon liners and marking out circles (to late be filled) with flour and a cookie cutter.

Macaron  – The marked pans

I then mixed the almond flour and icing sugar together in a small bowl.  Next I heated the oven to 350˚.

Macaron – Icing Sugar and Almonds

Using the whisk attachment on my mixer I beat the egg whites slowly and added the salt. I then added the sugar a little at a time until the reached the soft peak stage.

Macaron  – Whisking the Egg Whites

I sprinkled some of the almond mixture over the egg whites and carefully folded it in. I repeated with the rest of the almond mixture and the vanilla.

Macaron  – Adding the Almond Mixture and Vanilla

I loaded a pastry bag and filled the circles on the baking pans and baked them for 20 minutes rotating once.

Macaron  – In the Oven

Well…. these did not work out for me. Only a few had the “Pied” and fewer yet had a full “Pied”.

Macaron  – Finished and Cooled

A couple of things occurred….
– I was working with an oven I was unfamiliar with. My new oven is a full size conventional floor oven while my previous one was a 24″ convection wall oven.  It’s going to take me a bit to get used to this one one.
–  I used 2 pans in the oven rather than 1. As it is a conventional oven 1 pan is probably best.
–  I did not have a big enough pastry bag tip. I had to struggle a bit to get the mixture in the circles
–  I baked the macaron’s too long and did not remove them from the baking sheet to cool.

A bunch of problems…..

Well time to try again!

The spoils were tasty……

Macaron  – The Ingredients
Macaron  – Just the Egg Whites
Macaron  – Cooling

Bakers Notes:

  • Since making this recipe for the first time I have learned it is virtually impossible to over whip egg whites with sugar in them

On Moving and Macarons

If any of you have moved in the past while you will know what a wrench a move can throw into your life. My recent move was no exception.Despite having moved into the new place on May 24 just yesterday we unpacked that last few boxes. Whew.

Getting to know a new kitchen is a challenge as well. Of course nothing is where you need it for a few weeks and after many re-organizations to make it just right you can finally get your kitchen groove in. I may be finally settled into the kitchen by September!

View from the new Balcony

And so now that the kitchen is underway it is time to tackle a new challenge. Macarons.

I have never made Macarons before. I have been lucky enough to have some in Paris. They were so so at best. The best Macaron I have had was at Le Panier in Seattle. Having said this I have only had less than a dozen Macarons in my life.

My biggest challenge has been to find ingredients at a decent price. My food processor will not grind the almonds small enough and here in Canada almond flour is almost as much as gold. While in the US a few weeks ago I was able to source some Bob’s Red Mill Almond flour at a decent price.

So…. Now to actually make the Macarons!

Using 3 recipes in 2 books I intend to find the best recipe for my location. I am using the recipes in I love Macarons and Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. 3 Different methods and varied ingredients.

Macaron Inspiration

What’s your idea of a perfect Macaron?…Let me know!!

I can’t wait to see what works! More to follow……

The biggest “Macaron” I have ever had in Paris.

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