French – NYC

Posted on November 17, 2010

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A good 82% of my baking adventures are spawned from my ❤ for my Mr. B – things he likes to eat, things I think he WILL like to eat, etc. It’s nice to have someone to bake for, and since Haley is so very, very far away he’s a good substitute. 😉 SO after a stop last week at the newly opened Bisous Ciao on the LES, Mr. B challenged me to bake a macaron. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, hello “french” bakersbicoastal. Further, Mr. B is a huge fan of marzipan. Put both together? Why, I’d be happy to.

My dearest Haley – thank you for the lovely words of my heroism for making the feared and infamous french macaron. I, however, am no hero, contrary to any thoughts otherwise. By following the bilaws of making french macarons (after much reading/making them myself) are the key to become a hero in your own kitchen, NYC, SanFran, or otherwise. Follow them, and you will wow yourself. Bilaws are as follows:

Have the right equiptment. I was working with a stand mixer (an amazing red Kitchenaid) and I don’t think I’d get the fluff in my white, or the puff in my cookie without it.

Meticulously measuring. As  you probably know, Haley and I are not the greatest at this contrary to that pesky basis of baking itself which involvs precise chemistry and measuring by weight. We throw caution to the wind, my friends. HOWEVER – in this instance, if you fight the laziness, spontaneity, and let that recipe “put baby in a corner” then you might find yourself with a REAL and damn good french macaron.

3-5 day old egg whites. Yep. Weird, right? Not the type of step you’d expect. “Use old ingredients”….right. Wait, really? Yes. Really. Separate your whites from yolks. Let ’em sit in the fridge for 3 -5 days (I waited 4).  I don’t know why it works but with the results that I got it definitely does. Don’t question it. Just do it. It’ll work, I swear.

Follow these three simple “Bilaws O’ French Macarons” and you might find yourself like me, jumping up and down like a 12 year old and running around your apartment on a Sunday afternoon during the Jets game, texting everyone you know with pictures as you slide the cookie portion out of the oven because MY GOD IT LOOKS LIKE A REAL FREAKING MACARON!!!

 

Whew. Ok. Here’s the recipe: (Thank you http://www.wasabimon.com/!!)

Marzipan Macaron Recipe

For the shells:

  • 90 grams egg whites
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 110 grams almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)

For the buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 sticks (180gr) (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup grated marzipan

Prepare the macarons:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
  2. Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes.
  3. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (OR IF YOU”RE LIKE ME and you dont have one a good ol’ plastic bag with a whole cut in the corner will do) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes their shells a bit.
  5. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280F. When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.

Prepare the buttercream:

  1. Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream.
  2. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes.
  3. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in grated marzipan and whip the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.

Assemble the macarons:

  1. Lay half of the macaron cookies face-up on a cookie sheet covered with parchment.
  2. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (or again, plastic bag) with buttercream, and pipe a small amount onto each face-up cookie. About a teaspoon should do. Do one test cookie to make sure you like the amount of frosting – there should be about 1/4-inch of frosting when you sandwich on the macaron’s top cookie.
  3. Continue until all cookies have a layer of buttercream, then top each with a second cookie to make a sandwich.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, but they’ll taste best within the first three days.

Result? LOOK AT ‘EM!! The ONLY complaint is that the buttercream is a bit buttery. Like, sugarbutter. Next time I’d go with a different filling. The possibilities are endless. And TRUST me that these will show up again. They’ll be like Haley’s madeline’s – a staple. Hales – think I can woo you back to NYC with some french macarons? 😉

(And Kelsey? Thank you for the shoutout. I’ll take compliments from the CRM baker anyday 😉 x)

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