My last failed attempt at making macarons has been a while ago and was for the Daring Bakers in october. So when Jamie and Deeba started their MacAttack I could not stay behind! My goal, obviously, to finally produce a decent batch of macarons. One that I would be able to serve to other people then Tom without them bursting in laughing asking me what I was thinking… 🙂 And today, ladies and gentlemen, it seems that I finally had a 100% perfect batch! As usual I started with aging the eggwhites which I put out yesterday, then whipped them into a meringue today per the usual instructions (see below) and I did make a mistake there as I actually put the lavender sugar into the eggwhites together with the rest of the sugar, making it maybe a tad too sweet, but ok, minor detail… 🙂
Then the crucial part came and the part where I think have gone wrong in the past and that is in achieving the correct texture for the macronage (I think it is called that way…!) I do tend to overbeat the mixture resulting in the dough being too soft. Proof of that is actually the fact that whenever I used to make round on the baking sheet they would always spread quite a lot and sometimes merging into one another. This time however I decided to count. It is stated everywhere that you should not fold the mixture more then 50 times. So I carefully folded and folded and counted and counted, coming to a total of 41 turns where I thought the mixture was still a bit too thick. So I stopped. That might sound weird but the last time I thought the mixture was too thick, folded it a couple of times more and the damage was already done!
So not this time! All the powdery stuff was mixed into the meringue and the mixture was quite thick but flowing. And I am happy I stopped there or I am sure I would have over beaten it again. It now actually had the perfect consistency and even when making the little rounds on the trays I felt that it already worked so much better then the previous times. The rounds flattened a little bit but not outside of proportions as they normally do and there were no peaks left on top. I even made a few that were too small as I was so used to them flattening out so much more then they did!
I almost could not resist standing in front of the oven the entire time watching if they would develop feet, but I resisted the urge and went upstairs to work a bit more only to come back to perfect little feet! I checked if they were baked enough after 25 minutes but they weren’t (I always very carefully try to lift one from the tray and if they lose the bottom when I do that I have to keep them in a little longer so I can get them of the baking sheets) so I left them in for another 5 to 10 minutes.
By then they were perfect to get of the trays too and not one of them broke! I had a reasonably successful batch a few months ago but even then most of the macarons broke when I wanted to take them off, so having none break was a first! I almost wanted them to break so I could pop one in my mouth to taste… Luckily I was left with an uneven number so ofcourse I had to eat the uneven one.. 🙂
Delicate and crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I still can’t believe I finally managed, so sorry if I keep blabbing about it!
I made a buttercream as per the instructions of Tartelette’s recipe and I made it in two variations; one with vanilla and one with lavender sugar. I liked the vanilla better, but both of them are really good!
Now I did promise someone to save a few if they were good for tomorrow but… not sure if they survive that long!
- For the macarons shells:
- 90 gr egg whites about 3
- 30 gr granulated sugar
- 200 gr powdered sugar
- 110 gr almonds
- 2 tablespoons crushed violet sugar or candied violet petals
- Violet and Vanilla Buttercream:
- 1/2 cup 100gr sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 sticks 6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon violet sugar +1 tablespoon water or 2 tablespoons violet liqueur
- 1 vanilla bean split open and seeded
For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar 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 flows like lava or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes.
Canon Eos 5D mark II
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.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with the crushed sugar or violet petals. Preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.
Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of butterceam in the center of one shell and top with another one.
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. 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. 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 the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Divided the buttercream in two portions.
For the violet buttercream: microwave the violet sugar and water for 30 to 45 seconds. Let cool completely before folding it into the buttercream. If using liqueur, just fold it in the buttercream.
For the vanilla buttercream: add the seeds from the vanilla bean to the buttercream and fold with a spatula until fully incorporated. If not using right away, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 1 month.