Thursday, July 21, 2011

I ♥ Macarons!

Homemade Rose Macarons
Yes I did! They weren't perfect but way better than I expected considering all the hype about them! I first came across Macarons when my French mate brought some over for my housemate as a present and I just happened to be at the table at the time and it would of just been rude of me not to try one. They were from Ladureé. At first we were like did you bring these from Paris! But no Ladureé have a counter in Brown Thomas in Dublin. So I tried a rose flavoured one and it was devine! I was hooked and armed witha a voucher for Brown Thomas I had, I bought a big box of Macarons from Ladureé. One of every flavour. Nom Nom.

The Perfect Macaron after
A friend of mine who is an excellent cook told me she had got a book on macarons but said she was disapointed as the language wasn't great and it resulted in a not so perfect macaron. Now I think she might of been talking about I ♥ Macarons the must have book on macarons but it is translated from Japanese and supposedly mainly just pretty pictures. So after alot of reading of blogs and so forth I decided to give rose macarons a go, following the advice of this guy, David Lebovitz, who seems to be the dude when it comes to pastries or something like that. He refers to a 'foot' which is the bubbly looking bit on the bottom of the macarons. See the photo above. I didn't achieve this but heres hoping I will next time!

Pencil Marks for the Macarons

Powdered Almond, Powdered Sugar, Granulated Sugar and Egg Whites
Anyway I started off by drawing circles that were about an inch in diameter on some baking paper to act as a guide when I piped the mixture out. I drew 30 of these circles, 15 on for each baking tray. I had ground almonds already but I ground them some more so they were more powdery. However this made the almond clump together. This meant I had to roast the almond on a baking tray to dry it out. I put it in the oven for 10mins and hoped for the best. In the meantime I powdered some sugar in the blender. You could use icing sugar but sometimes this has added cornflour which supposedly causes the macarons to crack. 

Mixing the Colour into the Egg Whites
I whisked the sugar and egg whites up and added the colour (half a cap of red colouring) and a cap of rose water to the mixture at this point as I was folding the rest of the ingredients in later and wouldn't be able to mix the colour at this point. I also made it slightly redder than I wanted as I knew the almonds and powdered sugar would dilute the mix. The almonds were still clumped together after roasting and it required alot of effort to sieve them into the egg whites with the icing sugar as they kept clogging up the sieve. I eventually got there. 

Piped Macarons Ready for Baking
My Syringe with a Plain Cap
So the mixture was easy to but into my syringe piper unlike butter icing which is a nightmare! Runny enough to flow out easy, thick enough to control and pipe into nice domes. I'm sure a skilled hand could spoon them out neatly if no piping bag was available. Once I'd piped them all out I had to rap the baking tray against the counter a few times to flatten the top of the macarons as they are meant to have flat tops not domes. Popped them in the oven at gas mark 1 for 15mins. They looked great. Maybe starting to golden a little which I didn't want as it would ruin the colour. I let them cool and then things went down hill a bit. 

Macarons Fresh Out of the Oven
When I tried to lift the macarons off the baking paper they started to crumble! Perfect shells had formed but there was mainly just a big void of air in the centre with a bit of gooey macaron STUCK to the baking paper! Then I realised I'd used greaseproof paper not baking paper, hence the sticking problem but not why the centre was nothing but air, my Mom thinks I should of left them in for longer. Oh well I'll know next time. Never the less out of the 30 shells as I'm now calling them I managed to salvage maybe 18 or so of them i.e. 9 Macarons. :( I was not a happy bunny but I was still excited as they looked awesome!

Homemade Rose Macarons
I mixed a bit of butter, icing sugar and some rose water up and using my syringe piped it in a circle around the outside of the bottom of the macarons. Ideally I should of filled them but they were so fragile they were cracking under the weight of the filling. It was a very rich filling anyway so it didn't matter. I didn't add any colour to the the filling as the pink and white contrast is quite pretty. I was thinking of flavouring it something different. Maybe vanilla but I was too lazy to go get some from the cupboard (Does anyone else think its strange seeing cupboard written down as everyone glosses over the p?)

Homemade Rose Macarons
Homemade Rose Macarons
So there was a lot of wastage, not a lot of sticky centre, no foot but who cares. They were delicious! I am however going to lay off the rose flavoured stuff for awhile! If you are going to make them I'd read up on it first as there are loads of tips such as leaving over night to develop in flavour. Yea about that.... Anyway if you wanna read more about my tasty adventures check out my Chocolate Fondant or if you want to see some of the costume parties I've been at try the Stretcher Race

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