May 6, 2009

Black And White Macarons

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vanilla bean macarons with chocolate ganache filling

I received Michel Richard's HAPPY IN THE KITCHEN cookbook, an early Mother's day gift from my son. All the recipes look fantastic specially the desserts and pastries and the cooking methods seem uncomplicated for the home cook.

Naturally, I went straight to the desserts section of the book and decided the first recipe I'll try is the Black And White Macaroons. Michel Richard calls these cookies macaroons which shouldn't be confused with coconut macaroons. I have made macarons just once last year and although they were delicious, the cookies were not as chewy as they should be and they didn't have "feet" and therefore not photogenic.

The recipe in this cookbook is very simple and pretty much straightforward. It took just a little over an hour to put together and I'm happy that my macarons have feet, not to mention deliciously crunchy and chewy. I can honestly say after preparing one recipe from this book I am on my way to being 'appy in the kitchen.

Black And White Macaroons
½ cup slivered almonds
1 cup confectioner's sugar
½ vanilla bean
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon sugar

¼ cup heavy cream
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces, very soft
  • Place the almonds in the food processor and pulse, then process until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides and redistribute the nuts to grind them evenly. Add the confectioner's sugar and process until well combined. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod into the processor (reserve the bean for another use), and pulse to combine. Transfer into a medium bowl.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, add half of the sugar. Increase speed to high and sprinkle in the remaining sugar. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Place the whites on top of the almond mixture and fold to combine.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch tip; or cut an opening directly in the end of a disposable pastry bag. Pipe 28 cookies into each sheet (4 cookies across and 7 down): Holding the tip of the pastry bag perpendicular and ¼ inch above the baking sheet with one hand, apply even pressure to the end of the pastry bag with the other hand while slowly pulling the bag up from the baking sheet, to pipe a 1-inch round macaroon. Once the macaroon is formed, move the bag in a circular motion as you pull it away to release the bag from the macaroon. Continue piping the macaroons, leaving 1 inch between them.
  • Let the macaroons sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to air-dry and form a light crust. Position the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.
  • Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through baking. They should be firm on the outside but the centers should remain soft.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the ganache. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. Place the cream and chocolate in a small glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir the chocolate. Continue to melt and stir at 30-second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted when stirred, 2 to 3 minutes total. Stir the butter until thoroughly combined.
  • Place the bowl over the ice water and stir until the ganache is thickened to a spreading consistency. Remove from the ice water and let stand at room temperature until ready to use.
  • Remove the macaroons from the oven and place the pans on a cooling rack to firm up enough to move them, then using an offset spatula, transfer the macaroons to a rack to cool completely.
  • Place the ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch tip, or cut an opening directly in the end of a disposable pastry bag. Turn over half of the cookies, and pipe about ¾ teaspoon of ganache onto the bottom of each one. Top each with another cookie and press very lightly to sandwich.
  • They can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


caninecologne said...

that's awesome that you made macarons! that's one of my favorite desserts. there are only one or two bakeries in san diego that do this.

recently while i was in portland, we ate at pix patisserie in the hip Southeast neighborhood. they had a calamansi flavored macaron. the worker there described it as 'lime' and he didn't know it was a philippine citrus fruit.

Oggi said...

R, I was already lining up Filipino flavors for macarons. Calamansi would pair well with the yema filling I made. Thanks for the idea.

Would you believe there isn't a single store that sells macarons in my city, the nearest is in Washington D.C. We live in the boondocks.:D

What's Cookin Chicago said...

beautiful job! They look so elegant!

Lory said...

oh wow! Parang binaliktad na whoopie pies! So tempting!
Ma-try nga to -- future baking adventure...bookmarked!

Jude said...

I can kind of see the feet. Great job on this. Pretty cool how you can see the vanilla bean specks.

Oggi said...

Joelen, thanks.:)

Manang, do try them, they taste like silvanas or sans rival.:)

Jude, thanks; the vanilla pods add visual appeal.:)

Mirage said...

Wow, going French! Those are really eyecandies! how do you make them in other colors?

Oggi said...

Gizelle, trying hard, heheh. I think some use powdered flavorings but most have food dye. The first time I made I used matcha powder for both cookies and filling and added green food dye to the meringue.

Tammy said...

Your macarons are beautiful! I like your recipe too... it's a lot simpler that the one I used.

Oggi said...

Tammy, thanks.

Yeah, the first one I made was too complicated...the egg whites had to be at least a week old and the description of magma-like consistency of the meringue eluded me.:D

Rahim said...

Hi Oggi,

You have a great website! I'm a university student and am loving the access to all these filipino recipes as its hard to find! I have tried to make macarons once before but they failed miserably...I think my problem was with how to differentiate from soft and medium stiff peaks, and how long to fold the almond mixture for. Do you have any tips?

Thanks in advance! (and I can't wait to try some of your recipes)


Oggi said...

Rahim, thanks.

Soft peaks bend immediately and stiff peaks should be still moist and glossy but hold its shape. Most macaron recipes age the whites by leaving them on the kitchen counter for more than 24 hours to remove their extra water content. The folding should be quick and just until evenly incorporated.

Anonymous said...

I think the recipe calls for 1/4 C cream for the ganache.

Some tips:
1) trace 1" circles on the back of the parchment paper for more consistent sizes (use a quarter to get 1" circles)
2) make sure you whip whites to stiff peaks
3) let piped macaroons sit for 20-30 minutes rather than 15

Also, I cooked them 10 minutes at 325 with convection.

Oggi said...

Thank you for spotting the typo.

This is a 2 year-old post and I have since baked macarons a number of times, using another recipe which I think is more user friendly. Here is the link to the post
Let's Make Macarons

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