Friday, May 28, 2010

Rose Macarons

If you’ve never made macarons before, you’ll probably refuse to believe that such little sandwich cookies can be very hard to make. Indeed, that is what I thought one year ago when I made vanilla macarons. It has taken me a whole year to suck up the courage and try again. Armed with almond flour and rose syrup, I went into battle. Well maybe that sounds a little scary. Truth be told, it takes a lot to get me stressed, and cookies the size of my cat’s paw will not get a rise out of me (except when they were finished and I was jumping up and down in joy).

So you might wonder why I would try to bake such pesky cookies. The answer is simple: it’s either making them myself, or not eating them at all. Macarons are very hard to find outside of France. And … well … I just can’t help but love them! The color, the size, the taste: magnifique!

I don’t want to scare anyone off of making macarons. I think if you try a couple of times, you will get a decent macaron. Comparing recipes, I have discovered that there are a lot of different techniques being used, and you just have to find one that works for you and your oven. I remember things I did wrong the last time and I know now what I’ll do differently next time. So the process of making macarons is very individualistic.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the result and I’m very happy I made them. I’ve tasted macarons far worse than mine (store-bought ones, for instance). Not that mine were so bad! In fact, I rated them a 4.5 out of 5.




Rose Macarons recipe: adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.

*Side Note: You might be surprised to learn that I used a Martha Stewart recipe instead of a Pierre Hermé recipe. That’s because all macaron-recipes are written in grams and I prefer to work with cups because I don’t have a kitchen scale (I really must purchase one!). If you do have a kitchen scale, I recommend working with grams because it measures everything more precisely.

Ingredients: makes about 30 sandwich macarons
- 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 ½ cups sliced almonds, finely ground, or almond flour
- 3 large egg whites
- pinch of salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 drops red food coloring

Instructions:
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. (parchment paper supposedly gives better results) If you own a food processor, pulse the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour together for 20 to 30 seconds. Then, sift the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour together into a bowl; set aside.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy; add salt and food coloring. (the color may seem a little too red at this point, but the color will fade somewhat once baking) Gradually add granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the whites reach medium-hard peaks.
- Sprinkle half of the sugar-almond mixture over the egg-white mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold until just incorporated. Add ¼ teaspoon vanilla and remaining sugar-almond mixture, folding until just incorporated. Firmly tap the bottom of the bowl on a counter or work surface to eliminate any air pockets.
- Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe mixture into 1 ½-inch circles on prepared baking sheet, leaving 2 inches apart from one another.
- Let the macarons rest for 45 to 60 minutes at room temperature. In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300ºF. Bake until macarons feel slightly firm to the touch and can be gently lifted off the parchment paper (the bottoms will be dry), 20 to 25 minutes. (At first I thought 20 to 25 minutes would be way too long. So I tried 15 minutes and they were not done. Then, I tried one batch for 20 minutes and the second bath 25 minutes. The 20-minute batch was also underbaked, but the 25-minute batch came out perfectly!) Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer parchment and macarons to a wire rack to cool completely. Using a small offset spatula, carefully remove macarons from parchment. (if they’re hard to come loose from the parchment, they’re underbaked)
- Spread 2 teaspoons buttercream on the flat sides of half the macarons; sandwich with the other halves, keeping flat sides down. Keep the macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day. Bring them to room temperature when serving.

Rose Buttercream filling:

Ingredients:
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons rose syrup
- 2 drops red food coloring
- 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions:
- Mix together the ingredients until the buttercream has a slight dropping consistency.

Rose macaron batter: egg whites & almond flour.

* Here are some helpful tips I’ve found on the web:
- Age the egg whites: this is called “liquefied” egg whites. Egg whites that have been separated for, ideally, a week before use and stored in the fridge. This will ensure the meringue won’t be grainy and will gain volume easily. I let mine age for 24 hours, covered with foil in the refrigerator.
- If you have a food processor, blend the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar for a few seconds: this will make the almond meal even finer.
- Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar together: some even suggest sifting it twice.
- Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer: yes I know that stand mixer costed you a lot of $$$, but a hand mixer will get the job done so much quicker.
- Pipe the macarons 2 inches/5 cm apart from one another: not a single recipe I’ve seen required this, so I had to learn it the hard way; I piped mine ½ inch from each other and a lot of them grew together while resting and baking.
- Let the macarons rest for 45-60 min: this will ensure your macarons get their “feet”. The first time I made macarons, I let them rest for 30 minutes, and they did not get feet. Now I rested them for 45 minutes and – result - they have feet!
- Use a toothpick to pop some of the air bubbles: once you piped your macarons on parchment paper, that is.
- Mature your finished macarons: this apparently sorts out some of the imperfections and gives the macarons more flavor. Pierre Hermé says that the macarons don’t have the right texture the first day; they will be a little too dry.


Rose macarons are by far my favorite kind! (lemon placed second)


I just love the aroma that rose syrup has. It's like you're eating a perfumed macaron!


Pierre Hermé says that you should eat macarons only if you are hungry - and not out of greed. “That way you will not put on weight.” - Times Online


What makes his macarons so popular? “Twenty years’ hard work,” he shrugs. - Times Online


What about the competition from McDonald’s? He snorts. “I only eat my own. You can make industrialised macarons but they won’t be the same. Too much of the process is by hand.”
- Times Online


*Side Note: If you are really interested in making macarons, there are a lot of great food blogs that write step-by-step descriptions. I found this post really helpful.

21 comments:

Moon said...

Wow, they really look great! Macarons are SO difficult to make, but it looks like you pulled it off.

How To Be Perfect said...

They look brilliant! Mrs Humble is a Goddess, I love her! The Macarons in bakery's near me are vile and if I want a gud one I have to make it. They can be a pain but nothing feels as good as mastering the Macaron x

Cherry Blossoms said...

Thanks for these tips! I got a macaron book for Christmas but have not had a chance to attempt baking any. Now that I am off for the summer I guess I will have to try! Have a lovely weekend.

me :) said...

They look beautiful. Thanks for the recipe! :) x

aandara said...

They look so beautiful, i never made macaroons, but with all your tips i definitely try, thanks for the recipe

Snooky doodle said...

these are spectacular! I ve never made them perfect.

BonjourRomance said...

These macs look so perfect. I love how you nestled it on the rose petals. I need to try this recipe!
Enjoy a good weekend,
Mimi

Bringing Lady Back said...

Those turned out beautifully! My mouth is watering.

Chele said...

I think its the thought of making macaron's that makes them so scary! I was like you and danced more than I should have done when my first batch worked out. These look great and sound like a very delicate flavour too ;0)

ABowlOfMush said...

Ooohhh rose macarons, my favorite thing in the world!!

They look so amazing!! I reeeeally need to try to make macarons!

M.A.the2nd said...

These look incredible! So perfect and pink... I am going to give them a go this week-end and I will let you know the outcome! However, I know they won't look like yours! I just wanted to ask how you also do your name on your photos as that is very clever as it protects them as your work. I so mostly original work and it would be good to put my name on it. Anyway have a lovely Monday and save a macaron for me!
Hugs
Frances

Mariel Torres said...

i can't wait to try this... it looks so chic and beautiful!

Dallas Shaw said...

pretty- who took your header photo?
dallas
http://dillydallas.blogspot.com

thingsIlove said...

Yummy! I love macarons!!

Paris Pastry said...

@Dallas Shaw: Thanks! I took it in Paris.

agirlastyle said...

Ooh these look delightful! I'd go so far to say that proper macarons are my favourite food, but i've always been too scared to try them myself. Maybe i'll give it a go!

Miss B xx

http://agirlastyle.wordpress.com

SweetBoy said...

I.too, am a bit nervous trying to make these lovely macarons...but I think I will give it a try. Thanks for your great tips!

Fifi Flowers said...

I need to go to a macaron cooking class... reading instructions are just confusing... I need to be walked through step by step! First cooking/baking thing EVER to frustrate me!!!

Anonymous said...

Great looking Macarons, hope mine turn out as well as yours!John.

Anonymous said...

I was curious, do you have to use Rose syrup? It's very difficult to find where I live. I have rose water instead, is this acceptable?

Paris Pastry said...

Rose syrup is difficult to find indeed, but I don't think rose water will gave the same flavor. Rose water is water diluded with rose syrup, but you could try :)