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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chocolate Macarons

This is Part 1 of my 3 part chronicles of my macaron-making journey (think Lord of The Rings). Personally, I feel that all bakers, at some point of time, will take on the challenge of making this tempermental dessert. For me, the push factor was the price. Recently, I bought 4 macarons at Canelé. I should have stopped myself when I didn't see any price tag on them. They cost me $9.80! I just couldn't take the blow and felt like crying when I ate them. Even more heartache to come, I squashed 2 pieces during transport. I consoled myself, at least I get to taste some flavours which I might not be able to make at home, like Bergamot.

These chocolate macarons were made in February, when I had plenty of egg whites to spare and too much time on hand. The reason for not posting earlier; I did not have the confidence. No confidence to admit that this might be a fluke or that I will be able to achieve those frilly feet next time round. Reason for posting this now? Recently, I revisited macarons twice (for decorating purposes), for a cake I made for another doctor. Having succeeded 3 times with the same recipe, I would say that this recipe and method is reliable and would love to share it.

The following recipe and method is adapted from Bernice of Baking Journey. I find her methods easy and debunked some of the theories which I read extensively online. Some recipes asked specifically for how many strokes of folding. To be honest, I lost count of the strokes after a while. Some asked for the whipped egg whites to be pressed against the bowl (Don't!). Some recipes asked to wait till a layer skin to form, I lack the patience. Once something is ready on the baking tray, my instinct will ask me to pop it into the oven quick. According to Bernice, waiting for the skin to form will cause cracks. Some are using Italian Meringue and Swiss Meringue method, that I would love to try out some day as it was said that it would yield a more stable batter. But for now, we go French.

Chocolate Macaron
50g Icing Sugar
15g Cocoa Powder

*Sift together

25g Finely Ground Almond

35g Egg White (about 1 egg white, I used my stash, which I froze and thawed)
30g Sugar

1) Prepare 2 11 x 14 inch baking tray, lined with silicon coated parchment paper (draw circles behind the parchment if required). Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

2) Add the ground almond to the icing sugar mixture, break up clumps if any.

3) In another clean and dry bowl, whisk the egg white till frothy. Add in sugar in 2 additions and whisk till soft peak.

4) Add in the ground almond mixture into whisked egg whites in 2 addition, fold till incorporated. Lift the spatula to see if it falls ribbon-like. The batter should look shiny, slightly thick, not runny. The tip of the dropped batter should flatten quite fast (hope you know what I mean).

5) Load the batter into a piping bag with round tip. Pipe into circles. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes. The feet will start to form. Lower down the temperature to 110 degrees and further bake for another 15 minutes. Set aside to cool and remove from paper.

6) Pair them up and sandwich with Swiss meringue buttercream or dark chocolate ganache (I used both). Refrigerate before serving.

Happy Baking! それじゃ~~


Edith said...

Any left? my son love this but as you said, the price is a turned off. Recently one of the bakery offered it at a S$1 each and he was quick to grab a few. Poor mommy's pocket.

When I saved enough egg white and enough courage, I will attempt this again. Thanks for sharing.

Sophie said...

I've definitely been wanting to make these...I still haven't found the courage :D. Yours came out great!

Cookie said...

Hi Rei,

Congrats, you've made it to a different league!

I tried making these but it turned out no feet! So sad.

What brand of icing sugar do you use for this? Reason I ask - someone told me the icing sugar is very important for the feet formation!


youfei said...

Hi Rei,

I've finally seen your macaron posting! =) beautiful ones!!

I've tried italian meringue method before and somehow they were a little too chewy, too meringue like. I very much prefer the french one.

Having said that, isn't the french one simpler, easier and faster? save the trouble to go boil the syrup etc..haven't tried the swiss meringue one, but i guess i'll jus stick to french



KWF said...

Rei, yours turn out very pro. I remember trying it last year, although got feet, but mine were quite ugly. Anyway the extreme sweetness turns me off, so no interest to try them again. If you happen to come out with one tt is not too sweet, let us know.

Family First said...

Well, I have never tried macaroons before. Simply never looked out for it. Wonder where does it sell in KL?

Kitchen Corner said...

Beautiful macarons there! I still have no guts to do it as I've many times of failure on it. You did it very very well.

Pei-Lin said...

Hey Rei,

I remember seeing the photo of your macarons, which is posted here, quite a while back on MSN. LOL, thought you'd post it not long after that; I was mistaken. SO glad I finally got to see your post on macs!

Gosh, I lately have been having bad luck with macs. Guess I should just omit the time for drying the surface of mac shells. Perhaps after piping, just let the piped mounds of batter to rest for 15-20 min ... as in not in the sense of drying their surface but just letting them rest for a bit. Do you think that's workable?

Also, I tried making mochi bread. Mine were a mix of results. Some came out dense; some came out with holes all over the innards ... kind of a bit hollow like what I saw in your fifth try ... if you get what I mean. May I know what causes the hollow interior ... as in like the holes? Leavening agents e.g. baking soda? The recipe I used wasn't too different from the one from your fourth try though ... Wondering what went wrong ...

Once again, thanks so much for what you've been sharing with us all! I really appreciate it!!! Take care.


Cuisine Paradise said...

Wow.. Rei,

Congratz on your new adventure :) Your macarons are so beautifully done.... Chocolate is always one of my ds's favour....hehehe....

Rei said...

Edith : I'll bring you some if I get it again the next attempt. No promise hor.

Sophie : You should make an attempt.

Cookie : Different league? Still a long way to go. :p I used icing sugar from Phoon Huat twice and once using SIS. I didn't know that the brand matters. :o

Youfei : True enough, French way are simplier. Strange, coz I always thought French cuisine is the fussiest to prepare. :D

WF : Unfortunately, I think the sugar load might be necessary for the frilly feet formation. My itch hands tried once cutting down the sugar to 15g, turned out no feet. :D

Family 1st : You might want to try Bakerzin?

Grace : Try this recipe. I am not saying it will work 100% without hiccups. It also very much depends on how you fold the batter. But at least you don't have to wait too long (30 min to 1 hr) to know the results. :p

Pei Lin : I hesitated and procrastinated, resulting the constipation of this post. Ahaha. I think resting 15 to 20 mins will do too, coz that's what happened to my 2nd tray. There was no difference in the result. As for mochi bread, there should some air pockets but not too hollow.

Ellena : Thanks! Mine are far from yours! Kids do love these, don't they? :)

Passionate About Baking said...

Hi Rei,
Very beautiful macarons that you've produced! I can imagine your disappointment when you crushed the "oh-so-expensive-but-so-nice" macarons that you bought! I had some from Bakzerin sometime back, and I just refused to share with my kids. I had to finish them all by myself. You're right that store-bought ones have more exotic tastes, which I don't think we will make at home. :)

Blessed Homemaker said...

Your macarons look good. I've yet to pluck up enough courage to bake this. Maybe one day... :P

youfei said...

Hi Rei,

Same here! But I heard the french method is the most unstable with high failure rate =X I guess it just differs from individual yea?

I heard that some people actually add some salt to cut the sweetness since the sugar can't be cut as it provides the structure.

haven't tried it yet myself. However, I was over zealous with blue powdered colouring once and i realised the the shells were not sweet at all and there was a really really nice nutty taste to it. (my guess is the colouring is a little salty)

maybe i'll give it a try since i've some egg whites left over after some ice cream =p


Noob Cook said...

woah ... distinction! they looked good, congrats on your acheivement ^o^ seriously, I think all your 3d cakes and stuff is even harder than making macarons :)