Jul. 15th, 2010

cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
So macarons.

I had never heard of them before a week or so ago. But I heard they are hard to make and wanted a challenge. (Also, a friend of mine made them, so I had a bit of competition there. (It was all in my mind, but still...))

I based my method off this site:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2007/10/how-to-make-macarons-recipe.html

WARNING MACARONS ARE TIME CONSUMING! PREPARE TO LOSE YOUR AFTERNOON/ EVENING/ AFTERLIFE (IT HAPPENS!)!

So.

INGREDIENTS!

225g Icing Sugar
125g Ground Almonds/ Almond Meal
110g Egg Whites (about 4), "Aged"
30g Granulated Sugar
Pinch of Salt

First off, lets talk aging. Apparently you need to age your egg whites. The arcane wisdom is to leave them somewhere for about 24 hours. I wish someone would actually say why we age them, and what the process of aging actually is. Do the egg whites lose water? Gain water? Absorb air?

Anyway, apparently the hip kids are putting the egg whites in the microwave on medium for 30 seconds to mimic the process. I did that, I don't think I put I made the microwave less powerful enough as it cooked a strain of egg white.

Anyway. Clean, dry bowl. Put egg whites, salt in that. Beat. Beat until frothy. Then slowly add sugar and keep beating. (This is much easier if you have an automatic mixer.) Don't beat too hard before you put the sugar in. Once all the sugar is in, keep beating until you get "firm peaks". *Insert sexual innuendo*

Get your almond meal and icing sugar and mix. Now, "The Man" wants you to jump through hoops. He wants you to put it through sieves and stuff. But I didn't. Sieves are incredibly time consuming and messy. I tried, and failed. If you have an awesome sieve that can do that, go for it! It will probably be MAGNIFLORIOUS!

OK! Now get a flexible spatula and put the almond/ icing sugar powder into the big bowl of fluffy egg white. Fold the powder into that until it's well combined. It should apparently "flow like magman". My plastic bowl didn't burst into flames and I didn't notice any bodies turned to ash from pyroclastic flow, so, don't know about that. Just be gentle, OK!?

Now to do some piping! Get yourself a piping bag with a 1cm diameter nozzle. (I got mine from Coles for like $3) Then you want to pipe the mixture out onto baking paper. Now apparently 2.5cm diameter macarons are the rage, with 5cm distance between them. So to do this you draw a stencil. Or, you use the one I awesomely made:

https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B5k6kZEwArnwNGRmZGM5YmEtMDY4MC00ZTJmLWEyY2UtODhhZDJkMjBmMjFh&hl=en&authkey=CIvd3aEH

The good thing about macarons is that there is a sharp learning curve. That comes from basically aaall the trial and error you get in both piping and baking. That mixture made about 70 complete macarons. Only about 50 were usable in polite company.

So here are some tips:

Using a stencil helps for piping. It guides you.

When piping, put the pipe head perpendicular to the paper, and then push. It should kind of expand to the circle.

If you made the mixture properly, the pre-cooked macarons should set pretty quickly. Mine were very small, bigger ones will probably take longer. I have no idea what governs the setting of macarons. Does it prefer hot or cold? Damp or dry? Mine worked well. Deal!

Put the oven on 160C fan-forced. My instinct for baking is non-fan. But two trays of mine burnt rather quickly that way. Fan-forced tends to spread the heat more evenly. Without it, the bases get verry burnt which is bad. Also, when baking them, keep the oven door slightly ajar. IT LETS THE GHOSTS ESCAPE!

I had about 11 trays worth, so I developed a system. I know the top of my oven is hotter, so I would put a tray near the bottom, wait about 5 minutes, then put it to a more middle rack then put another tray into the original rack. Once the top ones were done, I would move the bottom ones up and etc.

Now macarons are good because you get lots of second chances and trial and error. The main cause of macaron failures was the base sticking to the paper. That meant they just weren't cooked enough. And it's hard to tell from looking at them. Your best bet it so keep rotating the macarons. They need constant supervision. I cleaned up the kitchen in the brief 3 minute periods I had before moving the macarons. Usually if they're brown, they're ready. Also, another trick, try flattening the baking paper as much as possible. That gives the macaron base better contact with the tray and therefore cooks the base properly.

What else...

Ah yes, I sacrificed a child to Baal before I started. Not sure how it worked since he's a bit temperamental...

The macarons that I made were rather small, so they cooled quickly. I made the "ganache" while baking etc. I basically just got 350g of various chocolate products (milk, white and nutella) and mixed it with an equal mass of cream with 84g of butter. I boiled the cream first then added it to a bowl full of the chocolate. Mixed it enough, then added the butter. It didn't taste like much so I added cocoa and sugar. You can do anything here. BE CREATIVE! Also, I think I used about 10% of that ganache, so yeah, you don't need as much.

HERE ARE SOME PICTURES!


A galaxy far far away...
Chocolated Macarons - Far Away

I'm ready for my close up.
Chocolated Macarons - Close Up

Eat or die!

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cookingtaco: Adding blended up macadamia to my brownie mix. (Default)
cookingtaco

October 2012

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