Making the Perfect Macaron

Last week I just couldn’t stop thinking about macarons……I don’t know why. I took a day and devoted it to macarons, they can be tricky to make, so I suggest setting aside sometime to make these delicious French cookies.   I did some research online and I found a site that gives you a booklet on making perfect macarons. I highly suggest signing up for her site, then she sends you a link to download the recipe booklet.

When we learned how to make macarons in pastries class….well, they turned out awful.   Our chef never said a word to us, I’m grateful she didn’t because I did get the courage to make them again!!

Just for fun I looked up on Wikipedia the proper description of a macaron:

A macaron (French pronunciation: [makaˈʁɔ̃])[1][2] is a sweet meringue-based confectionery made with egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. Its name is derived from the Italian word maccarone or maccherone.

The confectionery is characterised by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot”), and flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth.[3]

Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new (truffle, green matcha tea). The fillings can range from jams, ganache, or buttercream. Since the English word macaroon can also refer to the coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonymous.[4]

Makes about 50 Macarons
(100 Halves)

1 cup (100 g) almond flour
1 1/2 cups (175g) powdered sugar
3 large (1/3 cup, 100g) egg whites, room temperature
2 T (30g) granulated sugar

My first suggestion is to go to the store and buy almond flour. There are many who make their own because it is pricey, but IT IS NOT worth the time you spend milling your own. When you make this recipe, you want to make it as easy as possible, so spend a few extra bucks and buy almond flour!! Measure out your almond flour and powdered sugar together and sift into a small bowl. Set aside

Into a large clean mixing bowl, pour in your egg whites. Beat on high until your egg whites become foamy, add your sugar slowly(sugar stabilizes the egg whites). Beat until your egg whites become stiff, and when you pull your beater away from the egg whites, the whites form a peak.

In a separate large bowl, take a small amount of the egg whites(meringue) and place into bowl. Sprinkle a small amount of the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture on top, and begin to fold in carefully. Once mixed, add the rest of your egg whites and sprinkle the rest of the flour mixture on top. Fold together carefully, and don’t over mix. The batter needs to be mixed completely, but you don’t want to deflate the egg whites, so mix/fold gently.

When everything is incorporated properly, pour into a prepared pastry bag, fitted with a size 12 pastry tip. On a cookie sheet fitted with a silpat pad, begin to portion out enough batter to make a circle a little bigger than a nickel. If your batter is the proper consistency, it will continue to spread out, so leave at least an inch in between the cookies. Leave the cookies out on the counter for at least 45 minutes, up to 90 minutes. You need to dry the top of the cookie out so it forms a skin on top. If you have the skin formed on top, the cookie will bake correctly in the oven.  As the cookies are drying out, preheat your over to 280 degrees.

Bake at  degrees for about 17 to 19 minutes.  When cookies have cooled off, remove them from your silpat pads onto a wire rack.

To make chocolate macarons, add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to your almond flour when you are getting ready to sift.

To make espresso macarons, add 1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder to your almond flour when you are getting ready to sift.

Once your cookies are cooled, fill with your choice of filling.  I chose chocolate ganache for both cookies, and it was delicious!


Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

Valentine’s day is coming on Tuesday, so I thought I would post some cookies I have made for at least 20 years.  When my kids were little, I found this recipe somewhere, I really don’t remember where.  I started out making Christmas cookies and had so much fun, I just kept going with all the holidays, birthdays and just for fun.  I think Katie and Chris have eaten more of these cookies than any other cookie combined.  For fun, I decided to make some for my son Chris, who is a Junior at the University of Oklahoma.  I really had to take in consideration that he really is a young man now and I couldn’t go crazy in my decorations, plus cookies ship better if you keep them simple.

Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

Cream Together:

  • 1/4     cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1/2     cup butter
  • 2         eggs
  • 1          cup sugar
  • 1          tsp. vanilla

Sift Together:

  • 2 1/2   cup flour
  • 1           tsp. salt
  • 1           tsp. baking powder

Cream shortening, butter, and sugar in mixing bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Sift all dry ingredients together.  Add to cream mixture slowly, making sure you get all the dough mixed well.  Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before using.

On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use cookies cutters to make your shapes.  Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake @400 degrees until light brown, usually about 7 – 8 minutes.  Take cookies off cookie sheet when it comes out of the oven and place on wire rack and let cool.  After cookies are cooled, frost with your favorite frosting.  I like to make everything from scratch, but this is the one area I do use boxed frosting.  I have always used Jiffy’s white frosting mix, it is simple to make and delicious!  Happy Valentine Day’s!

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