Friday, April 1, 2011

Week Night Cherry Almond Macarons

Macaron success! I've made French macarons with varying degrees of success, and I think this time may have been the most successful so far. Around the holidays I bought Martha Stewart's holiday cookie magazine in line at the grocery store, specifically for the macaron recipe, since the others I'd tried so far had mostly let me down. :o(

Lucky for you her recipe is also on her website, so I'll share it with you here. :o) Plus a recipe I made for cherry almond buttercream. Yum.

One of these things is not like the others

In the past, I went out and bought almond flour. But having been burned by my last 3 batches, I didn't want to put the time or money into another shopping trip, so I ground up some slivered almonds in my blender, which is why you can see a bit of the almond skins here. Also...shame on me...I didn't sift my ground almonds and sugar. Shame! All they do it get stuck in my flour sifter and make it impossible to clean! Plus I could only grind the almonds so fine before they would start turning to almond butter instead. So I just whisked the powdered sugar and almonds together really well and went with that.

Before you go ahead with the recipe, I should note that while this was my best attempt, it wasn't perfect. I read somewhere that you should only put one tray of macrons in the oven at once (some say it doesn't matter, and maybe it didn't this time), so that is what I did. The first batch came out perfect! Look at those sexy macaron feet! (The little ruffle that pops up at the bottom.)

The good looking cherry almond macarons

But the second and third batches turned into crazy, topsy-turvy, Dr. Suess macarons. Yikes!

They still taste good...

OMG! My best guess is that perhaps the batter dried out slightly in the piping bag, then in addition I let them dry too long after getting piped on to the tray, and instead of rising, one side or the other stuck? Maybe? Also I misread the instructions for baking about heating the oven for 5 min to 375 between each batch before putting in the next tray. Instead I raised it to 375 each time and made sure it was 375, then lowered to 325, waited 5 min, then put a new tray in. Those are instructions used below since as I said, the first batch was lovely! Either way, no matter how they looked they still tasted good and weren't a cracked, burned mess like some others. So sad.

So keeping that in mind, here goes the recipe!

Cherry Almond Macarons

Vanilla Macaron Shells
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
2 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times. (Shame on me, I didn't sift, just whisked together)
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar.
  4. Increase speed to high and after a few moments add the vanilla extract. Continue whisking until stiff peaks form.
  5. Sift confectioners' sugar mixture over whites, and fold until mixture drips slowly, ribbon-like, from the spoon. Don't overwork.
  6. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks.
  7. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air.
  8. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or until tops are dry to the touch.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees 5 minutes before putting the macrons in the oven.
  10. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes.
  11. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees then reduce to 325 degrees again 5 minutes before putting in a new tray.
  12. Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macaroons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macaroons.)
  13. Prepare filling below, and once completely cooled, pipe a bit of frosting onto one macaron shell then sandwich with a second shell.
  14. Store in fridge in an air tight container

Cherry Almond Buttercream Frosting

1 6 oz jar maraschino cherries (Approx. 2 1/2 tablespoons pureed)
Approx. 1 tablespoon milk (more or less as needed)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 package powdered sugar (16 ounces)
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
  1. Drain cherries and reserve juice.
  2. Puree cherries in a blender.
  3. Cream butter and slowly add confectioners sugar
  4. Add pureed maraschino and almond extract
  5. Add reserved juice from cherries and milk alternately to achieve desired texture.

The good cherry almond macarons

1 comment:

  1. So cute!!! I really want to try these and I hope they turn out as good as yours look! Cherry almond is like my favorite flavor ever, I think.


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