Delectable Arts

appreciating the tastier things in life


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Salted Caramel French Macarons

I have a confession to make… I hate making my own caramel sauce.

So, I use the store-bought caramel sauce because it’s cheap and convenient. I don’t think it makes sense to make a mess in my kitchen to make something that I can buy easily. I did the math in my head and realized that it costs about the same to buy caramel sauce vs. making it at home.

I’m not sharing a recipe this time as there are plenty of great salted caramel french macaron recipes available on the interwebs. I just want to say that there’s no shame in cheating when it comes to baking. It’s all about the noms and these macarons are mega noms.

Happy noming.


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Macaron Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Hollows

As I continue to master the macaron, something strange (and terribly annoying) started happening – I started getting hollow macarons! <Insert sad face here>

I don’t know what exactly changed. It could be that the weather fluctuates so much in my city which causes rapid changes in humidity (which affects baking, or so I’m told). When I first started baking french macarons, they were just right. My macarons were full and chewy on the inside, and crisp on the outside.

But then, one day, I started getting hollow macarons. The large pocket of air inside each macaron made my macarons very fragile. My poor hollow macarons lacked the full, chewy goodness that macarons are supposed to have.

I researched this problem and found out that I’m apparently not the only person who has encountered this annoying issue. Many bloggers have documented this issue and have found their own ways of troubleshooting it. I’ve tried some of their troubleshooting tips, and after four attempts, found a way to deal with the hollow macaron fiasco that was occurring in my kitchen.

Here are the things that I started doing differently:

  • Use a stainless steel bowl to whisk the egg whites and sugar, instead of using a plastic bowl. Plastic bowls are porous, thus they don’t allow the meringue to reach its full volume.
  • Add just a pinch of cream of tartar to the egg whites before whisking. This will stabilize the meringue.
  • Cut down on the whisking time. Instead of whisking the egg whites and sugar for a total of 5 minutes, I cut the time down to 3 minutes, thus whisking in less air into the meringue.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 275°F and bake the macarons for an extra 2 minutes. If the macarons become too hot too quickly, the top will puff up quickly, but the bottom part doesn’t rise to produce the perfect feet that you want.


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Pineapple Coconut Macarons

Whoever originally came up with the pineapple-coconut pairing is a freakin’ genius. I’m usually not a huge fan of coconut, but I love coconut when it’s paired with pineapple or banana. 

This time, I decided to try making tiny one-bite macarons. With this recipe, you can make lots of tiny macarons so you’ll need three large baking sheets. I piped very small rounds of macaron batter that are about the size of a quarter. They’re so cute when they’re tiny! They’re also less messy to eat too.

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Ingredients:

Macaron shells

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 4 tsp shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar

Filling

  • 2 1/2 tsp crushed canned pineapple (drained)
  • 2 tsp finely shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 icing sugar

Directions:

Macaron shells

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process ground almonds, shredded coconut, and icing sugar for about a minute. Scrape along the inside of the food processor in between to ensure that there aren’t any large clumps and that the ingredients are mixed well.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the almond mixture.
  4. In a small bowl (be sure to use a bowl that’s not too shallow), whisk the egg whites with a handmixer on medium-low speed for about a minute until light and fluffy.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk the egg whites until medium-stiff for about 2 minutes. (If you turn the bowl upside-down, the egg whites don’t slide out.)
  6. Gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites while continuing to whisk on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes to achieve medium-stiff peaks.
  7. Gradually fold the egg mixture into the almond mixture, adding only about 1/3 of the egg mixture at a time.
  8. Transfer the batter into a piping bag. (Or if you’re frugal like me, you can use a medium sandwich bag instead and just cut a tiny corner of the bag to pipe.)
  9. Pipe batter onto baking sheets. (If you’re making bite-sized macarons, pipe very small rounds that are about the size of a quarter and at least 1/2 inch apart.
  10. Preheat oven to 325°F. Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Turn the oven down to 300°F and put the baking sheets into the oven for 7 minutes.
  12. Rotate the baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.
  13. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the macaron shells to cool.


Filling

  1. In a small bowl, cream the icing sugar and butter. (I use a single whisk attachment on my handmixer and whisk on low speed.)
  2. Whisk in shredded coconut.
  3. Whisk in crushed pineapple.

~
Fill your macarons, and you’re done!


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Lemon Macarons

Ahh… The refreshing tart taste of lemon! I made a large batch of lemon macarons for family and friends, and everyone loved them. Compared to the strawberry matcha macarons recipe that I’ve already shared, this lemon macaron recipe is a little less intimidating for the beginner macaron baker.

First of all, I love anything citrus. I think I’ll eventually change up this recipe to become a Citrus Blend Macaron recipe, with hints of grapefruit, lime, and orange. But for now, let’s just go with a simple lemon macaron recipe. Lemon is a very powerful fruit so you won’t need a lot of it for this recipe.

Ingredients:

Macaron shells

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • lemon zest from one large lemon
  • 3 to 4 drops yellow food coloring

Lemon icing

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp lemon juice


Directions:

Macaron shells

  1. Line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process ground almonds and icing sugar for about a minute. Scrape along the inside of the food processor in between to ensure that there aren’t any large clumps and that the two ingredients are mixed well.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the almond mixture.
  4. In a small bowl (be sure to use a bowl that’s not too shallow), whisk the egg whites with a handmixer on medium-low speed for about a minute until light and fluffy.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk the egg whites until medium-stiff for about 2 minutes. (If you turn the bowl upside-down, the egg whites don’t slide out.)
  6. Gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites while continuing to whisk on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes.
  7. Gradually fold the egg mixture into the almond mixture, adding only about 1/3 of the egg mixture at a time.
  8. Add lemon zest and fold.
  9. Add yellow food coloring and fold again. (I use liquid food coloring, but most people recommend gel or powder-based food coloring. You should use whatever you’re comfortable with.)
  10. Transfer the batter into a piping bag. (Or if you’re frugal like me, you can use a medium sandwich bag instead and just cut a tiny corner of the bag to pipe.)
  11. Pipe batter onto baking sheets. Try to pipe small rounds that are just under 1 inch wide and at least 1/2 inch apart.
  12. Preheat oven to 325°F. Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Turn the oven down to 300°F and put the baking sheets into the oven for 7 minutes.
  14. Rotate the baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.
  15. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the macaron shells to cool.


Lemon icing 
(adapted from here)

  1. In a small bowl, cream the icing sugar and butter. (I use a single whisk attachment on my handmixer and whisk on low speed.)
  2. Whisk in vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk in lemon juice.

~

Sandwich just a small dab of icing between two macaron shells – you can pipe the filling or just gently spread the filling with a spatula.

little bags of macaron goodness

little bags of macaron goodness

Enjoy!


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Baking French Macarons: Is it necessary to age the egg whites? (Macaron Wars: Episode I – The Aged Egg Whites)

As I continue my quest to become a macaron master, I came across many recipes that instruct you to age the egg whites prior to whisking them. What that means is you separate the yolks from the whites, put the whites back into the fridge (covered or uncovered), and then leave them for at least 24 hours. Then, you take the egg whites out and let them sit on the kitchen counter until they reach room temperature before you use them. They say that this process of aging the egg whites is to ensure that your macaron shells develop “feet” when you bake them. Macaron feet are the risen part of the macaron, as shown below.

macaron feet

macaron feet

I’ve tried this process of aging the egg whites, and it did not work out for me at all. It could be due to a number of factors, such as the temperature in my fridge, the oven I’m using, or the way I whisk the eggs. Whatever the reason might be, when I tried aging the egg whites, my macaron shells ended up looking like this:

epic fail

epic fail

MONSTROUS FEET! ZOMGS! I give myself an E for Effort (or E for Epic fail).

Yeah, that’s not the look I’m going for…

Maybe the egg white aging process works for some people, but I ended up with hideous-looking macaron feet. On the other hand, my macarons look just fine when I simply take the eggs out of the fridge, separate the yolks from the whites, and use the whites immediately.

Have you tried aging your egg whites? How did your macarons turn out?


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Strawberry Matcha (Green Tea) Macarons

Happy Valentine’s day! Today, I’m sharing my strawberry matcha (green tea) macaron recipe. The matcha flavor offsets some of the sweetness of the macaron shells, and when combined with just a hint of strawberry flavor in the filling, these macarons are so perfect. This is definitely my favorite macaron recipe so far. What’s your favorite?

If you’re new to making macarons, please also read my previous post for some tips and tricks.

Here’s what you’ll need to make strawberry matcha macarons:

(This recipes makes about 56 macaron shells; that’s 28 filled macarons)

Macaron shells:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 3 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp matcha powder
  • 3 drops green food coloring

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp strawberries (roasted and mashed)

Directions:

Macaron shells

  1. Line two medium baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, process ground almonds and icing sugar for about a minute. Scrape along the inside of the food processor in between to ensure that there aren’t any large clumps and that the two ingredients are mixed well. (Special thanks to my friend, Goodies & Kitsch, for generously giving me her food processor. While you’re here, you should go check out her awesome blog.)
  3. In a medium bowl, sift the almond mixture.
  4. In a small bowl (be sure to use a bowl that’s not too shallow), whisk the egg whites with a handmixer on medium-low speed for about a minute until light and fluffy.
  5. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whisk the egg whites until medium-stiff for about 2 minutes. (If you turn the bowl upside-down, the egg whites don’t slide out.)
  6. Gradually add granulated sugar to the egg whites while continuing to whisk on medium-high speed for another 2 minutes.
  7. Gradually fold the egg mixture into the almond mixture, adding only about 1/3 of the egg mixture at a time.
  8. Add matcha powder and fold.
  9. Add green food coloring and fold again. (I use liquid food coloring, but most people recommend gel or powder-based food coloring. You should use whatever you’re comfortable with.)
  10. Transfer the batter into a piping bag. (Or if you’re frugal like me, you can use a medium sandwich bag instead and just cut a tiny corner of the bag to pipe.)
  11. Pipe batter onto baking sheets. Try to pipe small rounds that are just under 1 inch wide and at least 1/2 inch apart.
  12. Preheat oven to 325°F. Let the batter sit at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  13. Turn the oven down to 300°F and put the baking sheets into the oven for 7 minutes.
  14. Rotate the baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes.
  15. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the macaron shells to cool.


Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Rinse 2 large or 3 medium strawberries, hulled and cut into halves.
  3. In a small oven-safe glass pan, bake strawberries for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Let the strawberries cool before draining the strawberry syrup. (NOTE: You can save and refrigerate the strawberry syrup to use later on pancakes or cheesecake.)
  5. Mash the strawberries and drain the excess syrup. You only need about 2 1/2 tsp of mashed strawberries.
  6. In a small bowl, cream the icing sugar and butter. (I use a single whisk attachment on my handmixer and whisk on low speed.)
  7. Whisk in vanilla extract.
  8. Whisk in strawberries.

~
Sandwich just a small dab of filling between two macaron shells – you can pipe the filling or just gently spread the filling with a spatula.

Are you tired yet? 🙂 Yes, that was quite a bit of work, but just look at this:

strawberry matcha macaron

strawberry matcha macaron

Trust me, it tastes just as good as it looks.

Try this recipe and let me know how it goes for you. 🙂


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My new obsession with french macarons

I can’t help, but ♥ french macarons. Just a dab of frosting sandwiched between two meringue cookies; these tasty little treats are so cute, delicious, and simply irresistible.

In my quest to making the perfect macarons, I learned very quickly that they aren’t easy to master.. Like most things in life. 😉

The first time I tried to make macarons, they turned out so badly they almost destroyed all the confidence that I’ve ever had in my baking skills. They were just one big bubbly, gooey mess. It was really sad.. In retrospect, I probably should’ve looked at more macaron recipes first, instead of using the very first recipe that I could find. The problem is that you need very clear instructions, and a lot of recipes don’t give you that.

As I casually browsed for “french macarons” on YouTube one day, I stumbled upon a very helpful video by lovelyladycakes. Her How to make French Macarons video is really easy to follow. I appreciate her enthusiasm and how she genuinely seems like a happy person – who doesn’t like happy people? I’ve been using her recipe as the base recipe for other flavored macarons that I’m currently experimenting with, and I’m finding that the base recipe is working out very successfully.

Here are some things that I’ve learned so far in macaron baking that you might also find helpful:

  • I was really lazy and tried to skip out on sifting the ground almonds and icing sugar. The result is a batch of macarons with bumpy surfaces. If you want the tops of the macarons to be smooth (as they should be), then pour the almonds and sugar into a food processor and process for about a minute, and then sift the mixture. Otherwise, your macarons will look like this:
bumpy surface :(

bumpy surface… fail 😦

  • When whisking the egg whites and fine sugar, you absolutely must whisk until stiff peaks form. Otherwise, your batter will be runny and your macarons won’t rise. I don’t have a fancy standing mixer so I just make do with my cheap handmixer. Whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed for about a minute, then turn the speed up to medium-high to whisk for 2 minutes. The egg whites should look fluffy and smooth by now. Gradually add fine sugar to the egg whites while whisking for another 2 minutes. Stiff peaks should be achieved at this point. However, if you find that the peaks aren’t quite stiff, then whisk for an extra minute on medium-high.
stiff peaks

stiff peaks

  • Piping the macaron batter takes some practice. Be patient! Try to pipe small rounds that are just about 1 inch wide and at least 1/2 inch apart. You don’t want them to stick to each other.
matcha (green tea) macarons

matcha (green tea) macarons

Take your time to perfect the base recipe. Don’t expect to get it right the first time, but definitely don’t give up because once you get it right, you’re going to feel like a million bucks. So, go! Get lots of practice until you’re comfortable enough to start making different flavors.

I’ll be sharing some macaron recipes in upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned!