Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Macarons Part Deux

As promised, I attempted to make French macarons once again to take home to my family for Thanksgiving.  Typically, when I’m home, I’ll make some sort of cake or cookie and the only people out of my family of six that will eat it will be mom and myself.  My brothers and dad aren’t big on sweets and my sister is allergic to gluten, so pretty much whatever I make she can’t eat.  

So this year, I thought it would be perfect to make macarons to take home since they are made with almond flour so are gluten-free.  I figured at least my sister would be able to contribute to the consumption of the goodies this time around. 

I used the same base macaron recipe as last time but changed up the flavor to vanilla.  I used a basic vanilla buttercream for the filling.  I was really crossing my fingers that my macarons would come out big and fluffy like my favorite Bouchon Bakery macarons in NYC.  But alas, they did not.  The first problem was that I was making these at 2am (those of you who know me realize I don’t really operate at this time).  As I was cracking my eggs to drop the egg whites into the bowl for the meringue, I may have inadvertently dropped some yolk in…and then my egg whites + a little yolk didn’t quite form those stiff peaks as directed.   

I ran out of space on my cookie sheets, so I decided to experiment and made a few "Macaron Mini Muffins" in my mini muffin tin.  Um...why didn't anyone ever think of this before?  These came out delicious and I didn't have to worry about piping out a perfect circle!  Next time, I'm sticking to my Macaron Mini Muffins!

Anyways, as you can see, I can’t quite compete with the pros yet, but I have to say the macarons were still delicious.  Luckily, my family has never eaten macarons, so they don't know the difference =).  

Recipe I previously used is below (with a couple tweaks) as well as the vanilla buttercream recipe I found on the Food Network website.

Macarons for the fam
 I proudly present to you...the Macaron Mini Muffin!

Vanilla Macarons
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, December 2006

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 min
Yield:  2.5 dozen cookies


6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup confectioners sugar, stirring to combine.
3.  Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks.

4.  Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)
5.  Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
6.  Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes. 

7.  Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile). Sandwich a thin layer of buttercream (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies. 
Quick Vanilla Buttercream


3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream


1.    In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

2.    Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Note: This recipe makes a lot of buttercream, I halved the recipe for the macarons. 


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