WhatIWore: Have you seen The Great British Bake Off? Adam and I are obsessed! I’ve done pies and cakes and bread, but one thing I hadn’t tried until last week were macarons. They seem like they’d be really hard, but if you find a good recipe, they’re pretty doable!
Now that the leaves are changing, why not take a hint from my favorite fall drink and do a pumpkin spiced coffee flavored version? Here’s how I made these (based on this recipe, with my changes)
Three Egg Whites
110 grams almond meal
200 grams powdered sugar
1 T Coffee Flavored Liqueur (I used Cardinal Spirits Songbird Coffee Liqueur)
¼ C sugar
Gel Food Coloring (3 drops red, 3 drops yellow)
For me, the key was also in using the proper tools, which were: a kitchen scale, a metal seive and parchment paper on a thin baking tray. (Some bakers swear by the Silpat, but when I used plain old parchment and a little cooking spray, I had much better results.) The ingredients are quite simple: powdered sugar, regular sugar, almond meal and egg whites. It’s how you handle them that makes all the difference.
For the macarons:
First get your whites into your mixer and get ‘em fluffy. I add my food coloring at this stage as well.
While those are mixing, sift 110 grams of almond meal into a bowl, followed by 200 grams of powdered sugar. Then sift them again to mix them throughly together. I found that when I was sifting my almonds some little pebbles were left in the sieve. On my first attempt I just left those in the batter, but they made the texture… bumpy. By sifting into your bowl on the scale, you’ll get the proper amount of fine almond dust!
Check your whites and add in the ¼ C regular sugar now until incorporated. They should be glossy and form peaks.
Next fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites. Do this carefully. Somewhere between 30-40 folds will yield the proper consistency. Too firm and the macaroons will pipe out too thickly and peak up and too much mixing will kill all of that fluff you’ve whipped up.
Gently transfer your mixture into a pastry bag and pipe them onto your silpat or tray. When practicing, I found my last macarons always came out best, which tells me the mix can either rest or warm up a little. Take your time to create evenly sized cookies and be sure not to place them too closely together. I also had the best success with silver dollar sized circles.
Now! Wait! You want to let the little cookies just sit on the tray at room temp so they develeop a little natural shell on top. I waited about 45 minutes for this to happen. In the meantime, you can get your oven pre-heating to 285.
To bake, I went 11-12 minutes (original recipe suggests 10), then let them cool completely before taking them off the mat (anytime I got impatient and tried to peel one off too soon it stuck and crumbled). They should be slighted domed on top and have little feet rising from the bottom.
UPDATE: Don’t do what I did with the filling. These turned to mush within 48 hours. Great flavor, not great texture. Next time I’m going to go back to buttercream and use pumpkin pie filling as part of the liquid (maybe instead of milk?) and see if I can get that pumpkiny flavor in a more solid (and less moist) filling.
For the Filling:
If I could do this part over again, I’d add a little less pumpkin filling because it made the end product a bit too moist if not eaten immediately. For this version, I mixed equal amounts of softened cream cheese and pumpkin pie filling to create a creamy, pumpkiny filling and added 1.5 T of the coffee liqueur. Once mixed I pushed it through the sieve again to get a smooth texture. It was a little runny, so I put it into the fridge to rest and firm up. Of all the fillings I’ve tried, buttercream actually holds up the best, but is too sugary for my taste. I’ll continue to experiment on this part! Once shells are cooled, pipe in filling.
The macarons pictured here were my third attempt at this specific recipe (fifth time making macaroons overall) and I learned something each time - from the importance of using a scale with the powdered ingredients to adjusting the cooking time, to letting the little feet form (a result of proper folding… I think??) All batches tasted good, most had good texture and all of the experimenting was worth it! Are they pastry chef perfect? No way! But do they taste like your favorite fall time coffee shop latte? Heck yeah! I’d rate these easier than baking a pie and a little more challenging than bread. Definitely not something you whip up to take to a last minute dinner inviation, but doable if you have the time and patience. Now… who’s coming over for tea time!?