As a resolution, this year I wanted to learn to make the elusive macaron. I procrastinated with excuses like: “I don’t have a proper kitchen scale” and “I should probably read about them again.” I was a macaron wimp. When my Dad showed up at my place with a kitchen scale, I had set the excuses aside and dive into the scariness that was almond flour, powdered sugar and egg whites. They seem meek and simple, but together they can mess a girl up.
Actually, not really. As long as you do a little research, weigh the ingredients and resign to the fact that you might fail occasionally, the whole process of ‘making a macaron’ is a good one.
First step, reasearch: you must must must read: Demystifying Macarons by Helene over at Tartelette. I have a total baking crush on this woman: her baking is outstanding, her photos are gorgeous, her blog is so beautiful and, on top of all this, she is a macaron maven. Now, that you have read up on it: get a kitchen scale and hop to it. You might fail, but you might not. I succeeded with my first attempt, failed miserably with my second, rebounded to success with my third and my fourth macaron endeavour is here as a birthday present for a dear friend.
Generally, I avoid the acronym party. I never type LOL or NP, half the time I actually do not know what they stand for, the other day someone sent me ROTFL… rolling on the floor laughing. I had no idea. And I feel the most famous of all these type friendly shorties is way over used: BFF. It is tossed about like candy at a parade: this BFF and that BFF, it has become empty.
However, it is with confidence that I can say here, these macarons are for my BFF. She has been my confidant, my fellow mischief-maker, my room-mate, my road trip companion and my best friend forever for 20 years now. That is a full to the brim BFF.
Cheryl smiles all the time. It is one of the best smiles I have every known. It is genuine, it spreads happiness and it is framed by the most awesome of dimples. This smile accompanies advice, stories and often her bad ass comebacks; she really is brilliant with the comeback – usually a mix of powerfully pointed, perfectly poised and funny. She is a playful mother, a grade A teacher, a cheeky daughter, a sassy sister, a sweet wife and a fiery friend. And she takes on each of these tasks with a fierce commitment to rocking each and every one…. and she does.
I stumbled across this quote a couple of weeks back. It describes how I feel about our friendship and it is what I used as inspiration for today’s birthday baked love:
the peanut to my butter,
the best to my friend,
the milk to my cookies
Happy Birthday Dude.
Chocolate Macarons with Peanut Butter Filling
Recipe adapted from Tartelette
100 grams egg whites
25 grams granulated sugar
115 grams almonds
200 grams powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
mini chocolate chips
Salty Peanut Butter Filling
Recipe from Cannelle et Vanille
125 grams creamy peanut butter
70 grams powdered sugar
25 grams softened butter
25 grams heavy cream
5 grams vanilla extract
3 grams fine sea salt
Macarons: For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not over beat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won’t work. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve. Add them to the meringue,with the coloring and give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets (or a silpat mat which, in my opinion, is so much easier). At this point I sprinkled mine with chopped mini chocolate chips. You are supposed to use cocoa nibs, but I could not find them any where. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.
Filling: Cream all ingredients together for a smooth filling. Fill a pastry bag to divide filling among chocolate macarons and sandwich.