Blackberry Macarons

The macaron madness continues.  I adore how they fit any flavor combination you can possibly think of.  I already have two pages in my notebook filled with combinations to try.  This round I went with a basic macaron with a blackberry buttercream.  I had some blackberry compote in the freezer left over from the orange blossom cheesecake.  This filling fits macarons perfectly, it isn’t overly sweet and has the perfect ratio of acidity vs sweetness.  Did I say they taste amazing yet?  This is so far my favoriate combination, but I am sure I will say that again soon.

I hope you get a chance to give macarons a try in your kitchen. If you do, my previous post has some of my own tips that helped me. I hope they will help you as well, so good luck!

Basic Macaron Shells
Makes 30 Cookies

Shells

  • 115g Blanched Slivered Almonds or Almond Meal/Flour
  • 200g Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 100g Aged Egg Whites (3 egg whites), room temperature
  • 20g Sugar
  • 2 drops Violet Gel Food Coloring

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.  If you only have two cookie sheets, place one on a wire rack to create a flat surface.  This is so you can double up the cookie sheets for baking the shells.  If using parchment paper a great trick for if you’re new to macarons is to draw out circles using the base of the piping tip to create a guide for me while piping.  With a pencil and the Adeco #804 tip create circles in a 5×8 pattern on one side of each sheet of parchment.   When you have made your circle guide on one side, flip it over so you don’t accidentally pipe the mixture onto the pencil drawings.

Grind the almonds and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor.  Grind for 2-3 minutes until fine and like sand in texture.  Sift 2-3 times to lighten the dry mixture. Reprocess as needed to get out all of the big pieces of almonds ground down, and lumps out of the sugar.  You are looking for the consistency of sand.

In a bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer (I found a hand mixer more successful).  Whisk the egg whites until a foam tarts to foam, it should have a slight tinge of the color of the egg whites in the folds of the ribbons.  Slowly add in the sugar while mixing and whisk until a medium stiff peak forms. Add in two drops of food coloring gel. Continue to whisk, as soon as you can hold the bowl upside down over your head with out it falling out, the eggs are done.

Sift half of the dry mixture onto the egg whites, and mix in to lighten.  Sift in the remaining dry mixture, and begin to gently fold in.  Once mostly combined, tip the bowl at a 45° angle.  Spread the mixture out on 1/3 of the side surface of the bowl, sweep under and fold it over on it self.  Repeat this process 10-12 times.  When you reach the 10th time, stop and lift up a spatula full of the mixture if it forms thick ribbons, watch the mixture and count to 10.  It should absorb into the rest of the mixture with only slight indication of edges, your mixture it done.  It should just very slowly settle on itself.

Pour mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  I used Adeco #804.  Pipe out following your guide pattern (make sure the side with the pencil lead is facing down onto your prepared cookie sheet). Gently tap the bottom of your sheet twice to remove air bubbles, and let it set out to dry to form a shell.  What you’re looking for is it to not feel tacky.  This can be 15 minutes to an hour depending on the heat and humidity in your kitchen.

Bake at 300°F for 18 minutes.

Once finished baking if you are using parchment let cool for 10 minutes then transfer the top tray to refrigerator to cool.  When they are completely cool it will turn off of the parchment quiet easily.  If you are using a silpat you can let sit out to cool until you can easily remove from the silpat.

Once the shells turn over easily without sticking transfer to a wire rack, and prepare your next batch with the two cookie sheets by doubling them up and sliding the parchment or silpat with shells onto the top sheet.  Follow the same baking temperature and time, repeating the cooling process as well to remove the shells from the parchment.

Pair up the shells of the same size and flip bottom up to let cool completely before adding in filling.

Refrigerate in a sealed container for a week.  Let come up in temperature slightly before eating for best texture / taste.

Blackberry Buttercream

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 3 sticks Butter (24 tbsp), room temperature
  • 1/4c Blackberry Compote

In the bowl of your stand mixer whip the egg yolks with a pinch of salt.  Whisk until tripled in volume, and a pale yellow in color.  Meanwhile, place a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat with the sugar and water.  Bring it up to 245°F

While whisking the eggs on medium speed, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream. Once all the sugar is incorporated, whisk on high until cool, about 10 minutes.

Once the egg and sugar mixture is cool, still at medium speed, add in the butter in small chunks of 2 tbsp.  Once all the butter is incorporated slowly add in the blackberry compote, and whisk until smooth. Add more confectioner’s sugar if you want more sweetness, then whisk until smooth.

Place into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  I used an Adeco #809 tip.  Pipe the frosting onto half the paired macaron shells.  Once you have completed piping all the halves, place on the tops.  Store in the refrigerator sealed 7-10 days, bring close to room temperature before eating.

Macarons very slightly modified: Tartelette // Buttercream inspired by: MasterChef Australia


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Chocolate Macarons with Coffee Buttercream

I now understand the term macaron madness.  I cannot believe how much fun I am having making these things!  Honestly, I don’t need this many macarons in the house and I wish all of you could show up just to take some away.  They are just too hard to resist eating.

For this batch of macarons, I wanted to come up with a filling that would require egg yolks.  I was left with three for every batch of macarons and would rather not waste them.  So, I took some inspiration from my favorite cooking show,  Masterchef Australia (link at the bottom). This version of buttercream uses egg yolks – yay no waste! – and it’s very smooth which complements the cocoa shells wonderfully.  I decided to add half of the espresso powder in the buttercream near the end give an almost crunchy texture to the cream with tiny bursts of coffee flavor to wash away the sweetness of the macaron. I don’t think it could have turned out any better.

Macarons are the bane and bliss of many food bloggers.  I have been semi-successful before but that was nearly a year ago.  I wanted to make them again as an alternative to my birthday cake. The problem was, my old recipe wasn’t working for me.  I wasn’t getting any pied or feet, I blame the new oven I got in the spring.   I gave up for a while until I read Tartelettes ebook, Demystifying Macarons.  When you want to make macarons, Tartelette is a pretty reliable go-to.  I had multiple success now with her recipe and technique by mixing it with some other little tips and tricks that worked for me.

Remember when you were told as a kid, “practice makes perfect”?  Well, Parisian macarons fall along those lines.  I cannot explain well enough in words what the mixture should be like.  Where to be gentle, where to just stir with some vigor, and the exact texture.  I will tell you I have found that adding cocoa powder produces a chewier cookie, and takes less folds than the basic macaron recipe does.  So, it’s just working with the basic recipe enough times to gain a feel for it, to know when you are at the right constancy.  If you decide to go down this road of trial and error, I promise to send you happy pastry thoughts.

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Pumpkin Scones

Oh yes my friends it is that time of year when the spicy warmth of pumpkin is everywhere.   Like a large portion of the population I love Starbucks, what I don’t always love is the prices of baked goods. For the price of two you can buy enough ingredients to make a weeks worth for two people. This is where my search began.

Trolling around the internet like I do, I wanted to find a recipe similar to Starbucks Pumpkin Scones. I found one that had rave reviews and from a tried and trusted blogger  Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.  The recipes we have tried from her before were a great success.  I knew these scones would be too.  It was a complete success with just very slight changes, due to spices I had on hand.

My husband is the scone maker in our home, but I wanted to surprise him with these.  I knew from the little tips he has told me how to make them turn out successful.  It really is just as simple as not touching the mixture with your hands, and making sure you combine the wet/dry ingredients until just barely combined.  If you over work the mixture the scones come out too cake like, and not brittle like a true scone.

It comes together quickly, and this recipe takes including cooking time less then 30 minutes.  The hardest part is waiting for them to cool before you dive in.  My husband was taunted by the smell of them cooking and picked a hot one off the tray when it came out.  Good sign of a successful recipe.

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