For Valentine's day, Mon Cheri got me a special treat:
a cooking class at Sur La table to make macarons.
Some might think it is more for him than for me,
i.e. he would get to eat my hard labor...
well it is truly a present for me as I am the only one
that can eat nuts in the family!
Aren't they beautiful?
and delicious, a lot of eating and testing in the class!
The recipe we followed is very similar to this one from Epicurious.
They are a couple tricks to know, but it is over all pretty simple,
I guess I will have to try at home, to make sure I can duplicate my own work!
A few things that I thought were keys:
room temperature egg white
degreased glassware with vinegar
folding the almond flour/sugar mixture carefully
stop mixing when the batter has reached the proper consistency:
firm but drip slowly from the spatula!
use paper with circles (1 1/4 inch) under the parchment so all the macarons are the same size
use pastry bag with 1/2 inch plain round tip
make sure the macarons are dried before baking them, at least 15 min (almost hard to the pouch)
remove the circle paper before baking
use 2 baking sheets (one underneath the other)
bake 350 for 7 min then 275-300 for 10 min
high temperature at the beginning to ensure that we get a "foot"
but then cooler so the top does not burn
they get a lot paler during baking!
the macarons can be made with almonds, hazelnuts and pistachio,
color is added even to the pistachio one, which seems to be very temperamental,
probably best to stick to almond or hazelnut (not as white)
For the inside we made 2 different chocolate filling:
white chocolate ganache with rose water
and espresso-chocolate ganache.
Both were quite good, but I think I prefer the jam/fruit filled ones,
I guess I can always put some preserve in between 2 macarons!
It seems to be best to make them at least a day if not 2 days in advance
before serving/eating them, as they are rather dry
but get moister with the filling over time!
I wish I had taken pictures at the end of the class
but we all got sticky fingers and full mouths...
so much for waiting a day or 2!