Macarons 2014 – Batch 8, the Grammy Edition

0126141614Batch 8 was a last minute request. I was invited to a friends’ house for fajitas and watching the Grammys.  When I asked if I could bring something, the request came for macarons. I initially said there wasn’t enough time because I do prefer to have the macarons mature for at least 24 hours after being filled.

When scanning the cupboards and refrigerator for some other dessert inspiration to strike, I saw my already separated ageing egg whites and remaining buttered popcorn filling (from macaron making earlier in the week).  I couldn’t resist the challenge.  So I whipped up a batch of macarons using the ingredient ratio in Les Petits Macarons and my usual mixing and baking technique (14 mins at 300 degrees).  I chose to color them pink in honor of P!nk who would be performing at the Grammys and for whom my friends are big fans.

You can see from the picture I rushed the mixing a bit as the last little peak didn’t go away.  Just a couple of more folds and they would have been picture perfect.   They sat for about five hours before the first nibbles, so they were a bit chewy.  The flavor of the buttered popcorn filling was still quite lovely.  I bet the ones I left behind were fantastic the next day both in texture and flavor.

This is why I should just make some to freeze for spontaneous little gifts.  Can I trust myself to have them sitting in the freezer?

I didn’t stick around for all of the Grammys, but I did stay long enough to enjoy watching P!nk and her acrobatic performance.

Macarons 2014 – Batches 4, 5, 6 and 7

Les Petits Macarons

Big ol’ tray o’ macarons

These macarons happened because I discovered the book Les Petits Macarons.  I love this book.

The book gives details of four methods for making the shells: Italian method, Swiss method, French method and Easy French method.  Inspired the “right” method is the one that works for you, and the only method I had used so far had been the French method.  I had to confirm there wasn’t a better method for me out there.

Now I didn’t follow the book exactly because I wanted to really compare apples to apples.

For all batches, I used the same quantity of almond meal, sugar, and egg whites as written in the book.  I didn’t add anything else that was called for in some, such as cream of tartar or egg white powder.  Also, I didn’t follow the baking directions.  Instead, I did my usual rest for thirty minutes (give or take) and baking at 300 degrees for 14-16 minutes.

Les Petits Macaron results

Side by side comparison of the different methods, left to right: Italian, Swiss, French, Easy French

The French method was the clear winner.  Besides looking the best, I actually enjoy the process the best. Italian method was a close second as far as appearances, but I totally botched it with the heating sugar part.  Most of it ended up on the side of the mixing bowl – FAIL.  I enjoyed the Swiss method as I do enjoy whipping over a double boiler, but they look crazy.  As crazy as they look, they were impressively consistent in they craziness.  The little hats were askew on all of them in almost the same way.  The Easy French method may be appealing to some, but they look funny and I didn’t enjoy the process.

In addition to the shell recipes, there are some fabulous flavor/filling ideas.  The strangest sounding one was the Buttered Popcorn filling, so that is what I made.  It is subtle on the popcorn, but quite delightful.  I am fairly certain I will be making that one again.  Actually all the fillings I did this day are worth repeating.

Look at all that sugar that ended up on the side of the mixing bowl

Look at all that sugar that ended up on the side of the mixing bowl

Details:

Batch 4 – meh:

  • Italian method – pouring hot sugar syrup into the egg whites
  • Color: Blue
  • Filling: Buttered Popcorn (recipe: Les Petits Macarons)

Batch 5 – ruh-roh:

  • Swiss method – partially cooking the egg whites and sugar by whipping over a double boiler before whipping to stiff peaks
  • Color: Green
  • Filling: Wasabi white chocolate (based on recipe in Mad About Macarons) – Note: next time I will double the wasabi, too subtle for my taste.

Batch 6 – Woohoo!:

  • French method – just pouring the granulated sugar into the egg whites
  • Color: Yellow
  • Filling: Buttered Popcorn

Batch 7 – ruh-roh:

  • Easy French method – no egg white whipping, but batter resting
  • Color: Purple
  • Filling: Balsamic Fig (ricotta cheese mixed with fig jam and balsamic vinegar to taste) – fabulous quick and easy filling

These were shared with my peers who are always willing tasters – even when the macarons do not look the part of proper macarons.