Macarons 2014 – Batch 11 – Purple Chocolate

Testing out the piping skills by creating initial macarons

Testing out the piping skills by creating initial macarons

…AND more birthday macarons.  This time for a friend with some RAD initials.

Almost all of my adventurous energy went into the coconut flour version, so these were kept simple.  Basic Mad about Macarons shells colored purple inspired by purple bangs.

The filling is a coffee chocolate ganache.  I heated whipping cream (same amount by weight as the chocolate) with instant coffee (one tablespoon) over medium heat until just too warm to touch.  Then poured through a sieve onto broken Chocolove chocolate bar.

Birthday chocolate macaron

Birthday chocolate macarons

After letting sit for three minutes, stirred until the chocolate was smooth.  Added a splash of almond extract.

Result: 56.5 (113 shells) approximately the size of a quarter plus three initials.

Aerial view of birthday macaron batch 11

Aerial view of birthday macaron batch 11

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Macarons 2014 – Batch 9 – Coconut Flour?

German chocolate macarons for brother's birthday

German chocolate macarons for brother’s birthday

Birthdays are a great excuse to make macarons.  My brother’s favorite cake is German Chocolate, so naturally that is the flavor I chose.  Somehow the usual chocolate shells filled with the coconut pecan frosting seemed too simple.

Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour

Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour

I decided to try substituting coconut flour for almond flour to get even more coconutty goodness.  I was warned coconut flour sucks up the moisture so I used a little less and upped the egg whites.  I even added a dash of oil.   The result – taste was spot on yummy, texture was a SUPER FAIL.  You can see the cracked desert texture instead of the usual smooth top and only a small foot.  They were so crunchy I think my sister may have broke a tooth with her sampling.

The texture did improve a bit after letting them sit filled, but still not the usual awesomeness.  The flavor is so nice, I will attempt this again.  However, I need to do more research before attempting.

Ingredients:

  • 160 grams egg whites whipped to stiff peaks

    Coconut flour macaron shell just piped and resting.

    Coconut flour macaron shell just piped and resting.

  • 30 grams egg whites added to the mix after started mixing
  • 90 grams coconut flour
  • 40 grams almond flour
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 270 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 T oil
  • 20 grams cocoa powder

Next time I may use more almond flour and less coconut flour.  Also, I think I will use more egg whites mixing half with the dry ingredients without whipping.German chocolate macaron

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.

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Macarons 2014 – Batches 1, 2 and 3

0110140752aFor 2014, I have fallen prey to the beginning of the year goal setting affliction.  The goals are to make 52 batches of macarons this year and to document them.  Why 52?  Who knows, it sounded like a reasonable number to average one batch a week.  I often make more than one batch at a time, but there are some weeks I don’t make any.

The first macarons of the year – Chocolate Salted Caramel – were presented at the Minnesota Public Radio | American Public Media Employee Cabaret Bakery Showcase.  Every year employees of MPR and APM, take the stage at the Fitzgerald theatre and perform for the co-workers, family, and friends.  It is great fun. It helps there are so many talented people working there.  This year included a bakery showcase which I eagerly volunteered to make some macarons.

The details: shells were made using the Mad About Macarons basic recipe, plus what I had left for cocoa divided into thirds (probably about 10 grams each).   The filling is the Salted Caramel using Manu’s Menu’s recipe.  One batch of the filling was plenty to fill all three batches of the shells.

Mentions were made some of these were taken home for partners who were not able to attend the event.  This sounds like a stamp of approval to me.