Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Battle with MACARONS ......(1) The French Meringue Method With 'Aged Egg Whites'

"Love it.......or hate it?"....LOL
Macarons! Macarons! Macarons! Are you scare of hearing this word?  or are you furious with it that you have a 'Love Hate' affair with it, and each time you hear its name, it makes you has goosebumps, but yet you wanted so much to make it and hold it in your hands and feel it melting in your mouth? LOL.......
I totally understand how you feel, as I am definitely one of them!! I hate Macarons! I love Macarons! I wish I can make it! I will make it!! Well, that's what I once said to these 'little monsters' and to myself that one day, I will make them without fail! Well, when I look back at my 'one and only' attempt that I had a batch of macarons with feet was way back last year in May, *sigh*...........see how scare I am to ever again face these little shells? hehehe (kidding)
Well, you might be wondering why out of a sudden I was into making macarons again. Actually I suddenly get caught up with this macaron fever when I recently saw quite a number of blogs and websites with really pretty macaron pictures and all sorts of yummy flavors. It really kills me to even think back my failure in making them.......and I make up my mind that I'm definitely not going to let that failure haunt me and leave a scar in my baking history!! Sound serious huh? LOL.....
So I decided it's time to try test them again since I haven't had any orders in line, I can concentrate in experimenting it again and maybe find out why I failed. I bought my icing sugar, ground almond and a tray of fresh eggs (Grade B). I'm sure a lot of you have ever gone through tonnes of tips and testimonials and advice and 'dos and don'ts' of macaron making. Here are some of the important ones......

What others say:-
  1. You must use 'aged egg whites' at least 24 hours. Some even encourage you to leave it at the kitchen counter for about 3 days (wow, I wonder salmonella exist in those eggs or not?!);
  2. You must leave the piped macarons for at least 30 minutes or more before putting them into the oven to bake so that there will develop a 'shell crust' before the baking;
And this time I used the very basic recipe from Bakerella, the Queen of Cake Pops and courtesy of Tartlette, the 'Queen of Macarons', hehe.

Basic Macarons.....with Easy to follow steps
110gm ground almonds
200gm icing sugar, sifted
90gm 'aged' egg whites
25 - 50gm castor sugar
Food colouring of your choice (powder/gel /paste)

Let's start:-
1. Whisk the egg whites in a standing mixer with a 'whisk' attachment at 'high' until foamy, then gradually add in the castor sugar and continue to beat until glossy- stiff peak form.  Once you reach a stiff peak, stop whisking. *Tip: Check on the peak after every 1-2 minutes.    

2. Put the ground almond and sifted icing sugar in a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine them together.

3. Then add your beaten egg whites into the almond mixture. Start to fold the egg whites to combine it together. 

4. Stop folding halfway to add in your food colouring, then continue to fold until all the ingredients are fully blended. To get the 'right consistency' of the mixture, it's not easy, but here's a guide from Bakerella...... " run a knife through the batter and count to 10, the line should disappear by then, and you have reach the right consistency!

5. Now that you have reach the 'magma' consistency, spoon all the mixture into a disposable piping bag with an open tip "O", and pipe onto prepared parchment paper (I piped mine on the macaron baking sheet that i just bought the other day). The size should be small, about 1.5" inches circle in diameter, as it will still spread a bit and stop.

6. Let the macaron sit for about 30 minutes or more (even up to an hour will be fine) before baking. This process is to let the shell crust and raised during baking, and leaves the 'feet' visible at the bottom! (Happy to hear the word 'feet' or are you already started to pray for it to 'please' appear before your eyes? LOL....I prayed very hard for mine to appear, kekeke)

7. Ok, finally , the waiting is over, now it's time to put the baking tray into the oven! Bake the macarons at a pre-heated of 150 degree Celsius for about 18-20 minutes. *Tips: Please monitor your baking time and temperature, as I find that my oven heat up more at 150 ~C and my macarons burned faster , so maybe a 130 / 140~ C would be better the next round. Check yours!

8. Are you sitting in front of the oven like I did? hehe......See the 'feet' appearing? Yes, they did, right about the 7th - 9th minute........"hallelujah"

9. Remove from the oven, and let it cool on completely. Slowly remove them from the parchment paper / silicon mate.

10. You are ready to match your macaron pair, and pipe in the fillings of your choice. I filled mine with 'Chocolate Ganache' and put them back into the fridge stored in an air-tight container, as a lot of people says that the macarons taste better on the second day.........true or false? LOL....find out yourself  *wink*

Finally! Some decent Macarons to pose for my photograph, LOL
And so, this is the 1st battle I had with the macarons after a one year 3 months break from the last attempt. I will be making them more often now, as I still have a lot of gaps and holes to fill and fix........I'm not at all satisfy with my macarons, as some of them are hollow in the inside, the base were not smooth and the inside texture was still not really properly baked............ so, bake with me and we can share the experience together!

Happy Macarons Baking!!
 p/s: Stay tuned for more macarons attempts from me....;)

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