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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Raspberry Lemonade Macorons

Hello, lovelies!

Macarons (or "mac-ah-rhons" as said in my terrible french accent) are ridiculously popular right now. That is a-ok with me. I've got to say, these are a fairly intimidating cookie to make, and I've had my share of fails... but when you finally get it, it is SOOOOOO worth it! I literally burnt the first batch that came out with "feet" because I was so excited I felt the need to dance around my kitchen. I totally forgot that I hadn't taken them out of the oven. Whoops.

Oh well. Now that I've gotten that litte thrill out of the way, I feel fairly capable of making these adorable little treats. Hopefully after my fails (which have led to quite a bit of new found wisdom) I will be able to steer you a little clearer. Be sure to fully read through this recipe and watch the video before starting, and you should be fine. Should be... (even if they don't turn out with fancy little feet, they still taste pretty damned good!)

*Tip: Make sure to bake these on a nice sunny day. The added humidity in the air on a rainy day does a number on any merengue based recipe. Trust me, your odds of success go up when the sun comes out.


For the Cookies:

3 Egg whites
¼ cup white sugar 
2 cups confectioners sugar 
1 cup almond flour 
2 Tbs powdered (puree freeze-dried) raspberries
pinch of salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Fore the filling:

2 Tbs lemon curd
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 lb confectioners sugar (add more for a thicker frosting)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees

 *TIP:  Egg whites need to be room temp in order to whip more easily. If you forget to take your eggs out of the refirgerator beforehand, place them in a bowl of luke warm water for about 5 minutes.

Begin by pulverizing about 1/2 bag of freeze-dried raspberries. Pulse until they have reached a similar consistency to the almond flour and powdered sugar. Once they are powdered, sift them into a large bowl along with the powdered sugar, and almond flour.

*Tip: There will be quite a bit of remnants left in the bottom of your sifter. This is simply the raspberry seeds and the the larger lumps of almond pieces. Either discard those, or snack on 'em. They taste kind of like Special K (Mmmmmm!)

Next, separate your egg whites from the yolks. Make sure no yolks are left in the whites. Add them to your stand mixer. (feel free to use a hand mixer as well, I just find the use of both of my hands to be immensely helpful.) Beat egg whites Until they have started frothing. Add the cream of tartar and salt. 

Continue mixing until very soft peaks are forming. Slowly add in the granulated sugar while the mixer is still running. If you would like to add food coloring, do so now.  Whip until they form glossy, stiff peaks that stands upright. Test this by dipping the whisk attachment into the whites and turning if upside down. If they peak remains (think of a nice big cone of soft serve ice-cream) then you are ready to move on. 

Fold flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture. This is where you want to pay special attention. If you undermix your batter and leave dry patches, the cookies will be lumpy and cracked when they bake. If you overmix, the macarons will be flat and won't have feet,because you will have broken all of the little air bubbles you worked so hard to create in the first place. You want to end up with a nice smooth batter that still holds its shape. This can be tricky and may take a few attempts before perfecting... don't be discouraged. The first time I successfully made these, I literally did a happy dance in my kitchen.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag.

Pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

*Tip: To ensure evenly shaped cookies, trace 1" circles on the back side of your parchment paper. 

Once all of your cookies are piped, give the sheet pan a good bang on the counter. To do this, simply lift it a few inches above the tabletop and drop. This helps any large air bubbles rise to the surface and pop. 

*Tip: Dip your finger in water and lightly tap down the "nipples" or peaks on the tops of the cookies. This will help make a nice smooth finished product.

Now, it is waiting time. Let the piped cookies sit out for 20 minutes (up to an hour). This gives them time to dry out a bit, creating a tacky surface.When they dry before baking, they are forced to spread upwards, not outwards. By doing this before baking, you are helping your macarons develop their signature "feet". 

Bake for 8-10 mins. Make sure to let them completely bake, otherwise they may stick to your tray. Likewise, allow them to completely cool before trying to remove them.

While they are cooking,  whip up a nice filling. I personally love lemon with raspberry. A nice ganache works well too. 

The filling is simple: Whip together all three ingredients. Add more powdered sugar if you'd like a thicker consistency. 

To assemble, simply place a small spoonful of filling on one cookie and top with another. Show them off, and enjoy!

What are your favorite macaron flavor?

Love always, 

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