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Macarons – The delicate French invention.

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But while we prefer commercial almond flour, and the sifting we can live with, drying batches of it all night in an oven is right out ! There would be additional time and expense and insurance and some one would have to be there all night to watch the oven. Not for us. Pas ce soir, Josephine.

Any skilled pc's on eG who use it (and sift it) WITHOUT oven drying?

Interesting idea, though. All knowledge is useful. More grist for the mill...

It depends on your humidity situation. When we did them in school, it was summer in Chicago, so we had to dry the almond flour AND powdered sugar overnight in the deck ovens. And even so we had to make adjustments for the humidity. However, when we made them again in late fall/early winter when the humidity had dropped, no drying, no problem.

Either way, we sifted the powdered sugar but not the almond flour.

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I've never oven dried my tant pour tant or the almond flour seperately. Although I have to admit, its not a bad idea for really wet days.....Humidity does play with your recipes (I worked right at the shores of Lake Michigan and it kept all my items damp year round-not to mention the building it's self wasn't sealed well), instead I increased the amount of dried whites I added and decreased my fresh whites.

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I've never used a "ready-made" TPTB. I've always made my own using commercial almond flour and sugar. And I've always sifted it, you'd be suprised to see what makes it's way in to those bags. I don't oven my almond flour to dry it out per se, rather I always toast it slightly, then add the sugar. I like the taste better. So I don't have much fluctuation in results day-to-day.

Tim, do you have a Herme-type recipe using commercial almond flour ? The ones I have seen here are for whole almonds and sugar.

FWIW, I've don't use Herme's recipe. I've tried it, but had some problems. I like Pascal Brunstein's the best.

Tim

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just a little note...some egg white powders contain glycerin which will actually cause your egg whites to just sit there and never, ever whip up. But the pure stuff works like a charm, just check the label.

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I made my first attempt at French macaroons last night, and I must say, I was fairly pleased with the results. I used Herme's recipe for chocolate macaroons.

His recipe says that the tops should be dry and cracked, which suprised me as I do not recall the macaroons at his shop in Paris having cracked tops. My did not crack, and they came out shiny on top.

After I pulled my first sheet from the oven, I remembered a tip I had read in a recipe from Saveur - once you have piped the batter onto the sheet, let it sit at room temp for 30 minutes before putting in the oven. This will allow the batter to dry out slightly.

My last sheet to go in the oven had this chance, and I have to say they did turn out the prettiest.

I did experience the same frustration with my attempt to grind the almonds others have experienced - though I ground them in the Cuisineart for 8 minutes, I did not feel the powder was fine enough. I compensated by putting the ground almond/powdered sugar mixture through a sifter before mixing with the eqq whites. My batter was thick and sticky.

I plan to try this recipe again - as I really need to hone my piping skills! Though the cookies were tasty, they were far from uniform in shape and size.

I may try the powdered whites on the next attempt as I have a package in the pantry just waiting to be used.

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Finally.

After three tries (third time's a charm?), I finally nailed this! The first time we made macarons in class, mine failed desperately, and the ones that did turn out (from others' batches) weren't that good.

Since then, I've read and re-read this thread (and the other one) trying to learn what I need to make these successfully, as well as figure out why they are so popular, at least among the French. And I had a really good one from a local patisserie.

So earlier this week, I gave it another try. And these were worse than the first! Last night, I tried again, going to back to the gerbet macaron recipe from Bugat/Healy, which is what I'd first tried. This time, with help from e-g, I nailed them! Let them sit out and form a skin (why, oh why, isn't this in the instructions?). Used almond meal instead of the tedious grinding/regrinding/sifting procedure. Beautiful, gorgeous macarons.

gallery_17645_490_1105659583.jpg

Now I want to make a whole bunch of them. With different flavors! I have seen the light. Macarons are awesome.

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They look great, jgarner! Macarons are my favorite as far as cookies go. If you are able to share it, Id be interested in the recipe you used. I'd also be interested in what you bake them on, and how you remove them. Keep us updated on the versions you try -- I'm still looking for something as delicious as the chocolate with ganache filling in Greenspan/Herme's book.

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Hooh, boy, Patrick, the recipe is long, drawn out, and a PITA. Essentially, though it's:

5 1/2 oz. blanched almonds

7 1/2 oz. confectioners' sugar

1 1/4 oz. lt. brown sugar

3 egg whites

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)

The instructions have you go through this whole rigamarole of grinding the nuts with an exact weight of the confectioners' sugar, sifting, then regrinding with another exact weight (and believe me, it matters, though I couldn't tell you why) to end up with 11 oz. of what amounts to TPT plus lt. brown sugar and some extra confectioners' sugar (by the time you're done, you've used 6 2/3 oz. of confectioners' sugar, and the rest goes into the egg whites). I'd be inclined to tinker with the recipe and just sub in TPT plus the extra sugar and skip the whole process. The only strange thing is that with the 11 ounces you have, 2 ounces of that almond/sugar mixture is meant to go in the filling. So if you asked me, I'd do the following:

4.25 oz. confectioners' sugar

5.5 oz. almond meal

1.25 oz. lt. brown sugar

(with the brown sugar, it's slightly less than equal parts, though I suppose if you were willing to forego the brown sugar, you could just use 11 oz. of TPT, or 9 oz. if you weren't going to use the other 2 oz. for the filling)

To the 9 oz. add 2.5 oz. of confectioners' sugar. Then proceed with whipping the egg whites, etc., adding .83 oz. confectioners' sugar (based on the strict math) to them to form the meringue.

Fold into the almond/sugar mixture, add flavoring or food coloring, pipe onto parchment. Bake at 450ºF for one minute, then turn the oven down to 375ºF, prop the door open with a wooden spoon, and bake another 10 or so minutes until they're done. But like I said, letting them sit and form a skin (minimum 20-30 minutes) seemed to help.

We just used parchment, and the 'roons came off no problem once they were cool.

My fillings were chocolate ganache and an espresso buttercream.

One of my classmates is supposed to be faxing me the recipe from Pascal Rigo's book, which I want to try this weekend.

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A couple weeks ago I was craving macarons (one of my favorite confections) and decided to try my hand at making them, after months of trepidation. I reread this thread and others and collected lots of recipes and advice.

The results were great! I had a few that were too dry and hollow, but most were beautiful (if anything, I had too much foot) and got even better after the filled macarons were a couple days old. Crisp yet chewy, very elegant.

I did one batch that I left to dry for about 20 mins and one that I put right in the oven after piping. The ones that I let dry were the set that had some dry/hollow ones, so I don't think I'd do that again with this recipe (I know jgarner had dif. results but she also had a dif. recipe). I ground the almonds myself with some of the sugar.

So here was my recipe (thanks to all the contributers to this thread!):

1 1/4 cup (200 g, 5 oz) powdered sugar

1 cup (110 g, 4 oz) ground almonds

1/4 cup (57 g, 2 oz) granulated sugar

3 whites, left to dry uncovered overnight

Preheat the oven to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Whisk together the ground almonds with the powdered sugar in a bowl.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the granulated sugar and beat until glossy.

Fold the almond mixture into the whites. This is alarming, so don't be surprised when the whites deflate. It will seem like the mixture is too dry, but just keep folding until the mixture comes together. It should "flow like magma."

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe rounds onto the baking sheets. The rounds should be about 3-4 cm in diameter, they will spread a bit during baking.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. After 10 mins, feet should have formed. Do not let the tops color.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the paper (if they are stuck, try popping them in the freezer for a minute). Let cool completely and fill.

I had a bit of trouble getting them off the parchment and will try using silpats next time.

I filled them with ganache because that's what I had on hand. These were so great and satisfying to make. I'll be experimenting with flavors and fillings soon.

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Here are my chocolate macarons from the Herme/Greenspan book.

gallery_5404_94_1104379155.jpg

I am very proud of those since after trying several recipes this was the only one that worked, and they absolutly delicious. I think I have some of my failed attempts further up in this thread. To remove them I used the steaming method recommended by the recipe.

Elie

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Since Elie added his macaron photo to the thread, I'll add mine too, even though I already posted it to another thread. I've tried three kinds thus far, the Herme recipe for chocolate like Elie's, a strawberry version with strawberry-flavored pastry cream, and a lemon version with lemon buttercream.

gallery_23736_355_1100060485.jpg

gallery_23736_355_1100528323.jpg


Edited by Patrick S (log)

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Patrick,

What recipe did you use for the non chocolate ones? I used Herme for the chocolate ones and they elicit raves whenever I give them to anyone. But I'd also like to make some like colored ones with pastel inside, such as what is on the cover of this month's Donna Hay magazine. They are quite pretty.

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Patrick,

What recipe did you use for the non chocolate ones?  I used Herme for the chocolate ones and they elicit raves whenever I give them to anyone.  But I'd also like to make some like colored ones with pastel inside, such as what is on the cover of this month's Donna Hay magazine.  They are quite pretty.

Josette,

I just used the Herme recipe but made up for the missing cocoa by using a little more almond meal. I colored both the strawberry and the lemon variety with a few drops of gel color. For whatever reason, these changes had the effect of making the macaroons more fragile, so I had to spend a lot of time removing them from the parchment. Thats why I'm wanting to try some other recipes, like the one jgarner posted.


Edited by Patrick S (log)

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Oh, what a nice idea! I'd like to use powdered raspberry sieved on the top before baking like I do the cocoa with the chocolate ones. That would be pretty and add flavor to the outside of the cookie and then reinforce it with a flavored filling....

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I want to make the chocolate macs, and looked them up in Herme and Greenspan. I don't care for the idea of the water on the pan thing. Healy and Bugat recommend doing that and it's just such a pain. Herme says to moisten the paper so you can get the macaroons off right away, I imagine they would continue to bake if left on the pan, but having made multiple thousands of almonds macs which cling with the same tenactiy, I used to pop the sheet pans right into the freezer, and when the pan was cold, you could pop the cookies right off. Wonder if it works with these.

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The freezer method helped me, so give it a try. I don't like that steaming thing either.

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Back at the macaroons this weekend, this time making chocolate macs from Healy/Bugat (4.5 oz. almond meal, 1 oz. lt. brown sugar, 6.5 oz confectioners' sugar, 1/3 oz. dutch-process cocoa, 3 egg whites -- all but 1 1/4 oz. of the confectioners' sugar with the almonds, the rest with the whites, and then filled with ganache.

I tell ya, I'm hooked on these things! :wub:

Man, they taste like the best brownies you've ever had!

gallery_17645_490_1106000582.jpg


Edited by jgarner53 (log)

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Those look awesome -- puffy, smooth, perfect! Definitely some of the best Ive seen anywhere.

Did you do anything special with your whites? Did you leave 'em on the counter overnight or something?

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Patrick, yes, I did. They sat out about 24 hours, uncovered, on the counter.

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Patrick, yes, I did. They sat out about 24 hours, uncovered, on the counter.

So is that the secret to that perfect, puffy, domish shape?

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It might be. I also let them sit about 45 minutes before baking to skin over. I will definitely do it from now on, like a superstitious baseball player who has to wear the "lucky socks" for every game.

And, lucky me, my ancient oven has a little metal arm that swings out to hold the door ajar - no wooden spoon necessary. :smile:

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Herme says to moisten the paper so you can get the macaroons off right away,

In Thomas Keller's book, Bouchon, he says the patissier used to bake the macaroons on damp newspapers. The moisture would steam up and keep the batter moist as it baked.

It might be. I also let them sit about 45 minutes before baking to skin over. I will definitely do it from now on, like a superstitious baseball player who has to wear the "lucky socks" for every game.

In the April 2001 issue of Saveur, they featured a macaroon recipe adapted from Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen. He recommends piping the dough into 1" rounds (Keller says they should not exceed 3" or be smaller than 1 1/2" or they will be too chewy). Gisslen recommends letting the piped batter rest on 10-15 minutes.

Keller recommends letting the piped batter sit for 1-2 hours before baking to allow a skin to form.

I guess it all depends on where you live - how humid it may be outside, etc.

I have made one batch of the Herme's chocolate macaroons, and I forgot about the drying time tip. The sheet that had been sitting on the counter waiting for the first sheet to come out of the oven definitely turned out better.

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After a few weeks in lemon-land, tonight I am back to my true love -- chocolate. I tried Jgarner's macaroon recipe using whites left out overnight.These have brought me closer to what I'm trying to achieve -- a domical macaroon. Leaving the whites out helps quite a bit, as it gives a stickier batter that keeps its piped shape better. I think ideally you want the highest dry dry ingredient/whites ratio possible, to give the stiffest batter possible. As Jgarner said, these macaroons do not need to be steamed from below or frozen to be removed -- once they cool, 95% of them can be pryed off the parchment by hand with nothing left behind. I filled these with a ganache made with 12ozs Callebaut bitter, 4ozs Callebaut milk, 1 2/3C cream, and 4ozs unsalted butter.

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gallery_23736_355_1106708388.jpg

gallery_23736_355_1106711749.jpg


Edited by Patrick S (log)

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What puzzles me is that pastry shops like Pierre Herme can't possibly leave out egg whites all night yet they get perfectly domed macarons every time.

I like the macaron because it seems quick and easy. Just a few ingredients, perfectly mixed and baked. The annoyance factor of planning 24 hours in advance puts a damper on things.

Someone posted about earlier about the Trader Joe's almond meal. They say it might be rancid (how can you tell?) and that it is too coarse (how do you define this?). The two bags I bought didn't smell funny. I didn't resift the almond meal because it appeared fine enough.

Is there some advantage to sifting the almond meal?

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