Ever since the amazingness that was the Lark/Harmon wedding, I've wanted to recreate the incredible little desserts the bride somehow found time to make. Sara was happy to send me the recipe, so I enlisted the services of expert sous chef Nancy (of Tres Leches and Roasted Poblano Enchiladas fame) and set out on what would become my most trying (and delicious) baking adventure yet.
Almond Macaroon Master Recipe
All Parts From PastryPal.com
Servings: 30-40 macaroon pairs
Time: 60-90 minutes
1 cup almond flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tbsp granulated sugar
|Now you just have to wait about 45 minutes for the skin to form.|
|There's a decent amount of sugar|
- Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy then add the sugar to help stabilize them.
- Continue beating the egg whites until firm peaks start to form.
- Pour half of the dry ingredients into the bowl with the egg whites and fold the egg whites over to incorporate. Add in the remaining dry ingredients and fold until the dry ingredients are no longer visible.
- Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe nickel sized circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Note: the batter will spread more on parchment paper, so for better looking macaroons, you'll have to splurge on the costly mat.
- Preheat the oven to 280 F.
- Let sit until a skin starts forms around the batter. This can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on the weather. You'll know they're ready when you can touch then without any batter getting on your finger.
- Bake for 18 minutes making sure to turn once midway through.
- Allow the macaroons to cool before removing from the sheet. If you try to move them too quickly, the bottoms will pull off.
|Don't remove too quickly if you like your cookies to have bottoms.|
|The graveyard of failed macaroons: the saddest thing ever. We lost a lot of good men that night.|
Almond macaroon master recipe (see above)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
- Repeat the procedure listed above, but also sift in the cocoa powder with your dry ingredients.
The chocolate macaroon batter came out much nicer than the almond ones and they had an intriguing brownie-like flavor. Plus, once you add filling, they kind of look like Oreos, which has to be a good thing.
Speaking of fillings, now let's move on to our three varieties: chocolate ganache, white chocolate ganache and lemon curd.
Chocolate Ganache/White Chocolate Ganache
Time: 5 minutes
6 oz white or dark chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
|White Chocolate Ganache: Because the macaroons need to be sweeter|
- Bring the heavy cream to boil in a pot.
- Pour over well chopped chocolate in a bowl and mix well until it becomes creamy.
|The dark chocolate ganache is no slouch either.|
Time: 20 minutes
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
Pinch of salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, chopped
|Nancy has the faux double boiler technique down.|
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a large metal bowl.
- Bring a few inches of water to boil in a medium pot. Place the bowl of whisked ingredients over the pot and whisk continuously. Keep whisking to make sure the eggs don't scramble.
- The mixture should transition from frothy to creamy. Once it's creamy, whisk for an additional minute to help it thicken.
- Remove the bowl from heat and add in a handful of butter at a time until it's all melted in.
- Pass the curd through a strainer to remove any egg that scrambled.
- Let chill in the fridge until ready to use.
|The curd in my finest lighting.|
|It looks a little better sitting atop a delightful little macaroon.|
|Not all fillings can be winners. Just ask the vanilla buttercream that looked like cottage cheese (but still tasted good).|
The Wild Card (Toppings)
If you're feeling extra adventurous, you can add some toppings to your macaroons. Simply drop them on top of the batter when it's freshly piped onto the baking sheet. Since the macaroons are baked at low temps, you shouldn't have to worry about the toppings burning. We used some sweetened coconut flakes, but you can also use others like pistachios or hazelnuts.
|Just be sure to mix the right fillings with toppings: Coconut and chocolate: yes. Coconut and lemon: no|
The Final Drool-Worthy Product
|Macaroons, Mac-ma-Macaroons (if you get the reference please apply to be my wife)|
What started as a desire to acquaint ourselves with the world's latest baking phenomenon (sorry cupcakes), quickly turned into an endurance test of our will. A lot of work had to be done to make all the different batters and fillings, and our sanities definitely started to wan around hour five (at some point you will likely yell at them and call them stupid when they're not forming their skins quickly enough). Luckily, my sweet baking music (that 90s rap is a great motivator) and the help of the always sunny Nancy led us to French baking victory. Despite some overmixing of the batter, they still were unbelievably delectable and received rave reviews from all parties fortunate enough to get their hands on them.
|Even tastier than the Oreos they resemble.|
|Nancy poses with her baking achievement, while the Ashby highrise continues reeking photobomb havoc|
|The world's happiest box that my coworkers can look forward to enjoying at the weekly staff meeting.|