Wednesday, December 21, 2011

French Macarons!

Hello blog world! Do you remember me?! I know it's been way too long since I have posted on here. It's been a crazy few months balancing my internship, graduate school, and work. It's left me with no time to bake :( But in addition to my crazy life right now one of the most amazing things happened in November... My boyfriend of 9 years proposed! So I have been kind of wedding planning here and there (but school is most important and I'm trying to focus on that ;-) I'm excited to really get wedding planning when I graduate in May because now I can really gather ideas from all the wedding and event blogs I love to read! hehe...

The fall semester has come to an end and I have a little more time on my hands during my winter "break" (which is less than two weeks! boo).... so I am trying to take advantage of that time. Yesterday was my first day off from the semester so I decided to tackle French Macarons. As you may recall I took a macaron class back in September for my birthday. I finally had time to make them on my own yesterday. I was so nervous! I've heard so many horror stories about macaron making that I researched extensively on the blogs as well before I started my endeavor. I won't bore you with every detail of my macaron experience or with a tutorial (because you can find plenty of them on the blogs out there) but here are a few things I found useful...

1. Prepping is worth it! That includes aging the eggs and weighing ingredients. I did all this the day before.
2. Magic bullet. I love this thing! I do not yet have a good food processor but there is nothing I have done yet that the magic bullet has not been able to handle. I made the almond flour with this amazing kitchen tool. The only thing is you may have to sift the flour a few more additional times.

As for the recipe, I used the recipe they provided us from the class which uses an Italian meringue technique. I made the basic macaron shell recipe - I was too nervous to add extra ingredients for flavor or food coloring that may throw off the recipe so I decided to make the basic recipe for my first time. This way I was also able to make different fillings to try out. Here are the results:

Filling: Grand Mariner dark chocolate ganache
Decor: Painted with diluted gel food coloring

Filling: Mocha swiss meringue buttercream
Decor: Sprinkled cocoa powder before baking

Filling: Dulce de leche swiss meringue buttercream
Decor: sprkinkle Wilton gold stars before baking then brushed
with edible gold shimmer dust after

I can't believe my first time was a success!! I'm glad I took that class back in September... I could only imagine if I tried these before then lol. I'm excited to try all the fun flavor combinations. They are a bit time consuming but worth the meticulous effort. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season... if I don't post before then, have a happy new year too! ~Cara Lee