Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Making Macarons...or Trying To

So I'll let you in on a little secret. I LOVE Macarons! The multitude of flavors, the texture, I love all of it except the price. Macarons can be pretty expensive so I decided to bake up some of our own for a fraction of the price. This was the first time I had ever made macarons, so I had some difficulties along the way. Keep reading for the recipe and look under each step for a little bit of my experience and what I would do differently next time.

Here is the recipe for Nutty Banana & Toffee Macarons. Yumm!!!

Ingredients:                                                          Tools:
- 1/2 cup Ground Almonds                                           -Food processor
- 1/4 cup finely ground Pecans                                      -Mixer
- 1 cup Confectioners' Sugar                                        -Sifter
- 2 extra large Egg Whites                                            -Icing bag and tip
- 1/4 cup Superfine Sugar                                             -Spatula
                                                                                   - Parchment paper and baking sheets
Filling:                                                                   -Grinder (optional)
- 1/2 small Banana, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Dulce de Leche/Toffee Sauce                     Serving:  16


   Step 1: Place the ground almonds, ground pecans, and confectioners' sugar in a food processor and process for 15 seconds. Sift the mixture into a bowl, then line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
     --Note: I could not find already ground almonds or pecans so I had to grind them before. And as you will see I only had an old school coffee grinder to do it. And while it did give my arms a nice work out I definitely won't be using it again, lol! It is also very important that you get the almonds and pecans very fine, which is why I will be using an electric grinder next time.

Here is a picture of the old hand grinder I had to use and what the almonds looked like once ground.

    Step 2: Place egg whites in a large bowl and whip until holding soft peaks. Then gradually beat in the superfine sugar until you have a firm and glossy meringue.
     --Note: it says in the book that if you have time it is best to let the egg white get to room temperature before using them.

Egg Whites after adding the Superfine Sugar

      Step 3: Using a spatula, fold the almond mixture from step 1 into the meringue one third at a time. Once all the dry ingredients are incorporated continue to cut and fold the mixture until it forms a shiny batter with a thick, ribbon-like consistency.
     --Note: this step is very important for the macarons to come out looking  and feeling like they are supposed to. Even I don't think I did it right, I think it came out much too grainy in texture (which I think is a result of not getting the ingredients fine enough is Step 1). It is difficult to tell when the batter is just right, so it might take a few tries of baking macarons before you can make the right consistency.

   Step 4: Pour the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch (or 1 cm) round tip. Pipe 32 small circles onto the 2 baking sheets (16 on each sheet). Tap the baking sheet firmly to remove air bubbles. (Sprinkle chopped pecans on top if you desire). Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 325 F or 160 C.
     --Note: There has got to be some magical secret to getting that batter into the pastry bag. When I tried it created a huge, sticky mess and I lost a good amount of batter in the process. So if anyone knows how to do that, please let me know!

     Step 5: Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then gently peel the macarons off of parchment paper and let completely cool.
      --Note: I put one baking sheet in for the 10 minute time and the other for the 15 minutes so I could test my oven to see which it would bake them better at.  I found that 10 minutes got pretty close to the texture of macarons while the 15 minutes left them too crisp (but it all depends on your oven). It is also recommended to check the macarons at the 5-6 minute mark to make sure they aren't burning.

     Step 6: To make the filling. mix together the chopped banana and the dulce de leche sauce. Use to sandwich pairs of macarons together.
     --Note: this mixture was a little runny with the brand of sauce I used, and made it a bit difficult to put the macarons together. Next time I would buy a thicker dulce de leche sauce and maybe add more bananas to get the same consistency as the top picture.

The Finished filling! I know it looks gross but it tastes really good!!

And now you have beautiful, finished macarons... well sort of!!

     So my macarons didn't come out looking like the nice ones you buy in the shops but it still tasted just as good, and isn't that the important part. In my opinion, the macarons tasted more like a Bananas' Foster than a Toffee, which was just fine with me. I knew making macarons would be a process and with more practice they will hopefully start looking as nice as they taste.

    I hope you like my little recipe and I hope seeing some of my mistakes will help you avoid them. There will definitely be more macaron making to come, so stay tuned for that. I think next up I'll do a Lavender Macaron, what do think. Well, as always have a great rest of the week and I'll talk to ya soon!!


  1. I just posted about macarons as well. I have zero baking skills, but I really want to give it a try.

    1. You definitely should! The process can be tedious at times, but it's worth it!!