I've had a baking "bucket list" for quite a while consisting of things that I would like to attempt to bake, like breads, eclairs, pie crust, donuts (not baked), and other time consuming baked goods (well, time consuming to me). Since being unemployed again (insert huge sigh), I've had the time to tackle my list and it's been a lot of fun.
A couple of weekends ago, I spent some time with my good friend Leah from So How's It Taste? and she helped me mark something off of my list. Macarons!! Not only was this my first time making macarons, this was my first time tasting a macaron. I know, right? As crazy as I am about baking, pastries, desserts, cookies, etc, I had never tried a macaron. We made two different kinds: chocolate with raspberry buttercream and chocolate with salted caramel buttercream. I highly encouraged you to check out the chocolate macarons with salted caramel buttercream on So How's It Taste? by clicking here.
Guess what? Now I'm totally addicted. Oh my wow, they were so incredible and even more importantly, they really weren't that hard to make. Now, maybe it was because we were a two person team, but they weren't as time consuming as I thought they were going to be. As a matter of fact, Leah had time to bake up these Red Velvet Brownies. I had such a blast that weekend and Leah is such an amazing host (and photographer, as she provided the photo of the macarons). Thanks Leah for an awesome weekend and I hope our plan to get together to bake once a month has a definite place on my calendar.
So, now I have Macaron Madness. Yes, I have named by addiction and I hope to make a lot more!
Chocolate Macarons with Raspberry Buttercream
Chocolate Macaron135g (1/2 cup) egg whites (about 4 eggs)
45g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
215g (2 cups plus 1/3 cup) powdered sugar
115g (2 cups plus 1/4 cup) almond meal
25g (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cocoa powder
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
milk, for thinning
pink food coloring, optional
1. For the macarons, prepare two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. Heat oven to 330F.
2. Place egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium low speed until egg whites start to form loose translucent bubbles. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until meringue turns foamy and white, about 2 minutes. Increase mixer to high and beat until meringue holds glossy stiff peaks, about another 2-3 minutes. (We found it worked better when it was between soft peaks and stiff peaks.)
3. Sift powdered sugar, almond meal, and cocoa powder.
4. Add dry ingredients in increments to meringue. Fold dry ingredients into meringue until thoroughly combined. The batter should hold its shape when spooned on itself and start to slowly flatten out after about 15-20 seconds. Transfer batter to pastry bag and let rest for 20 minutes before piping. (Our first batch we piped without resting. It’s fine to not wait, but we did find that letting it rest for a bit helped the macarons keep its shape.)
5. Pipe circles of batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Take hold of each pan and give it quick hard tap against the counter, turn the pan 90 degrees and give it another quick hard tap. This will deflate any bubbles and help prevent cracked shells. Don’t tap them too hard or the batter will spread.
6. Bake for about 15-17 minutes in the center of the oven. If both baking sheets won’t fit in your oven side by side, bake one at at time. We found that the macarons baked on the bottom rack would crack compared to those baked on the center rack. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Leave shells to cool completely on pan. Shells will cleanly peel away from parchment when ready.
7. For the buttercream, beat the butter and preserves in a mixer until blended and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add food coloring, if using, and mix until well blended. If the buttercream seems too thick to pipe, add milk at a teaspoon at a time. Remember, you can always add more milk, but you can't take any out, so start in small increments. Pipe buttercream on the bottom side of a macaron and top with another macaron. Continue until all macarons are assembled. Store in refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.