French Macarons are such a light, sweet delicacy. I never would think of making them, yet, one day, my oldest daughter, Megan, called to say she’d had a dream about making Macarons and was going to bake them that very day. Megan is the dessert maker in our family, always coming up with something new and delightful. Even so, I thought they would be extremely difficult, especially at Denver altitude.
Never fear! The results were stunning and delectable. The only change Megan made to the recipe was reducing the vanilla and adding almond extract to both the cookie and to the frosting. I’ll leave the Macaron making to Megan and praise (and enjoy) the results!
For the Cookie
100gegg whitesroom temperature or 3 large eggs
140galmond flour or 1 1/2 cups
90ggranulated sugarjust under 1/2 cup
130gpowdered sugar or 1 cup
1tsp.vanilla5mL (Megan used 3/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. almond extract)
1/4tsp.cream of tartar800mg
For the Buttercream
1cupunsalted butter softened226g
1tsp.vanilla (Megan used 3/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. almond extract)
For the Macarons:
Sift the confectioners sugar and almond flour into a bowl.
Add the room temperature egg whites into a very clean bowl.
Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites. Once they begin to foam add the cream of tartar and then SLOWLY add the granulated sugar.
Add the food coloring (if desired) and vanilla then mix in. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Begin folding in the 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
Be careful to add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently.
The final mixture should look like flowing lava, and be able to fall into a figure eight without breaking. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium round piping tip and you’re ready to start piping.
Pipe one inch dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this should be glued down with dabs of batter). Tap on counter several times to release air bubbles. Allow to sit for about 40 minutes before placing in oven.
Bake at 300F for 12-15 minutes, rotate tray after 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.
For the French Buttercream Filling:
Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Heat over low heat while stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium- high and bring to a boil
Put egg yolks in a stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until thick and foamy.
Cook the sugar and water syrup until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat. With mixer running, SLOWLY drizzle hot syrup into bowl with yolks.
Continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature.
Add in butter one cube at a time allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla and salt. Continue mixing until buttercream is smooth and creamy. (About 5-6 minutes.) Add food coloring if desired.
Pipe your filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and repeat. Macarons should be aged in the fridge for 1-3 days for best results. This allows the filling to soften the shells inside.
THE MERINGUE!!!! That meringue HAS TO BE STIFF! I had no idea French meringue could be whipped to such a thick marshmallowy consistency but all it takes is a bit of extra whisking. You’ll notice the meringue start to fill the whisk when you’re getting close to the right stage.
Sift, Sift, SIFT! Those larger pieces of almond flour will mar the surface of your macarons. Best practice is to sift then whiz in the food processor and repeat two more times. Discard the larger particles, don’t try to press them through the sieve.
Use a scale if possible, accuracy helps with this recipe.
The mixing will take some practice, you will fold and fold the batter and then use the spatula to GENTLY press the batter against the bowl. You want to remove some of the bubbles but not to many… Continue this until it reaches a thick “lava” consistency. It should slowly fall off the spatula in ribbons and be able to form a figure eight without breaking.
Pipe the macarons perpendicular to the surface. If your tip is pointing a bit in any particular direction when you pipe the macarons might be oblong or malformed.
Add your coloring to the meringue after it reaches the soft peak stage.
When you are finishing the piping motion stop squeezing the bag and pull up with a circular motion.
The macarons will be best after 2-3 days resting in the fridge.
If you over-bake the shells and they’re too crisp, brush the bottom with some milk before assembly to soften them up.
Each year, for the past four years, a group of gal pals have gathered to celebrate ourselves. This wonderful group of women saw our kids grow from adolescents to adults and we have a lot to celebrate! While we don’t see each other as often, we do gather together for a Mother’s Coffee/Tea as well as in smaller groups for Book Club, Card Making, and Christmas. These women are such a blessing for me as well as for their children.
That being said, we all LOVE to come together over food. Each year our friend, Barb, captured pics of our delicious array of food as well as pics of our group.
Last year was the first time our daughter, Sarah, joined us as a Mom celebrating the birth of Evan. It’s such a wonderful gift to now have our daughters (and in the future daughter-in-laws) join us in the celebration.
We will be celebrating a week before Mother’s Day this year so let the party begin.
Mother’s Day 2013 will be a weekend of celebration starting with my annual Mother’s Day Coffee/Tea on Saturday. There will be much laughter, hugging, catching up and, of course, delicious treats. This year our friend Barbara has designed T-shirts to celebrate our annual event.
Sunday, our family will share a meal celebrating daughter Sarah as a Mother and now adding Grandma to my title. We are blessed.
As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I think about my Mother who passed away in 2001. I miss her every day. How many times have I wished that I could pick up the phone and talk to her!
Our journey as Daughters and then Mothers (and now Grandmothers) takes many twists and turns. I recently read this poem which reminds me of my Mother being there to support me and my own journey as a Mother. And the journey continues with my daughters.
Love you, Mom. Love you girls!
When you’re a child she walks before you,
To set an example.
When you’re a teenager she walks behind you
To be there should you need her.
When you’re an adult she walks beside you
So that as two friends you can enjoy life together.. Author Unknown
Tomorrow my baby, Sarah, will be married. Where did the 23.6666 years go? Wasn’t it yesterday she was saying ‘me do it’ and putting herself in time-out? So fun to see our children grow up and become adults, but not so fun to look in the mirror and not recognize that person.
The preparations are almost done as we are gearing up for the ceremony at a local rose garden, followed by the reception in my backyard.
The ceremony and reception will be Colorado Casual with live music, BBQ and backyard fun. While the main course will be catered, we have been busy making the appetizers and cupcakes, clearing out the furniture on the first floor of my house to make room for tables and chairs.
We are PRAYING for no moisture, no high winds, and comfortable temperatures. In Colorado, you never know what you’ll get. We had a blizzard for older daughter Megan’s wedding to Christian last October, moving from the gorgeous outdoor venue to the ballroom. Oh well, made for beautiful photos and many stories.
Hopefully, no snow (or rain, or hail, or tornadoes, of hurricanes, or wind bursts, or earthquakes) on July 28 in Centennial and Littleton, Colorado….but I ramble….
I’m sending positive thoughts and prayers for a beautiful wedding and reception for Sarah and Kyle on their special day… and many years of love, joy and laughter!
It seems my world truly revolves around food, as it does for my daughters! Our oldest daughter, Megan, was married last year; we asked bridal shower guests to share a favorite recipe to insert in a cookbook. This year daughter, Sarah, is also engaged and we did the same for her shower. I photocopied hand-written recipes of Grandmothers, Great-Grandmothers, and other family members no longer with us. We also asked each guest to write a note the bride inside the cookbook.
As favors, we gave each guest a copy of three of Megan’s favorite dip/spread recipes which we also served at her shower.
The dips shared were Cheesy Apple Spread (today’s post), Hot Wing Dip, and Peach Salsa. They are all family favorites. The Cheesy Apple Spread recipe has been in my recipe box for at least 30 years. Younger daughter, Sarah, loves this dip as well and prepared the dip for the shower. Cheesy Apple Spread is truly an oldie but still a goodie!
CHEESY APPLE SPREAD
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped apple
Blend together the cream cheese and mayonnaise. Add shredded cheese and chopped apple. Chill until ready to serve with Ritz or other favorite crackers.