In case you are new to my blogging history, I love macarons. In case you are new to macarons, please refer to the above picture of edible perfection. Is there any food more beautiful, more ready to share itself with brilliant colors, more apt to conform to whatever perfect flavor shares its name? No, there is not. Eating macarons is the perfect union of sight and taste uniting in one thing of beauty. I feel very strongly about these small overpriced French cookies, as was evidenced in my performance at the Macaronathon 2010.
While visiting the states in September, some of my Paris friends gave me a lovely macaron making set and cookbook, which I am ashamed to say I finally got around to using last night. Both my brothers are about to go back to school, and so Team Stone decided to go out in a bang with a macaron-making extravaganza. Now, I wish to offer the disclaimer that making these perfect delicacies is quite difficult, labor intensive, and completely new to me, but with the three of us working together we felt sure to succeed.
I decided on macarons aux framboises et chocolat (raspberry macarons with chocolate ganache) and started on the ganache. Ganache is heaven. Go make some now and be happy, as one can be nothing but deliriously content when mixing dark chocolate, heavy cream, and butter.Next we tackled the simultaneous processes of whipping eggs, simmering syrup, and making the almond paste/ raspberry mixture. We might be the last people on world to own a Kitchenaid mixer, which would have greatly expedited this process that instead involved all 6 team stone hands working together to avoid scorching the syrup or over whipping the eggs. This endeavor was briefly interrupted when I spilled red food coloring, dying the counter crimson. Cue bleach, red hands, and lots of soap. Counter returned to normalcy though hands remain red.Next came the “macaronnage” or the actual combining of the meringue and the almond mixture. And finally, the puffing out of the perfect macaron rounds. This took all three Stone children with Zach replenishing the pastry bag and catching drips, me squeezing diligently each round, and Lyman standing by with paper towels to do damage control. Lyman has enacted this role most of our lives, come to think of it. He’s pretty good at cleaning up after his older siblings’ messes.
After waiting for the macarons to dry for an hour and then baking them for 13 minutes, I removed these perfect rounds from the oven. Aren’t they pretty? And then disaster struck. There have been many moments where I have hung my head in culinary shame: the pumpkin pancake incident of my childhood, the squash soup that tasted like baby food, the apple piecrust in college that was so hard even my boyfriend rejected it. But this – of this moment I am least proud. For in a moment of pure stupidity, I covered the baking sheets not with parchment paper, but with wax paper, which promptly melted into ALL of my 100+ macaron rounds. After almost an hour of scraping, Team Stone managed to salvage about 10 mutilated macarons before cutting our losses. This was truly tragic because the pieces I rescued tasted fantastic! There was even brief discussion (and experimentation by the brothers) about the possibility of just adding extra chocolate ganache and eating the rounds of wax paper stuck to each macaron. This plan was abandoned after discussions of the repercussions of paper products on the digestive track. But still, we had a giant bowl of wonderful chocolate ganache, and you can’t dispose of that! After experimenting on several vehicles for Chocolate Heaven we settled on pretzels dotted liberally in ganache and chilled. Team Stone is resourceful.
For those who want the recipe, here it is, and I really feel it would have been a success if not for the wax paper mishap:
Ganache of Sinful Perfection:
1 bag dark chocolate chips
7/8 cups heavy cream
Half-ish stick butter
Melt chocolate, stir in cream and butter. Let sit/ refrigerate till thick.
Macarons That Could Have Been:
200 grams almond powder
200 grams powdered sugar
5 egg whites, divided in half
1/3 cup water
200 grams sugar
Red food coloring
- Combine almond powder, powdered sugar, and half egg whites. Add flavor and color.
- Beat other egg whites till that moment just short of meringue-ness.
- Heat water and sugar till a syrup forms and the mixture is 110 degrees Celsius.
- Add syrup to almost-meringue stuff and beat till meringue-ness is completed and cooled.
- Slowly use a spatula to combine this to the almond mixture. (This is the macaronnage!)
- Pipe onto PARCHMENT PAPER on a cookie sheet in quarter size rounds about ½ inch apart. Let set one hour to firm then back at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove parchment paper quickly to stop cooking.
- Remove from paper and make sandwiches with your delicious ganache!