Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coffee Macarons

I told my husband last week that I intended to make macarons over the long weekend and he groaned and said "ugh, you're always so cranky when you make macarons".  Well, that usually may be true but not this time, I had sweet macaron success!  Okay, some of the tops were a little hollow and one batch still looked like little boobs, but otherwise these ones are keepers.  I made vanilla macarons with my sister during Christmas and they turned out lovely, but since then the macaron has eluded me.

In the past few months I had tried raspberry macarons (fail), chocolate macarons (huge fail), and vanilla again (turned out mediocre).  What was I doing wrong?  If you've made macarons before, you know that the slightest little thing can ruin the entire pastry.  My discovery this weekend?  Don't use carton egg whites.  I had some pastureized egg whites that I had tried to whip up the night before for some frozen lemon souffles (more on that later), I cranked my kitchen aid and they simply woudln't get past soft peaks.  I had plans to make macarons the next day and had some leftover egg whites from making lemon curd so I used those instead.  I could immediately see the difference when I piped them.  Another thing I did differently was go by weight rather than measurement. 

I used a coffee buttercream from my favorite UK blog The Art of Being Perfect (go check out her blog for some of the most creative macarons I have ever seen!), and they turned out quite delectrable.  Yay me! ;)

Coffee Macarons
from I Love Macarons

2 teaspoons instant coffee, finely ground
2/3 cup (3 ounces/85 grams) almond powder
1 1/2 cups (5.25 ounces/150 grams) powdered sugar
3 large (90 grams) egg whites, at room temp
5 tablespoons/65 grams granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.  Draw 1-inch circles on the paper, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart.  This pattern will be your guide for squeezing out the macaron batter
2. In a food processor, process the instant coffee and almonds with the confectioners’ sugar until well blended. Sift the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl twice.  Set aside. 
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Very gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until stiff and glossy. Add the vanilla and stir lightly.
4. Add half of the sifted almond mixture and fold it in with a spatula. Add the remaining almond mixture and mix it in a light circular motion. Once the almond mixture is just combined, press and spread out the batter against the side of the bowl. Scoop the batter from the bottom of the bowl and turn it upside down. Repeat this motion about 15 times (no more, no less). When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with the spatula, it is ready to be piped.
5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Note: this is the temp recommended by the cookbook I Heart Macarons, but as I mentioned some of my macarons had hollow tops.  Xiaolu from the blog 6Bittersweets suggested I might try a lower temp, around 300 next time.  
Fit a pastry bag with a .4-inch plain tip (Ateco #4). Scrape the batter into the bag. Pipe out 1-inch rounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them ½ inch apart. Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter. Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes, I did 30 minutes though. The batter circles should not stick to your finger when you touch them. If they do, let them dry a little longer.
6. Stack the baking sheet with the macarons on it on another baking sheet. Place both sheets, stacked, in the oven and bake the macarons for 15-18 minutes, until slightly crisp (they will crisp more upon cooling). Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Coffee Buttercream:

100g butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp hot water

Cream the butter and add half the powdered sugar. Mix well.  Dissolve the coffee granules in the hot water and cool before adding to the butter mixture along with the vanilla extract, mix to combine. Add the remainder of the sugar until you reach your desired consistency (you may need more or less). 

Fill a piping bag, pipe buttercream onto half of your macaron shells and sandwich them together with a plain shell.

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  1. Nice picture!! And those look so good!

  2. Fantastic job! Macarons are so fussy, you did brilliantly :)

  3. these sound so yummy. gorgeous pic!

  4. I love your presentation and it made me laugh that your husband said that!!! Mine always asks me not to make bread on weekends because I always end up grumpy!!!

  5. Those macarons look pretty good! (Better than my last batch!) I totally know what you mean about some of them coming out looking like little boobs :) I've had a few batches like that too!

  6. Wonderful job! I have never made macarons. In fact I had never even heard of them before I started blogging 6 weeks ago! These look pretty as ever!

  7. They look perfect! Looks like you may have perfected the macaron with this batch. Thanks for sharing on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

  8. I made these yesterday for the first time and they were a great success!
    - I baked them on 180ºC for 15 minutes. The shells were small, but I found that they were a little over cooked. For my next batch (a different recipe) I baked them at the same temperature for 13 minutes, and they were perfect.
    - The measuring really makes a difference. I got out 3 eggs and separated them. The amount looked right; but when I measured it on my scale, they weighed 117g! I can see how (and almost did) one could get the recipe measurements wrong having not weighed. I would definitely say this is a must.
    - I didn't have enough instant coffee left for the buttercream (only about 1/4-1/2 tbsp), so I mixed what I did have with cocoa powder. Then I remeasured the tbsp with the mix and dissolved them both in the water. I would definitely recommend doing this - my buttercream turned out excellently and had a perfect coffee taste. I almost wonder if the full tbsp of instant coffee would make for an overwhelming coffee flavor...
    Thanks for the great recipe!


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