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Strawberry and Orange Macarons ***

The kids are fans of macarons.  Typically we buy them but I finally decided to try baking them.  I used 2 different recipes.  The measurements were different for each recipe and I noticed a difference in the texture of each.  Of the two, we preferred the strawberry macarons :)


On the Left is a strawberry macaron with strawberry buttercream.  On the Right is an orange macaron with orange buttercream.

Strawberry French Macarons


We used this recipe that I found on grace(full)eats  The only minor change I made was the addition of 1 tsp of strawberry flavoring to the macaron batter.  You can tell in the photos that there is a tiny point and they are not completely smooth.  From later research, I think I under-mixed the batter.  Something I will have to keep in mind for the next time :)  The taste of the macarons was great but I didn't get the shells quite correct on this try.  

Ingredients
For the macarons:
120g almond meal
200g powdered sugar
100g egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
30-35g granulated sugar
2-4 drops pink gel food coloring
(this is where I added the teaspoon of strawberry flavoring)

For the filling - Strawberry Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used strawberry flavoring instead of vanilla)
1-1.5 tablespoons strawberry puree (from 1-2 strawberries)


Directions
1. For the macarons: Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Prep a piping bag with a round tip. Place the bag into a tall drinking glass and cuff the bags opening over the top (this makes it easier to fill the bag).

2. In a large bowl, sift the almond meal to remove any clumps, then weigh out 120g. 

3. In another bowl, sift the powdered sugar to remove any clumps, then weigh out 200g.

4. Mix together the powdered sugar and almond meal. Sift them together.

5. Pour the 100g of egg whites into a large stainless steel mixing bowl. Add the cream of tartar. Begin beating the eggs on low speed. Once they are very foamy, begin sprinkling in the sugar as you beat. Increase the speed if necessary, and beat the meringue to stiff glossy peaks. 

6. If you’re using food coloring, make sure you are using gel food coloring. Add it in at this point, and whip for a few seconds.

7. Add about 1/4 of the almond and sugar mixture; fold with a rubber spatula until no streaks remain (make sure you fold! Don’t stir. It’ll deflate the whites). Continue to add the almond and sugar mixture in quarters, and fold until you reach the proper batter. It is finished when you pick up your spatula and the batter flows steadily.  People describe this as lava-like or molten, but I never really understood what this meant… SO it needs to be thick enough that it will mound up on itself, but also fluid enough that it will melt back down after 20 seconds.

8. Pour the batter into the prepared piping bag, and pipe rows of batter onto the baking sheets. Make sure you don’t pipe them too close to each other, because they may spread.

9. Rap the baking pan on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. If you want, you can pop the air bubbles that come up with a toothpick,

10. Let the macarons rest or “dry” on the counter until they are no longer tacky to a light touch. I know they are ready when I touch it and nothing gets on my finger. It usually takes at least 30 minutes for me, but it depends on the humidity and weather. Try to let them dry in a cool place.

11. When your macarons are almost dry, preheat the oven to 290°F. Bake the macarons on the middle rack of your oven (this depends on your oven). I usually bake one tray at a time.

12. Bake the macarons for 16-20 minutes. When they are done, let them cool completely on the sheets. Once the macarons are completely cool, peel them off by pulling back the parchment paper/silicone mat). The shells should come off easily. If not, put them back in the oven for 2 minutes.

13. For the filling: Place butter in a mixing bowl; cream until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and strawberry puree (which is just strawberries blended in a food processor/blender/coffee grinder); beat until combined.

14. For Assembly: Match up each shell. Fill a pastry bag filled with the strawberry buttercream. Pipe a small mound of the buttercream into the center of the shell, then sandwich each shell with its other half. Do this for all the shells.

15. You have two options now: a) Eat them all. b) Put them in the fridge, and let the flavors develop overtime. I usually just leave them overnight, since I’m always baking at night. Leave the macarons in the fridge when you’re not eating them, then when you’re ready to serve/consume them, let them warm up a bit so the macaron can soften. Or eat them straight from the fridge, like me. Your choice =).


Orange French Macarons



For these macarons I used the recipe I found on Veena Azmanoz  I don't understand why the cookies turned out grainer than my previous batch.  My shells also had little peaks, again due to my under-mixing.  The flavor of the cookies was fine, we just preferred the strawberry ones.

Ingredients
80 grams egg white ( 2 large egg whites)
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar (optional)
40 grams fine white sugar
130 grams Powder Sugar/ Confectioners Sugar / Icing Sugar
100 grams Almond meal
1/4 tsp Extract  – Orange
One drop food coloring - Orange



Directions
  1. Place the egg whites in a grease free mixer bowl with whisk attachment – start whisking on medium speed. Add Cream of Tartar
  2. After a few seconds start adding the fine white sugar a little at a time.
  3. Once all the sugar has been added – whisk on medium high for another minute or so until stiff peaks. Pay attention to ensure you have stiff peaks.
  4. Sieve the powder sugar and Almond meal at least twice to remove any coarse nuts.
  5. Once the egg whites are at Stiff peaks – add a drop of food color and extract.
  6. Next add in the dry mixture all at once folding it in gently. You do not want to remove all the air you just added into the egg whites.
  7. You need to fold the mixture until you have what is called a drop consistency or a thick cake batter consistency.
  8. Which means when you hold a little batter in your spoon and drop it back into the bowl it should drop smoothly not forcefully.
  9. Next place the batter into a piping bag with a large round tip (you don’t have to have a piping tip – just snip the end of a bag works too.)
  10. Pipe similar size rounds. To ensure you have same size disc – print a template from the internet and place it under your parchment paper as a guide.I have one of these macaron silicon kits that come with the mat and piping pouch – It was given to me as a gift from a friend. Quite handy if you make macarons very often.
  11. The best way to pipe is to squeeze until you have a good mound then swirl the tip to one side. But don’t’ worry if you don’t get it. Just take the tip of you finger and tap the points down.
  12. Once you have all your rounds piped, tap the baking sheet on the counter a couple times so all the air pockets will rise to the top and release. That way you won’t have big holes in your macarons.
  13. Let the macarons rest in a cool dry place for about 20 minutes so the tops will get crusted. In places with high humidity this can take up to 30 minutes. This will give you a good dry shell on top.
  14. While the macarons are drying – preheat the oven at 160C/300 F
  15. Next bake these for 13 to 15 minutes depending on your oven. The tops will look set and the bottom should not be wet.
  16. See how these look set on top and some crust at the bottom. That bottom crush is called the feet and is the mark of a good Macaron.
  17. Let cool on the parchment for a while then take them off and let cool completely.
  18. Once cool, fill with your favorite filling from below.
  19. Macarons must be stored in the fridge and are best eaten one or two days later.

For the filling - Orange Buttercream (quick and easy)
50 grams Butter
100 grams Powder Sugar
2 tbsp Milk or Cream
2 tbsp Orange Mamalade /Orange curd
Two drops of orange extract

Cream first three ingredients well until light and fluffy. If needed add a tablespoon or more of milk or cream but first add the flavor you need.


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