February 14, 2011

French Macaroons for a sweet friend

My "to do" baking list is so long and sometimes it's hard to pick which recipe to try.  This weekend I tackled one that's been in the pile for well over a year, if not two years. Due to certain diet restrictions (Gluten free) it was a perfect recipe for one person I had in mind (I won't name her but she knows who she is) for this recipe. She goes above & beyond for her friends + family on a daily basis and is one of the sweetest people I know.

Last week I watched a "How to" video on Sprinkle Bakes and thought I can do this! I made her recipe sans cayenne powder.  What I didn't realize was how fragile the shells are once you take them out of the oven. Juls and I taste tested all the broken shells.  I made 24 shells so I could make a dozen macaroons.. I ended up with 5 unbroken.  ;( Better luck next time, right? 

I filled my macaroons with left over chocolate buttercream and boxed them up...all 5 of them.

I think I sifted & folded more than I ever have for any recipe yesterday but it just proved to be totally worth it when I got this email from the sweet recipient...."just tried one, best ever!!!!!! OMG it taste sooo good!" 

Hope your Valentine's Day is filled with LOVE & lots of sweets!

Cayenne Pepper Macarons (copied from Sprinkle Bakes)

Makes about 14 sandwich cookies

3/4 cup almond flour - I like Hodgson Mill
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/2 cup extra fine sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Sift almond flour and confectioners' sugar together 2-3 times. Set aside.
Whisk egg whites with a hand mixer until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Reduce speed and gradually add extra fine sugar.  Increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
Sift flour mixture over whites with a fine sieve. Discard any lumps or coarse bits that remain.  Sift in cayenne pepper.
If coloring the batter, place a bit of gel food coloring on the end of a rubber spatula before you begin folding the mixture with it.  Normally powdered food coloring is used, but a small amount of gel does not disturb the batter.  I would not recommend liquid food coloring.
Fold with a rubber spatula using short strokes at first.  The batter will be very stiff.  Use bigger folds once batter loosens.  When batter is ready, it should fall from the spatula in a thick ribbon.
Transfer mixture to a piping bag.  Pipe 1 or 1 1/2" rounds on the parchment lined baking sheets. Let piped macarons stand uncovered for 15 minutes to form a crust.
Decrease temperature to 325 just before placing the baking sheet in the oven.  Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
Note: After first batch has baked, oven temp should be increased to 375 then decreased to 325 just before the 2nd baking sheet goes in.

Chocolate ganache filling
4.5 oz. chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
Chop chocolate and place in a small bowl.  Heat cream on the stove-top until very hot but not boiling; pour over chocolate.  Mix until smooth.  Refrigerate until ganache is of spreading consistency.  Place a small spoonful of chocolate on one shell and top with a same-sized macaron shell.



SprinkleBakes said...

Hi Stephanie!

The ones that "survived" sure are pretty! I failed to mention that the macs need to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removal. Perhaps that was why they broke? Anyway - they look great! You will only get better!

www.sweetcreationsbystephanie.com said...

I did let them cool for a few minutes. I think I actually made them too big so when I went to take them off, they were too large? is that possible. I will try again but this time I'll buy almond flour. I want to try with cayenne too, just didn't want to for my friend although she probably would have loved it!

Thanks again for doing the video.. it helped me tremendously!

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