Blackberry & Almond Macarons | Food & Travel

On Saturday we decided to take another class about creating french macarons and perfect our macaron making game. Creating a macaron is truly an art from, so the next time you complain about how much you spend on a macaron, take a class and you’ll understand why.

Pre-class snack... Crab dip
Pre-class snack… Crab dip

Interesting Fact: All Macarons are almond macarons as they contain almond meal. It’s just food coloring that gives them their different colors and fillings that make them unique.

Blackberry Macaron with Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 7 ounces confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces almond flour
  • 4 large (4 ounces) egg whites, room temp
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
  • Wilton purple food coloring (optional)
  • 1 recipe dark chocolate ganache (recipe follows)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F, with rack placed in the lower section of the oven. Fit baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Make sure the pans are flat (not dented or warped) and the parchment is trimmed to fit pan. Using paper templates, trace circles onto the parchment of place them under the silicone mats.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process confectioners’ sugar and almond flour into a fine powder, about 30 seconds. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper three times and discard any coarse meal (no more than 1/2 tsp.) Set aside.

To make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar; whip whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all the sugar is incorporated, continue to whip meringue into stiff glossy peaks. The meringue should have the consistency of shaving cream. Whisk in about 1/4 tsp of food coloring, adding more as needed until the desired color is achieved. The meringue should remain thick and stable.

To complete the macaronnage step: Add one-third of the shifted flour mixture to the meringue and fold with the spatula. Once incorporated, add the remaining flour mixture, smearing the batter along the sides of the bowl and then folding back to the center, being careful not to over mix. Repeat until the batter becomes shiny and reaches the constancy of slow moving lava. To check for the correct consistency, the batter should flow from your spatula like thick lava and hold a ribbon for a couple of seconds, then fall back into itself making a smooth glossy surface. If it falls in clumps and doesn’t flow slowly, continue to fold gently, deflating the batter until the proper constancy is reached.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip. Pip a small dollop of batter into the corners of each baking sheet and lay parchment over (ink side down) and press down corners to secure. Using both hands to hold the pastry bag, pipe batter by placing the tip 1/2 inch above the parchment at a 45 degree angle perpendicular to the pan – directly in the center of the first stenciled circle and fill. Once the circle is filled, stop squeezing and make a quick upward and sideways motion to detach the batter and move to the next circle. (The batter should settle into a smooth and glossy round circle.) Let macarons stand at room temperature until firm skin forms on the macarons, 30 to 45 minutes. To check to see if the macarons are ready, lightly touch the side, and if your finger does not make a dent, they are ready for the oven.

Bake macarons one sheet at time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 14-16 minutes. Carefully slide macaron topped parchment sheets onto a wire rack and allow macarons to cool completely before removing from paper and filling.

To assemble macarons: Pipe about 1/2 tsp of blackberry jam into the center of the flat side of a cooled macaron. Then, pipe chocolate ganache in a circle around the jam. Place another cookie, flat side down, over the filling and gently press just enough to push the filling out towards the edges. Once filled, macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat to a simmer. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Slowly stir chocolate mixture with a silicone spatula to combine. Add butter and whisk until smooth. Let ganache cool, stirring every 10 minutes. When ganache has thickened to a frosting-like consistency, transfer to a piping bag fitted with a medium round pastry tip.

Almond Macaron with Apricot Buttercream

  • 7 ounces confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces almond flour
  • 4 large (4 ounces) egg whites, room temp
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
  • Wilton orange gel food coloring (optional)
  • Apricot Buttercream (recipe follows)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F, with rack placed in the lower section of the oven. Fit baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Make sure the pans are flat (not dented or warped) and the parchment is trimmed to fit pan. Using paper templates, trace circles onto the parchment of place them under the silicone mats.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process confectioners’ sugar and almond flour into a fine powder, about 30 seconds. Using a drum sieve, sift mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper three times and discard any coarse meal (no more than 1/2 tsp.) Set aside.

To make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar; whip whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all the sugar is incorporated, continue to whip meringue into stiff glossy peaks. The meringue should have the consistency of shaving cream. Whisk in about 1/4 tsp of food coloring, adding more as needed until the desired color is achieved. The meringue should remain thick and stable.

To complete the macaronnage step: Add one-third of the shifted flour mixture to the meringue and fold with the spatula. Once incorporated, add the remaining flour mixture, smearing the batter along the sides of the bowl and then folding back to the center, being careful not to over mix. Repeat until the batter becomes shiny and reaches the constancy of slow moving lava. To check for the correct consistency, the batter should flow from your spatula like thick lava and hold a ribbon for a couple of seconds, then fall back into itself making a smooth glossy surface. If it falls in clumps and doesn’t flow slowly, continue to fold gently, deflating the batter until the proper constancy is reached.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain round tip. Pip a small dollop of batter into the corners of each baking sheet and lay parchment over (ink side down) and press down corners to secure. Using both hands to hold the pastry bag, pipe batter by placing the tip 1/2 inch above the parchment at a 45 degree angle perpendicular to the pan – directly in the center of the first stenciled circle and fill. Once the circle is filled, stop squeezing and make a quick upward and sideways motion to detach the batter and move to the next circle. (The batter should settle into a smooth and glossy round circle.) Let macarons stand at room temperature until firm skin forms on the macarons, 30 to 45 minutes. To check to see if the macarons are ready, lightly touch the side, and if your finger does not make a dent, they are ready for the oven.

Bake macarons one sheet at time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 14-16 minutes. Carefully slide macaron topped parchment sheets onto a wire rack and allow macarons to cool completely before removing from paper and filling.

To assemble: Transfer apricot buttercream frosting to a piping bag fitted with a medium plain round pastry tip. Pipe a cherry-sized portion of buttercream onto a macaron half. Top with second macaron half and gently press just enough to push the filling out slightly past the edges. Once filled, macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Apricot Buttercream

  • 1/2 whole dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large egg whites, room temp
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the apricots and water; simmer until apricots are rehydrated and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender with the vanilla bean paste and puree until smooth. Transfer puree to a small blow, cool to room temperature and set aside.

Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to blend. Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the bowl over the simmering water and heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 145 degrees F (hot to the touch) on a instant-read thermometer. Remove mixture from the heat and attach bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the mixture on high speed until it cools to room temperature, is light and billowing, and resembled a marshmallow fluff. If the mixture is warm, it will melt the butter you’ll be adding next, so touch the meringue and make sure it has cooled to room temp before continuing.

With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time, allowing each addition to blend fully before adding the next. Halfway through adding the butter, stop the mixer and use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl thoroughly. Continue to whip until al the butter has been added and the mixture is velvety and smooth. Add apricot puree and salt; whip to incorporate.

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temp and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

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Stars of the show... Almond and Blackberry Macarons
Stars of the show… Almond and Blackberry Macarons

While the humidity got in the way of everyone’s macarons coming out to perfection, we did our best and had some fun in the process.

Want to find out about the other fun cooking class we took at Sur la Table this past weekend? It’s coming soon to my foodie blog. Feel free to follow so you don’t miss it!

~theavidpen

 

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