Make it Monday: Macarons

10:05 AM

If you're looking for something delicious and impossible to make for dessert tonight, look no further: French macarons. The instructions read like a chemistry experiment. One wrong move and you end up with raccoon food. Ingredients are weighed, sifted, weight again... each move with the precision and training of a martial art.

My friend, Emily, and I like a challenge. So she popped over with a canvas bag of ingredients and we did the best we could to almost master the art of the French macaron. Here's the simplified version:

1. Measure 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar and 2/3 cup almond meal. Grind til fine in a food processor, and run through a fine sifter before mixing in a bowl.

2. Whisk 3 egg whites until "firm peaks", adding 3 T white sugar at the end.

3. Fold the almond-sugar mixture into the egg whites carefully. 

4. Pipe small circles onto a parchment-lined cookie tray. Circles should be 2 inches wide. Let sit for 20 minutes or until the tops are tacky when touched.

5. Preheat oven to 360F.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden. You've done it right if you get "pied" or feet, that look tall and bubbly at the bottom of each cookie shell.

7. Match up pairs of like-sized shells and sandwich with your choice of filling. We used chocolate ganache in the chocolate cookies (add 3T cocoa powder, sifted, to your almond-sugar mix, before incorporating into egg whites) and buttercream in the plain. To make chocolate ganache, warm heavy cream and add dark chocolate squares until dark and soupy. Let cool. (You can add sugar and salt to taste). For buttercream, whisk softened butter into icing sugar. Add vanilla.

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