Friday, January 7, 2011

Vanilla Bean Macarons

Ah, the elusive macaron.  I have longed to make macarons for years now, but could never quite work up the courage.  They are notoriously finicky, and I hate wasting ingredients, not to mention it's a blow to the old self esteem to fail at a recipe.  Over the holidays, I had finally had enough looking at other bloggers' beautiful little cookies, and I set out to make them myself.  I spent a good amount of time reading tutorials and tips from others, then I gathered my ingredients, weighed everything out, and set to work.

And you know what?  They aren't terribly difficult!  I was super careful with each step, working slowly, and being as anal-retentive as I possibly could.  After I finally put them in the oven, I promptly sat myself down on the floor and watched them cook through the oven door.  And when I saw the little feet forming, I may or may not have gotten up and done a little dance (which both Caroline and Joey thought was quite hilarious).

They weren't perfect, and there are a few things I would do differently next time, but I was super excited to share them with my family at our big holiday gathering.  I kept it simple with the filling and went with chocolate ganache, but I'm already dreaming up all the possibilities for future batches.

Here are a few of the resources I used:
Confections of a Foodie Bride
Annie's Eats

One Year Ago:  Green Bean Bundles

Vanilla Bean Macarons
Use Real Butter, originally from Tartelette
  • 110 g blanched almonds
  • 200 g powdered sugar
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 50 g sugar
  • 100 g egg whites (about 3 egg whites), aged a day at room temperature
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely ground.  Add the powdered sugar and pulse a few times to combine.

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds out using a paring knife.  Add the seeds to the granulated sugar and whisk to combine.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to whip until a shiny, glossy meringue forms (but not dry).

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and add the almond mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, briskly and quickly fold the almond meal into the egg whites.  After a few brisk strokes, slow down and then gently incorporate the rest into the batter.You want a batter that flows and "ribbons" for at least 5 seconds.

Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.  Pipe the batter into 1 1/2-inch rounds, spacing them about 1-inch apart.

Whack the bakign sheets on the counter a few times, then allow to sit at room temperature 45 minutes-1 hour, or until a hard shell forms.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Bake the macarons 8-10 minutes, depending on size.  Allow to cool completely on the pan before using a small spatula to remove them.  Match the cookies according to size and pipe filling on half, using the other half to form a sandwich.

Chocolate Ganache Filling
adapted from The Pastry Queen
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 Tbs Jack Daniel's whiskey (optional)
Heat the cream and sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter, chocolate chips, and bittersweet chocolate and stir over medium heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the salt.

Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey.  Whisking often, allow to cool to a pipe-able consistency.  Can also be refrigerated overnight to achieve the desired consistency.


Vicki Wilde said...

Great job on your first macarons! My first ones didn't have feet, but were still edible at least :) Now I've made three more batches, they are so addictive! Can't wait to see the flavor combinations you've got in store!

Jen said...

Yours look great. A baking friend and I are making some in a couple weekends. Glad to hear they're not as scary as they seem.

Kelsey said...

Hooray, Josie! These look so beautiful! I can't wait to give these a try when I have the time. Great job!

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

Nice work, Josie! They look pretty perfect to me!

Nikki (Pennies on a Platter) said...

You did a great job! I've never even tried a macaron, so not sure if I like them. All the variations I've seen are so pretty, including yours!

Unknown said...

WOW, great first try...I think they look perfect and I like the falvor you chose.

Smitten Sugar said...

I have been dying to make these but get a little nervous. Yours turend out great! love the flavor combos you picked!

Anonymous said...

The vanilla bean & chocolate combination sounds delicious! And your macarons look so pretty!

tammy said...

Your finished product is beautiful! I am about to embark on my first attempt. Hope they turn out as well! Thanks for the info and links.

Lindsey said...

They look exquisite! Nicely done. I'm slowly working up my courage to give them a go. :) I love that you kept the flavors simple... very classic!

Stephanie said...

Lovely smooth tops and great little feet on these. Nice job! I get somewhat nervous each time I get a macaron order :)

Christina of Form V Artisan said...

Cute Cute Cute!
Swing by my blog sometime:

Anonymous said...

Your Macarons are gorgeous! I've tried them once with not so good results but have been wanting to try them again. This weekend may be the time to do it!

Anonymous said...

Your Macarons are gorgeous! I've tried them once with not so good results but have been wanting to try them again. This weekend may be the time to do it!

Javs said...

Wow, your macarons look like a machine made them! So perfect!
Is the amount of egg whites in your recipe correct though? 300g is a lot! A whole egg weighs about 60g, the egg white weighs 30g ish, so 3 egg whites, about 90g?

Lacey said...

Beautiful photo! Love your plating as well. You should submit this photo and recipe to!

Josie said...

Thanks so much for catching that typo! I've corrected it to say 100 grams of egg white, which is roughly 3 eggs. :-)

Talar said...

These macarons look wonderful! I'm kind of in the same boat you were -- loving the idea of macarons, but too chicken to make them. It's nice to see you did such a great job...I might have to give it a try myself! I will blog about it one day when I find myself brave enough to do it!

Nam @ The Culinary Chronicles said...


Unknown said...

Congrats on your first batch, they look beautiful :)

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL macarons! I like the vanilla and chocolate ganache flavor combination too. Great job!

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

Aw they are first? They look beautiful! And I'm glad I found ur blog. So pretty!

Annie said...

I flipped my shizz the first time I made macs and saw the perfect little feet had formed! Congrats on your first attempt, and first success!

ashley said...

they look absolutely perfect! beautiful!

Deeba PAB said...

Well done indeed, these are gorgeous! You are blessed to sail through with such a perfect first batch!

bed frame said...

I like the combination of this one. Never tried it! Very interesting.

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