Friday, January 25, 2013

Raspberry Macarons

In my last baby shower post, I've decided to focus on my favorite item I made - Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Macarons. B has always had a fondness for raspberry, so I thought it'd be nice to somehow work some berries in to the mix. What better way than macarons?

I thought to be extra cute (and double the workload), I would do the top and bottom in different colors - green for the tops, pinkish for the bottoms - to kind of look like raspberries themselves.

I started with the pink bottoms. My little brother was around, so I told him he should watch me make the macarons since they are not that difficult, but have a bit of technique to them. We got about five steps in and said, "Yeah, I'm never going to make these." As a quick note, I use the book/recipe by Cecile Cannone and swear by it.

Anyway, step one is to mix your almond flour and powdered sugar.

Then you make a meringue and add your food coloring.

Then add the meringue to the dry and mix it up by hand. This is the part that requires a bit of technique. It's not at all difficult to do, but it may take a couple of tries to get the perfect consistency. Without the right consistency, the macarons can turn out to be a mess - they'll crack, they won't have the famous "pied" or they'll be flat little discs. That being said, they are still 100% edible, just not as beautiful. Once you get the consistency down, however, they are pretty foolproof. (That being said, I hadn't made them in 10 months and was a bit out of practice. Mine ended up just fine, but not perfect.) It's worth ruining a few batches to get it right.

Once they are mixed, you put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large tip and pipe out a few circles. Since they are sandwich cookies, you want to have them all roughly the same size. I use a little circle pattern under my parchment.

Once they are piped, you have to slam the tray on the ground a few times (this got a laugh out of my brother), and let them dry out for about fifteen minutes. You should be able to lightly touch the surface without it pulling up onto your finger.

After they are nice and dried, you bake them for 14 minutes, let them cool on the sheet and (usually) they are ready for filling.

This time, however, I washed and dried all my bowls and got started on round 2 - the green tops.

Once all of those were done as well, I paired then up, put them in a Tupperware, and went to bed.

The next night, while my chocolate cake was baking, I whipped up the first batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I started with just vanilla and followed the usual steps - put egg whites and sugar in a double boiler, whisk until the eggs reach 160F, pull them off the heat and whip until the most delicious meringue you can imagine is ready and cooled. Then slowly add in your butter. Once it looks like frosting, add in the vanilla and mix until it's all combined.

Then I put a bunch of raspberries into the "cup" of my handmixer and mixed it into a puree. I added the puree to the buttercream little by little, worried that I would add too much, but I ended up adding all of it to get a really raspberry taste.

All of it went into a piping bag with a large tip and I piped and sandwiched away.

I was super tempted to eat one, but I held off.

I only made 20, and with eight people coming to the party I figured I only had a few to spare.

The night before the party, after dinner I thought each of the four of us could have one as dessert - it still left two per person at the party. As soon as I got the Tupperware out, K came running up to me, yelling out, "Ahhh!!! K want that!!!" I got four macarons out and put them on a plate to bring them to room temperature. It about killed K. I kept telling him that they were too cold and not delicious yet, but every three minutes he'd run to me and say, "mama, they're warm now. Let's eat!" I held him off for about 30 minutes, but I started to feel bad for him and put them in the microwave for 5 seconds.

I got the plate out and we counted the cookies, then the people - four and four. I told him that means one cookie for each person.

"How many cookies for mama?" "One!" "How many cookies for toto?" "One!"

"How many cookies for T (my brother)?" "One!"

"How many cookies for K?" "Two!!" "Uhhh, no."

These four were devoured in seconds. They didn't last too long on the day of the party either, but luckly there were a few leftovers for the boys to much on when they got home. They were all stoked, particularly given that Y tried to convince me not to even serve them at the party. I promised him a second batch sometime soon.

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