Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Macarons - Part 2.....

After folding in the third installment of the flour mixture, I transferred the whole lot into a large bowl – this is what it looks like after all of the flour mixture has been thoroughly combined with the whipped whites.
Using a bowl scraper (you could use a large wooden spoon), scrape around the sides of the bowl to work the batter into a mound in the middle of the bowl, then smear/swipe the scraper directly through the middle. Repeat this action again and again until it’s smooth and flows off the edge of the scraper like lava. About 10 or 15 passes should do it. Once ‘lava’ has been achieved, fill a large pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip (a half inch diameter opening is good) with the batter.
Pipe mounds of batter onto silpat and/or double parchment-lined cookies sheets (my silpat was on a sheet pan, parchment on insulated cookie sheets). The mounds should be a little wider than a quarter and about ½ inch high. I’d have taken a picture, but didn’t want to set down my filled pastry bag. The mounds will begin to settle right away, changing to a half-dollar size or so.
Next, hold the baking sheet up with one hand and smack the bottom of it with your other hand – not so hard that you knock the cookies into tomorrow, just gentle-ish smacks to remove any big air bubbles form the cookies. Then set the trays aside for at least ten minutes – this allows the cookies to dry a bit. After ten or fifteen minutes, lightly touch the top of one of the cookies – if it’s dry and your finger comes away clean, they are ready for the oven. I baked one sheet at a time – letting the others sit and simply dry longer. Bake each tray at 300 degrees for 23 minutes. You may investigate other blogs that say 10 minutes or even 15. but here’s what I found…..
I took my first tray out at 10 minutes - the youtube, French chef video that I’d practically memorized had said to bake the cookies 25 minutes, but I have to admit, every other blog/site I’d read had sworn by baking for only 10-15…..so baking 25 scared me. However…I was sorry almost immediately. Within 20 seconds of resting on the cooling rack, the ‘puff’ began to escape my cookies. As you can see above, the very center of each cookie looks a shade darker than the edges. That tells me there is lesser baked batter there. So, even though I’d already put in my second tray, I slid this first batch back in on the upper rack hoping to salvage them.
Well...the came out only okay. Nothing turns out great when you need to put it back in the oven. This first tray resulted in a few great cookies, a few flat cookies and as you can see…a few cracked ones as well. I attribute the cracks to possibly not having dried long enough because as you can see……..
….these next ones came out beautifully!
And so did these! See that crinkly part at the bottom of each cookie? That’s called the ‘foot’ and the foot is a must on macarons! I will tell you that for the parchment-lined sheets of cookies, I did what I’d read on many a site. While the cookies were baking, I took a spare, cool cookie sheet and after wetting a dish towel with water, swiped the wet towel across the cool sheet leaving behind an even coating of ‘droplettes’. They weren’t really ‘drops’ of water as much as just an even smear of water dampness across the entire sheet. Once the hot cookie sheet came out of the oven, I used a pair of tongs to slide the parchment with hot cookies onto the cold, water-dampened sheet. Does that make sense? This helps in removal of the cookies from the parchment (mine did not stick at all. I used my fingers to remove a few, but in general, used a small, off-set spatula.
They were so beautiful I had to get one more shot! Love those pretty feet!

1 comment:

Memória said...

Congrats on your first batch of macarons! I just made some too and will be blogging about them tomorrow.

I love your process photos. Very nice.