September 18, 2013

Gourmet French Macarons

I had my first French macaron at my local farmers market this year.  It was the perfect dessert for the warm summer day. As I strolled the market enjoying my exquisite little find I wondered if one could make them at home.  Fast forward to that evening and what should I see while scrolling my favorite party pages on Facebook, but a Gourmet French Macarons cookbook by Mindy Cone of Creative Juice.  Which I ordered on the spot of course :)

 How fabulous is this book?
Gourmet French Macarons shows us a unique and creative spin on a classic French cookie. It includes recipes, techniques, styling ideas, templates, and decorating tips that give the popular classic French macaron sandwich cookie a modern and whimsical makeover.  There are over 75 unique and creative designs to make your French macarons delicious AND adorable for any holiday, season, or life celebration.  With over 75 flavorful filling recipes, there's a macaron for everyone. A CD is included with the book that has printable templates to make piping circles or unique shapes so much easier. You have to love that. Using this book you are no longer confined to the conventional circular shape! You can make apples, pumpkins, ghosts, trees, flowers, animals, cupcakes, and many other shapes to fit each season, holiday, or life celebration. 
How fabulous is the author?
Mindy not only wrote this book, she photographed it too! Mindy is an entertaining, food, and party stylist on the blog Creative Juice. She writes about how to entertain guests and kids with style and creativity! She shares DIY tutorials, recipes, tips, tricks, and ideas to make your next event detailed, personalized, and of course creative!  
With Halloween around the corner I am loving these Frankenstein French macarons.  I'm going to have to make some of these.

As if I didn't like Creative Juice enough already, Mindy went and did a book promoting video and made me like her even more. She is just so adorable and is a natural in front of the camera.  I tried really hard to post the video here but just couldn't get it to work. But trust when I say you do not want to miss this video. Click here  to watch !

Recipe? Did you say you want a recipe to get you all excited to purchase Mindy's book. Sure. We can give you a recipe. This recipe has been modified from the book. Some tips, tricks, and terminology has been excluded. Free 1.5 inch circle template download for this recipe: here 

Chocolate French Macarons with chocolate ganache filling 

Chocolate French Macarons

100g of egg whites aged at room temperature
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
35g superfine sugar
110g of Almond flour
200g of Powdered Sugar
10g cocoa powder

1. Measure out all ingredients using a gram scale. 
2. Prepare the baking sheets by lining them with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Slide a printed 1 1/2 inch template sheet underneath and set aside. Prepare piping bag to be filled and set aside. 
3. Sift powdered sugar, almond mixture, and cocoa powder together two or three times through a sieve and set aside. 
4. Place the egg whites in a large bowl or in a stand mixer with wire whisk attachment. Whisk on low until egg whites become foamy.  Add the pinch of cream of tartar. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the superfine sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, scrape down the sides with a spatula.  
5.  Turn your mixture on medium-high and continue to whisk until you reach a stiff meringue.  If adding a liquid or gel food dye, do so toward the end of whisking. 
6. Sift 1/3 of the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder mixture through the sieve and into the meringue. Fold the dry mixture into the meringue. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, the batter will be thick and have a dull shine. Continue to fold. As you do so, the batter will loosen. Stop folding when the batter has a glossy sheen, a “lava-like” consistency, and falls in a ribbon like manner off the spatula.
7. Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 1½ inch rounds on the parchment paper following the template.
8. When all of the rounds are piped on the parchment, rap the sheet pans evenly on work surface a few times. Remove templates from below your parchment paper carefully. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 20-40 minutes.
9. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes rotating the pan half way through.
10. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
11. Match up similar size shells into pairs and sandwich with filling.
MAKES:
About 4 dozen 1.5 in shells (two dozen sandwiched macaron cookies)

Chocolate Ganache Filling
100 g (3.5 oz) chocolate*
1½ Tbsp. heavy cream
Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl.
Boil cream and pour over chocolate.
Stir until all the chocolate has melted and texture is smooth**
When warm, pipe onto macaron shells.
Notes from author:
*I prefer to use the mini chocolate chips when possible to speed up the process.
** If the cream is not able to melt all the chocolate, place bowl in microwave. Heat for
20 seconds on low power. Remove and stir. Repeat until chocolate is fully melted.

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