French Macarons vs American Coconut Macaroons

Had my first attempt at making French Macarons.  The French Macarons is made with ground almonds, powdered sugar and whipped egg whites. They also are sandwiched together with a sweet filling. They have a crisp smooth outside and a chewy soft inside. Heaven basically, like eating a cloud. They come in a range of flavors and rainbow of bright colors. A bit tricky to make and require piping to get a uniform shape.

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These delicious cookies are not to be confused with the American Coconut Macaroons. Coconut Macaroons are tasty and easy to make. They consist of shredded coconut, whipped egg whites and condensed milk.

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How to Make:

I looked at various recipes and blogs. I went with the Martha Stewart recipe.

Ingredients

  • For the Macarons

    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 3/4 cup almond flour
    • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
    • Pinch of cream of tartar
    • 1/4 cup superfine sugar

Step 1:

Read entire recipe and make sure you have supplies and ingredients.

Step 2:

Sift sugar and almond flour together.

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Step 3:

Whip egg white to soft medium peaks. Forms peak that (falls over). Add color and flavor.

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Step 4: Gently fold flour into egg whites a little at a time (you may not need to use all the flour)

Step 5: Put into a piping bag and make 2 inch discs onto parchment paper

Step 6: Let the disc rest for 10 min to an hour to form “crust”

Step 7: Bake at 375 for a few minutes (they should rise a bit but not turn golden)

Step 8: Let cool slightly and remove from parchment paper

Step 9: When cooled pipe filling and assemble sandwich.

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Step 10: Let sit for 1 day up to 4 days until perfect consistency of crisp and soft

My cookies came out tasty if not perfect looking. Good after baking but even better a day after and still better on day 3. They had the “foot” on the bottom of the shells which is the crinkly part where it rises. Since my discs were not smooth on top before baking (batter too thick), the end result was not smooth either. Cooked a bit too long as they turned golden. I would also add more food coloring to get more vibrant color.

Problem 1:

Finding almond flour or paste. This time I found almond flour (aka ground almonds or almond meal) at my local Whole Foods in the self serve bulk sections. I’ve had a hard time in the past and have ruined food processors trying to make my own. If making your own blanch almonds in hot water and peel off skins. Let dry and then add powdered sugar to food processor and almonds. If you don’t have the sugar it will wear out your motor trying to get a fine texture.

Problem 2

Finding baking parchment paper. Not to be confused with wax paper or freezer paper. Parchment paper is a non stick wonder that doesn’t need greasing and you can use it again and again. My local HEB (which is kind of ghetto and small) didn’t have any even at Christmas time when baking is popular. I’m sure the bigger ones carry it as well as Central Market and Whole Foods. I needed mine at midnight so went off to Wal-mart which of course had it.

Problem 3

Batter was too thick. As I was adding flour almond mixture to the egg white I thought hmm I should stop as this is getting too thick. But instead I put it all in. Lesson learned. Batter should be like liquid lava able to be piped, not grainy thick mess.

Problem 4

Piping and piping bags. I used a cheap cloth one from Ikea. Nice tip, crappy bag as the sticky sugar seeped through. Batter was (as mentioned) too thick and eventually came out around the tip. Tried using the parchment paper as a piping bag. Looks so easy in the videos! Went trough 3 of these bags. Piped enough for 12 cookies and then gave up. Added lemon curd to make thinner batter and made big drop cookies instead. Still tasty.

Where to buy:

Many fancy bakeries sell them. Nice grocery stores like Whole Foods or Central Market as well. I found the store one too crisp and dry. Perhaps I just needed to let them sit home a day and they will soften. Trader Joe’s frozen section had the best. Seems like sacrilege I know. But the box of 12 for like $4 in pink peppermint with chocolate filling were fabulous. Let thaw at room temp for 20 min. They were perfect, crisp shell and chewy soft inner bits and quite pretty as well.

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