Friday, September 12, 2008

Espresso-Blackberry Macarons - Gourmet Magazine



***I was flipping through the most recent issue of Gourmet (a special issue about Paris), admiring all the Parisian cuisine when I spotted these macarons. Macarons are one of those things that I've always avoided because I just thought they would be too complicated...but this recipe is actually pretty simple! After reading the article, I was inspired to give these a try. I made half of them with blackberry jam, and I made a chocolate filling (recipe below) for the other half. When we make it to Paris one day (it just might be sooner than later...hopefully!) I want to visit some of the famous French Patisseries...like Laduree, Pierre Herme, and Fauchon to name a few. And what trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to La Maison Du Chocolat? One day...

Now, these aren't the prettiest macarons that you'll ever see, but they were okay considering it was my first time making them. I am going to make them again very soon. I found THIS yummy looking recipe for Red Berry Macarons on Tartelette's blog that I just might tackle next. I want to perfect the macaron cookie...after reading some other blogs it seems like it might be a little difficult to make them rise perfectly...practice makes perfect, though!

Appr├ęciez cette recette!!!

From Gourmet:
"These cookies should set for a while before serving. The fillings help soften the meringue—and your patience will be rewarded with a wonderfully chewy texture.
For more recipes inspired by the City of Light, visit our Paris City Guide."
For macarons:
3 oz almond flour (2/3 cup) or blanched sliced almonds (3/4 cup) or slivered almonds (2/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For filling
About 1/2 cup blackberry jelly

Equipment:
- a food processor with a sharp blade or an electric coffee/spice grinder
- a large pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain tip or a qt-size sealable bag with a corner snipped off
- an offset spatula

Make macaron batter:
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Grind almond flour or almonds with confectioners sugar in food processor until powdery, 30 seconds for almond flour, about 2 minutes for almonds. (If using grinder, grind in small batches.) Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl (if not fine enough for almost all of nuts to go through sieve, regrind). Sift again into a large bowl.

Stir together espresso powder and vanilla in a cup until powder has dissolved. (I used regular instant coffee granules, and heated the vanilla a little to help the granules completely dissolve.)

Beat egg whites with salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in granulated sugar, a little at a time. Increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute. Add espresso mixture and mix at low speed until incorporated. Fold meringue into almond mixture with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate and batter will be loose.)

Pipe and bake macarons:
Put small dabs of batter under corners of parchment to secure to baking sheets.
Spoon half of batter into pastry bag. Holding bag vertically just above baking sheet, pipe 1 1/2-inch-wide mounds of batter about 1 inch apart, stopping pressure and flicking tip sideways to avoid peaks (tamp down any peaks with a wet finger). Refill pastry bag and repeat. Let macarons stand, uncovered, at room temperature until a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Bake macarons, switching position of sheets halfway through, until crisp and interior does not give easily when a macaron is gently pressed, 22 to 28 minutes total. Cool completely on baking sheets (for residual heat to harden bottoms) on racks, about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons from parchment with offset spatula (they will be fragile).

Assemble cookies:
Sandwich flat sides of macarons together with a thin layer of jelly.

Layer macarons between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.

Here's the recipe for the chocolate filling that I used:
Chocolate Filling:
Softened butter
Powdered sugar
Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used the Starbucks Mocha Powder)
Directions: Mix about 1 cup powdered sugar and several tablespoons cocoa powder together thoroughly. Beat into softened butter (about 3/4 stick), taste. You might have to adjust the measurements slightly...adding a little at a time to get your desired consistency. The measurements above are a good starting point.

Cooks’ note: Filled macarons can be kept in an airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap, chilled 2 days or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature in wrapped container (to avoid condensation), about 1 hour if chilled or 2 hours if frozen.

NOTE: If you have trouble removing the macarons from the parchment paper, put a thin layer of water between the parchment paper and cookie sheet (be careful not to let the cookies get wet!). This will loosen the paper from the cookies. Don't let the cookies sit on the water for too long...they will get soggy.

2 comments:

Katie said...

What an AMAZING idea! These sound absolutely fabulous!

Zita said...

Congrats, you enter the macaron madness circle ;)