French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 19: Morello Cherry & Chocolate French Macarons Recipe & Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2018

Here it is — my first macaron video tutorial! This is a new recipe that isn’t in my book. It’s recommended for people who love chocolate and cherries!

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MORELLO CHERRY & CHOCOLATE FRENCH MACARONS RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:
100 grams almond flour
200 grams powdered sugar
3 large egg whites [room temperature]
50 grams finely granulated sugar [4 Tablespoons]
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 drops Americolor Super Red food color gel

Oven Temperature: 300 degrees

DIRECTIONS:

* Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. If the baking sheets are thin, double them up. Macarons are sensitive to heat so they need to be baked on a durable tray that has lots of insulation. You’ll also need a pastry/piping bag with a large round tip ready before you begin.
* Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together. Large grains that don’t make it through can be thrown away or used as a skin exfoliator.
* Whisk the sugar and flour to make sure it’s fully blended.
* In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy like a bubble bath before adding the salt. Then add granulated sugar in 3 batches. Start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed. When finished, the mixture should have stiff peaks. Add color.
* Add dry ingredients to the meringue in 2 batches using a spatula. Fold until the mixture comes together, scraping the sides and flip batter over. When the sugar/flour mixture is blended, the batter will be easier to mix and will look shiny. Lift the spatula and see how quickly batter falls in “ribbons” from the spatula. A ribbon of batter dropped into the bowl should merge with the rest of the batter in 20-30 seconds. Another test is to “write” the number 8 with the batter.
* Add tip to piping bag and then twist near the bottom to prevent any mixture from escaping. The tip should face upwards and that also helps keep the mixture in the piping bag as you place it in a cup and form a cuff over the rim so it’s easy to add the batter.
* Spoon batter into piping bag. Twist the top of the bag and untwist the bottom, gently pushing the just-poured batter toward the bottom. You’ll remove any excess air that way.
* Pipe the batter onto the parchment or silicone mat.
* Pipe batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.5-inch circles. Keep the batter inside circles if using a template.
* Rap baking sheet several times on the counter. This will further flatten the macarons, and remove air bubbles.
* Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Allow macarons to sit for 30-60 minutes until a film forms. Lightly touch a macaron and if no batter clings to your finger then it’s dry and ready to be baked.
* Bake for about 15-20 minutes. The tops should be firm and glossy and the bottoms of the shells should have formed “feet” or frills at the bottom. The risen macarons should be firm with the slightest amount of give. If it wobbles, they require another minute or so. When done, the cookies can easily be removed from the parchment or mat.
* Remove from oven, place cookie sheet on a wire rack or flat surface and let cool completely.

MORELLO CHERRY BUTTERCREAM FILLING

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 ounces [1/2 cup] unsalted butter [room temperature]
4 Tablespoons chopped Morello cherries
1 Tablespoon Morello cherry juice
1 Drop AmeriColor Red food color gel

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the butter in a bowl for about 30 seconds, and then add half the powdered sugar.

When the mixture is smooth, add the chopped Morello cherries and juice. Then add the remaining powdered sugar. Add color and mix another minute or two.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND GANACHE 

4 ounces heavy cream [120 grams]
4 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate [120 grams]
¼ teaspoon almond extract

DIRECTIONS:

Put cream in microwave for about one minute until hot — NOT boiling. Pour over chocolate chunks. When melted add almond extract and whisk well until smooth. Let sit at room temperature for at least four hours or overnight. Cover with plastic wrap. Use a spatula to scoop the ganache into a piping bag with large 4B open star tip.

LOVE MACARONS???

Watch my blog for updates, as in late April I’ll be releasing another dessert cookbook. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll be notified of the book’s release before anyone else! 

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Want to bake macarons? Read my book Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide. Available in eBook [free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription] and paperback formats.

VIDEO

 

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 18: March is Macaron Month!

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2018

Springtime and macarons – what a beautiful combination! .

Since 2005, Jour du Macaron has been celebrated. Noted pastry chef and macaron expert, Pierre Herme, came up with the idea in order to bring attention to this lovely French delicacy and raise money for his charity.

Usually, Macaron Day is held on the first day of spring. However, this year when I Googled the holiday, I was given three different dates. So, why not celebrate macarons for 31 days this March?

FOR MACARON BAKERS!

I’m inviting anyone who bakes and sells their macarons  — whether online or anywhere in the world! — to let readers know you’re celebrating Macaron Month! Just leave your information in the “leave a reply” box below. I encourage you to share the blog post with others. Let’s let people know where you are and if you’ll be celebrating the official Macaron Day or Macaron Month. 

FOR READERS & MACARON BAKERS!

Watch my blog for updates, as within the next 30-45 days I’ll be releasing another dessert cookbook. Here’s a photo of my Almond Macarons which I baked last month. The recipe will be included in my forthcoming book. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you’ll be notified of the book’s release before anyone else! 

almondmacarons (1)

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Want to bake macarons? Read my book Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide. Available in eBook [free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription] and paperback formats.

 

French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 17: Macaroons vs. Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

macaronmacaroon

Before I decided on the title of my macaron baking book, I posted a couple of working titles on a writers’ group to get some input. In both examples, I used the word macaron. An English romance author informed me that the word was misspelled.  Other authors came to my defense and said that the topic I was writing about was indeed spelled with one o, not two.

Macaron is spelled correctly. Also, as it’s French, it’s pronounced mah-kah-ron. Whenever I see it with a double o, I think of the coconut cookies. I like coconut macaroons, but they’re a completely different cookie.

How? Here are some differences:

Coconut macaroons contain shredded coconut as a main ingredient.

Macarons are usually made with finely ground nuts, almond being the most commonly used.

Coconut macaroons can be plopped, scooped, or shaped with one’s hands.

Macarons require piping so they’re nice and round and the same size.

Egg whites for coconut macarons are only required to be room temperature.

Egg whites should be “aged” for about two days for French macarons as this helps get rid of moisture and makes them easier to whip.

Coconut macaroons don’t require almond flour or any type of sifting.

Almond flour should be sifted at least 3 times for smooth, shiny macaron shells.

Egg whites for coconut macaroons are only whipped to soft peak—this takes about 3 or 4 minutes.

Macarons require egg whites to reach stiff peaks—a process that takes about 10 minutes.

Coconut macaroons can go right into the oven as soon as they’re put on a cookie sheet.

Macarons need to rest after being piped. This takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

Coconut macaroons can be eaten right out of the oven.

Macarons taste better the next day after the filling has melded with the shells.

Coconut macaroons cost about $3 per dozen.

Macarons can cost up to $3 each.

Coconut macaroons come in only a few flavors and colors.

Macarons come in an array of flavors and colors.

mangomacarons2
Mango Macarons
acaimacaronsgroup
Acai Macarons

Want to learn how to bake macarons? Read my book Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s GuideAvailable in eBook [free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription] and paperback formats.

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Chocolate Espresso Ganache Filling Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

I used to think that a ganache was something fancy that went on top of a cake or some type of fancy pastry. I knew it was made from chocolate, but that’s about all. If you’ve never made this lovely and decadent macaron filling, don’t worry, it’s very easy to make. You only need a few ingredients but you should get the best type of chocolate that you find appealing. For practice, use standard dark chocolate morsels that you may have in your pantry, but if you’re a chocoholic, add a 70% cacao content dark chocolate.

chocolatemintganache
Chocolate ganache just before going into a pastry bag

Chocolate Espresso Ganache Filling

Ingredients:

4 ounces heavy cream [120 grams]
4 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate [120 grams]
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon instant espresso

Put cream in microwave for about one minute until hot — NOT boiling. Pour over chocolate chunks. When melted add instant coffee and vanilla and whisk well until smooth. Let sit at room temperature for at least four hours or overnight. Cover with plastic wrap. Just before getting ready to use a spatula to scoop the ganache into a piping bag with large round tip.

This is a simple recipe to make and it will really perk up your macaron shells. The touch of espresso gives the chocolate more zing! I used my favorite brand of chocolate: Valrhona.

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Adding instant espresso to chocolate chunks

chocolateganachecream2

Pour in your cream and vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

chocolateganache
Whisk ingredients together until you have a shiny chocolate ganache!
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Orange & chocolate mint macarons

Baking French Macarons A Beginner’s Guide

This recipe can be found in my book Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide. Available in eBook [free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription] and paperback formats.

 

 

Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide – Yes YOU Can Bake French Macarons!!!

By Lisa Maliga, Copyright 2016-2018

Baking French Macarons A Beginner’s GuideWhat started my love of macarons was a quirky romance novella I wrote called Sweet Dreams. The main character is a romance author/baker. Although the macarons aren’t mentioned at the beginning of the story, those tempting petite cookies have a costarring role. During the writing of the ebook, I got obsessed with macarons. I read several cookbooks on how to make them, visited numerous websites, and sampled quite a few tasty macarons. I bought some online and tried some from various bakeries. They ranged from mediocre to heavenly.

It was a tough job, but I gutted [pun intended!] my way through it.

When macarons appeared in another story, they played a starring role in Macarons of Love [The Yolanda’s Yummery Series, book 4]. I watched more how to make macaron baking videos. And I finally began baking on a quest to bake the perfect batch of macarons.

My first batch looked like this: mymacs3

One of my more recent attempts is on the cover.

My theory is this – if someone who’s never held a pastry bag in their hands or made buttercream frosting/filling can bake macarons, don’t you think you can, too?

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 15: Lemon Butter Curd Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

lemonbuttercurddickenson

You’ve heard of lemon curd and lemon butter, right? In fact, there are two types of lemon butter, one edible, the other that can be spread on your skin as it’s made with lemon peel and lemon oil, sweet almond oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oil. How do I know this? I’ve spent 10+ years in the kitchen formulating the perfect whipped shea body butter and I’ve tried all kinds of butters and oils. But I digress, this is about real dairy butter that goes inside those lovely macaron shells.

This time when I made my lemon buttercream filling, I didn’t use any cream. I blended room temperature butter with the powdered sugar [a/k/a confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar]. I looked in the fridge and saw that the heavy whipping cream was a day away from expiring. Not wanting to take a chance, I decided to add the lemon curd. I added just the right amount to make it much tarter than in the past. Before, it was a sweet lemon. Now, it was a sweet and tart lemon and the vanilla bean paste helped perk up the flavor even more. So it was still a curd and there was that lovely fresh Plugra butter so why not call it butter curd? I also enhanced the color with yellow gel colorant.

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Lemon Butter Curd Filling

Admittedly, I have problems with hollow macaron shells. While some people might not like to bite into a big air pocket, others aren’t as fussy. I’m a perfectionist and didn’t like them, although I’d rather they were hollow than footless! But this time I had fewer hollows. Here’s the proof:

lemonbuttercurdinside
Fewer hollows inside the macaron. Yes, the bright yellow lemon curd is almost the color of mustard. 

Since July, there have been a couple of baking changes. The first is that the oven maintains an even temperature. Secondly,  I’m using powdered colorants which means I mix the batter well, but not too well.

I’m also adding the powdered colorant to the triple-sifted almond flour/sugar mixture just before it goes into the meringue. For this lemony batch, I went au naturel and used turmeric. The resulting color wasn’t a bright yellow and the photos make it look tanner than it actually was. The truest color is that seen with the almost hollow-free macaron just above.

I’m working on a new eBook that will contain macaron recipes along with LOTS of helpful tips for making your own French macarons. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to baking another batch of minty macarons this week.

Want to make this recipe and many others? Check out my new book, BAKING FRENCH MACARONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE.

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 12: Blueberry Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

 

blueberrymacaron
Blueberry macaron with homemade blueberry preserves

I baked two batches of blueberry macarons last month and achieved different results. This was the first time I used a natural powdered colorant. With this type of color, you’ll need to use a bit more of it if you want a vibrant color.

 

The powdered colorant can be added during the meringue process or can be blended in advance with the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture.

Recipe #1 contained blueberry ganache filling. Even adding more cooked blueberries didn’t help as it still tasted like white chocolate. The color was a medium shade of blue.

Another change was the oven. I baked the macarons in a smaller counter top model. The oven reached the temperature in a short time, and it was properly calibrated. The problem was there were only 2 racks and 2 levels. That meant the tray levels were either too close to the top or lower heating elements. I put my first tray on the bottom level and shielded it with an empty cookie sheet to prevent further browning. Also, all shells were baked on parchment paper covered trays.

blueberrymacrons1done
Light blue blueberry macaron shells just out of the oven

The results of blueberry batch #1 featured browner than blue shells. The color of the blueberry ganache was lovely but only adding a fresh blueberry in the center gave the macaron any real blueberry flavor.

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Blueberry ganache filling with a ripe blueberry

For batch #2, I used the quick ‘n’ easy method for making preserves. I pulverized 8 ounces of fresh blueberries with a potato masher as I didn’t want to get the food processer dirty and have to wash it. Then I added more than a cup of granulated sugar, stirred at a rolling boil and preserved it with liquid pectin. I followed a recipe in a book for baking cupcakes and the amount of pectin was far too much. I’ll be making this batch again with less pectin and see how it works. Too much pectin makes it more difficult to pipe.

blueberrymacarons2rest
Resting macaron shells on a silpat–darker blue than batch #1

More of the powdered blue colorant was used and I mixed it into the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture. The standard oven was used so the results were slightly better because I used the middle rack. However, I shielded each batch by putting an empty a cookie sheet in the rack above it. That meant the temperature never reached 350—instead it averaged 335. So, while the macarons have feet and aren’t burned, they are as hollow as most of my other batches.

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Out of the oven and bluer than the first blueberry batch

I also used only silicone mats to see if there was any difference. I prefer them because it’s usually easier to remove the macaron shells.

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Homemade blueberry preserves for the filling

The second batch tasted better, more like a true blueberry macaron.

 

 

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A box of blueberry macarons
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Tea and macarons!

Stay tuned for another macaron baking adventure soon!

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