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.

Baking_French_Macarons_A_Beginners_Guide_3da

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books or Amazon gift cards!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

 

Advertisements
chocolate raspberry macarons SILPAT mat

French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 16: Chocolate & Raspberry Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

chocolate raspberry macarons by the author of BAKING FRENCH MACARONS A BEGINNER'S GUIDE

I’m happy to post a new blog for another successful batch of macarons that taste as good as they look. It’s also the first time I’ve used the AmeriColor brand of gel food coloring, and to get the bright pink color I only used 3 drops of Super Red. So, color me a fan of this brand!

I decided to combine chocolate with a dollop of homemade raspberry jam in the center of each macaron. All I had to do in advance was make the jam and the chocolate ganache. Instead of taking pictures, I attempted to film all the steps to preparing French macarons. Even with a tripod, the results weren’t very good. Learning how to operate a camera and keep the lens from auto focusing every time I added a new ingredient was a challenge. Trying to keep my hands away from the lens wasn’t always successful. The first tripod I bought was so flimsy, the camera tipped over. I had to invest in an aluminum one. Then came the video editing which may look easy but when it comes to removing yawn-inducing stretches of watching the whisk attachment going round and round, or seeing someone pipe three trays’ worth of macarons – well that’s not highly entertaining.

chocolate raspberry macarons ingredients
Ingredients for making chocolate raspberry macarons

Anyway, this batch of macarons turned out fine. I used my new Silpat mat for the third and smallest batch of shells. I was so proud of it that I took extra photos of the bright pink shells.

chocolate raspberry macarons SILPAT mat
Bright pink raspberry macaron shells baked on the new Silpat mat

This was the first time I made ganache with Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet chocolate. I REALLY recommend this for a delicious ganache. Yes, I adore Valrhona, but I found this to be just as good. The ganache was so smooth. Even the video I took of it didn’t seem to be too difficult to film. Once it’s edited, I’ll post it on my YouTube channel and link back to this blog post. Below is a screenshot of filling the macarons.

As I made my own raspberry jam and didn’t strain the seeds, the result is natural and changes the texture. If you prefer to make this with a fruit spread, you can choose a seedless raspberry.

chocolate raspberry macarons filling
Adding raspberry filling to the macarons
chocolate raspberry macaron with chocolate ganache
Chocolate ganache filling surrounding homemade raspberry jam in the center.
chocolate raspberry french macarons
Chocolate raspberry French macarons

I’m going to be making another batch of macarons next week. They’re the perfect summer flavor. Watch for the blog and maybe even a video!

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

baking french macarons a beginner's guide by lisa maligaWant 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.

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.

chocolateganacheespesso2

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!
orangegreenmacarons
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” Now Available in Paperback

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

acaimacaronsmed

I’ve owned and read many cookbooks over the years. Some have been leather-bound tomes dating back almost two centuries. Others have been spiral bound and contained gorgeous color photos. As a teenager, I used to look at the cake decorating books, admiring the artistry behind each unique design.

Until this year, I never thought I’d write a cookbook. Sure, I’ve shared recipes before, as soap is made in a kitchen. But soap is easier to make than macarons and even a small bar lasts a lot longer than these delicate desserts.

Before the November 1, 2016, release of Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide, I was trying to get the paperback edition properly formatted. Being on a tight budget, I went to Fiverr and found a formatter who would do a 155-page cookbook with 54 color photographs for $6, including the $1 processing fee. What a bargain! I was skeptical that the newly listed formatter could do the work in less than one day as he promised. A day after the promised delivery time, I received a message. “Hi Lisa, I am high sorry for the delay. I had delay of my new PC yesterday and I cannot continue using the old one. I was highly disappointed the time the agent came in. So, I am greatly sorry for this late delivery of your work.”

A few hours after sending the email, he sent me the .DOC and PDF files. He even changed the name of the file to end with the word GOOD.

The title now read Baking French Macaron: A Beginner’s Guide.

Continuing the singular theme, there was a Table of Content.

The headings were out of bounds and didn’t pass CreateSpace’s interior reviewer. Some of them began on the chapter page. Photos were less than the required 300 dpi. The “good” ones were stretched like in the following example.

cspaceexample
An example of bad formatting

I politely thanked him for his trouble and contacted someone else.

Jackie [not her real name] gave me a rate of $30. That still seemed reasonable. A few hours later, she had finished the project. I was very surprised in the amount of time it took and was naturally suspicious. It was formatted without headings but everything else looked nice; certainly no stretched photos. Before thanking her for a job well done, I uploaded it to the interior reviewer. All the images were less than 300 dpi. I contacted her and she said she’d fix it. A few hours later, I was sent another version. The same thing happened.

For the next four days, it went on. Some of the photos eventually were 300 dpi, others were under that ‘magic’ number. Finally, when all but 7 of the photos were considered good enough, I thanked her and decided to forego a paperback edition. Even if I had a less costly version with black and white photos, it wasn’t worth all the time and aggravation I’d gone through. I couldn’t compromise and publish a photo-less book. I’d spent way too much time and money into making my book the best it could look.

I’d noticed another scam cookbook that was doing well, even though it had no photos and the back cover was completely blank. Some of the recipes had ingredients only—no measurements. That book was selling several copies a day. I was motivated to figure out my photo problems, and eventually I did.

The eBook cover I’d designed was nice, but I knew a professional could do a much better job. Print covers needed strong typography so titles would show up well.

Using my own photos for the cover, I didn’t have to be concerned about copyright issues. I’d been checking out numerous cover designers and I went through their portfolios. I found a very talented artist. The book cover was far better than the one I made on Canva.

Here it is!

Baking French Macarons A Beginner’s Guide

Amazon paperback link: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Amazon UK paperback link: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Barnes & Noble paperback link: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

 baking_french_macarons_a_beginners_guide_3d

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

By Lisa Maliga, Copyright 2016

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?

frenchmacaronsad1

Only 2.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M8QIIWI
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M8QIIWI

NOW IN PAPERBACK!
Amazon US: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Amazon UK: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Barnes & Noble: Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide

Subscribe to:
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books and more!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

 

Kitchen Soap for Chefs: 4 Easy Melt & Pour Soap Recipes ~ New eBook Serves Cooks & ‘The Walking Dead’ Fans

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

It’s almost a month until The Walking Dead returns for a seventh season. There are six seasons where no one’s seen Daryl bathe or shower. Of course, when we left him back in April in the episode “Last Day on Earth”, he wasn’t thinking about cleaning up. In fact, with the introduction of Neagan and Lucille, Daryl wasn’t looking too good. 

While I’m looking forward to the return of the show on October 23, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to know who Lucille’s going to meet up close and personal. Yes, I’ve read the rumors and have visited some sites that have leaked photos and other news. However, I’ve been too busy making soap [and French macarons] to do more than glance at the information. I’ll find out for sure next month. I’ve waited this long, what’s another four weeks?

I received a wonderful gift from a friend who’s also a fan of the show and of the Daryl Dixon character. I was so pleased with how appropriate it was that I used it in this photo:

espressosoapwatermark

As many chefs know, coffee removes strong odors such as onions, garlic, fish, and meat. It’d probably be great for a guy like Daryl after some run-ins with zombies…and maybe a few of Neagan’s unpleasant companions. People who probably don’t have access to hot and cold running water and soap. If they did, I have a hunch they’d all like some Espresso Coffee Kitchen Soap.

So, I’d like to introduce my latest soap crafting eBook. Naturally, I made all the soaps and took photos of them. I was running low on soap. Now, my soap dishes and soap cabinet are full again.

Kitchen Soap for Chefs: 4 Easy Melt & Pour Soap Recipes

It’s easy to create chef’s soap in your kitchen. Quickly cook up a batch of soap that will wash away strong kitchen odors. Now you can make excellent smelling and deodorizing soaps with four classic and carefully tested recipes.

For less than the price of a cup of coffee you’ll get:

  • Original, kitchen-tested recipes
  • Photographs of all recipes and soap bases
  • Fragrance and essential oil information
  • Types of soap molds
  • Where to buy links
  • FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Kindle link: Kitchen Soap for Chefs: 4 Easy Melt & Pour Soap Recipes

Kindle UK link: Kitchen Soap for Chefs: 4 Easy Melt & Pour Soap Recipes

optimized-kitchensoapmelt-2

Subscribe to: 
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books and a box of macarons!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9

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.

lemonbuttercurd
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.

Subscribe to: 
The Discerning Readers’ Newsletter
Win free books and a box of macarons!
http://eepurl.com/UZbE9