French Macaron cookies

When in India, I was almost an illiterate with regards to various baked goodies available in the market. Had seen many of my facebook friends uploading pictures of something like our typical cream biscuit which they called “Macaron”. I first thought Macaron must be the sophisticated version of cream biscuit as till then I had neither practically seen or eaten it.

Here in the US stores, it’s readily available but it quite on the expensive side. The first time I saw it, like a child I demanded my husband to buy it for me. Being expensive and with no prehand experience of its taste, we just bought two. My husband didn’t quite enjoy it but I loved it. Though the concept of a cream in between two cookies was similar to our traditional cream biscuit but it didnt bear any similarities to a cream biscuit in taste and texture. The outer layer of the cookie was just crisp and melt in the mouth while the cream filling was yummy.

I decided, that I have to search and grab hold of a good an easy recipe and try it out sooner as buying these cookies every now and then does not sound economical. While researching for the easy and best recipe, I found out that the high cost of these cookies is due to the almond flour being used in its making. Also, its quite hard to get it right in the first attempt. But I was not quite afraid and decided to give the recipe a shot.

IMG_20160627_170023

Recipe :

Ingredients for the cookie :

  • 3 aged egg whites (aged means the egg whites need to separated and kept covered with a tissue towel for 24 hours in the refrigerator. They need to be brought to room temperature before use)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup blanced almond flour or almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup confectionary sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar ( granulated sugar powdered for 30 sec in a food processor or mixer/grinder)
  • purple food color (I used gel based)
  • few drops of vanilla essence

Ingredients for the filling :

  • 2/3 cups (150g) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3-4 tbsp blackberry jam
  • 2-3 tsp sugar (optional)

Note : The food color used for outer covering should be in sync with the color of the jam used for filling.

Method:

  1. Mix the almond flour and confectionary sugar. Grind it in a mixer or food processor for a minute or two. sift the processed flour sugar mixture and keep it aside.
  2. In a deep bowl, add the aged egg whites and lemon juice. Mix this using an electric beater with whisk attachment at medium speed till soft peaks are formed.
  3. Add the powdered sugar to the egg white mix part by part and whisk initially at low speed and then at medium high till stiff peaks are formed. This is the Meringue.
  4. Now add the food color and essence and mix further. Note that after baking the color of the cookie fades due to the heat so add the food color to higher or darker shade.
  5. Then fold the flour sugar mix into the meringue in 3 parts till a thick ribbon consistency is achieved. This is MacaronageNote that the mixture should not be over mixed or under mixed as thid would make it difficult while piping.
  6. Using a parchment paper form a template and draw circles of 4 cm dia and spacing each at 5 cm. This paper will be used as a template for forming the circular macaron cookies.
  7. Line the baking tray with another parchment paper and the place the template below this parchment.
  8. Transfer the folded egg white mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.
  9. Pipe circles of the batter on the baking tray lined with parchment using the template as a guide. Once done, gently remove the template and tap the baking tray to remove air bubbles from the batter circles.
  10. Let the macaron cookies rest at room temperature for around 30-60 mins or till the top of the macarons is no longer sticky when touched gently with your finger.IMG_20160627_150617
  11. Bake the cookies in an oven preheated at 300 F for 16-20 minutes turning the tray from front to back half way through.
  12. Usinng a butter knife separate the cookies from parchment and allow them to cool on a wire rack. The cookies develop a foot at the bottom  surface.IMG_20160627_152542
  13. Now the filling preparation. Using an electric beater, beat the cream cheese and then add jam to it. Beat again to mix the two together. Taste it. If you are okay with the taste then no need to add the sugar. I prefer it to be sweet so added sugar accordingly.
  14. Use another piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and transfer the filling into it. You can even you a zip lock bag, transfer the filling into it, seal it and cut one of its tip to pump out the filling.
  15. Take two cookies of the same size. Pipe out circle of the filling on the flat bottom side of the cookie. Place the other cookie on top of it to form a sandwich.
  16. Macarons are ready. Prepare rest and store them in an air tight container in refrigerator. It is advisable that macarons need to stay for atleast 24 hours once prepared and before being consumed.

Note : I had to use more of the food color as eveb afetr using the amount shown in the picture, the color did fade to much extent. 😦

IMG_20160627_150617-COLLAGE

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