My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.
I ♥ Macarons, don’t you?
That’s definitely what I thought upon first bite of my latest batch, made with the macaron shell recipe in Hisako Ogita’s adorable little ode to the macaron, I ♥ Macarons.
There are more than enough reviews of the book out there, so I won’t write another one. I will say I’m not entirely willing to give 100% of the credit to the book’s recipe and useful pictures as I think a little practice, lots of reading, and some truly helpful tips from a fellow blogger in the comments section of Macsperiment #7 all contributed to the textural success that was my latest experiment.
Yeah, I said “textural success” because once again the evil heat monsters that apparently live only on the sides of my oven destroyed the macarons on the left and right of the baking sheet.
At least my piping skills/placement are improving though!
And the ones in the center came out beautifully as always.
These had a sort of appealing teepee thing going for them too. Thanksgiving is coming up soon…
To be more specific about the recipe, I used the Italian meringue method (the book describes both the French and Italian and gives you the choice of which to use, which I liked) and followed the instructions pretty durn closely. The only things I changed:
1) Ogita calls for blitzing the almond flour and powdered sugar in the food processor and then sifting twice. I’ve been avoiding using the food processor because I’d rather keep my dirty dishes to a minimum, but after sifting almond flour because most of the pieces were too big to fall through for what felt like 30 minutes the last time, I broke down and set up the processor. Then I only sifted once. Because I’m a rebel like that. After eating them, I really can’t believe that extra sifting would’ve made a difference in the end product. I might even try not sifting at all next time. I really hate it…
2) It says you can add your food coloring to a wee bit of water and then add this to your meringue right before it’s done whipping, but I’m still skittish around my meringue, so I added it to my (once) sifted almond flour and sugar. I don’t think it made a big difference.
3) You’re supposed to let the piped shells dry for only 15 minutes before baking, but mine were still sticky at 15 minutes, so I let them go for more like 40.
4) There were no directions regarding opening and quickly closing your oven door twice during baking or lowering the temp or keeping it open a crack with a wooden spoon, but I’m convinced I need to do one or a combo of all of these things because my oven is a meanie, so I left it open a good 3-4 inches the entire time they baked. It was set at the 275F called for in the recipe, and then when I checked on them it maintained 200F pretty well, so I baked them 2 minutes longer than the 12 minutes called for.
But as you can tell, this didn’t really help the macarons out in the end. Next time I’m going to try turning the oven off completely right before I put them in so that there’s no heat blasting and see if that helps.
I then made a simple chocolate ganache (equal parts 70% bittersweet and cream) for the filling, and can I just say, “Hail to the Callebaut!” Oh my sweet shells that stuff is good. It’s almost as if it’s the finest Belgian chocolate in the world or something…oh wait. It is. Maybe.
This ganache combined with the now-this-is-a-macaron-shell is a truly transcendental experience. The best part though? They taste like chocolate chip cookies. I don’t know how or why, but this is so going to be a flavor at the stand. I think I’m going to try making the shells with some brown sugar just to see what happens…will probably have to add a little more almond flour to compensate for the added moisture though. Stay tuned for that!
P.S. Fun fact: Hold down Alt + 3 and you get this… ♥