All photos in this post are made by Lanny
I’m a super lucky person! That the only explanation I have to the question “Why do I always meet the loveliest people on the Earth?”
My boyfriend and I spent this winter in sunny California. I can sing love songs to San Francisco and bay area all night long, but at the moment I would like you to tell a different story.
It starts from the day when I decided to write a ‘thank you’ e-mail to Ana from ‘Fluxi on Tour’ blog.
By that moment I explored the good half of SF using Ana’s brilliant city guides and I wanted to give her a personal hug. Ana replied and was so sweet that she invited me to join her at the bloggers party. There I got acquainted with a lot of rad ladies and this (I am not exaggerating now) completely changed my American experience during that trip.
Cutting down all the mimimis, I continue the story. At the party there was one girl who caught my attention. Maybe because of her charming smile and welcoming personality, but most likely because of our shared love to the mint color (just kidding, Annie!)
So here is she! And the photo is taken at Galentine’s Day Soiree which Annie organized for her pretty friends. My humble contribution to this cool event was homemade macarons — ones with dulce de leche and ones with fresh raspberries and mascarpone filling.
Annie’s blog The Montgomery Fest is my go-to source of inspiration. Sometimes I open it just to read all funny comments under her posts and to learn new words.
The thing is that one day I promised Annie to start writing as well. And here (three months later) my personal blog story begins!
For the macarons:
150 g almond flour
150 g powdered sugar
55 + 55 g egg whites
150 g granulated sugar
50 g water
gel coloring (optional)
For the chocolate filling:
200 g chocolate chunks (I used Valrhona Dulcey 32%, but you can go with any one you like!)
160 g heavy cream
Let’s start on the filling. Place 1/3 of the chocolate into microwave-safe bowl. Select mode appropriate for melting (or set power level to 50%) and place bowl in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Remove the bowl and stir chocolate with a spatula. Add more chunks and heat for another 20 seconds. Repeat adding/stirring process until all chocolate is melted. Meanwhile place heavy cream in saucepan and bring it to boil over medium heat. Gradually pour the cream into melted chocolate and combine it to reach nice glossy consistency. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and once the mixture reaches room temperature let it sit in the fridge for 2 hours.
And now to the fun part!
I know that process of macarons making looks scary when you read the recipe. But it’s not that bad, I promise! All you need is to prepare all ingredients and tools in advance, be in the mood for baking and you’re good to go.
Preheat the oven to 165 C/325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl (it’s better to sift dry ingredients twice, just to make sure you don’t have large pieces in the mixture). Set aside.
Place 55 g egg whites with a pinch of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. In a heavy-bottom saucepan combine granulated sugar and water. Cook it stirring occasionally over medium-high heat until the syrup reaches soft ball stage.
NB: a lot of recipes call for a certain temperature on a candy thermometer — 118 C/244 F — but I find out that for some reasons it doesn’t work for me. I use a glass of room-temperature water and check out the readiness of syrup by dropping it into the water. When the drop of syrup becomes a soft ball by touch, it’s ready to use.
Once the syrup is almost done, start whipping egg whites on medium speed till they can hold soft peaks. Slowly pour hot syrup into the eggs and continue whipping mixture until it reaches stiff glossy texture. If you want to add color to your macarons, now it’s right time to do it! Add a few drops of desired gel coloring and thoroughly stir it into mixture, whip once again.
Pour the remaining 55 g of egg whites and add dry ingredients to the meringue. Stir everything with a spatula until batter has thick consistency. Test check: fold batter over itself and if it completely dissolves after 15-20 seconds, it’s ready. It’s better to do this check often to reach right consistency. Pour the batter into piping bag with a plain tip. Begin piping circles (about 3.5-4 cm/1.5 in diameter) to the prepared baking sheet leaving enough space between them. You want to have macarons halves as even as possible, so you can either draw circles on the back side of the parchment paper or try do your best while piping 🙂
When the first sheet is full, take and hit it hard against your counter several time. It will allow you to release air bubbles from the batter and smooth the peaks if any. Let macarons rest uncovered for 30-50 minutes or until they feel dry by gentle touch.
Place the sheet into the oven and immediately reduce the heat till 150 С/300 F. Bake for 8 minutes, it should be enough to get nice signature ‘feet’ on your macarons. After that open oven for a second, close it and continue to bake halves for another 8-10 minutes. Once the macarons are crisp and shiny, get the sheet out of the oven and carefully transfer parchment paper with macarons to a cooling rack. Let cool completely.
Repeat the steps with remaining batter.
Get chocolate mixture out of the fridge and beat it in the mixer to get silky consistency. Pipe the filling on one cookie and cover it with another one pressing gently. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.
Place all macarons in air-tight container and refrigerate overnight.
I know it’ll be a hard night of waiting, but believe me — the morning will pay you off! 🙂