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Jan 22, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Macarons’

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Macarons

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

102517_baked

 

These macarons are adorable and full of pumpkin spice goodness. I added pumpkin pie spice to the shells, and the filling is a French yolk buttercream with pumpkin puree, espresso and, yes, even more pumpkin pie spice blended in. Sandwiched together, these macarons are crisp on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Kids can even join in the fun using edible ink markers to draw jack-o-lanterns on them. They’re perfect for your Halloween celebration or any fall festivities.

 

Pumpkin Spice Macarons
15 to 20 macarons

For best results, weigh the ingredients.

100 g. egg whites
35 g. granulated sugar
200 g. powdered sugar
120 g. almond flour
½ Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
Orange food coloring gel
Green food coloring gel
Pumpkin Spice Filling (recipe follows)
Black edible ink marker (optional)*

• Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
• In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar on high speed until stiff. The mixture should not move when the bowl is turned upside down.
• Sift the powdered sugar, almond flour and pumpkin pie spice into a mixing bowl. Using a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites. Reserve ¼ cup batter and set aside.
• In the large bowl, add the orange food coloring and mix until the desired hue is reached. Using another clean spatula, add the green food coloring to the reserved batter and mix until the desired hue is reached.
• Add the orange batter to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Hold the bag perpendicular to a baking sheet and pipe 1½-inch circles about 1½ inches apart. The batter will spread slightly. When the sheet is full, rap the baking sheets on the counter a few times to settle the batter and remove any air bubbles.
• Add the green batter to piping bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe little mounds at the top each orange circle to mimic a stem.
• Let the cookies rest at least 15 to 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, until the tops are dry to the touch.
• Move the racks to the center of the oven and preheat to 285 degrees.
• Bake 8 minutes, leaving the oven slightly ajar to let air escape (use a wooden spoon to prop the door open, if needed). Rotate the cookies and bake another 8 minutes.
• Let cool completely by carefully lifting the silicone mats or parchment paper from the baking sheets and resting them on the counter or a cooling rack. Remove the cooled cookies and pair them according to size.
• Use the edible ink marker to carefully draw jack-o-lantern faces on the macarons, if desired.
• Assemble the macarons by using a spoon to gently add filling into the center of 1 shell. Top with its partner, then gently push down and twist to spread the filling out. The macarons are best served after 12 hours so the flavors have time to meld. Store refrigerated up to 1 week or frozen 2 to 3 months in an airtight container.

 

Pumpkin Spice Macaron Filling

3 egg yolks
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter
¼ cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. espresso
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

• In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Set aside.
• In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to 238 degrees over medium heat (use a candy thermometer).
• Slowly add the hot syrup to the egg yolks, whisking briskly, until combined. Whisk until the yolk mixture has cooled.
• Use a hand mixer on medium-high speed to beat in the butter, then the pumpkin puree, then the espresso and pumpkin pie spice. The filling should be loose enough to spread, but not watery. Refrigerate to thicken, if needed.

* Edible ink markers are available online or at Michaels in Brentwood.

Amrita Song is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who blogs at A Song in Motion

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Baked: Banana-Nutella Macarons

Monday, November 7th, 2011

110711_macaronsAs it starts to get cold here in St Louis, I can’t help but think about my past winter travels to the motherland of cheese, wine, baguettes and, of course, macarons. One of my favorite memories of snowy Paris is standing by a street stall, warming my chilled fingers on a soft yet crispy banana-Nutella crepe. Not surprisingly, I soon found myself reaching for a small bag of freeze-dried bananas I’d purchased from a fancy out-of-state grocery store.

I’ve been thinking about making banana-flavored macarons for a while now, but my efforts have always been confounded. Part of what makes bananas so alluring is their moisture content, which gives them a soft, chewy texture. However, for macarons to rise properly and develop their unique consistency, moisture levels have to be maintained with precision. The solution was to find a way to put powdered bananas into the shells, and that’s where the freeze-dried fruit comes in; the bananas ground down nicely, yielding one tiny bowl of powder. (Of course, shortly thereafter, I found freeze-dried banana powder online.)

I’d used all of the banana powder on my first try, so baking the shells was a bit nerve-racking. However, when the open oven filled my kitchen with the heavy aroma of banana bread, I knew it had worked. The shells balanced that moisture tightrope perfectly; they had just the right amount of chewy give without being chalky or brittle.

I could think of no better filling for these than Nutella. In the process, however, I accidentally smeared some on top of one, making it rather un-photogenic. So naturally, I ate it.

The first bite is chewy with a slight crunch but then gives way to the warm sensation of Nutella melting on the tongue – followed by the harmonious combination of bananas, almonds and chocolate. By the time my boyfriend and I had sampled a few more, I had hardly enough to photograph. But, not to worry: I’ll be making these again real soon.

Banana-Nutella Macarons
Adapted by Amrita Rawat from a recipe by David Lebovitz

About 15 to 20 cookies

2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Yellow gel food coloring
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup powdered almonds
20 g. freeze-dried banana powder (You can grind freeze-dried bananas, or buy the powder online.)

• Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about ½-inch) ready.
• Using a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape.
• While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
• Add in the food coloring, beginning with ¼ teaspoon and stir to combine. Add more, drop by drop and stirring after each addition, until mixture turns pale yellow in color.
• Beat until the eggs are so stiff you can hold the bowl above your head and it doesn’t budge.
• Using a blender or food processor, grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and banana powder until there are no remaining lumps.
• Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. As soon as the mixture is smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag. (Standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you don’t have assistance.)
• Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets into 1-inch circles (about 1 tablespoon of batter each), evenly spaced 1 inch apart.
• Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the countertop to flatten the macarons. Let them sit for 20 minutes, or until the tops are dried. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 280 degrees.
• Bake for 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time. (To prevent humidity, prop the oven door slightly open with a wooden spoon so air can escape.)
• Let cool completely and then remove from baking sheet.
• Fill with Nutella and try to resist eating them until they’re set.

Note: Macarons will last 2 to 3 days in the fridge, up to a month if frozen.

Baked: Rose-Lychee Macarons

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

052311_MacaronsWelcome to Baked, a new column in which Amrita Rawat will share her adventures in the kitchen as she explores our fair city. Born in India and a longtime resident of Atlanta, Rawat recently moved to St. Louis to attend graduate school at Washington University. After eating her way through places like Hong Kong, Paris, Budapest, Mumbai and Shangri-La, she discovered a love for baking and a knack for creating inventive and tasty recipes. You can  follow her on her sweet journey every other Monday right here on SauceMagazine.com.

I’ve been obsessed with macarons (pronounced “mac-uh-rohn”) ever since I went to Ladurée in Paris. Macarons – or “macs” as I affectionately refer to them – are French sandwiches whose shells are made up primarily of whipped egg whites, ground almonds and sugar. They rise in the oven and are paired together with a sweet filling. There are various methods, recipes and baking times that work for some and not for others (you can read all about the tasty tribulations of macarons here). Although finicky, macarons are delicious, beautiful and – to me – worth the trouble.

Rose and lychee are two flavors that permeated throughout my childhood. Growing up in India, lychees were plentiful and juicy. They are small with a tough, inedible skin, hiding a white-ish pulp inside. There’s also a seed in there, so beware. They have the consistency of a grape but smell far more intoxicating and fresh, almost like a flowery grape. However, they’re available here in the States mostly in canned form. The perfume-y scent is lost through canning but the taste is still quite delicious. Rose water isn’t seen in food in India as often as it is in the Middle East but it’s often enjoyed in syrup form mixed with milk or water. It can also be used for cosmetic purposes as well as in extracts to flavor desserts. I wanted to pair the two together in macaron form.

I’ve made macarons countless times, with many hits and misses in presentation, but they always taste amazing. The ideal macaron is a perfect circle (achieved only with a piping bag with a round tip) and has solid, smooth bases. It has a ruffled “skirt” or “feet” along the edges where it has risen in the oven. It should comfortably slip off your baking mat or parchment paper and be very slightly chewy, yet crunchy. It shouldn’t crumble easily. I used a rose pastry cream for the filling for these, which turned out delicious, but made the shells soggy if not consumed within a couple hours of putting the macs together. So I recommend assembling these just before serving, despite those who believe macs should be sandwiched a day in advance to let the flavors meld together. I promise, it still tastes just as good since the flavors are so strong.

I piped rose pastry cream in the center of half the shells and topped the cream with a slice of lychee before placing another shell on top to sandwich it all together. When I bit into it, I first hit the meringue … chewy with a very slight crunch, then a burst of cool, lusciously soft cream. The lychee was somewhere in between, adding a wonderful mildly sweet taste with a lovely floral flavor. These are the best-smelling macarons I’ve ever attempted.

Rose-Lychee Macarons

Courtesy of Amrita Rawat

Makes about 15 sandwiches

2 egg whites
5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Pink powdered or gel food coloring
1 cup ground almonds (you can also use almond meal or almond flour), sifted
½ cup powdered sugar, heaped and sifted
Rose pastry cream (recipe follows)
1 can lychees, drained and sliced

• Preheat the oven to 280 degrees
• Beat the egg whites in a clean large mixing bowl, using an electric beater.
• After 1 minute, add in all 5 tablespoons of sugar.
• A minute later, add the food coloring to the egg white mixture (if using).
• Beat until you can hold the bowl upside down and the egg white mixture does not move, about 5 to 7 minutes.
• Fold in the ground almonds and powdered sugar with a flexible spatula. Then, scrape the sides of the bowl and move the mixture to the middle. Do this methodically until everything is well incorporated.
• Pour the batter into a piping bag with a round tip.
• Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
• Hold the piping bag perpendicular to the sheet, about an inch above, and pipe into 30 1-inch circles. Keep the circles 1 inch apart in case they spread slightly while baking.
• Leave the shells out to dry for about 30 minutes.
• Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.
• When finished baking, let the macarons cool completely before attempting to remove them from the pan. (Note: Do not be alarmed if the macarons come out cracked or without feet, they will still be delicious.)
• Assemble just before serving: Turn all the macaron shells to their backs. Fill a piping bag with a round tip with the rose pastry cream and pipe out small mounds of pastry cream into every other shell.
• Place a small cut piece of lychee on the cream and top with another shell.

Rose Pastry Cream

Adapted by Amrita Rawat from a recipe originally published in Ladurée Sucre

1 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 2/3 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. rose water*
2 Tbsp. rose syrup*
3 drops natural rose essential oil or rose extract**

• With a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds into a saucepan.
• Pour the milk into the saucepan and add the empty vanilla pod. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes.
• In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until slightly pale. Incorporate the cornstarch. Set aside.
• Remove the vanilla pod from the saucepan and reheat the milk, bringing to a simmer. Once simmering, pour a third of the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture (to temper the yolks). Whisk and pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan.
• Bring to a boil while stirring with a whisk, making sure to scrape down the sides of the pan with a spatula. Boil until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and pour the cream into a clean bowl.
• Allow to cool for 10 minutes so that it is still hot but not boiling.
• Incorporate the butter while stirring.
• Add in the rose water, rose syrup and rose essential oil, stirring well.
• Cover the bowl with plastic wrap until ready to use.

1 vanilla bean (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 2/3 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
½ cup plus
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. rose water*
2 Tbsp. rose syrup*
3 drops natural rose essential oil or rose extract**

*Available at Indian/Middle Eastern grocery stores

**Available at specialty baking stores

Extra Sauce: Choosing the cover

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

choosing-the-coverEach month, Sauce art director Meera Nagarajan thumbs through hundreds of beautiful photographs to pick the perfect image for the issue’s cover. Want to know how she landed upon this month’s? She tells all in Choosing the Cover.

Also, don’t forget to check our Extra Sauce page throughout the month for more recipes, interviews, photographs and an exclusive online feature from our February issue – on stands now.

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