French Macaroons… my favorite

18 Aug

IMG_0754So when I was in Paris there were these delicate little cookies that were called macaroons. Now the macaroons that I was familiar with were the sweet, dense, coconut ones that I make at Christmas and see at the beach.

The French macaroon is a light, egg white base, which is made into a sandwich. In France, they are commonly filled with hazelnut, raspberry, coffee and pistachio. The cookie part is made with ground nuts, powdered sugar and egg whites. The filling is traditionally made with a ganache or jam. My version, is filled with nutella. Why? Well, just like peanut butter, nutella is ready to use right out of the jar. Oh and it’s delicious!

French Macaroons

yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

active time: 45 min

total time: 1 3/4 hr

For macaroons

  • 6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Red or pink food coloring

Nutella

  • Special equipment: parchment paper; a gallon-size sealable plastic bag (not pleated)

Make macaroons:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup confectioners sugar, stirring to combine.

Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low speed until evenly combined. Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)

Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.

Assemble cookies:
Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile). Sandwich a thin layer of nutella (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.

This recipe is not the easiest. You have to be quick and patient. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s the truth. If you try to spread the nutella too soon it will melt all over the place and the cookies might crack under the pressure of the spread. Never the less, these macaroons are worth the effort. Takes me right back to the Champ-Élysée!

Always thinking of the next meal

-Katie

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One Response to “French Macaroons… my favorite”

  1. Diane Burmeister August 20, 2009 at 2:33 am #

    Please come and cook this meal for Dad and I next time you are here! It looks and sounds delicious. Has the Food Network heard about you yet?

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