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BLOG: Expensive No More - Guest Post by Kim Hendrickson, Salvia Press

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posted Saturday Jul 07, 2018 12:00 AM

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Expensive No More - Make your own macarons! - - I teach a lot of classes and do a lot of events and because of those activities I attempt to stay on top of what is trendy or trending. So trending items last only a few months but on occasion the item “just hangs in there”. Cupcakes are probably the best example of a long lasting trend, but I’m surprise (and pleased) that French macarons and still popular--- and expensive.

When is comes to baking some things are very simple and may require just a mastering a few tips and other recipes really do take much time and/or technique.

Macarons are in the former category; not hard at all. I was reminded of these delicious cookies when I saw tiny ones for sale at a local theatre for $2.00 a piece.

I decided to include them to my next party menu but the weather changed and I was plagued with tremendous humidity and my eggs wouldn’t froth. With that reminder, the following points of understanding must be on your mind with you make the following recipe.

  • Humidity affects the performance of egg whites, so if your kitchen is too hot/humid or you have opened windows to cool down a hot kitchen and the humidity level is high outside, it may make it impossible to get the egg whites.
  • If you want to color your macarons to make them look the colorful ones available for sale, make sure you use paste or powdered colors. The liquid in the liquid colors may add too much moisture to your batter, thinning it down, making it too loose to hold onto the needed air.
  • Don’t let the batter sit for a long time. This batter depends on air and the longer the weight of the batter sits, the more air it loses and the ingredients start to separate, meaning the batter will be too liquidy.
  • If you cannot find almond flour (fairly expensive) use almond meal (affordably found at Trader Joe’s). The important thing is to remember to sift the meal 2X through a fine sieve to make sure it is light enough. The down side is your cookies will look a bit speckled, BUT the taste is exactly the same.

Almond Macarons

Yield: 28 one inch sandwiched cookies

1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons almond flour

4 large egg whites (1/2 cu), room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

½-inch smooth pastry tip & pastry bag

Filling of your choice

Line baking sheets with parchment paper (foil, Silpats, greased pans don’t work as well). Set aside.

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and almond flour together into a bowl.

Fit a balloon whisk onto your standing mixer. Whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. SLOWLY add the granulated sugar and beat until a stiff, glossy texture is achieved (stiff peak). This will take about 8 minutes.

Spoon whites into a bowl and fold the sugar/almond flour mixture into the whites.

Add coloring, if you choose, as you are folding the mixture together.

Fill pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch tip with mixture. Holding the bag perpendicular to the parchment line sheets, pipe out 1-inch rounds of batter, allowing 1 ½-inches between each round. When all have been piped, rap the pan on the counter to let major air bubbles out and to settle the batter.

Preheat oven to 325F.  Let the piped baking sheet set on the counter for 30 minutes to allow the air to form a skin over the top of each piped mound.  Place each pan into the oven, turning the oven down to 300F. Bake for 18-20 minutes until “feet” (base)  appear, and the tops are mounded, hard and crisp. Cool, the fill.

 

~ Kim Hendrickson, Salvia Press
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KIM HENDRICKSON, author of the Tastefully Small cookbook series, has been teaching for nearly twenty years. A regular instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School, she is a frequent speaker at culinary events throughout the U.S.  She has catered for The Travel Channel’s Bizarre Food Show, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Penguin Repertory Theater. And TV’s “Slangman”, David Burke. Kim's book, "Finger Sandwiches", is the only one of its kind, dedicated exclusively to a celebration of unique and flavorful tea sandwiches, and her "Savory Bites" and "Dessert Canapes" books help round out the Tastefully Small series to make any gathering both fun and delicious. See http://www.SalviaPress.net

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