Angela and I are home for the holidays! And that means…BAKING BAKING BAKING. Now we have a pantry stocked to the ceiling with ingredients and a big spacious countertop as opposed to a tiny crate of baking necessities and the cramped quarters and fluorescent lights of Angela’s dorm room. Needless to say, we’re excited–so excited that we decided to start this blog. For the past couple of months we’ve been saying, “We should totally start a food blog,” but when we got home, we were so excited about everything we were going to cook over break that we actually made it happen. If anything, it will be a good place to document the recipes and photos from our kitchen adventures. So here’s to our first post!
Before break, I started a Pinterest board of everything I wanted to make while at home. That board included a whole lot of macarons. We’ve been experimenting with macarons for the past few months, exposing our college friends to the awesomeness of this little French sandwich cookie, which you really can’t find around Tucson. Our first attempt was a big gooey disaster and we ended up throwing them out. However, I have been very persistent since then and after many batches, have succeeded in making an (almost) perfect macaron. For Christmas, our uncle got us a bunch of different nut flours to experiment with, including walnut, pecan, cashew, pistachio, and hazelnut. We decided to tackle the pistachio flour first because we really just wanted an excuse to make green macarons. We incorporated some into the macaron shells, traditionally made with only almond flour, and paired them with a dark chocolate buttercream.
Learning how to make macarons was honestly a big pain in the butt, and I’ve made just about every mistake there is to make. I still squat anxiously in front of the oven while they’re baking, hoping they come out okay. I literally squeal with joy when they do and am in a bad mood for the rest of the day when they don’t. Like, don’t even talk to me if you see failed macaron shells on the counter because I’ll just be sulking. Anyway, here are some sites I’ve found helpful in my quest for the perfect macaron:
You can do it…at home! gives a detailed description of the macaron process with step by step photos. That’s also where I adapted the recipe for these macarons from.
Here is the template I use when piping the macarons to ensure that they are all end up around the same size. You may have to adjust it to your baking sheet size. Just place the template under the parchment paper when piping the shells and slide it out before baking.
This video is a super helpful visual that walks you through the whole process. I’ve probably watched it about 20 times.
Crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside. Sweet, salty, nutty, and chocolatey all in one. I see why these things go for two dollars a piece. THEY’RE SO DARN BEAUTIFUL. I made the buttercream with dark chocolate, but since there was confectioner’s sugar added, it was a little sweet for me. I think it would be even better with unsweetened chocolate so would it would truly taste like dark chocolate. They were still amazing though.
Pistachio Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream
Makes 16 macarons
125 g confectioner’s sugar
75 g almond flour
50 g ground pistachio
100 g egg whites (separated 24-48 hours in advance and at room temp)
125 g super fine sugar
8 drops green food coloring
2 drops yellow food coloring
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. If using, place the macaron template under the parchment. Sift almond flour, ground pistachio and confectioner’s sugar together through a fine sieve and set aside.
Beat egg whites in a large bowl they start to foam. Continue beating, and gradually add the super fine sugar one tablespoon at a time. Beat until the egg whites reach a stiff peak. They should stay put when the bowl is turned upside down. Add food coloring and beat until well combined. Add the pistachio mixture to the egg whites all at once. With a rubber spatula, gently fold until the pistachio mixture is incorporated into the egg whites. Continue folding just until the batter slowly flows off the spatula in ribbons. It is important not to overmix the batter.
Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with 1-cm plain tip. Pipe staggered rows of 1-inch rounds onto prepared baking sheets, or pipe following the template. Rap the baking sheets 3 times against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and to flatten the shells. Let the piped shells stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes to let a crust form. When the shells are dry to the touch and not sticky at all, they are ready to go into the oven. Preheat the oven to 320°F. Just before baking, turn the temperature down to 285°F and bake the macarons for 15-18 minutes. Let the shells cool completely and carefully lift them from the parchment paper. Pair the shells together by size. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of buttercream onto one shell and sandwich with the other shell. Store macarons in airtight container in the fridge. Macarons will taste better after they are chilled overnight.
Adapted from You can do it…at home!
Dark Chocolate Buttercream:
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips)
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating at low speed until blended. Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler until smooth, stirring constantly. Let cool, then add melted chocolate to mixture and beat until blended and smooth.
Adapted from A Healthy Life For Me