During Cake Pop Con, I got to know so many talented bakers, and we received so many awesome products from our generous sponsors. Over the next few posts, some of baker attendees will share some creative ideas to bake for the holidays, using CPC Swag!
by: Ace Galgana, Cake ‘n Stick (Hawaii)
I. Love. Macarons! They are just so pretty. But so many people are intimidated from by them. Don’t be! I know, they look fancy and complicated – and they can be. However, with my tips, some determination & a dash of patience, we will having you baking gorgeous macarons that will be the envy of every party.
“Learn how to cook – try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun.” – Julia Child
Now lets get started!
1. Combine and set aside – 1 cup of sifted almond flour and 1 3/4 cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar.
Emphasis on SIFTED. If you skip this process then expect some lumpy macs. Some people recommend you sift your almond flour and powdered sugar together, but I do it separately and it works for me. After I sift, I quickly combine the two with a whisk and set it aside.
2. Beat at medium speed until frothy – 3 room temperature large egg whites and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle in the sugar while egg whites are beating.
Emphasis on ROOM TEMPERATURE eggs. If you don’t have enough time to set them aside in advance, simply stick them in a bowl of warm water and let it sit for 10 min. Voila! Room temperature eggs!
Drop the egg whites in your mixer. Be careful to not get any yolk in your egg whites! If you do you, it’s easier to just start over. The yolk prevents the egg whites from whipping into a meringue, and it will not allow your cookies to dry completely before you bake them. They will feel tacky and will crack when they are baking. No bueno.
Before your egg whites get to that glossy stage, add your food coloring. For this I used Super Chinese Red by CK Products and Mint Green by Spectrum. Very “Christmassy” don’t you think!?
Continue whipping the eggs until you have medium-soft peaks. Not too soft, not too firm… medium-soft.
Next is the “Macronage”, which is the folding process! Crucial step here, folks. Crucial.
3. Sprinkle your powdered sugar and almond flour mixture in your meringue, and fold. Fold, do not mix. Portion your flour mixture into thirds to where you are not dumping all of it into your meringue.
Now, some people say fold it for about fifty strokes, but I don’t. I just “eyeball” it to get it to the “lava” consistency. The more you practice, the better you’ll be able to eyeball it as well.
This is what you want, “lava-like” batter, so that when you pipe it onto your Silpat Macaron Mat, the batter doesn’t create “nipples.” Seriously, they are really called that. It should fall into a perfect circle with no points or peaks sticking up.
If it doesn’t settle on it’s own and leaves nipples when you pipe, then you under mixed. If it’s runny then you over mixed. Practice getting your batter to the right consistency. Don’t give up!
Pour your batter into a piping bag. To make it easier, place the piping bag over a cup, which will support the batter as the bag fills up.
Pipe your batter straight down on to your Silpat Macaron Mat. I seriously love it – my macarons come off so easily and, it already has perfectly printed circles to guide you for the perfect size macs.
After piping a full sheet of batter, let it sit!
I know you will be tempted to stick it in the oven right away – but don’t! Let your cookies sit until it forms a firm outer shell on top. If you do not wait for the dry shell to form, they will all crack when you bake them.
I’m saving you a night full of stress, please, wait it out!
Bake for about 14-18 minutes at 285F- 305F.
Now, all of our ovens are different, and depending where you live, altitudes and humidity can play a role. It may take a trial batch or two to find that “sweet spot” of what time and temperature work best for you.
In my opinion, there are three things to a successful macaron:
1. A smooth top.
2. Your macaron is not hollow! Hollows are caused by under-cooking your macarons. See how nice and full this mac is?
3. Macaron “feet”, which is the spongy looking part that forms at the bottom of the cookie.
Let your macarons sit and cool before you peel them off your mat. Again patience. If you don’t wait until they cool, they will stick to your mat. You must wait.
After they are cool, it’s time to fill your macarons! You can use about anything to fill your cookies: ganache, buttercream, jelly, spread – whatever! That’s the beauty of these cookies – there are so many options!
To give your macs some extra holiday flair, I decorated mine with Holiday sprinkles and piped decorations on with Bakerella’s Make ‘n Mold Marshmallow White candy wafers.
The moral of this holiday story, patience and persistence. Don’t give up! Keep practicing and you will be the HIT at your holiday party!
Ace Cake ‘n Stick
1 cup of sifted almond flour
1 3/4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
3 room temperature large egg whites
3 tablespoons of sugar
(Optional) 3 drops food coloring
(Optional) 1/2 teaspoon of flavored extract
- Combine almond flour and confectioner’s sugar, and set aside.
- Beat egg whites at medium speed until frothy.
- Sprinkle in sugar while egg whites are beating.
- Beat at high speed until medium-soft peaks form. Add food coloring & extract (optional).
- Combine egg white mixture with flour mixture and fold until incorporated. Fold in until you reach “lava-like” consistency.
- Transfer into piping bag and pipe 1 1/2 inch circles. Use Silpat Macaron mat for guidance.
- Allow tray to sit until the batter forms a firm outer shell on top of the cookies.
- Bake 14-18 minutes at 285-305F.
- Allow cookies to fully cool before removing them from the mat.
- Decorate & enjoy!