Monday, February 28, 2011


Almond Macaron

Macaroons first appeared in Italy in the late 18th century.  These were almond meringue cookies that were made first in monasteries by nuns.  The name of the cookie comes from the Italian word maccarone (mah-kah-ROW-nay or  fine paste,
During the French Revolution (1789-1799 the  recipe was carried on by a pair of Carmelite nuns to France,  who in hiding seeking asylum in the town of ‘Nancy’ , paid for their housing by baking and selling the macaroon cookies, and thus became known as the “Macaroon Sisters” (the French word is macaron, pronounced mah-kah-RONE).
These colorful small and cute looking cookies are  crisp on the outside, smooth  soft and chewy  in the middle, are made from Almond powder, confectioners’ sugar and egg whites. They come in vibrant colors and look absolutely gorgeous and stylish when served.
When I mention ‘Macarons’ , I cannot forget to mention LadurĂ©e the very famous brand for luxury cakes and pastries from  France. You get the BEST and the most exquisite flavors of  the double-decker macaron, here. Apparently they sell a whopping 15,000 macons every day.  My favorite however is the Ganache filling macarone. I must admit as simple as they look, they aren’t simple to make.
Macarons :
150 gms Powdered Sugar
150 gms Whole Almonds
110 gms Egg Whites  ( approx. 4 eggs )
A pinch of salt
120 gms Granulated Sugar
2-3 drops of food color ( I used Rasberry Red) .
Chocolate Ganache :
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
145 gms Dark chocolate, roughly chopped
120 gms unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 110°C. Pulse the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour sugar in a food processor to a very fine powder. Sieve to gets rid of lumps.

Beat the egg whites with salt until the whites form soft peaks when . Add the granulated sugar and beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Gently fold in the almond and sugar mixture with a rubber spatula.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe out 1-inch-diameter mounds about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the tops are baked and look dry but the macaroons are still slightly soft to the touch.

To transfer the cookies, dampen the bottom of the parchment paper. Carefully peel the paper off the macaroons and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Chocolate Ganache
In a saucepan bring the fresh cream  to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate and butter and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes, or until the filling is firm enough to its spread.

If desired, transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe the filling, or spread it with a table knife, generously on the flat side of half of the macaroons. Top with the remaining macaroons, flat-side down, pressing together gently to form sandwiches.