Sunday, May 10, 2015

Vanilla Bean French Macarons



Vanilla flavor might seem a boring one but this recipe, my friends, will change your way of thinking.   A good vanilla flavor is often underestimated.  This flavor is probably one of my favorite flavors that I have made so far and that's not me because I am more of a chocolate kind of girl.  It is buttery, light and it has the perfect amount of sweet.  They say if you can make french macarons you can make pretty much anything.  I failed many times before I actually started making perfect batches with no cracks.  It is so exciting to make these, with so many flavors and so many ways to decorate them, it has been an addiction of mine. Not to mention the sense of pride you feel after you have succeeded.  This post is so great because this is not only the recipe but also my detailed instructions of how to make these scrumptios macarons.  So here is everything I learned through my own failures and remember that macarons takes time, precision and most importantly passion. 



Macaron Shells: makes 56 small filled macarons (1.5 inches)


2 3/4 cups - almond flour (I prefer unblanched)

2 3/4 cups - powdered sugar 

1 cup egg whites (7-8 eggs) at room temperature 
(make sure there is ONLY egg whites and no yolk).

pinch of creme of tartar 

pinch of salt 

3/4 cup - superfine granulated sugar 

1/2 tsp - pure almond extract 

yellow or any color you like food coloring 



Laduree Vanilla Bean Filling:

1 madagascar vanilla bean 

2/3 cup + 3 Tbsp heavy cream (40%)

4 1/2 tsp corn starch flour (flour)

1/2 cup sugar 

3 1/2 oz white chocolate chips (vanilla chips ok)

7 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened 

pinch of salt 

Instructions: 

In a large bowl, add the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Set aside and let it sit in a room temperature. 

Preheat oven to 325 and line your baking sheets (5-6) with parchment paper. (If you don't have that many baking sheets you can reuse the same ones. Just make sure sheets are cooled off before you pipe the macarons).  

Combine the flour with the powdered sugar and mix well. Sift together, discarding any large crumbs to make sure mixture is as fine as possible. Add more powdered sugar and flour to compansate for the discarded mixture. Sift one more time if needed. This keeps crumbs from forming on the macaron tops as they bake. (Do not make this in advance as mixture has to be fluffy.) 

With an ellectric mixer, beat the egg whites (which should have reached room temperature)at low speed. When the eggs become foamy, add the sugar slowly beating at the same time. Add the vanilla extract beating at the same time. Increase speed. When the meringue is starting to form, drop a few drops of red coloring. Beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks and your meringue is firm and shiny. (Merengue peaks should not droop but should be streight up).

Scoop two cups of the almond/sugar mixture and pour on the top of the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula you will cut the batter as with a knife and flip the mixture without shaking the spatula. Just cut and flip while turning the bowl a few times (4-5). This will allow the eggs to stay fluffy while introducing the flower mixture to the merengue. Repeat the same with another 2 cups of flower. And then again with 1 1/2 cups of flower. You will know that the macaroon batter is ready when there is no more visible flower crumbs, mixture is glossy and flowing. (This is the hardest part to know when you are done. It is always better for the batter to be underdone than overdone). 

Fit your pastry bag with a number 806 round tip or equivalent. Pipe the batter into even circles. I like to pipe mine about 1 3/4 inch diameter but you can make them smaller or bigger if you wish. You can make a template to put under the parchment so that all the shells will be exactly the same size. Be sure to leave about one inch of space between macaroons so they will not touch each other while they bake. (If the peak that forms on the top of the macaron doesn't disappear after piping, it means the batter could have been beaten a little more. To eliminate the peaks, tap the baking sheet on the tabletop, making sure to hold the parchment paper with your thumbs. This also helps to get rid of the air bubbles). 

Let the piped macaroons rest for at least 20 minutes before baking.

Bake for 14 minutes. After the first 5 minutes of baking, open the oven door briefly to let the steam/moisture out. Don't forget to do this, it's very important to get the excess moisture out of the oven. Do not open the oven at any other time. Let macarons cool completely on the pan before taking them off the parchment paper. If the macarons seem too hard and you can see discoloration on top of the macaron, reduce baking time to 13 minutes. ( I have noticed with mine that the bigger macarons need 14 min and the smaller in size 13 minutes). 







Tips:

If you "age" the egg whites in the fridge for one day in advance, it will help a little of the moisture evaporate, giving you a better chance to success. 

If you live in a very humid area, add 2 teaspoons of powdered egg whites to your fresh egg whites to help stabilize. 


Vanilla Filling: 


The day before preparing the macarons, start the vanilla cream filling. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the 2/3 cup of cream, add the bean pod too and infuse overnight. (Infusing the cream overnight is recommended as it will give the cream more vanilla flavor. If you forget to do this it is not that big of a deal. It just won't have as stronger vanilla flavor but it will still be excellent).

The following day, in a seperate bowl, whisk the remaining cream into the corn starch flour until smooth. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream. Pour the infused cream into a sauce pan, stir in the sugar and salt and heat until simmering. Vigorously whisk the simmering liquid into the corn starch mixture until smooth. Return it to the sauce pan and whisk continuesly over low heat for 30 seconds until thickened and smooth then, pour into a bowl.

Use a spatula and little by little, gently stir the chocolate into the hot cream. Pour into a food processor when the temperature of the preparation cools to 113 degrees F (45 C). Gradually add the butter and process until the filling is smooth and creamy. Pour into a gratin dish and cover with plastic wrap placing it directly on the vanilla cream; refrigerate for 2 hours or until it is firm enough to be piped. (It usually takes me more than 2 hours for the cream to be firm so make sure it is completely ready before you pipe it onto the macaroons). You will LOVE this filling!






4 comments :

  1. Ahh, i love macarons, and these look perfect! I always wanted to make some but I was afraid they won't turn out good. Thanks for your detailed instructions! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome! I failed many times like I said. Just keep practicing and you will get it I am sure! Send me pics when you do. :)

      Delete
  2. Hi Polie. I am planning to make these this weekend. Just a question -- in the directions for the filling you mention chocolate and butter, but I don't see these listed under the ingredients. How much chocolate and butter do you add? I love macarons, and I'm excited to try your recipe! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Faye! I am sorry to get back to you so late. I fixed the recipe. I realized i was missing quite a bit. I apologize for the inconvenience. This filling is my favorite. The macarons are always better on the second day being refrigerated when the feeling will make them soft on the inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. I would love to hear from you when you make them and tell me what you think. Good luck Faye! :)

      Delete