Saturday, July 18, 2009

Macarons with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

vanillabeanmacarons-2

I finally made macarons! I've been gearing up for this, gathering courage, for a long time. A very, very long time. A few years, actually. And now that I've done it? I can't imagine what kept me for so long, because this was a breeze! I had read so many descriptions of how to make them, and long cautious tales about how disastrous they could turn out, I was prepared to have to make many, many batches before finally succeeding.

Well, surprisingly, my first one turned out great. Really great! And it wasn't hard at all. I had read that the egg whites should ideally be aged, but those of you who read me frequently know that planning ahead - that far ahead - isn't really my strong suit. I let mine sit at room temperature for a few hours, and that was fine. The eggs weren't super fresh - they had been in my fridge for at least a week, or more - so maybe they were already aged. I don't know. It worked.

I'm experimenting with keeping these in the fridge and freezer for a few days, to see if they're as good as when freshly baked - we'll see. I do want to make some variation of these for Titus' baptism, but they will need to be made in advance. And I really have to come up with some interesting flavor - I think I'd prefer something blue-ish... perhaps a white chocolate-blueberry ganache as the filling? This filling was just a very basic fast buttercream - very tasty though!

Many people write about macarons - the theory, what they should look like, common mistakes etc - I won't. Instead, check out David Lebovitz's great collection of links.

Macarons
About 15 filled cookies
(Printable recipe)

3 egg whites, at room temperature
2 tbsp caster sugar (or in my case, homemade vanilla sugar)
200 g powdered sugar
110 g almonds, blanched

Combine powdered sugar and almonds in your food processor, and grind until very fine. Sieve. Re-grind any lumps or big pieces of almonds. Mix carefully (they tend to separate a little bit when sieving, since the sugar falls through first.)

Beat egg whites and sugar until you have a thick, glossy meringue. Don't overbeat. Stir in the almond-sugar powder, and fold together. Don't overmix this - most seem to say that you should use less than 50 strokes. (You can try it by dolloping a little batter on a baking sheet - if the peak falls down, it's ready. If it doesn't, try a few more strokes.)

Pipe small rounds on a baking sheet with baking paper. If you'd like, sprinkle some extra ground almonds on half of them. Leave at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, to form a skin.

Bake at 150°C for 15-20 minutes. (I have a convection oven, and 15 minutes was perfect for me.) Let them cool completely before filling. Unused shells can be frozen, or kept in an air-tight container for a day or so.

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Vanilla Bean Buttercream:
100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
90 g powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 egg yolk

Split the vanilla bean open, and scrape out the seeds. Mix all ingredients to a smooth cream. Pipe or spread on half of the cookies, then top with another cookie. Keep in the freezer, or serve straight away - they should keep a few days in the fridge as well.

vanillabeanmacarons-1

Recipe in Swedish:
Macarons med vaniljsmörkräm

20 comments:

Foodfreak said...

Great job, they could hardly look better!

Jamie said...

They are GORGEOUS!!!! I am trying your recipe! Wow!

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

Anja said...

Magarons ARE a science, but you are talented. Well done Anne.

Lisa said...

They look absolutely delicious and beautiful. Nice shots! Send some over ;-)

Bron said...

Super Anne, well done, they're just perfect!

Anna said...

Wow, I am seriously contemplating baking macaroons and have done so for a long time as well- You are a true inspiration!!! Chokladbiskvier are a hit at my cafe in Toronto but since our "theme" is Swedish- Provincial, I think french macaroons would be a perfect fit!!! Will definitely try your recipe!

pityenlacocina said...

hi,anne, i just discovered your blog and i already added it to my favourites, i love swedish food! thanks for this recipe i am going to try it as soon as i am back home, i am a spanish girl living in london, but now i am at home (barcelona) on holidays, i hope you have the time and have a look at my blog, cheers
pity (pityinthekitchen.blogspot.com)

onemorehandbag said...

These look DIVINE. Compliments!

Pene said...

They look very tempting, Anne. The only blue fruit that I know of is blue berry, but you can always use blue food colouring & give them a mystery flavour.

glamah16 said...

Beautiful. Once you make them they are really not that hard.

Heinushka said...

Congratulations! They look fab! I tried once, after reading a ton of recipes and tales, and mine were far from perfection. Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne, this is absolute perfection. I am like you but a step behind, I am still in the gearing up stage.
Do I have to pipe it with the tube or can you do it by hand?? I hate using the piping tool, I am not skilled at it.

Thanks.
Anna

Katie said...

They look fantastic Anne. So professional.

Anne said...

Thanks everyone! Anna, unless you're very skilled with a teaspoon instead, it'll be really hard to get them nice and round without piping. Use a large, round, plain tip, and just pipe "blobs" of the right size - the peaks should flatten on their own if they batter is good. The filling can be piped or spread - I spread it because I was too lazy to get another piping bag.

Alexx said...

These are just beautiful! Great job!

Kay said...

OMG .. i made macarons today as well.. what a coincidence but something went wrong with mine.. i think it was the temperature because out of the whole batch.. three looked perfect and the rest cracked.. but yours look SO CUTE... congrats

Ulrica said...

Hi Anne,

Long time lurker of your blog here :)

I am playing ariound with macaroons quite a bit lately as well, especially flavours. I tend to either make italian meringue as a base and instead of water use 'saft' which works nicely. Different nuts mixed in or instead of the almonds works nice and gives different flavours (pistaschio's are great) and if you can get hold of dried fruit or berries and mix them in when you blend the nuts and sugar it adds a great flavour as well. In fact I suspect powdered fruit soups would work too but enver tried it.

I will stop babbling now :)

Ulrica

Jeanne said...

You go girl!! I'm a fellow-macaron-virgin, also because I believe them to be tricky to make. But you make it sound eminently do-able so maybe it's time to give it a go... Yours look gorgeous & almost as adorable as your baby boy :)

Von said...

These look so pretty!