Cooking Challenge – Macarons!
The Tidings Cooking Challenge is an opportunity for food lovers to try their hand at creating something together. Not all in the same kitchen, of course. Rather, try the recipe in your own time and then come back and tell us what you thought of it. You can add your comments directly underneath the post, or send a photo of your creation to email@example.com.Are macarons the same as macaroons? Your guess is as good as mine. That question has been asked many times over for decades. If there are any culinary historians out there who know the answer, definitely let me know. What I do know is that macarons are made with a base of almonds and meringue. Macaroons begin with a base of coconut and meringue. Where macarons are finely (dare I say, perfectly) shaped orbs. Macaroons are kind of messy, drop-off-the-spoon pretty. Both are truly delicious.
I always thought macarons would be really hard to make. They seem so well put together and delicate that I was sure I’d mess them up. Well, lucky me (and you,too), I’ve come across a really easy, but really yummy recipe for them in Margaret M. Johnson’s tribute to the treats typically offered in European tearooms and cafés. I like to adapt recipes to suit my own tastes, and this one is no different. I reduced the amount of sugar. To what? I don’t really know. I taste-tested the recipe as I went along. I have, however, had these made according to the exact recipe, and they are worth the effort. This recipe is solely for the cookie part. Feel free to eat them as they are, or sandwich them together with a chocolate, pistachio or vanilla filling. Johnson provides an easy-to-make filling recipe. Look for her book, published by Chronicle Books, in any bookstore.
Let me know what you think.
1 lb icing sugar
2 cups whole blanched almonds
6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 Tbsp large egg whites
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine icing sugar and almonds in a food processor. Process for about 5 minutes until the nuts are ground to a fine powder. Add the cocoa and process for another minute.
3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the nt mixture into the whites in four additions, making a thick batter.
4. Spoon half the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip. Pipe the batter onto a prepared sheet, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes, until firm to the touch. Macarons should be dry and cracked on top. Carefully slide the parchment with the cookies onto the counter to cool.