Friday, November 13, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
- First, break your whites into a very very clean bowl (no grease!). You can add a drop of fresh lemon juice plus a few grains of salt to the whites. This (like cream of tartar) helps stabilize your whites.
- Now, first “break” your whites by mixing them on low speed for about 30 seconds, then increase your mixer speed to medium then high speed.
- As soon as the whites are frothy and foamy, start to add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, whipping continuously. Keep whipping until the whites are stiff – you should be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head and the egg whites shouldn’t budge! If they drip onto your head then you haven’t whipped them enough!
Friday, November 06, 2009
Everyone has been asking about flavors: can we do whatever flavor we want, any filling we choose? Or are we all doing the same? We decided to allow everyone to do as they please this time for 2 reasons:
First, I had asked everyone to make coffee macs the first round and only a few did. Others used their imagination and went their own way which gave us some very exciting macs!
Second, to tell you the truth, Deeba and I were so excited about and busy with our new Mac Kitchen blog that we skipped over this point completely. Yikes! Next time we might have everyone make the same recipe just to compare results and have something to check our own results by. This would help us all understand the complexity and the very nature of these elegant creatures.
We would like to offer a few flavorings to those with little or no mac experience just to help you on your way. The recipe we offer you here, Helen’s recipe, is the simplest basic recipe going. She makes hers with violet sugar, as Jamie did on her first mac try.
Here is the basic recipe with some changes Jamie made.
Basic mac shell recipe:
90 gr egg whites (about 3) *
30 gr (1 oz, 2 Tbs + ¼ tsp) granulated sugar
200 gr (7 oz, 1 ½ cups + 1 Tbs + 1 tsp) powdered sugar
110 gr (3 7/8 oz, 1 cup + 1 Tbs + 1 tsp) ground almonds
* personally, I have never weighed my egg whites. I use large eggs.
Jamie has graciously done the dirty work for those who do not have scales, and has converted the gram measurements into ounces as well as cups/ tablespoons/teaspoons.
If using flavored sugars such as violet, maple, vanilla etc, just replace 1 tsp of the granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of your flavored sugar then use about 1 teaspoon of the flavored sugar to sprinkle on the shells just after piping.
Coffee shells: stir 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder into the powdered sugar/ground almond mixture.
Chocolate shells: Stir about 1 tablespoon (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder into the powdered sugar/ground almond mixture.
These are pretty simple and delicious flavors to start with.
If you want to make basic unflavoured yet colourful macs, then add 2-3 drops of liquid colour after the batter is mixed. Gently mix though till no white streaks are visible, and then fill in bag & pipe.
Fillings can be simple ganache, buttercream, jelly or jam, fruit compote, whatever you like that can hold up to being sandwiched in between layers of macaron shells.
If you use a different flavoring for the shells, then we'd love to hear your story. And of course, we will be able to discover your recipes after the round up!
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Welcome to Jamie and Deeba’s virtual Mac Kitchen where French Macarons are the order of the day. Some of you remember our first Mac Challenge
with the round up here
So we, Deeba and Jamie, decided to create a separate space where it all could happen. And we are ready to inaugurate our special Mac Kitchen and name the first date.
We've chosen a recipe from Helen's beautiful blog Tartlette for this challenge. This is a sample recipe, the simplest and clearest of mac recipes, but feel free to use your own. The violet sugar is entirely optional. You can go plain or use any flavour you fancy.
Violet Macarons With Violet And Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe:
recipe from Helen @ Tartlette
Makes between 30 to 40 macarons
For the macarons shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
2 tablespoons crushed violet sugar or candied violet petals
For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like lava or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes.
Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with the crushed sugar or violet petals. Preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.
Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of butterceam in the center of one shell and top with another one.
Violet and Vanilla Buttercream:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon violet sugar +1 tablespoon water (or 2 tablespoons violet liqueur)
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeded
Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Divided the buttercream in two portions.
For the violet buttercream: microwave the violet sugar and water for 30 to 45 seconds. Let cool completely before folding it into the buttercream. If using liqueur, just fold it in the buttercream.
For the vanilla buttercream: add the seeds from the vanilla bean to the buttercream and fold with a spatula until fully incorporated. If not using right away, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 1 month.
Just make your macs, keep us up to date on your progress, ask questions if you have problems or share your feet via twitter @lifesafeast and @vindee and then post your macs on your own blog by 10th December 2009 with a mention of this challenge, linking back to the Mactweets blog.
The round up of all macs will be put up here on the 15th December 2009.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
Follow us and all the Mac Attack Buzz on Twitter@lifesafeast and @vindee