French Macarons… A cinnamon and ginger duet.

French Macarons… A cinnamon and ginger duet.

PHEW… what an exciting weekend. Thursday night I was doodling around checking to see if my new post was getting any action and yes, I was up to 35..45.. yes 75 in one day. This garnished excitement in my new little blogging world. Then about 8pm I looked and I had 140 hits. Hmmm… then 250 and I thought bummer I’ve been hacked spammed infiltrated. Then I had the notion to check freshly pressed and saw a familiar picture on the front page. Holy shit. How did that get there, not to be self deprecating, which I also have a knack for. I am pleased with my blog and the learning curve. However, if I had thought THIS chicken and glass noodle post would be seen by thousands I might have at least included a printable recipe. Must have been those scallions. Despite being catapulted into 15 minutes of blogging fame, my internet was still going off at 9pm (teen in the house) not to come back on till 6am. I checked my iphone till about 11pm. I woke up about 5.30 barely able to contain myself. O offered to make tea and keep me company till I could log on. I wasn’t sure if I should play all cool like ‘yeah whatever’ freshly pressed… that’s nice. But I’m not really a cool person and I wear my heart on my sleeve, so I can’t lie. What a thrill this has been. I’m enjoying seeing so many new faces and sites and don’t mind the occasional real estate broker hotline or tennis shoe extravaganza that seem to slip through the spam cracks.

All that being said… back to work- or fun I should say. I’m loving responding to comments but wanted to get this out next. I had Rosenkuchen planned for this post but found out Friday night through Biscuits and Bobbins about a macaron contest over at traveling foodies. I love making macaroons. Could I pull it off in a day? Make them and write a post? It was worth a shot. Here’s the round-up of their March Macaron Madness. Great photos and a lot of info!

Before I even get started with my take on macaroons,the wonderful long day and subsequent post, here is a great site for some real nitty gritty …. Mr Liebowitz please. He has further links too. I repeat… this is how I make macaroons. There are a lot of secret macaron societies out there all with little tips and tricks. I’d love to hear yours.

So Friday in the middle of the night, I lay awake for an hour thinking of flavors. In the morning I decided on spices. I wanted to do a trio but just didn’t have the time or proper equipment. Cinnamon and ginger. I’d keep it a duet. The first thing I found was this…specifically the almond meal that I had brought back from our road trip to Paris last year. Unfortunately, I had already used up the 5 kilos of Valrhona chocolate. High quality chocolate brings out the best in these guys.

It was the first time I had made macaroons in about two years. Kind of like riding a bike. You don’t forget but need a little memory jog.

Macarons – Print Macaron Recipe NOW!

Here’s the basic recipe for the chocolate cinnamon cookie

  • 250g (2 1/4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 125g (1 1/3 cups) almond meal
  • 25 g (5 tsp) high quality cocoa powder
  • 5 g (1tsp) cinnamon
  • 100 g (approx 3 lg) egg whites
  • 25 g (5tsp) sugar

For the ginger macaron cookie I left out the cocoa powder and added about 15g (1 heaping tablespoon) more of almond powder and 1 tsp powdered ginger.

Ganache Filling: this is for one batch…. but I like ganache and I always double this and pipe out the leftovers.

  • 90ml (6T) cream – infused with fresh ginger or cinnamon sticks
  • 150g (6oz) chocolate – dark for the ginger cookie and milk for the cinnamon
  • 45g (3T) butter

First I started with infusing the cream… cream and ginger together in one pot , cream and cinnamon sticks in another. Bring to an almost boil then set it aside for about an hour. It will fly by.

I use Pierré Hermé and Nigella Lawson as my guides. Two very different people in so many ways with one common denominator… the love of food. Hermé also has a new Macaron book published Dec 2011.

I don’t have my tamis and used a strainer to sift the almond powder, powdered sugar, spices and chocolate. Time consuming but it worked.

Beat your whites on medium speed until foamy then add the sugar and beat on high till glossy with soft peaks but not dry… (it takes some trial and error to really see the difference from soft peaks to dry and stiff). Let’s just say I wouldn’t tip my bowl upside down to see if they stick. Here’s a couple shots to help…

Riding the egg white wave…Mix thoroughly 1/3 of dry ingredients into the whites… then add the rest. Preferably… I forgot to do this and the world continued to rotate. Knock the batter on the counter to get the air out.

Now fill up a pastry bag and a medium round tip and pipe onto parchment paper or silpat which I prefer…

Time for piping… I’m going to show you the nice ones now and the bloopers in the near future. My first round made me practically cry. This is the second one. Started gettin’ my game on. The timing of macaroons is delicate. After you pipe, give the tray a couple whacks on the counter. I used a little sifter and sprinkled powdered ginger on these. Then let them sit for about 15-20 minutes to develop a skin. During this time heat the oven to 425°F/210°C.

I preheated to 425 then as soon as I put them in the oven I dropped it to 375°F/180°C. And stick a wooden spoon in the door. It’s Pierre’s little trick…

First batch out of the oven…

I was pleased with the “foot”…Little edge around the bottom.

I take them off with a sharp knife… wiping it with hot water when it gets sticky. They come off pretty easy. Be careful with the knife. You can see where I’ve cut the silpat…bummer.

I give them a couple minutes to cool on a rack…

Get my next batch ready and work on the ganache while the skin forms… I reheat the cream, strain it, add the butter and pour over chopped up chocolate. I set a plate over it for 5-10 minutes before I whisk it together.

After it’s had time to melt, whisk it till it’s smooth… if you have a few solid bits you can warm up over a hot water bath.

Now you just have to get in a rhythm… having more than one silpat sheet helps or use parchment so you can have one sheet in the oven and one sheet forming skins. Just make sure you get the temp back up. ALTHOUGH… not all recipes call for that. There is a little choreography involved in this process. Don’t be in a rush.

Then I started on the chocolate cinnamon…I tried a star tip for these because my round tip was really too small. My main set of tips are in the states. I sprinkled cinnamon on these.

Once all the cookies were baked, I finished the ganache. I leave it at room temperature till it firms up like this…Then I beat it on high speed till the color lightens. I put it in a pastry bag again with a star tip and start piping my brains out. Yes my fingers were stiff the next day.

I piped the dark ginger chocolate and added candied ginger- needed a little ganache on the top to make em stick. These were to die for good…. and I’ll try to remember to do them again next year for the macaron contest. These are two pretty shots of each side piped and garnished with candied ginger before they get smooshed together. In real time I have tops and bottoms all lined up on a baking tray.

And the milk chocolate cinnamon ganache piped on…

These chocolate guys had cinnamon and ginger dusted on them.

I did one side dark ginger and one side milk cinnamon. They had some wow goin on.

Now for the display… I took um…. about 150 photos. So they aren’t all here. There’s more on flickr (but not the whole lot!)

Now it’s time to kick back. You might not be ready to actually eat a “real” one if you like me have been eating all the broken and deformed ones and dipping them into the unfinished ganache…

Granted you will be exhausted by the end of this venture. I did not make it in time for the March 31st deadline, but I’ll be on it next year. A day of baking and a day of editing and writing doesn’t fit into 12 waking hours. Not in my world at least. And despite the 2 kilo I probably gained this weekend and the enormous amount of time… it was totally worth it.

Stay tuned for the ‘bloopers’ and left over ganache episode.

Tschüss ~

48 responses

    • They are decadent. They wouldn’t be ideal for shipping because of the ganache, but possible if you used special packaging to keep them cool. I’m sure you can buy them online.

  1. Your macaroons looks lovely. The idea of using a star tipped nozzle to pipe the chocolate ones is a nice idea. I would love to try making macaroons but I really don’t really confident enough to tackle them. Great post and thanks for sharing

    • They are a bit temperamental. I’m trying to remember the first time I made them but am drawing a blank.You just have to do it. They take practice, patience and a little research. Keep me posted!

  2. This is awesome. For more than a year now I’ve had the goal of making macaroons and this post will be really helpful, I’m sure. Two questions for a beginner: where did you get the almond powder and do you have to have Silpat or do you think parchment paper might work?

  3. Very impressive – no we have two massive sellers in you “Cafe Chole” – cupcakes & French Macaroons – you’re very good and you have patient – you got them so evenly sized too. You would do well in MasterChef – macaroons are really hard to make. Lovely photo’s too. AGAIN!

    • Thanks Viveka… We would need somebody to do all the piping cause my fingers can’t take it for more than a day or two! You know I did the cafe thing- was called Chez Chloe … Orcas Island.

      • Wonderful … I knew you had in you – not very good on piping neither, hard work! So we have to sell something that don’t involve piping. *laughter …

  4. Oh wow! These look amazing! I’m actually hoping to give Macaroons a go myself – what great timing that you posted this. Although I doubt mine will turn out anywhere near as good as yours. Big congratulations on getting pressed!

    • Thanks. It was such a surprise I tell you. Been a busy weekend and wonder what the other side of it will look like. All good though. Really fun meeting new people.
      I think you could pull these off. Just study up first and go for it.

    • Your welcome. There are a lot of slight variations and tons of methods. It’s like religion in my opinion. You look around and pull out what works from different recipes. Then do it a couple times and make it your own. Have fun and let me know how they turn out.

    • Thanks. Wish I could send some to you. I’ve got the rest in the freezer to be out hand’s reach. But honestly, they are just as good frozen.
      I’ve just visited your world and got tired of clicking ‘like’. You have some great dishes… are you still working a day job because you are seriously cooking a lot!

  5. Oh my goodness these look absolutely delicious. I’ve had a read through your blog and you seem to cook the sort of food I like to eat so I’ll definitely be back for inspiration.

    And I’ll be trying out these macaroons!

  6. Gorgeous! I envy everyone who can make macarons. I’ve been meaning to give it a try forever but keep putting it off. One of these days, though… And BTW I found your blog via the FoodPress FreshlyPressed, too, and I’m so glad I clicked on that picture!

  7. The texture on those chocolate ones are gorgeous. So fancy! Love them and the flavors you used. You migt be interested in baking along with us monthly macnuts at http://mactweets.blogspot.com/. thanks for visiting my blog. I do miss Germany but we still have our house and family there so it’s always great to get back to our other home once in a while. In the meantime we are enjoying NYC. Hamburg is a wonderful city.

  8. My son is in NYC and I have a lot of fun visiting him. And coming from the Pacific Northwest for most of the last 20 years it has a very similar feel… sort of :-)
    I’m all over that mactweets- thanks for the tip.

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    • Thanks Donna,
      I am digging your thin mint macarons. I love mint and it never occurred to me to it with macarons. DUH! My next go will be with mint. That chocolate cake looks darn good too!

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