Steal worthy idea: Make macarons for your wedding guests. Place a few in a cellophane bag wrapped with a bow and a personalized message and voila you have a handmade budget friendly wedding favor. Read on to find out how to make Macarons as well as all their heavenly fillings.
HOW TO MAKE ALMOND MACARONS
1. Yields 30 sandwich cookies
2. 1 ¾ cups plus 2 Tbs. Powdered Sugar
3. 1 ¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. almond flour
4. 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
5. ¼ cup granulated sugar
It is very important to have all your ingredients in place ( literally, put in place the preparation and assembly of ingredients, utensils, pans, plates or serving pieces needed for a particular dish) ready before beginning to make the macarons. First, line 3 flat baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Second, using a medium-mesh sieve, sift the powdered sugar and almond flour into a large bowl and set aside. Third, in a clean stand mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, very soft peaks about 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and continue to whip for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat this 3 more times. If adding food coloring do it now and whip until you achieve stiff and glossy peaks. Fourth, with a large rubber spatula, fold in half of the powdered sugar and almond flour mixture to the egg whites. Once it is thoroughly incorporated, fold in the remaining mixture until just combined. Be careful not to over mix. Fifth, using a piping bag fitted with a ½ -to ¾ inch round tip pipe the batter onto the prepared sheet pans in rounds about 1 inch in diameter and ¼ to ½ inch thick, about 1 ½ inches apart. Once all of the macarons have been piped rap the sheet pans against the counter a few times to flatten the rounds and pop any air bubbles. Now, allow the macarons to rest until they are no longer tacky to the touch, about 20 to 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 325 F and position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven.
When the macarons are ready to bake place them in the oven and reduce the temperature to 300F. Bake for 8 minutes and then rotate and swap the sheets positions. Continue to bake until cookies are very pale golden, about 15 to 20 minutes total, allow to cool. Meanwhile, bake the third sheet bringing the temperature back up to 325 F and following the same procedures as before.
Once the macarons have cooled completely fill with what ever your heart desires! I used cranberry, apple butter, pear mousse, vanilla butter cream and pumpkin cream to make these dainty little sandwich cookies. These are best eaten the day they are made, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
HOW TO MAKE PUMPKIN CREAM
1. Yields 1 pint, enough for 40 small Macarons
2. 3 egg whites
3. Pinch cream of tartar
4. 1 cup granulated sugar
5. ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
6. 2 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
7. 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
10. ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
11. ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
Bring the sugar and ¼ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium- high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 238F (soft ball stage).
While the syrup is cooking, whisk the egg whites at medium speed until they form soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Once the syrup reaches 238F, in a steady stream gradually pour the syrup down the side of bowl, resting the edge of the pan on the edge of the mixer so that the syrup does not hit the whisk attachment and splatter. This process should take about 15 seconds. Whisk the meringue until stiff peaks form and the bowl cools down, about 8 minutes.
Now, add the salt and butter and whisk on high speed until the meringue emulsifies and becomes completely smooth and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves while the mixer is still running and whisk until the butter cream returns to a smooth and fluffy state. It can be kept covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
HOW TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER
1. 1 lb 4 oz Granny Smith apples
2. 2 oz. unsalted butter
3. 6 oz granulated sugar
4. ½ teaspoon salt
5. 4 cinnamon sticks
6. 1 ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
Coarsely chop the apples into about 8 pieces each place all of the pieces, as well as the seeds, stems, and cores, in a medium saucepot. Dice the butter and add it to the apples. Place the remaining apple butter ingredients in the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then turn the heat down to medium low. If the apples begin to scorch, turn the heat down to low, stirring the pot every few minutes to prevent scorching.
Cook until the apples have cooked through and turned brown, about 3 hours. The mixture will look almost like a paste, and there will be no discernable pieces of apple. Remove the vanilla pods.
While the apple butter is still warm, pass it through a ricer. Let the mixture cool to room temperature covered with plastic wrap. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
HOW TO MAKE PEAR MOUSES
1. Yields 1 pint, enough for 40 small sandwiched macarons
2. 6 very ripe medium pears, peeled and cored
3. 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4. 4 eggs
5. 4 egg yolks
6. 2 cups granulated sugar
7. 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier
8. 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
9. ½ cup heavy whipping cream
10. ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Place the pears and lemon juice in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Bring the eggs, yolks, sugar, and pear puree to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly, about 8 minutes. Once it begins to boil, whisk vigorously for about 1 minute on the heat.
Remove from the heat, and add the Grand Marnier, and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Allow the mixture to cool until lukewarm, then pour it back into the food processor, add the butter, and process the mixture until it is smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute. Pour it into a container and let it cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate it overnight, until thickened and has a mousse like consistency.
Place the whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, on high-speed whip until stiff peaks form. Add the almond extract. Fold the whipped cream gently into the pear mousse mixture.