Wednesday, January 1, 2014

White chocolate macarons and a cookbook giveaway

I think I ate my weight in food over the holidays. Please tell me that I'm not the only one. I wanted to start this week off with something that's a tad lighter but still full of flavor and texture - macarons. I have made them before, but that was back in the dark ages when I did not own a kitchen scale. My ratios of almond flour to egg whites were off, so my macarons spread like mad. This is my first time making macarons with a kitchen scale, so I had high hopes that things would turn out better.

The kind folks at Skyhorse Publishing sent me a review copy of macaron fetish, and I was blown away by all the different types of macarons. I've never been to a real patisserie with hundreds of macaron varieties, so this is the closest that I've gotten. Author Kim H. Lim-Chodkowski knows her macarons - she has chapters on traditional macarons to savory ones to cocktail varieties. There's really something in the book for everyone!

I was flipping through the book and asked my husband what type to try. I originally wanted mocha, but he isn't a big fan of coffee-flavored things so we chose white chocolate instead. The recipe was very straightforward, and my macarons came out beautifully - hooray! I'm telling you... the kitchen scale makes a world of a difference when it comes to these cookies. I did not bring my egg whites to room temperature or do anything else crazy or special, and they turned out just fine.

The macaron shells baked up perfectly crispy on the outside and had a nice chew on the inside. The white chocolate filling was smooth and creamy, and it felt like a lighter dessert to partake in after all the calories I consumed last week. I can't wait to try more flavor combinations from this cookbook.

And now onto the giveaway... One of you will win not one, but TWO cookbooks! You will receive a copy of macaron fetish and one copy of Little Sweets and Bakes (I will be featuring a recipe from Little Sweets and Bakes in a future post). Simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Be patient since sometimes the widget is slow to load. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

White chocolate macarons
Macaron shells
  • 1/3 cup + 4 teaspoons (50 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup (30g) almond flour
  • Silver powder food coloring, optional (I did not use)
  • 1 egg white (40 g)
  • 2 and 1/2 TBSP (30g) superfine (granulated) sugar
White chocolate filling
  • 1.75 ounces (50g) white chocolate, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons (20g) heavy cream
Directions
To make the macaron shells: Using a blender, finely blend the powdered sugar, almond flour and powdered food coloring. Use a sieve to sift out any large pieces of almond remaining and toss them out. Transfer the dry ingredients to a large bowl.

In the bowl of a spotless stand mixer (or in a large clean bowl if using a handheld mixer), beat the egg white on high speed until it is frothy. Add in the granulated sugar and continue to beat on high speed until you reach stiff peaks. The egg white mixture should be very smooth and shiny.

Turn off the mixer and slowly transfer the dry ingredients into the egg white mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients and use no more than 60 strokes. Your macaron shell mixture is ready once you lift your spatula and the mixture falls back onto itself like lava.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip (if you don't have a piping bag, use a ziploc bag with the end snipped off).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Gently squeeze out some batter from the piping bag onto the lined baking sheet in a vertical motion. Pipe until the batter forms a circle about 1/2" to 1" in diameter. Pipe the remaining circles on the sheet.

Lift the baking pan up and rap on the counter several times to get the air bubbles out. Allow the tray to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Bake the macarons for 12 minutes and allow the shells to cool before removing from the baking pan.

To make the filling: In a small saucepan, heat up the heavy cream until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and turn off the stove. In a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30 second increments), melt the white chocolate. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl with the white chocolate and whisk vigorously until the ganache is smooth and free of lumps. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow it to cool for at least an hour so the ganache hardens a bit.

Once the macaron shells are cool, pair them up by size. Pipe a round of filling into the middle of one of the shells and top it with the other shell. Continue until all shells have been used.

Macarons should be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They will keep for about 5 days. Macarons are best enjoyed the day after they are baked in order for the flavors to develop.

Yield: About 12 one-inch macaron cookies (with filling); otherwise, it makes about 24 macaron shells
Source: macaron fetish, by Kim H. Lim-Chodkowski, page 20

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