Thursday, January 30, 2014

Just Some Macaron Moral Support

Cindy's Toasted Coconut Macarons

My friend Cindy made her very first batch of French Macarons today and invited me over to guide and offer moral support.

As it turned out, she really didn't need my help and I got to relax and sip coffee as she successfully whipped up a top-notch batch of Toasted Coconut Macarons.

The macarons really did turn out great. They were uniform in size, had matte tops, even feet and tasted great!

Cindy really impressed me. Look at those even-sized rounds!
Lime green polka dot cupcake liners and self-sealing cellophane bags make for a nice presentation. Super cute!
Working with Cindy reminded me that macarons are indeed intimidating little buggers but once you decide to go for it and have success, it's deeply satisfying. Sometimes you just need a little moral support.

I knew Cindy could do it and you can too. Don't be scared, here's the recipe:

Toasted Coconut Macarons
180g ground almonds, sifted
270g powdered sugar, sifted
150g egg whites, aged 2 to 4 days in the fridge and then brought to room temperature
100g granulated sugar

Line four heavy baking sheets with good quality parchment paper and set aside. Also, set aside two pastry bags for the piping of the macarons.

Sift together your ground almonds with the powdered sugar and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites (at room temperature) to glossy firm peaks adding the granulated sugar gradually in four parts.

Incorporate the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites using a large rubber scraper.  Mix well. 
Fold the mixture with the rubber scraper by pulling down the sides and flipping the mixture over. Do this until you have a smooth mixture that falls like a “ribbon” off the scraper.

Transfer the mixture into the two piping bags. Use rubber bands to close the piping bags. Clip the tip of the bags, one at a time, and pipe small quarter sized rounds, leaving 1-inch of space between each because they spread as they set.

Leave to set for about 30 minutes or until the top has formed a crust and is not sticky to the touch.

While they are setting, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. A convection oven is preferable. 

Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes or until the cookie is firm, matte and doesn't wobble when touched.

Leave on the baking tray until cool then lift them all off the parchment carefully. You may need to use a thin knife to help lift them off.

Sort into pairs and fill with toasted coconut buttercream.

Toasted Coconut Buttercream
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted

Toast the coconut in a 350 degree oven until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Place the whites in a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in sugar and cream of tartar.

Place bowl over a double boiler on medium heat, stir frequently until the mixture is very hot (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

Move to mixer and whip whites on high for 2 to 3 minutes; turn down to medium low until cool (use the bowl as your guide).

In a separate bowl with a wooden spoon, stir butter to soften.

With mixer on medium/high speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon just as the previous one is blended in. Once all the butter incorporated, add in vanilla, coconut extract and salt and whip on high speed until fluffy. Add the toasted coconut and whip again.

Transfer to a pastry bag for filling the macarons.

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