Remember last month when I went to a macaron making class  given by Helen of Tartelette ? Well, we had never met before the class, but I have been drooling over her blog for a while now. It is a complete work of art. So, when I found out she needed a ride to the class, I was all over it.
One… I didn’t want her to have to pay to take a taxi to get there and two… that meant I had her all to myself for the car ride. I tried to pace my questions, so I didn’t seem like a freak. But, I was so intrigued by her. First, she’s french which is cool. She’s also a pastry artist, a fab food photographer, wedding photographer, food stylist, she’s going gluten free and I even think she teaches pilates. Plus, I like the way she says dude with her french accent. I mean, there are so many things I could ask her questions about. I should have just taken her on the scenic route so she would have been trapped in my car longer.
Anyway, during the car ride we exchanged compliments. Ha. I couldn’t believe she was complimenting me. I was in awe of her. But she said something that really made me smile. She said she wanted me to make some pops out of her macarons. I was like, heck yeah… if I can learn how to make them, I’ll put those cute little cookies on a stick. Just try and stop me.
So here is the fun part. Helen emails me the other day and says she’s making macaron pops. What she didn’t know is I had already made some. So I sent her a picture of mine right away so she would know I wasn’t being a slacker. We decided to post our pops on the same day. I’m kinda scared to see hers. I know they are going to be beautiful. But if you want to take a look, here’s a link to Tartelette’s Macaron Pops !
And here’s how I made mine…
After the class, I realized I was missing a very important tool. I needed to acquire a kitchen scale and quick. Helen’s recipe for macarons is in grams. Huh. I better not try and improvise. So I bought a scale.
To make macarons, you…
I interrupt this post with a very important message… I am absolutely no authority on making these. I still need to keep trying because while I think mine look pretty nice, the insides did not bake quite right. They were too hollow… but they look good enough to give you a play by play. The finicky little creatures. I’ll give you Helen’s exact recipe at the end if you want to give them a go… I will try again. And again until I get them just right.
Okay, to make macarons, you only need four ingredients. Just four. I know I went over this before from the class post. But it’s worth repeating.
110 grams of ground almonds.
200 grams of confectioners’ sugar.
90 grams of egg whites that have been aging on the counter for 24 hours.
And 25-50 grams of regular sugar.
P.S. I looooove the scale.
Place the confectioners’ sugar and the ground almonds in a large bowl.
Stir it together with a wire whisk until it is all blended and set aside.
Then beat your egg whites on high using a mixer with the whisk attachment.
Beat until the egg whites get foamy and gradually add 25-50 grams of sugar.
Continue beating until stiff peaks for and then stop.
Then add your beaten egg whites to the almond mixture. Begin to fold it all together. About halfway through folding, add powedered food color if you like and continue to fold until blended. You’ll know when to stop if you test the the mixture. Run a knife through. If the line disappears after ten seconds, stop folding.
Throw the mixture in a large disposable decorator bag fitted with an Ateco #807 or #809 tip and pipe away on a silpat covered baking sheet. The shapes should be small – about an inch and a half – when the mixture stops spreading. Let the macarons sit for 30 minutes to an hour before baking. This will form a shell that raises when baked and leaves the “feet” visible at the bottom.
Bake the cookies for about 18-20 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
You can fill the cookies with chocolate ganache or any filling that you want to try.
But, the ganache works great to turn these into pops. It dries pretty stiff, holding the stick in place. Just spoon a little chocolate on the back of one of the macaron cookies.
Create a support by using some of the extra lollipop sticks and twist ties.
Press the lollipop stick about halfway into the ganache. This is a little more than halfway. So do less than the photo illustrates.
Then sandwich that stick right in there.
Let them dry completely and tie a cute little ribbon on.
You know something about this reminds me of an old-time baby rattle. Especially if it had white filling. Yay? Nay? Anyone?
Regardless, they are pretty darn cute in blue.
And pink, too.
I even brought my edible ink pens to the party. They like macarons. Smooth writing.
Here’s the recipe if you want to make them.
Helen included some conversions, but recommends grams.
For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
25 gr to 50gr (2 Tb to 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
200 gr ( 1.5 cups + 2Tb) powdered sugar
110 gr almonds ( 3/4 cup) (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
Prep the eggs: 48 hrs in advance, separate the whites from the yolks and place the whites in a super clean bowl. Leave at room temp, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel at least 24 hrs. Refrigerate after that if desired. You can use eggs that have been “aging” for up to 5 days.
Prepare the macarons:
Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift a couple of time to remove bits and pieces. Regrind if necessary. You can also use a coffee grinder for the nuts. Once your nuts and powdered sugar are mixed together, rub them in between your fingertips to break the bigger pieces.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
Add the nuts and powdered sugar 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 falls back on itself after counting to 10. 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. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit.
If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F. If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F. When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.
Prepare the ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate morsels.
Heat the cream in a small pot until just before boiling.
Place morsels in a medium bowl and pour cream over. Let sit for a few seconds and then stir until smooth.
Let cool slightly and spoon a small amount on the bottom of a macaron and then sandwich with another cookie.
If you want to make macaron pops, place a lollipop stick on top of the ganache about halfway to the center of the cookie before you sandwich together. Let dry completely laying down and with the lollipop sticks propped up for support.
Also, here’s a tutorial  Tartelette put together for making macarons that should help.
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360057357/
 macaron making class: http://www.bakerella.com/macarons/
 Tartelette: http://www.tarteletteblog.com/
 Tartelette’s Macaron Pops: http://www.tarteletteblog.com/2010/02/recipe-raspberry-mascarpone-macarons.html
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360791690/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360050261/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360789632/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360789698/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360048327/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360048441/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360048567/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360790274/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360790144/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360050425/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360790358/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360048949/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360049061/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360790794/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360790934/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360049535/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360049731/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360049815/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360800232/
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360050005/
 tutorial: http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/546793/Demystifying%20Macarons%20-%20Desserts%20Magazine.pdf
 Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bakerella/4360791582/