I’m having another one of those weeks where I want nothing more than to get into the kitchen and bake. Unfortunately, work’s kept me exhausted so I haven’t had the energy to do much once I’m home for the evening. But I’m kind of in this mood to perfect macarons, so this time around, I tried some Tiramisu Macarons.
I thought these might be somewhat easy to make. I’d bought coffee extract to make some Baileys Macarons, that while deliciously-tasting, were ugly as sin, and much as I wanted to show them off for St. Patrick’s Day, I just ate them without taking any pictures. I’ve been reading up on tips and hints and macaron tutorials, so I think I’ve been erring on the side of under-mixing them, rather than risking over-mixing. I also think that may be why mine have looked so grainy, compared to the silky-smooth shells I see on lots of other blogs. Plus, I think it’s just a matter of practice. I’ve baked enough bread over the years that I feel confident in my bread-making skills, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional flop (like forgetting to grease a loaf pan, and having to chisel out half my bread!).
So, Tiramisu Macarons. I had high hopes for them. They looked good. They had feet, a couple peeled off the parchment without any trouble, so I thought I was good to go. But then I tried peeling a couple more off the parchment, and wound up with top shells in my hands, and sticky goo left on the baking sheet. That’s a pretty firm indicator that they were under-baked, so I tossed them back in the oven for about 5 more minutes, checked again, and while I then had hollow shells, at least they were cooked! Plus, one of the troubleshooting guides I read says that over-baking a little is not necessarily a bad thing (unless they’re burnt, obviously), since macarons aren’t meant to be eaten right away. Once the filling is added and the macarons rest, they should soften up and you’ll get the right consistency.
So, I had some crisp shells that were hollow and over-baked. They don’t look the best, but taste-wise? They’re delicious!
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together the almond meal and powdered sugar. If there are any large almond clumps, either discard or run through a food processor to grind finer.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed for about 6 minutes. The meringue should hold stiff peaks, but not be completely dry, If not, beat for 2 more minutes. Add the coffee and butter rum extracts, then beat on high speed for 1 minute.
Fold in the dry ingredients. Most recipes tell you not to do more than about 50 strokes. Fold 40 times, then test the batter by picking some up with a spoon and either dropping it back into the mixing bowl or onto a plate. If it sinks back into itself after about 15-20 seconds, it's good. If not, fold the mixture 2-3 more times and test again. If it spreads out like pancake batter, you've gone too far.
Place the batter in a piping bag fitted with a round tip (a Wilton 1A or Ateco #804), and pipe the macarons onto the baking sheets. Pick each baking sheet up and let it drop back onto the counter. Rotate and do 2 more times.This will release any air bubbles in the macarons.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Dust the cocoa powder over top of the macarons, then place in the oven. Bake for 18-25 minutes (depending on your oven). Test by peeling a macaron off the parchment. Cool completely before making the filling.
Whip the heaving cream in a bowl with chilled beaters until thickened, about 3 minutes. Fold in the mascarpone. Fill the cookies by placing some of the filling on the flat side of a shell, then sandwiching together with another shell.
Place in an airtight container, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before bringing to room temperature and serving.
Which is why I went ahead and posted the recipe. I figure that maybe someone who actually knows what they’re doing with macarons might want to try it. Or someone might have some tips or tricks for me–Other than practice!