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rhoward2va

After much experimenting, I found these to be the answer

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Joined: Mar 8, 2006

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Posted to Thread #14236 at 7:49 pm on Mar 25, 2009

I used slivered almonds from Trader Joe's, and they worked perfectly. I tried making these several times and was always disappointed with the results - tops not smooth and cookies didn't look like those in Paris. After using the method described on Splendid Table, it worked like a charm.

* Exported from MasterCook *

French Macaroons

Cookie

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
For cookies:
5 ounces finely ground almond powder or 5 ounces blanched almonds (see step 3) -- (1 1/3 cups)
2 cups confectioner's sugar -- plus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 oz.)
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder -- plus more for dusting
1/2 cup egg whites -- about 4 1/2 large egg whites (see step 3)
For Filling:
6 tablespoons whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate -- finely chopped

1. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, put each baking sheet on top of another baking sheet (or use two insulated baking sheets) and fit a large pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch or 3/8-inch tip; set these aside for the moment. (1/2 in. allows dough to flow too freely. Use 3/8 in. tip)

2. If you've got almond powder, just sift the almond powder with the confectioner's sugar and cocoa. If you're starting with almonds, place the almonds, sugar and cocoa in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until the mixture is as fine as flour, at least 3 minutes. Stop every minute to check your progress and to scrape down the sides of the bowl. This is not a quick on-and-off operation. Although the almonds may look as though they're pulverized after a minute or so, they won't be. The nuts really need 3 to 5 minutes to be ground to a powder or flour. When the mixture is ground, press it through a medium strainer. In all probability, you'll have about 2 tablespoons of solids that won't go through the strainer - discard them.

3. For this recipe to succeed, you need 1/2 cup of egg whites, which may mean using 3 egg whites plus a part of another white. The easiest way to get a portion of a white is to break the white into a cup, beat it lightly with a fork and then measure out what you'll need. (If you put the egg whites in a glass measuring cup, the whites should come just to the 1/2-cup line when the cup is on the counter and you've crouched down to check the measurement at eye level.)

4. Once the eggs are measured, they need to be brought to room temperature so they can be beaten to their fullest volume. You can leave the whites on the counter until they reach room temperature, or you can put them into a microwave-safe bowl and place them in a microwave oven set on lowest power; heat the whites for about 10 seconds. Stir the whites and continue to heat them -still on lowest power - in 5-second spurts until they are about 75 degrees F. If they're a little warmer, that's okay too. To keep the eggs warm, run the mixer bowl under hot water, dry the bowl well, pour the whites into the bowl and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment.

5. Beat the egg whites at low to medium speed until they are white and foamy. Turn the speed up and whip them on high just until they are firm but not dry. Keep the whites in the mixer bowl or transfer them to a large bowl. Working with a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients gently into the whites in 3 or 4 additions. There are a lot of dry ingredients to go into a relatively small amount of whites, but keep folding and you'll get everything in. Don't worry if the whites deflate and the batter looks a little runny - that's just what's supposed to happen. When the dry ingredients are incorporated, the mixture will look like a cake batter; if you lift a little with your finger, it should form a gentle, quickly falling peak.

6. Spoon the batter into the pastry bag and pipe it out onto the prepared baking sheets. (To keep the paper steady, "glue" it down by piping a bit of batter at each corner of the baking sheet.) Pipe the batter into rounds about 1 inch in diameter, leaving about an inch between each round. (Because you're going to sandwich the baked cookies, try to keep the rounds the same size.) When you've piped out all the macaroons, lift each baking sheet with both hands and then bang it down on the counter. Don't be afraid - you need to get the air of the batter. Set the baking sheets aside at room temperature for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.

7. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. You need to bake these one pan at a time, so dust the tops of the macaroons on one pan with cocoa powder and slide one of the sheets into the oven. As soon as the baking sheet is in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees F and insert the handle of a wooden spoon between the oven and the door to keep the door slightly ajar. Bake the macaroons for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are smooth and just firm to the touch. (at least 11 min.) Remove parchment from cookie sheet to cooling rack. When cookies are completely cool, gently peel away from parchment. Repeat with remaining batter.


8. For chocolate filling: Bring milk and butter to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Cool. Cover and refrigerate until thick and cold, about 30 minutes.





9. When the macaroons are cool, sandwich them with the chocolate filling. Spread some filling on the flat side of one cookie and use the flat side of another to complete the sandwich. Filling should spread to the edge. Transfer to a covered container with wax paper between each layer.

These cookies can be frozen.

Make 2 single batches for Christmas cookies. (Filling is enough for 2 batches.)

Source:
"Splendid Table - Pierre Hermes recipe adapted"
S(Internet Address):
"http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/recipes/dessert_parismacaroons.shtml"
Yield:
"28 cookies"
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NOTES : The ultimate - this technique works perfectly for a very difficult cookie with delicious results!


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