Cherry Blossom Macarons
Every April, SoupAddict heaves a huge, full-body sigh of relief. Winter snow is surely gone. Temps are on their way up, and everything outside is turning green and gorgeous. Except for the trees.
No, the trees are turning every color except green. You see, they’re too busy blooming to be greening up right now. Tulip trees, apple trees. White, purple, yellow. And pink. Lovely, cheery pink. SoupAddict’s favorite color.
To SoupAddict, April means flowering trees, and flowering trees mean cherry blossoms. Simple, delicate. And pink.
When the cherry blossoms bloom, artists and photographers are moved to break out their medium of choice to capture the blossom’s beauty.
SoupAddict, on the other hand, celebrates with her stomach and breaks out the sugar. Can you blame her? Sugar creates such fabulousness as brownies, and tarts, and macarons. French macarons, that is. Pink macarons. With delicate cherry and vanilla flavors. It’s just what April ordered: pink, cherry, sugar.
But first, can SoupAddict share something with you? It’s been nagging at her for some time.
SoupAddict is having an identity crisis.
SoupAddict has had many life changes in the last many months. And with these changes has come realizations. Stunning realizations.
But if she were cruelly, evilly forced to choose, it would be the garlic. Yes, plain, stinky, garlic. Wonderfully glorious garlic.
SoupAddict thinks she should be disturbed by this revelation, but is not. Which disturbs her.
SoupAddict’s world is spinning about. SoupAddict loves soup. Adores soup, is addicted to soup. But when push comes to shove, she’s discovered that she’d rather be baking. Bread, sweets, doesn’t matter.
While she figures out this most puzzling turn of events, she’ll distract herself by celebrating April’s blossoms with sugar.
French macarons are ever so much funand maddeningto make. Do not confuse them with the coconutty American macaroon (notice the extra “o”). The Parisienne version is a delicate confection of almond flour, sugar and egg whites, with surprising flavors and fab colors. Magnifique!
When you, Dear Reader, go about making your first French macarons, you will discover for yourself how amazingly tricksy three ingredients can be when they team up to stump the humans. The recipe I give below is from a macaron pro (the renowned foodie blogger, Tartelette). Follow it to the letter. Still, your first batch will probably be a train wreck (SoupAddict’s was). Because remember: macarons are tricksy.
And they’re taunting you, daring you, to figure them out. This is war, people!
SoupAddict hopes you find yours.
Cherry Blossom Macarons
|Adapted* from Tartelette|
|For the shells:|
|90||grams||egg whites (use eggs whites that have been preferably left 3-5 days in the fridge)|
|110||grams||almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)|
|pink or red food coloring|
|cherry flavoring (SoupAddict uses Lorann Oils’ Washington Cherry)|
*SoupAddict is not a macaron pro, and has encountered every problem you can encounter with macarons. The idea is to learn from your mistakes and adjust. Your kitchen environment and your handling technique impact the macarons in ways a recipe can’t predict. But no worries: with practice, you’ll find ways to compensate, and soon your own method will be slightly different, but nonetheless perfect, from even the best of the best macaron recipes.
Prepare the macarons:
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. Place the powdered sugar and almonds and powdered color in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them 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 – note: in SoupAddict’s photo, she’s using a #805, because that’s all she had) 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. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280F. When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.
For the filling: SoupAddict does not have a recipe for you here. She originally made a white chocolate ganache with cherry flavoring. And then remembered that she hates white chocolate ganache [side note: SoupAddict is okay with all of these huge realizations landing on her at this time of life, but wishes that the simple things, like remembering what tastes gross, wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle]. So, she took the ganache and transformed it into a sort of buttercream frosting. Such a technique is better lost to the world. Just make the buttercream frosting and you’ll be fine.