you guys… Can you believe Christmas is almost here and 2017 is about to end in a few days!!! where did the year fly by? it seemed like it was Jan 2017 few weeks back… anywhooo… talking about French Macarons… I have had a love hate relationship with macarons all along, i still kind of think they are one of the over rated dessert thingies… But they are like sourdough for me, each trial is a new experiment. I follow Indulge with Mimi’s recipe for her French Macarons.
These Gingerbread French Macarons are light with the right shell and filled with sweet Cream Cheese filling. The recipe is as follows!
- Use stainless steel or glass bowl, anything but plastic should be ok.
- Always Clean the bowl, the stand / hand mixer’s attachment and any other tools like spatula with lemon juice or vinegar. This helps in removing left over oil residuals in the equipment.
- Sift the almond meal twice or more to make sure its free from small lumps.
- If you do not have access to Cream of tartar, you can use lemon juice.
- Make sure there is not even a speck of egg yolk in your egg whites… The egg whites just wont stiffen up if you do end up, you will have to restart the entire process with clean bowls.
- Ensure that the eggs are room temperature before starting as it helps to whip up better.
- Do not use wax paper, use parchment or silpat.
- You can google to find printable templates from Southern Fatty.
- Weigh out all the ingredients before starting.
- Aged egg whites (tips in notes at the bottom) - 55gm or Packaged egg whites - 55gm
- Caster sugar - 45gm
- Almond flour - 65gm
- Icing sugar - 65gm
- Cream of tartar - a pinch or 1/8 teaspoon
- Gingerbread Spice mix - 1/2 teaspoon (add more for a stronger flavour)
- Cream cheese- 150gm
- Butter - 25gm
- Vanilla bean paste - 1 teaspoon
- Icing sugar - 100gm
- On a large baking tray, place the printed template or if you use a template silpat use that. Cover the template with parchment paper. Tape the edges so the template does not move.
- Sift the dry ingredients (gingerbread spice, almond flour and icing sugar) together twice.
- In a clean bowl (dried and cleaned with lemon juice or vinegar) add the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until soft peaks are formed.
- Bring the speed to low-medium, add the caster sugar in small batches. Whisk on medium high until stiff peaks are formed.
- You can either check by rubbing the mixture between your finger tips, the mixture should be smooth if sugar is dissolved.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, add 1/3 of the dry mixture into the stiff egg whites. Fold the mixture using a spatula.
- The mixture is folded to deflate the air in the batter, while folding scrape along the sides of the bowl bringing it to the middle.
- Add the rest of the dry ingredients and repeat. This step is "macaronage" and its one of the most important steps. See notes for link to Mimi's page ( I havent seen any other site explaining it so well).
- The batter is ready when you can it has a lava like consistency or you can make a 8 pattern with it as a smooth flow.
- Using a round tip, add the mixture into a piping bag.
- Press gently and let the mixture fall into the template. If the batter is mixed right, you can see the tips from the piping gently settling in.
- Remove the template, tap the baking sheet on the kitchen counter few times. This helps in escaping the air bubbles in the batter.
- Let it sit in room temperature for an hour to when the shell is dried out and this is called forming of the skin.
- The skin is formed, when the batter does not stick to your fingers when you touch it. Please make sure the humidity is less as it makes it harder for the skin to form.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius or 320F for 12-14 minutes.
- Slightly peel the parchment sheet from the bottom of the macaron, if the macaron peels off easily then it is baked.
- Once they are baked, let it cool on a cooling rack.
- In a bowl, add the cream cheese and butter. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Add the icing sugar in batches.
- Add the vanilla bean paste. Beat on low speed for a couple of minutes.
- Using a round tip, pipe the cream cheese filling on to the macaron.
- Place another one on top and give a gently push to let it stick together.
- Garnish with gingerbread man sprinkles (optional)
- Store it in airtight container for upto 3-5 days.
- Use cold eggs as its easier to separate yolk from whites.
- To age egg whites, separate egg whites in a clean dry bowl.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and poke a few holes in it. Let it sit out overnight or two in the refrigerator.
- Bring it to room temperature before using it.
Happy Baking and Merry Christmas Peeps