I don't know about you, but I can't ever reduce my food love to a sweet, a savory, a salty, a carb thing, etc. I love it all. I want my cheese, my bread, and all things delicious from fruit to chocolate, and when I am done with my meal, I want a little something sweet. It does not have to be large, just a little sweet bite to complete the cycle of nourishment--yes, as much of the soul as of the body. Recently, at dinner at Stoneacre Pantry in Newport RI (run, don't walk), I was reminded of one (and yes, there are many) of the delightful ways to satisfy the culmination of the meal: the Parisian Macaron. It is sweet, but delicately so, and rich, though with remarkable lightness. In a word, satisfying. As I popped that little button of yumminess into my mouth and chewed slowly as to defer the end of this capstone meal moment, I was dreaming of the Place de Vosges and of shared macarons with my girl friend, Cyndie, with whom I had embarked on a macaron journey through Paris last year. Our journey ended there with a coffee and a small box of perfect macarons. You know these beautiful cookies, they resemble tiny burgers, with two rounded crisp shelled cookies and a butter cream or ganache filling.
Enchanted by the Proustian moment, I asked Christopher, co-owner and pastry chef at Stoneacre Pantry, if he would be willing to share the recipe and technique at a cooking class at my shop. "That would be neat," he said without hesitation, "let's do it." It is precisely that kind of open and eager willingness to share food and a love of it that makes the restaurant such a wonderful place to be.
The following are his instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Some initial tips:
- This recipe makes 110 macarons, so your friends will be very happy with you:)
- use precision with this recipe
- use fresh eggs at room temperature
- combine 1 cup of granulated sugar in 2-3 oz of water in a small sauce pan, and heat to dissolve the sugar. You will see small bubbles form, about the size of dimes. Remove from heat.
- You need 8 eggs, fresh and room temp, separate the whites (hold on to the yolks and make creme brulee later) add a pinch of kosher salt and beat on high with whisk attachment until peaks just barely begin to form
- sift 4 cups of confectioners sugar with 3 cups of almond flour, whisk to even distribute
- add hot sugar liquid VERY slowly to the egg whites and continue to beat until the peaks are medium stiffness (still some movement but not falling down completely) and a glossy texture
- fold egg whites into flour mixture and incorporate well (be careful not to take the loft out of your egg whites, but also to mix ingredients well)
- You can add things for color at this point, we used matcha, which is a green tea powder, but you could use food coloring, cocao powder, or dehydrated vegetables like beets or mango blended into a powder--be creative!
- Place the batter into a piping bag and pipe small buttons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving a little room between for the cookies to grow, as they will rise. Once the sheet is full lift it about 6 inches above the counter and drop it to allow the pressure to spread and shape your cookies into perfect little burger buns
- allow the cookies to sit uncooked on the tray for 15- 20 minutes before baking
- reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 8-9 minutes until lightly browned, cool and remove from pan.
- To fill: match your bottoms and tops for best sizing, then pipe in butter cream or chocolate ganache, place the top on and pop immediately in your mouth!
cream together 2/3 butter, 1/2tsp vanilla, 1 TBSP milk, and 3 cups confectioners sugar, should be thick enough to hold its form. Do this a day ahead and add any flavorings you like, Christopher added pistachios ground and the taste and texture were delicious!
This recipe was shared with love, so you should share your macarons!
as always, eat, drink, and think,