It isn’t that I’m not romantic, but Valentine’s Day has just never been a day that I’ve ever been crazy about.
I do remember Valentine’s Days in grammar school, in St. Patrick’s on Long Island. Come to think of it, I’m surprised the nuns actually allowed us to exchange Valentine’s Day cards—I guess because it’s a saint’s day. Anyway, I was the one in the class who didn’t get a lot of Valentine’s Day cards. I wonder why?
I swear I looked more like Pat than “Pat” did!
Probably because I looked more like “Pat” from SNL than a cute little girl! As a late bloomer, I had my first boyfriend when I was a Senior in high school—but Istill don’t remember Valentine’s day being anything special. When I was a kid, my mother always made a heart-shaped cake with pink icing. That’s all I basically remember.
It’s more fun to be with your girls sometimes!
Personally, I like the idea of “Galentine’s Day” better—a special day to honor your BFF’s! It isn’t romantic but it’s more fun! I swear to god, I don’t even remember doing anything special for Valentine’s Day during my many years of marriage. Even the doting mom, though, I always got the kids little Valentine’s gifts.
It wasn’t until I met Monsieur Bonaparte that I started to become gifted on this “special” day.
I got flowers yesterday, an early Valentine’s Day gift. Aren’t they nice?
He’s so sweet—so I decided to make his favorite little meringue delights! Macaron!
I’m sure you’ve seen them in fancy bakeries. Last time I was in NYC, I spotted a line that went from the front door of Ladurée all the way around the corner. People pay a lot of money for these little sandwich cookies. They really are great—but when you make them yourself, it is a gesture of true love! You will also save a ton of money.
Today, my Valentine’s gift to you is a lesson in baking macaron!
For the past —I dunno—maybe 8 years, I’ve been using this recipe from A La Cuisine. The only difference in ingredients is that I add a bit of vanilla. Here’s the link.:
Here are the ingredients:
I add vanilla because it gives the macaron a bit of depth. A pinch of salt is essential!
Remember this. You really need to leave the egg whites out overnight so they thicken a bit.
Leave the egg whites out overnight to thicken!
It’s also really important to do your prep work because making macaron can be very messy.It’s a sticky mess, but hey, it can be cleaned!
This is what they don’t tell you in cookbooks or TV. It’s a messy job because the meringue can get very sticky—so take your time!
Also, after you sift the almond flour and the confectioner’s sugar, whisk the dry ingredients together.
Sift Almond flour first then confectioner’s sugar into the same bowl. Whisk together!
You definitely need parchment paper.
Trace the lid of a Tylenol bottle onto the parchment because that’s a great size and is a great guideline for piping the batter.
Placing the pastry bag in a drinking glass really helps to make spooning batter much easier!
Another tip—if you are using a pastry bag, place it in a glass while you are spooning the batter into the bag, it just makes things much easier.
NOTE– If you can find this “Macaron” kit by LéKué, by all means, make the purchase! I picked this up at Sur La Table about three years ago and didn’t expect much, but it’s great for making macaron.
This kit totally made making macaron so much easier! It’s a cinch!
The kit comes with a silicone sheet with pre-marked circles which are the perfect guidelines. All you have to do is place the silicone sheet on a cookie sheet and you’re good to go!
Pre-marked silicone sheet and batter dispenser. I LOVE this!
The kit also comes with this rubber squeezer. It has a clear lid that you unscrew, spoon the batter into the squeezer, attach the large tip and squeeze the batter onto the sheet. It’s genius and cuts a tremendous amount of time. The squeezer has quite a few tips and is also great—great, for icing cakes. I LOVE this kit.
Whip those egg whites. Use the whisk attachment on your electric mixer. Use the medium/high setting and whip with a pinch of salt until the egg whites are foamy. Once they are foamy, turn the setting to high and add the granulated sugar in a slow and steady stream. The egg whites will be done when soft peaks appear and the eggs have a satiny finish. If you are going to use food coloring, now is the time to add it. Just a couple of drops!
Now is where the elbow grease comes in. Add the almond flour/sugar mixture in three installments. At first the mixture will be dry and a bit stiff, but as you keep folding. And folding.
A little dry and thick at first. But…..
. And folding, the mixture will turn into a batter and it will “flow”. It will also have”sheen”. Time to pipe!
…..when you fold, and fold, and fold and use elbow grease, the batter will flow and take on a “sheen”!
Whether you pipe onto parchment or use the macaron kit, you need to let the piped batter rest at least 35 minutes or longer. Pre-heat the oven to 300. If you want, place an additional cookie sheet in the oven—it’s a kind of insurance so that the macaron won’t get brown on the bottom.
Delightful little rounds of love at rest!
Listen—while I realize that the A La Cuisine recipe has a different oven temp, then what I use—only you know your own oven. You may have to play around with the oven temperature and time.
Enjoying the warmth of the oven!
Bake at 300 for 10 minutes, rotating the macaron after 5 minutes.
When they are done, let them cool completely.
Cool completely–you can even run some errands!
Fill with your choice of fillings.
I fill with a basic chocolate ganache for some. Or—I’ll make my own pistachio filling. Basically, I take shelled pistachios, pulse in the food processor to a butter-like consistency then add some heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Top left: Almond paste/Marzipan filling. Top Right: Chocolate Ganache. Bottom: Pistachio
I eyeball it, but I mix it all in the food processer then into the fridge to harden up some. Same thing with my almond filling. I take almond paste or marzipan, whichever I grab first in the store, and I pulse it in the food processer till its soft, then I add heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. I’m sorry that I don’t have exact measurements, but I always eyeball the fillings and frostings that I make. Sometimes I’ll fill with a Lemon curd or jelly filling.
All done. The batch will produce between 20 to 24 macaron. I usually bake two batches at a time because, let’s face it, these cookies are extremely delicate. Sometimes a few may get broken. Besides, they get eaten so quickly—it’s better to have more!
Can’t go wrong with a stack of mac’s!
You CAN freeze the unfilled macaron and save for a later date! Under normal circumstances, they will last about three days.
Honestly, making macaron is timely, but it isn’t all that difficult! They are a labor of love–and on Valentine’s Day–isn’t it all about the love?
To put you in the mood..here’s some French music for those Ohlala moments while you drink the champagne and savor the macaron! Rupa and the April Fishes sing “Maintenant”. It’s VERY sexy!
Happy Valentine’s Day!