I made macarons!
And I am kind of beyond excited about them.
See, they are not just any old macarons. Nope, these are pretzels macarons.
And they are filled with peanut butter and hot fudge sauce, but then it all gets frozen (or chilled – your preference) because um they are so good that way.
And with summer nearing all I can think about is frozen treats, so frozen macarons just made sense.
That is a swirl of heaven up there.
Just to be clear here, these are macarons, not macaroons. I didn’t just happen to spell it wrong, although that would not be out of line for me. I am sure you have caught many of my spelling and grammar mistakes if you are a frequent reader. But yes, there is a difference. They are both sweet treats, but a macaron is a meringue-based cookie, usually sandwiched around a cream-based filling. A macaroon is a moist, coconut based treat, often served during Passover because it does not contain any flour.
With macarons, it is best to weigh out your ingredients. Sorry, but if you want super delicious macarons, you need to be precise to get the best results. That is why you will see that I have listed the ingredients that need to be measured out in grams instead of cups.
I know that macarons are kind of a scary thing, and trust me, my very first FIVE attempts were major fails. Like right to the trash fails, but then I figured out I just needed to let the macarons sit on the counter to set for a little before baking and that solved all my problems.
Well, not all my problems, but my macaron problems anyway.
Actually, I currently have a kind of big problem.
A mouse, a cat and apparently too many crumbs on the floor that must have attracted the mouse. Oh yes, that is currently happening over here and it is grossing the heck out out of me. Yep, I actually saw the cat chase the mouse.
My dad thinks that’s just great, that that is what we have the cat for. I sleep with that cat though, I have since he was 6 weeks old, and I’m not sleeping with a cat that catches a mouse!
So for now, we are just going to pretend these little cookies are going to solve everything.
I am going to pray I do not walk out of my office and find a dead mouse by the door. Eww.
I am also hoping that with all my frozen treats I have coming, the weather will soon catch on and the freezing temps + snow will go away.
Cookies can totally do that right?
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter, trace out guide-circles (about an inch apart) and then flip the parchment paper over, ink side down.
- Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and set aside.
- In a large bowl sift together the powdered sugar, almond meal, cocoa powder and pretzel crumbs. If all the ingredients do not make it through the sifter add them to a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Sift into the bowl with the remaining dry ingredients. Set aside.
- Add the egg whites, granulated sugar and vanilla bean seeds to the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn the mixer to medium (4 on a Kitchen Aid). Whip for about 3 minutes until bubbles form on top of the eggs.
- Increase the speed to medium-high (7 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip another 3 minutes, then increase the speed to 8 for another 3 minutes. Finally increase the speed to the highest notch for 1 minute. At the end of this minute, you should have a very stiff and dry meringue. Remove the whisk and tap the whites back into the bowl.
- Now dump all of your dry ingredients, all at once into the bowl with the whipped whites. Fold the dry ingredients in the whites until you have a thick, but still pourable batter. The batter should be a thickness that it will mound up on itself, but enough fluidity that after 20 seconds, it will melt back down. This takes about 25 turns and don't worry, it will look as though the dry ingredients will not combine with the whites, but they will!
- Pour half the batter into the prepared pipping bag and begin piping circles with the batter. Stop piping just shy of the borders of the guide-circle, as the batter will continue to spread just a bit. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- After piping your macarons, take hold of the sheet pan and hit it hard against your counter. Rotate the pan ninety degrees and rap two more times. This will dislodge any large air bubbles that might cause your macarons to crack. Now set your pans aside for 30 minutes, uncovered and preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
- Meanwhile prepare the filling. Stir together cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt and half of the chopped milk chocolate in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted. Cook mixture at a low boil, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add remaining chocolate, butter and vanilla and stir until smooth. Allow the sauce to cool and thicken. You need it to be thick, but still pourable.
- In a medium bowl beat together the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy and fluffy. Fit a pipping bag with your choice tip (nothing very big) and alternately spoon the fudge sauce and peanut butter into the bag. You want to do about 2 tablespoon of fudge sauce and then 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. This will create a nice swirl. Place the bag in the fridge to stiffen up a bit, about 10 minutes. Be careful though, if the fudge sauce gets too cold you will not be able to pipe it on the macarons.
- Now bake the macarons for about 18 minutes, or until you can cleanly peel the parchment paper away from the macaron. When you go to pick up the macaron, if the top comes off in your hand, it is not done. Allow to cool before filling.
- Using your piping bag to pipe the filling on to the bottom of each cookie. Place another cooking on top and repeat with the remaining cookies + filling. Drizzle the tops of each sandwich cookie with melted chocolate and sprinkle with pretzel crumbs. Place the cookies on a baking sheet and freeze until frozen, about 30 minutes. Store in the freezer for frozen cookies or place in the fridge just to keep the cookies cold.
* For best results, French Macarons should really be made using a scale to measure ingredients, as it is important to be precise *Macaroon baking method adapted from BraveTart
Well maybe not, but at least these taste delicious!