Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Elusive Macaroon

For years I have feared the macaroon. These delicate French sandwich cookies seemed the provenance of esteemed chefs and professional bakers. Too exacting for me.
Today, prepping for a party we are giving just after the holidays (macaroons, says Martha Stewart, can be frozen for up to 3 months) I decided to try.
I pulsed confectioners sugar (1 cup) and almond flour (3/4 cup) in the food processor and sifted 2 times. I beat two egg whites until foamy, added a pinch of cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks formed. I sprinkled in 1/4 cup of superfine sugar and beat, adding in a few drops of red gel color and 1 TB of strained raspberry purée, to firm peaks. I sifted in the sugar and almond mixture and folded it into the pink batter. I piped the batter into 1 inch circles, I let the batter sit for almost 20 minutes, I preheated the oven to 375º and dropped the temperature 50º just as the tray went in, I rotated the tray after 5 minutes. The result? About 5 of the -- let's just say way, way more than 5 -- cookies I made are just about perfect. Lovely round discs with no peaks, no cracks on top, and a delicate shine across the surface.
They all taste fine. The raspberry flavor is bright and unexpected. But it's the look I am after.
Practice. Next try coconut.

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