So the time had finally come for me to make my own macarons, which Joseph was reminding me on a regular basis. He had seen a recipe for cinnamon apple macarons on Dessert for Breakfast that look absolutely amazing. I kept pleading with him, saying that we should probably start with something
a little much more basic. When he finally relented and said, “Yeah, you’re right, we should probably start with something easier” I was suddenly determined that I would not start small. No, I was going to make the cinnamon apple macarons if it killed me. And it nearly did.
Ok, that’s a complete exaggeration. But if you’ve never tried to make macarons, or talked with anyone who has, or read anything about them, you may not know that they are difficult to make because of the very temperamental meringue cookies that make the sandwich. This particular macaron has many elements, and well, it just didn’t work. At all. It completely flopped. I didn’t get the macaron “foot” (the little bottom that each of the cookies is supposed to have), they were dense instead of airy, and each top was completely covered in little cracks.
In short, they were the opposite of what they were supposed to be. But you know what? The apple buttercream that goes in the middle was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and the cookies themselves were good if you didn’t tell yourself that they were the macarons you so desperately wanted to perfect in your first attempt. They were really some sort of hybrid of macaron and whoopie pie. Not at all what I was going for. But like I said, when I was able to closet my disappointment for not creating anything even close to resembling a proper macaron, I really did enjoy them.
What amazes me is that Stephanie, the blogger at Dessert for Breakfast, calls these “Midweek Macarons.” As in, “ah, it’s Wednesday, why not whip up a simple snack of cinnamon apple macarons.” What?? Who makes macarons in the middle of the week? This was a full Sunday afternoon for me. And Stephanie’s are just gorgeous. Actually, please don’t look at her amazing pictures, because then you’ll see how incredibly far off mine are and I’ll be forced to lie and say that I had intended to make macawhoopsie pies from the very beginning.
Ok. Next time I am going to read up on the proper technique (none of the “Oh, I’ve made meringues before, this will be fine”) and then I will pick a recipe specifically geared for beginners. No more midweek macarons for me for a while. And hopefully the recipe I find won’t tell me to whip the whites all by hand because my goodness that was exhausting. At least I had my very eager, willing, and patient husband there to help.
Cinnamon Apple Macarons
Adapted from Dessert For Breakfast
for macaron shells
200 gr powdered sugar
120 gr blanched and slivered almonds
10 gr freeze-dried apple
1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon green powered food coloring, if desired
30 gr granulated (superfine, optional) sugar
100 gr egg whites, aged 1-2 days at room temperature or a week in the refrigerator, at room temp
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Line two baking sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper and prepare a pastry bag with a large round piping tip.
Combine the powdered sugar, almonds, dried apple, and cinnamon in a food processor and grind into a fine powder. Stephanie suggest sifting thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer, but I completely forgot to. As you can see, my macarons weren’t exactly a huge success, so hey, sift it.
Have the granulated vanilla sugar ready in a small bowl.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, quickly stir the mixture until the entire surface is covered with foam. Then, start whisking the egg whites, gradually adding in the granulated sugar. Whisk until you reach glossy, almost-stiff peaks.
Gently fold the sifted almond and powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites in three to four stages, just until the ingredients are incorporated and the batter slowly re-absorbs peaks whatever that means.
Transfer the macaron mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe rounds on to the lined baking sheets. Tap the baking sheets on the table a few times to release air pockets.
Rest the macarons for 30-60 minutes until the outside shells are no longer tacky and sticky to a light touch.
Preheat oven to 290 degrees F, with the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.
Bake the macarons in the oven, one sheet at a time, for 24-28 minutes total, rotating the sheet half-way through the baking time to insure even baking.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
for apple butter buttercream
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup apple butter
Whip the egg yolks until light and shows streaks when you move your whisk through them.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is completely wet. Cook over medium high heat, without stirring, until the sugar reaches 238 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat and very gradually pour into the egg yolks while whisking, being careful not to hit the whisk wires. Continue whipping the egg yolks on medium high until the the outside of the bowl is no longer hot or warm to the touch.
Add the butter in while beating, one tablespoon at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, beat in the apple butter. Fill the macarons.
Let the macarons “cure” in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight before serving. I know what you’re thinking. Go ahead and have one the same day because honey, you earned it. But they really will be a little better the next day and the buttercream will have hardened in the fridge so it doesn’t run out allover the place.