So I know it’s been a while since my first post, but the cinnamon escapade of January has not been forgotten! In fact, I have whipped up quite a few cinnamon dishes, just haven’t had time to edit the photos and upload a post. Let’s blame the procrastination on midterms and school…(everything get’s blamed on midterms and school).
Anyway, one thing that I did try out this month was take on the intimidating task of baking macarons. You’ve probably seen or tasted these finicky little sandwich cookies. They usually come in a variety of pastel colors, and flavors range from pistachio and chocolate to raspberry and lemon. Yet researching different recipes to share with you guys, I stumbled upon a uniquely wonderful (and perfect for January’s theme) combination of flavors – cinnamon and mexican chocolate. The recipe claimed to be ” the perfect recipe for your first attempt” at macaron making, so what the heck…I figured I’d give them a try.
Still though, the thought of personally creating Paris’ most famed cookie was daunting, so I sat down on the edge of this deep baker’s pool, and slowly slid myself in. I read a slightly embarrassing number of articles giving tips for macaroon creating, my favorite being a pdf put together by Tartlette. I found out that the pillowy shells are based from almond flower, macarons actually taste better if frozen for 24 hours after assembled, and to ensure the crispy “foot” at the bottom of a macaron shell you MUST leave the shells out for at least a half hour prior to baking, allowing the batter to form a shell it will rise under. I also learned there are two main types of macaron baking, one with a syrup (Italian), the other without (French). Thankfully, the recipe I found was for “French-style” macaroons, as many claimed it was much simpler.
So after all my research, I took the plunge into the pool. It was worth it. No, mine did not turn out perfect (the shells may have been a tinsy bit over mixed), but it was a fun process and the cookies still tasted delicious. The only complaint I’d make was the ganache filling. We actually happened to have “mexican chocolate” in the house (don’t ask me why), but it made the texture very grainy and gritty. You also could barely taste the cinnamon in it, though this flavor was suprisingly extremely prominent in the shell cookies. I ended up making a new ganache with a simpler dark chocolate and much more cinnamon, but edit and alter the recipe however you’d like!
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to try out a new, and delicious, recipe, I’d definitely try out these cinnamon macaroons. They honestly were not as hard to make as I’d expected, and were completely worth the time and effort. Plus, they look BEAUTIFUL!
Adapted from Food52
Serves 40 1.5 inch cookies or 20 sandwiches
- 100 gramsegg whites (about 3 eggs, left at room temperature for 24 hours)
- 50 gramsgranulated sugar
- 125 gramsalmond flour (Bob’s Red Mill, made from ground blanched almonds)
- 175 gramsconfectioners sugar
- 2teaspoons cinnamon
- 3teaspoons cocoa powder or raw cacao
- 1pinch salt
- 1pinch cream of tartar
- 150 gramsMexican chocolate (can be found in most supermarkets, gourmet shops, or ordered online)
- 1tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2tablespoons heavy cream
- Measure egg whites and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours in a covered bowl. Aging the whites helps them thin and will create a better textured macaroon.
- Line two cookie pans with parchment paper and trace 1.5 inch circles on the paper, keeping the circles about one inch apart. Preheat your oven to 300 F.
- Pulse the almond flour, confectioners sugar, cinnamon and cocoa in a food processor until it is a finely mixed powder. Sift into a large bowl.
- Put egg whites in stainless steel bowl and beat on low with a hand mixer until frothy. Add salt and cream of tartar, and slowly mix in the granulated sugar. Once the sugar is all incorporated, increase mixer speed to medium and beat until meringue forms stiff peaks. The meringue should look glossy and remain in place when the bowl is tipped on its side.
- Using a silicone spatula, fold the almond and sugar mixture into the egg whites one-third at a time. You do not have to be gentle, instead use brisk strokes to fold the mixture together completely, this will help reduce the air in the meringue and keep the macaroons from being too puffy.
- Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag or a ziplock. If using a ziplock, cut off a 1/4 inch tip from the corner. Pipe the mixture in a spiral to fill each 1.5 inch circle on the parchment paper. Allow the unbaked cookies to sit out for 30 minutes, until the cookies have a matte texture and are no longer sticky.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool and then peel very gently off the parchment paper.
- Make ganache while the cookies cool. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Whisk in heavy cream and butter and stir mixture over gently boiling water until it is smooth and shiny.
- When the cookies and filling are cool, spread or pipe the ganache on the flat side of one macaroon and create a sandwich with a second one.
- Eat. (Remember, I tasted the macarons fresh out of the oven and after 24 hours in the freezer, and the flavors had melded together much better after some time in the freezer).