Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where I've Been....and Rose Vanilla Macarons!

Good morning! Okay, okay....yes. I have been MIA for quite some time and as Ricky Ricardo says, I sure do have some "splainin' to do"! My absence has been bittersweet. The mad rush in school before going on winter break was what was keeping me away at first, but then it was the joyous break itself that made me stay away from OMP for awhile. I did cook and bake during my vacation. A lot. But, I know I was bad for not sharing anything online. We'll work on the forgiveness thing. I promise.

In fact, I think these Rose Vanilla Macarons with White Chocolate Marscapone may get me to win you back.

I made these on New Year's Eve and they came out so well! If perfectly made and ever so delicious macarons don't say "it's going to be a good year", then I don't know what does. :)

 If you've ever made macarons, or attempted to do so, you'll know exactly how tricky they are to successful create. It takes practice and patience to work with exact and precise measurements and mixing technique. After what seems to be an infinite amount of macaron batches in these last few years-- I can finally say I think I have nailed these bad boys down. For all you daring bakers out there who have found great frustration in cracked macarons, I highly recommend checking out this troubleshooting page from Not So Humble Pie and purchasing yourself a kitchen scale, if you don't already have one. Also check out some of my other macarons on this blog here and here.

Rose Vanilla Macarons with White Chocolate Mascarpone Filling
100 g aged egg whites (aged= resting in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days)
1 tsp cream of tartar
28 g white granulated sugar
125 g finely ground almond meal (Bob's Red Mill makes a great one)
200 g powdered sugar*
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 tsp real rose water
optional: pink food gel coloring (do not use liquid food coloring)

Prepare two baking sheets lined with silicone mats (or parchment paper if you don't have these).

1. Combine and whisk together the almond meal and powdered sugar. Set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on a low speed with the cream of tartar until the mixture becomes foamy (kind of like a bubble bath). At this point, slowly pour in the white granulated sugar as the mixer is running. Add the vanilla and rose extract and increase the speed to medium; continue to beat the mixture until a smooth glossy meringue with soft peaks has formed (kind of like shaving cream). Be careful to NOT over beat and dry out your egg whites. If you are coloring your macarons, add a few drops of the gel coloring a little bit before your egg whites have reached their soft and glossy peaks.

3. Remove the bowl from your stand mixer and add 1/3 of the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture. Gently fold together just until everything is combined. Repeat with the next 1/3 of the dry ingredients and again with the final 1/3.

4. Prepare a pastry bag with a medium round tip (about 1 cm) and transfer the macaron batter into it. Pipe small circles onto the prepared baking sheets to make neat rows. Be sure to leave about 1 1/2 inches between each macaron. Grab the ends of the baking sheet and, while holding it level, firmly tap it on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Allow the macarons to rest on the counter for 30-60 minutes before baking.

5. Preheat the oven to 295 degrees F and make sure the racks are in the middle portion. Bake the macarons for 15 minutes, one sheet at a time. Do not open the oven door at all! Once they are finished, allow them to cool for a few minutes; Gently peel away the silicone mat while lightly pushing the macaron cookies off. Repeat with the remaining trays of macarons.

6. Once cooled, fill the macarons with the white chocolate mascarpone filling (recipe as follows) by piping a small dollop onto the back side of one macaron shell and sandwiching it together with another. Repeat with the rest of the macarons. If not consuming right away, store them in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge.

*I typically use 225 g of powdered sugar and reduce the amount of sugar in the filling. However, because it is difficult to control the sweetness with white chocolate, I reduced the powdered sugar amount in the meringue.

White Chocolate Mascarpone Filling
10 oz. white chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
8 oz. mascarpone cheese (room temperature)

1. Place the white chocolate in a medium glass bowl and set it aside. In a small pot, bring the heavy cream to a light boil. Be sure to stir occasionally to avoid burning the cream. Pour the hot liquid over the white chocolate chips and gently use a whisk or rubber spatula to stir the mixture together until the chips have melted and the a smooth ganache has formed. Allow the ganache to cool for a few minutes and then use a hand mixer to beat in the mascarpone cheese until smooth (about 5-10 minutes). Transfer the filling into a piping bag to be used with the macarons.

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