Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The BON Macaron

The quarter-sized $2.50 NY macaron
Let's face it, half the appeal of these microscopic French delicacies, aka the macaron, are the aesthetics. They come in every color imaginable (mostly cheesy pastels) and half the time trendy bloggers buy them just to Instagram and filter the crap out of them (PS, macarons look best under Amaro). Fortunately, I fell under these cookies' spell and caved in. 

During my most recent trip to New York, I stumbled across a small bakery in Williamsburg with a handsome Frenchmen and a small array of tiny macarons. I'm talkin' quarter-sized...but they sure ain't cost 25 cents. They were $2.50 each. I really wanted to see what all the hubbub was about and bought three. I know, pick your jaws off the ground, and hear me out. They were kind of irresistible. I am a very textural gal when it comes to food, and I really appreciated the contrast of textures macarons provide. The crunchy meringue like exterior with a soft and chewy interior against the smooth buttercream filling really had a great mouth-feel (I hate that word, but I'm also really bad at synonyms). So overall, they were pretty good, but not $2.50 good.

Ever since then, I admit I was hooked. But I was also pretty confused about the limited amount of flavors this and other bakeries had. Pistachio, raspberry, vanilla, coffee, and maybe cassis were the basic flavors I'd seen trending among bakeries, at least here in Jacksonville. But macarons are the new trendy thing, the new cupcake if you will. So why has no one expanded on the flavor selection? 

I took it in my own hands to come up with a handful of somewhat creative flavors. This recipe is a play on s'mores, made with a graham cracker based cookie, homemade marshmallow fluff, and semi-sweet chocolate ganache. Have mercy! 

Campfire Macarons

Campfire Macarons

1/2 cup almond flour 
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, finely crumbed up
1 cup confectioners' sugar 
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
drop or two of brown food coloring (gel)

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 pound chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Marshmallow Fluff:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

OK. I know. A lot of ingredients, but feel free to substitute the chocolate ganache for something like Nutella, or substitute the marshmallow fluff for the store-bought stuff. Use your impatient imagination! 

Chocolate Ganche
Start off with the chocolate ganache since it has to set up before use. 
1. Heat the heavy cream, salt, and confectioners sugar over medium heat until it boils. 
2. Pour mixture over chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. Let stand for a minute, and mix until well combined and glossy.
3. Refrigerate and stir occasionally for about 30-45 minutes, until spreadable like icing. 

1. Sift together the almond flour, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners sugar, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. I actually sift it twice. Mix until well combined. 
2. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the granulated sugar gradually and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add in food coloring to make a graham crackerish color. 
3. Fold in dry ingredients until combined with a rubber spatula. Don't over mix! Batter should be thick, but loose at the same time (I know, wtf). It should drop freely from your spatula and "disappear" when it lands back into the batter. 
4. Scoop batter into Ziplock bag with the corner cut off (aka make a poor man's pastry bag). The batter should leak a bit from the tip. 
5. On a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment, make about half-dollar sized cookies (that's the size I make). The piping technique is kind of technical. You basically wanna stay in one spot when you pipe versus moving the tip around to make a circle. Smoosh any peaks down with your finger. 
6. This is the important part. Let it sit out on your counter (away from your warm oven) for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until it forms a dry shell around the cookie. If you touch it, it shouldn't stick to your finger. 
7. Place it in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes. They shouldn't brown, but they should have nice "feet" (those cute little edges macarons are known for). 
8. Allow to cool. 

Marshmallow Fluff
1. Stir together sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil until it reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
2. Whip egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Make sure your candy mixture is almost up to temperature before whisking your egg whites. You kind of have to time it right. 
3. Drizzle a bit of the hot mixture slowly into egg whites, so it doesn't scramble. Mix on medium speed, and add the rest of the mixture slowly. Increase the speed a bit more and whip until stiff and glossy. 
4. Add vanilla and whip some mo'. 


To assemble the cookie, just add the chocolate on one side of the cookie and the marshmallow on the other and sandwich that sucker up! Serve immediately or refrigerate until use. I dipped graham crackers into the left-over chocolate and marshmallow for an afternoon snack. Enjoy! 

Preview of some of my other flavors...

Pumpkin Spice Macarons
with Pumpkin and Pepita Buttercream
Maple Macarons with Bourbon Buttercream
and Candied Bacon

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