Thursday, May 5, 2016
Maple Bacon Macarons
A couple weekends ago my friends and I took a macaron cooking class. I had never tried making macarons in the past since they always seemed to be very labor intensive. Turns out there are a lot of steps involved, but they aren't actually that hard to make. If a class of amateurs manager to make multiple successful batches of these, so can you. My favorite flavor from that class was the maple bacon macaron. The filling is a caramel and maple sauce with bacon morsels. I could eat it by the spoonful (I may have done that in reality). These macarons can be refrigerated and will last a week. In fact, the flavor comes through even better on day 2.
In the top picture, the macaron has been in the fridge overnight and is much more stable and together. The bottom photo is of the macarons right after we added the caramel bacon sauce. Make sure you don't go crazy with the caramel or it will ooze everywhere. We had a few macarons where that happened if you didn't already notice. They are a very delicate cookie so take extra care when transporting them.
Recipe from Sur la Table Cooking Class
For the Meringue:
5 1/8 ounces confectioners' sugar, divided
5 1/8 ounces almond flour
4 ounces egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
Brown food coloring (optional)
For the Maple Bacon Sauce:
6 ounces good quality bacon, cut into tiny bits (using scissors makes this easier)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Begin by making your macarons. Place your oven racks in the lower portion of your oven and preheat your oven to 300F/150C. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. To make perfectly shaped macarons, place a paper template under the silicone mat or parchment paper so you can pipe the meringue into the shape. These can be found with a quick Google search.
Place the confectioners' sugar and almond flour in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment. Mix until the two form a fine powder, about 30 seconds. Using a second bowl and a large sifter, sift this mixture a total of 3 time to remove any larger pieces or chunks. Yes, the three times are necessary.
Using your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly and gradually add the sugar, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then. Once all the sugar is incorporated, whip until stiff, glossy peaks have formed. The texture will resemble shaving cream. If you're using food coloring, whip a few drops into the egg whites, adding more until your desired color is achieved.
Using a spatula, begin to fold the flour mixture into the egg whites. Do not over mix this. The desired texture will be smooth and if your lift up the spatula a ribbon of meringue should hold for a few seconds.
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with the 1/2 inch round tip. If using parchment paper on your baking sheet, add a small dab of the batter to under corner of the parchment paper to keep it from sliding. Pipe the batter into your meringue shapes. When piping, hold the tip of the piping bag about 1/2" from the surface. Do not move the tip, just squeeze the pastry bag until the batter has filled in the shape. When the shape is filled, lift the pastry bag with a swift, up and sideways motion in order to detach the batter. Now let the macarons set at room temperature until a skin has formed over the batter. To test the macaron, lightly touch the side. If your finger does not leave a dent the macarons are ready. Depending on humidity this step can take 30 minutes to a few hours.
Bake the macarons one sheet at a time. Make sure to rotate the baking sheet half way through baking. Bake until macarons are crisp and firm, about 14-16 minutes. Continue with remaining sheets. Allow macarons to cool.
In the meantime, begin making the maple bacon filling. Cook the bacon in a skillet or non-stick pan over medium heat until crispy and the fat has rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small, heatproof bowl and set aside.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir just until the sugar dissolves and add the corn syrup. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches an amber color. Once the sugar takes on a darker hue it can quickly burn, so keep an eye on this step. If using a candy thermometer, the temperature will be between 320F and 340F. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, followed by the maple syrup. Next mix in the bacon and salt. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until the mixture is thick enough not to ooze out the side of the macaron. This can take 10 to 20 minutes.
To assemble the macarons, Place a small spoonful to the maple sauce onto the flat side of a macaron. Top with another macaron. Macarons can be refrigerated up to 3 days and actually taste even better on the second day. Pin It Now!