This year for Valentine’s Day treat yo self to something a little special. Chocolate can be had everyday but macarons, especially Blood Orange Macarons are worth the time and effort for these little bites of bliss.
I recently came across a meme on Facebook the other day describing the difference between the glorious French macaron and the humble American creation.
The macaron as it describes was made from angels tears (and almond meal) by unicorn foals.
The macaroon was made from dessicated coconut by your grandmother.
The two are clearly completely different, now why do people insist on pronouncing them the same? It’s a real pet peeve of mine but perhaps they just never experience the pure joy of biting into a perfect baked macaron with that crisp shell to break into a chewy interior. It truly is magical and perhaps they were born from unicorns.
To me, the macaron will never be out of style or no longer trending, mostly because I know all the work that goes into making a perfect one.
I’ve made hundreds and hundreds of macarons, some of have cracked, others have baked with no feet and tragically some go crashing to the floor in a giant mess of crumbled macaron shells.
Yet despite the work, the reward is worth it and this is why I try to convince you that now is the time of year to give it a go.
I mean let’s look at the finer points:
– There is no holiday stress baking on the table to get all the baked goods done before Christmas/Chanukah
– Macarons are French and French things = romance and Paris
– What’s a better way to say I love you than baking something that some shops fly all the way in from Paris because they just can’t do it right in America?
– Plus they are pretty and you can customize the flavor (but really it’s blood orange season, do I need to make any more arguments on why this will be your only choice?).
– I could go on but I’m too busy eating the macarons I made but sadly you don’t have because you haven’t made them yet.
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Line 3-4 cookies trays with parchment paper. Set aside
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and granulated sugar on medium low speed until foamy (about 1-2 minutes). Increase the speed to medium and whip for another 1-2 minutes. At this point the egg whites will appear white, foamy and more air will be incorporated into them.
Increase the speed again to high and continue to whip until stiff, dry peaks are formed - about 5-7 minutes. In the last 30 seconds, add your food coloring, about 2 drops of orange and 1 drop of pink should get the blood orange color but play around.
In your food processor, pulse the confectioners sugar and almond meal about 10 times.
Transfer to a sifter and sift the dry ingredients over the egg whites.
Using a silicone spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, deflating the egg whites and rotating the bowl. As you fold and rotate, take the spatula with the egg whites and beat it against the side of the bowl.
You want to fold about 40 to 50 times or until the batter looks like the texture of lava.
Transfer the batter to a pipping bag with a round tip.
Pipe the macarons at a 45 degree angle on the prepared baking sheet at your desired size.
Once you are finished pipping, bang the baking sheets agains your counter to remove any air bubbles. Set aside for at least 1 hour to rest. You want the shells to form a skin on top.
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Bake one tray at a time for 12 minutes, rotating halfway throughout.
Let cool completely
To the make the filling:
Stir together the blood orange juice, zest and sugar in a small saucepan over medium to medium-low heat.
Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved.
While stirring, slowly drizzle the egg yolks into the mixture. Continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, scraping the bottom of the saucepan with your whisk or spoon to make sure the yolks don't burn or scramble.
Once the curd coats the back of a wooden spoon, turn off the heat and with one piece of butter at a time stir into the curd. Add the next after the first piece has melted.
Place the curd in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and strain, discard any solids. Place the curd in the refrigerator to set up for about an hour or overnight if making ahead of time.
To fill the macarons, place a small dollop of curd in the center of one of the macarons and top, pressing down so the curd reaches the ends.
Refrigerator the macarons for at least 4-6 hours or overnight to mature before serving. Store any leftover in the fridge for 2-3 days.