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Archive for July, 2013

Macarons

macaron2Two friends of mine came back from a trip to Paris last week, and promptly started baking macarons. They are so cute and colorful, and probably delicious. I wouldn’t know for sure, since I had never heard of such a thing in my pregan days. That was well before the gourmet cupcake had been thought off, let alone the delightful looking macaron. They are essentially a meringue cookie, and of all the ways to substitute eggs, stiffened egg whites present the biggest challenge for us vegans. But I was jealous of my friend’s adorable treats, and scoured the internet for a recipe. There are a few out there, but they don’t look like the real thing (except for one blog with a great looking photo, but no recipe!). So, I did what I used to do before the Sticky Fingers cookbook came along – I made something up and gave it shot. This is my first attempt, and it is not perfect. The shell is crispy, and the foot is so cute, but they’re a little too wet inside, and the sweetness is off the charts. I filled them with a bittersweet ganache, just to cut through the sugar a bit. But based on my internet searches, the vegan world is crying out for macarons, and far be it from me to hold back what I have learned. I ask you, dear Primates, to try this out and improve it for the good of all veganity! My next attempt will definitely have less water, and probably less xanthan gum. But like I said, I’ve never eaten a “real” macaron and only know that they are supposed to have a crispy shell and a chewy middle. The crispy shell, I’ve got, but the chewy middle needs some work.

This recipe made 18 sandwiches.

Ingredients:

5.7 ounces powdered sugar – 1.5 C after sifting

3 ounces almond meal – 2/3 C

5 TBS granulated sugar

2 TBS Enrgy Egg Replacer

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

scant 1/2 C water

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp oil

Directions:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 280 degrees.
  2. Sift together the powdered sugar and almond meal. Set aside.
  3. Combine egg replacer, xanthan gum and water. Whisk  until your arm simply cannot do it any more. Or if using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, until you have soft foamy peaks.
  4. Add granulated sugar 1 TBS at a time, whisking after each addition until incorporated.
  5. Add vanilla and oil and whisk to incorporate.
  6. Add about half of the dry ingredients. Fold (do not stir) to incorporate. When mostly incorporated, add the remaining dry ingredients. Fold until combined.
  7. Fill pastry bag with batter. Pipe dollops onto cookie sheet, leaving about a half inch between them, as they will spread slightly, but not much.
  8. Bang the cookie sheet on the counter top a couple of times. This sounds weird, but it is supposed to help the cookies avoid cracking while they bake.
  9. Bake at 280 for 18 minutes. You want to leave them in long enough so that they don’t stick on the bottom any more, but not so long that they start to brown.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Since they are mostly air, this doesn’t take long. While you wait you make whatever filling you’d like to use. They cookies were so sweet, that I decided on a bittersweet ganache – just a few ounces of 78% chocolate, and a few TBS of coconut milk, melted over a double boiler. Sorry, I didn’t measure it. But you can’t really go wrong if you add the coconut milk in small stages until you get a smooth, shiny ganache.
  11. Pipe or spoon the filling between two cookies, and then try not to eat them all!

macaron1

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