Swirly Macarons And A Birthday

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I guess I really can't be left alone... or my mind start playing tricks on me. Last Sunday I was working on a wedding cake for a friend of mine getting married this coming weekend when she called and asked me for the thousandth time if I had also started working on her wedding favors. "Yes" I replied "and may I add that I must really love you and F.?" "Why is that?" she asked... "because of all that blue...I think I am losing my mind". The theme of her wedding is a beach/lagoon sea and ghastly as I found her idea to have a lot of blue, I agreed to do it all, including macarons for wedding favors. Why can't I be left alone? Well, it seems that my brain has short circuits because not only did I agree to make a lot of them (300) I started playing on the ocean theme and decided to swirl the white and blue batters together and ended up with these Swirly Macs. I think I had moment of lucidity when I decided to only swirl half the bunch and sandwich them with a plain side. Half a genius is still better than none!!

It is funny but the more I am swirling them the more they are growing on me. And that is where the second part of the post comes in. Today is my wonderful brother's birthday. His name is Arnaud and I guess that like the macarons, the more we were hanging out together the more we were growing on each other. He is a wonderful guy, husband and father to my two precious little nieces and all around awesome dude and cook. I never realised how much I loved him until a few years ago when B. and I went back to France for Christmas. We visited him and his wife before they had the girls and we went out one night together to share a good cassoulet. We sat there and I had the most overwhelming feeling in my heart. I was sitting across from him, staring at this grown up man with a wedding ring on his fingers, talking to my husband in such a warm and natural manner. He loved me. I could not stop the tears. I loved him back.

We could not be more different in characters and lifestyle and growing up we were seriously harsh on each other but we shared so much in the past few years that we know now how to love and respect each other. I know losing our brother to cancer was a tough wake up call, but so were the births of his children, the distance between us and the other events marking our family. Today I want to publicly wish him a "Joyeux Anniversaire" and show him that our relationship may be as swirly as those macarons sometimes but he is the other half of me. Yep, the same guy who bit a chunk out of my thighs when I was 4 and I was probably getting right nerve under his last nerve (I still have the mark, no lie).

Let's all wish him a Joyeux Anniversaire Arnaud! Mille bises de nous tous!

I wish I could send them overseas but I can't...they will however be part of a small gifts table at my friend's wedding. I think I will save some and send them to Danielle who is hosting Sugar High Friday this month with the theme of Sweet Gifts (and I am not only speaking of the virtual world:))


Swirly Macarons With Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache:

For the Macarons:

3 egg whites (I like to use 2-3 day old egg whites)
50 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar
110 gr. ground almonds
2 Ts blue powdered food coloring

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature on a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won't work. Combine the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a quick pulse. It will break the powdered sugar lumps and combine your almonds with it evenly. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold and remove some of the batter that will remain uncolored. Add 2 TB food coloring to the rest and fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon.
Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Do the same for the plain batter.s
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper baking sheets.
With a toothpick dab dots of the plain batter and swirl.
Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.
If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don't let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Pipe or spoon some ganache on one shell and sandwich with another one.
If you use fresh whites, zap them up in the microwave on medium high for 20 seconds.

Bittersweet ganache:

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate

In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the stove and add the chocolate to it. Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined. Let cool until firm enough to put in a small piping bag.



Notes: Today march 2oth is the "Journee du Macaron" when numerous pastry shops around France, Swiss and Belgium offer free samples all day long! Lucky you's!!!

I receive a lot of emails about breaking the code of making macarons and I am working on a tutorial with step by step pictures. Coming soon!

111 comments:

Jade said...

These are absolutely gorgeous. The color is so vibrant.

Hale said...

will you be able to show step- by step pictures, becouse i did use your recipe but did not turn out good.. since your making lots of it :) if you dont mind it?

Thank you..

Barbara said...

Love the colour Helene. What lovely words about your brother.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy Birthday to your brother!

Those Macarons look terribly good! I love the swirls and the unusual color!

Cheers,

Rosa

fofil said...

magnifique!!magnifique!!!!!!!!

Sha said...

I love blue & macaroons... and chocolate of course !

Bakemama said...

Tartlette, what amazing macaroons! I have never had any desire to make macaroons, mainly because they usually look so wimpy, pale, and foo-foo. Yours change all that! I never thought about adding rich colors to the batter. Imagine all the colors you could use! And imagine them with a rich color and white chocolate ganache! Thank you for inspiring us!!! And I think your brother must be wonderful, too!! Thank you for sharing both.

Aran said...

Awww... you made me miss my brothers so much too! It's hard to be away from family isn't it? Well, your macaroons look gorgeous... the wedding guests will be very very happy!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Happy birthday, Arnaud. You are lucky to have such a wonderful sister, who tells us great stories, teaches us so much about pastry, and even bakes blue macarons (my goodness!).

Meeta said...

You are not half a genius - in my books you are the complete genius! Also you're a lovely friend and sister, so thoughtful and full of great ideas. So I hope these were enough compliments for the day - NOW how about sending me your Lagoon Macarons??!

Lori said...

Happy Birthday to your brother! You have such a warm heart.

Magnificent macarons and imagination. I am working up the courage to make them myself. I have done a lot of research. After Easter Babka, I will try.

Ginny said...

I like the swirls! Blue is definitely one of those colors that should not be used in baked goods...I had an aunt who would always dye the icing blue so she could have the cake to herself but...yours looks great and delicious! How'd you do it?

Happy birthday to your brother! Aren't siblings the best!

Gretchen Noelle said...

So, if your relationship is like these macarons and your brother is your other half...which one of you is the swirly side and which one is the plain? :)

Lovely macarons! one day, I will get brave and daring and make some. What a fun wedding with all these lovely sweets.

Elly said...

These are the prettiest macarons I've ever seen!

Engineer Baker said...

I love that you are posting this a mere day after offering your help on my macaron-making. They look beautiful, and I'm not just saying that because I love blue! In fact, green's my favorite, but for some reason, green cookies = weird.

strawberriesinparis said...

Hot damn!! fantastic!!

RecipeGirl said...

Those are terrific! It's not every day that you see bright turquoise macaroons. And swirly ones at that!

It's funny, I was just looking at a strawberry macaroon recipe yesterday!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Beautiful, what a lucky friend and brother you have!

May I ask which brand of powdered food coloring you prefer?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Happy Happy Birthday & Happy Days to Follow for Arnaud.
There is so very much here. So much of life is opposites that when together make things right. Your choice to make the cookies half swirl and half plain is just as it should be and makes you a 100% genius. That's my 2 cents.

Patricia Scarpin said...

You are the sweetest friend ever, dear Helen! These are perfect. I'm hypnotized by how beautiful they are!

Ben said...

I'd go crazy with all that blue! But they look beautiful and delicious. I wouldn't mind eating them, though. Hehehe.

Veron said...

Happy birthday to your brother. These macarons are gorgeous!!! I love the color. I wish we can have a day of macarons here in the US.

cakewardrobe said...

If food had a Broadway show, this would be the show-stopping main character! Lovely!

Shirley said...

Since I am mono-lingual, I'll just wish your brother the happiest of birthdays.

The mac's look great. And I love your blog.

LyB said...

Such wonderful macarons and a wonderful post as well! Now I miss my brother!

Catherine Wilkinson said...

Ok, now I'll have to call my three brothers. Half the time I could strangle them, but you've reminded me they are pretty good guys and life is too short not to speak your heart.
Actually, all that blue is romantic and magical.

Bernice said...

One word, gorgeous!

Jenn said...

I feel the same way about my brothers now that we're older. They beat the heck out of me as a kid but watching them as tender fathers now proves it was just the unbridled sibling rivalry that got the best of them back then. T

These macarons are so striking! I don't even like macarons (gasp!) but I think I might make these for my own birthday next week.

Deborah said...

My relationship with one of my sisters was much the same.

These macarons are wonderful! I love the swirly, and I'm sure your friend will love them as well!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Happy birthday to your brother. I was a biter, too, as a child, but now my sisters are my best friends.

Lovely macarons. I love the swirls!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Those look fun!

Helen it seems like you are always doing something to help others! I hope they appreciate you. Happy birthday to your brother.

Katy said...

beautiful, beautiful macaroons, and that's a really sweet story about your brother. i think all family relationships get easier and better as we all get older and learn to accept our family members for who they are and love them for it. happy birthday to your brother!

Peabody said...

Wow, those are gorgeous. The swirl looks so professional and lovely.

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

These remind me of a Tiffany's box. Hmmmm ... chocolate or diamonds? It's a tight race. =-) What a heartfelt tribute to your brother. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of living in the moment and being open with feelings. Have a great day.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

What a lovely tribute to your brother. I have one brother as well, and I feel the same way about him.

Your macarons are always beautiful, but these are absolutely breathtaking! I am so in awe of you!

diva said...

macaroons always make me think of Paris! these are the prettiest i've ever seen though.. wonderful

Lesley said...

YOu have a LUCKY friend! Those are great. How are you storing them before the wedding? Freezer?

Et joyeux anniversaire a Arnaud, il a une soeur qui l'aime autant!!

glamah16 said...

Those are so beautiful! I havent seen anything like it. You could teach your sugar daddys some things!

glamah16 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jef said...

I noticed something new in your recipe, "If you use fresh whites, zap them up in the microwave on medium high for 20 seconds."

Do you actually nuke your whites for 20 seconds if they're new? This is something new to me, what's the results?

Janet said...

Those are the most beautiful macarons I have ever seen. Thanks for the consistently great posts.

Tartelette said...

Lesley: you can store them in the freezer for a few days without a problem, either filled or not.

Jef: actually I mentionned this step a few months back but commenter asked me to elaborate a little last week. Sometimes I get the urge to try something new with them, but I don't have my egg whites aged yet so I nuke them for 20 seconds in 10 seconds increments to "age" them a bit. It is my trick for instant macaron gratification. I can't really tell the temp. setting of my microwave but I used the regular "cook" button so I am presuming it is medium-high.

Mercotte said...

Ils sont si beaux qu'on dirait de la dentelle ! j'ai traduit aujourd'hui mon article au 2éme degré "Desperatly seeking macarons' et je vais aussi traduire mon tutoriel la semaine prochaine si j'ai le temps !si après tout ça les lecteurs n'arrivent toujours pas à réussir les macarons nous allons désespérer !

Celeste said...

You hardly need another comment, but I don't know whether it is the stunning macaroons or the pms or the brother bit, but I am tearing up a bit here. I think I'll go call my brother...
Thanks so much for sharing.
Also, I think I will be very angry if you do not show us how the wedding cake turned out!

Babeth said...

Stunning macarons!!! Great job, you're a master of pastry.

Josh said...

Tartelette~ Thank you for your Macaroon post. I am obsessed with trying to perfect the Macaroon. Here is the interesting thing, I can't even eat them. I am really allergic to all nuts. My lovely signigicant other introduced me to Miette Bakery in San Francisco when I asked her to marry me. Baking and Cooking is something welove to do and we have been trying to perfect them ever since. She is the taste tester and we have been researching and practicing for sometime and still feel we have not figured it out. Our big problem seems to be getting the perfect foot and getting the texture to compare to Miette Bakery in San Francisco. We use a very similar reciepe to yours we will try yours this weekend. I am looking forward to more Macaroon posts, tips and hints, thanks! Sincerley, Obesessed Macaroon Maker who has never tried one.

Aimée said...

Helen- love your vibrant seascape macaroons.
My brother is my best friend too. What a sweet tribute to yours!

Mingoumango (La Mangue) said...

Ah, qu'ils sont beaux avec leurs motifs floraux... Je crois bien que ce sont les plus beaux macarons du monde (avec ceux à la pomme caramélisée de Lilo) !
Chapeau !

Mansi Desai said...

I don't know how you can create such masterpieces every time!!:) hats off to you Helen!:)

Mandy said...

I have really run out of praises words, my friend. These macarons are gorgeous. And your photos are getting better and better. Thanks for sharing the story about you and Arnaud.

Vitor Hugo said...

Oh, my god! =O Really amazing! I liked the color, awsome.

My first time into Macaron World's was a big disaster, heheheh

Anita said...

when they showed up in my Flickr stream, I thought they were little Wedgwood ceramic boxes. As soon as I saw they were yours, I knew they had to be edible art! :D

I can't wait to see your step-by-step. Maybe it will embolden me to try making some macarons of my own. I am still dreaming about the ones we had at Christmas!

rhid said...

These look beautiful! I love the colour combinations - just stunning!

Kevin said...

Those macrons look great! The white swirls go really well on that shade of blue.

Cynthia said...

It is wonderful when that moment strikes and you realise how much you truly love that sibling that so different from you and with whom your relationship has been swirly and rockey. I couldn't help but thinking about my own brother.

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

You and YOUR macarons........ugh, you keep throwing them and dangling the untouchable, unreachable in my face hehehehe. I am going to fly you here for a private macaron lesson.

Out sharing a cassoulet....ugh, how french is that!!!!

Katie said...

Wow absolutely stunning.

Kay said...

I guess I didn't get your e-mail, for whatever reason...apparently my inbox has been very temperamental these last few days, because that's not the first time...
I would love the book! I definitely need all of the help I can get...
By the way, those macarons look absolutely incredible!

love! and cookies,
kay

Rachel said...

Does anyone live in NYC? There's a French cafe near my work that sells macarons, and I'm dying to know if they're decent. I mean, I eat them and like them, but I've never had another one to compare it to. It's called Macaron Cafe de Paris on 7th and 36th. This is their website, but there's nothing on it besides an address: http://www.macaroncafe.com/Welcome_to_Macaron_Cafe_NYC.html

Kieran said...

Beautiful as always. I look forward to the tutorial! Great to appreciate one's siblings!

Danielle said...

I am a lucky, lucky girl. Those look fantastic!

michelle @ TNS said...

what a brilliant color - like tiffany macarons!

i think macaron day should be an international event.

Cakespy said...

These are a showstopper! That swirl is just fantastic! "Color" me impressed. ;-)

Vanillaorchid said...

they are absolutely beautiful & fantastic!!!

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DoughGirl said...

Your macarons are beautiful....I love the swirls. I am putting these on my "to bake" list right now!

Arnaud, French Brother said...

Some words in english:
Thanks a lot for my birthday.
Marie-Helene your macarons are fantastics.

Tartelette said...

Arnaud: I was wondering when you'd stop celebrating long enough to come get your gift!!! Je me demandais combien de temps avant que tu vienne voir ton cadeau!!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Those are so beautiful! I love the swirls!

Bea said...

Just a lovely contrast of colours for a lovely occasion!

creampuff said...

Helene,

I literally gasped when I saw those incredibel macarons! You are an artist. Truly.

Jaime said...

those are so beautiful! i love the swirl, definitely genius!

happy birthday to your brother too!

Zen Chef said...

Oh la la, quelle classe. Les macarons sont magnifiques! :-)
Joyeux Anniversaire au frerot, il en a de la chance d'avoir une soeur comme toi quand meme.

Farida said...

I love macaroons and yours look particularly APPEALING AND MOUTHWATERING to me! What a beautiful blog to learn a lot from!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Beautiful colour and composition! :)
Margot

*viv* said...

i must say, i am definitely looking forward to your tutorial. i have only had one go at them and it was a total soggy mess! dunno what happened. until then, I will continue to try them on my own. these macarons are so beautiful! i wish i would have had some of those for my wedding. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I've been watching your blog for a while now and I've learned and want to learn so much more. Your macaroons are really gorgeous especially these new ones..

But theres is a question thats been niggling me for a while.

What exactly do you mean by 3 day old egg whites?? I really have no clue. Does it mean that I separate them and store the egg whites out for 3 days?

Please answer my silly question =p

Thanks

Tartelette said...

Anonymous: precisely. Separate our eggs and keep the egg whites covered in a clean bowl for 2-3 days.

Amy said...

Happy Birthday to your brother! I made it a personal goal of mine to make macarons before I start school in the fall so I'm soooo excited for your step by step guide. Hooray!

Kelly-Jane said...

Your pictures of these macarons are just to die for! Well done Helene :)

KJxx

BitterSweet said...

These are simply breath-taking! Both the cookies themselves and the photographs are beautiful. :)

Pinella said...

Beautiful!!!!
I'm a very macaron's fan....

Kiriel du Papillon said...

Oh how I wish I had seen your post on March 20th. Living in Switzerland I would have made a pilgrimage to macaroon shops!

Your macaroons look amazing.

Kiriel

Lisa said...

Your macarons are BEAUTIFUL! I could stare (and drool) at your blog all day long. I've been wanting to try macarons for a while now and perhaps your generous instructions and beautiful results will inspire me. Please feel free to pop by my blog as well - the food is not quite up to your level but perhaps someday...

Emiline said...

Well, you've convinced me I need to try making macarons. My next project! First, I need to research your other macaron posts.

My Baking & Cooking Passion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
My Baking & Cooking Passion said...

I have attempted to make macarons a few times... but none to success... mine always have rough surfaces and holes instead of smooth shinny surface... =(

really can't wait for your step-by-step tutorial!

Jess said...

Wow, those macarons look simply stunning. I might have to give these a go one day! Thank you for the clear instructions.

michelle said...

unbelievable! i am so happy to come across your site (today is my first time). these macarons are beautiful. i'll definitely try this!

Linda N.W. said...

wow!! those macarons look fantastic!!
one question though...when you write 2-3 days old eggwhites, do you mean they´ve been stored in room temperature for 2-3 days?

I love you blog!

thankfully,
Linda (Sweden)

Linda N.W. said...

oh I´m sorry, just saw that someone else already had asked the same question... I will give it a try!

:-)

SwellCakes said...

These macaroons are amazing! Beautiful! You have inspired me to give them a try-but will definitely wait for your tutorial!

The Apron Queen said...

I used to make cookies like this with my Nana as a little girl.

Stop by for a visit. I'll even save one of my baked apples for you! :D

Confessions of an Apron Queen: http://anapronaday.blogspot.com

Alfie said...

These look AMAZING - more like art than food!

Dizzee Cake. said...

I have been wanting to try making macarons for the first time- and plan to when I can finally grab a free moment. Yours are beautiful! I think I have finally worked up the courage to try, now just need to decide what flavor. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

I love all your work and want to go continue browsing your gorgeous pics =)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

those are the coolest looking macs ever!

Zakia / The Frosted Bake Shop said...

these are so cute. i am going to participate in the "Mad for Macarons in May" event. i will use your recipe as a base. i wanted to know if i can substitute the ground almonds with regular flour?

timmi jr. said...

those blue swirly macaon looks lovely! you must be an amazing pastry chef... envy...

Emma said...

These look divine. And a silly question: what do you mean by one cup of chocolate for the ganache? 1 cup of bittersweet chips? Thanks!

Tartelette said...

Emma: no silly questions: 1 cup chocolate chips or 8oz if you prefer weighing.

TempeMike said...

Could you pls comment on how to judge the doneness of the macaron. I cook mine significantly longer than the recommended time. In part, because when I check one, it is still wet inside. Should they be wet inside when I take them out?


Awesome blog, by the way.

Tartelette said...

TempeMike: that all depends on your taste. If you like them wet inside, by all means, keep doing what you are doing. I try to let them cook until they "just" detach easily from the parchment paper for that ease of lifting them up but because I know filling will make them moist. If you have no problem removing them from the tray while they are still soft inside and you like them as, then go for it. Each macaron maker has his/hers preference texture wise. Between 8-15 minutes should be the proper baking time depending on your oven and preference.
Hope this helps!

Terri said...

I just love your site! I am making macaroons for a wedding favor and have a question for you. I have to transport them three hours away. Should I keep them frozen until I leave and put them in coolers with ice packs? I'm worried about the buttercream filling. I have attempted macaroons a dozen times and I still get a tip on the top..not completely smooth and flat?

Tartelette said...

Terri: no need to freeze them. They are better when matured for 48 hours in the fridge so a cooler is enough.
Re-top: add a few strokes when folding. It just means the batter is not fluid enough to fall back on itself.

Jenna said...

These are beautiful! Ahhhh...if only they were vegan - good thing they're not, I'd probably eat the entire batch for breakfast! Love your site. Glad I stopped by.

jamie said...

you're macarons are so pretty!
do you know where i could find powdered food coloring?

Karen said...

Hi, I'm from Malaysia and I fell in love with Macarons when i went to Melbourne for a holiday. When i came back i started searching for recipes, i've tried making them twice with another recipe i got off an Australian magazine. This time I tried this recipe but substituted blue coloring with Cocoa powder. Somehow my macarons were a bit too watery and they couldn't stay round. And some of them cracked while baking, but they do have feet. I'm kinda worried. Do you have any tips for me? Thanks!!

Helene said...

Jamie: a Google search for powdered food coloring will get you to different sites. Then you'll be able to pick the one that fits best (pricing, shipping, etc...)

Karen: look to the sidebar at the macaron tutorial PDF, hopefully you will find all the tips you need but it looks like you overfolded them and ultimately deflated the meringue so it turned watery instead of holding its shape.

pineapplebutter said...

Thank you for posting a GOOD macaron recipe. Other blogs have the Martha Stewart recipe where you have the oven set way too high and the poor things just deflate. I've never made such beautiful macarons at home before!! It's easy at a professional kitchen, but I hate my oven; I don't know it's quarks like I do the ones at work. Also, I had all my windows open so it only took about 10-15 minutes before my macs had formed a skin and I didn't have to wait the full hour! Time saver.
I was told they were better than the local macaron shop. Which I have to agree with because mine were fresh within the hour and not refrigerated. They can't compete with that.

Anonymous said...
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