Sunday, July 11, 2010

macarons with creamy peanut butter filling

i did it!
i made beautiful french macarons.
not to be confused with coconut macaroons.
i had my doubts when i was making these.
peeking into my dimly lit oven while they were baking, i watched as they grew their 'feet'!!
i jumped for joy in my kitchen!

these cookies are sandwiched together with a creamy peanut butter filling.
please note they are best when eaten with in about 12 hours of baking.
they begin to dry out and become very brittle.

i followed tartlette's basic recipe for macaron's.
she has been dubbed queen of the macaron and rightly so!
she has the most amazing combination's of this confection on her blog.

one thing to remember when making macaron's...its really a science of weights!
if you don't have a kitchen scale, i highly recommend you invest in one to make these pretty lil cookies.
you don't want to go through all of the trouble and expense to have them fall flat on you.
the measurements are included, but i still recommend only going by the weight.
have fun!

Macarons with Creamy Peanut Butter Filling
For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
25 gr to 50gr (2 Tb to 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
200 gr ( 1.5 cups + 2Tb) powdered sugar
110 gr almonds ( 3/4 cup) (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)

Prep the eggs: 48 hrs in advance, separate the whites from the yolks and place the whites in a super clean bowl. Leave at room temp, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel at least 24 hrs. Refrigerate after that if desired. You can use eggs that have been “aging” for up to 5 days.

Prepare the macarons:
Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Sift a couple of time to remove bits and pieces. Regrind if necessary. You can also use a coffee grinder for the nuts. Once your nuts and powdered sugar are mixed together, rub them in between your fingertips to break the bigger pieces.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not over beat your meringue or it will be too dry.
Add the nuts and powdered sugar to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10.  (If you want to color the cookie, now is the time to add powdered or gel food coloring). 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.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit.
If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F. If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F. When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool.

Creamy Peanut Butter Filling:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons half and half

Mix all the ingredients except for the half and half together until combined. Add half and half a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You may only need to add 2 tablespoons. Mix until smooth.

Place filling in piping bag and pipe about a half teaspoon of filling on to one flat side of a cookie. Gently sandwich together with another cookie. Continue until all cookies are paired up!
Store in an airtight container.

recipe from :: tartlette and bakerella

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