Le Macaron Parisien

A macaroon, to most people (at least in America) is a dense cookies consisting primarily of a mound of shredded coconut, possibly dipped in chocolate.  I am against this type of macaroon because shredded dryed coconut is an abomination.  Shredded coconut and celerary are two foods that should be automatically removed from any recipe.  But if you take out coconut from a macaroon recipe, you aren't left with much else.  The solution, don't bother with the coconut in macaroons, just remove the 'o'.  Then you have a macaron, which is the French version and is both as different and superior to the other as the French think they are to the rest of the world.  I discovered this difference in spelling from an article sent to me by my lovely aunt.
The macaron is from Paris.  It is a incredibly light, elegant cookie (actually two cookies sandwiched around some delicious filling) made from ground almonds, sugar and fluffy egg whites.  This recipe adds chocolate to the cookie and a delicious caramel filling.

But, before I continue extolling the virtue of this cookies, I must make a confession.  I had to make these cookies twice to get them right.  Not because the recipe was challenging, but because the beaten egg whites are delicate and if one buys blanched almond slivers and tries to grind them oneself, and if one gets impatient with the grinding and fails to mix the dry ingredients properly and then beats the batter to quickly and roughly one will likely find the egg whites lose their fluffiness and  one gets a still tasty but unappealing cookie.  Not that I would know or anything.  You can compare my first attempt below with my more successful attempt at the start of the page.

The second attempt was made with purchased almond meal, which makes the recipe so easy it is almost (but not quite) cheating.  I would recommend you do the same if possible, really why do more work than you have to.  Then I was very gentle in folding the dry ingredients into the egg whites and had no problems.
I also had problems with the caramel.  First off, let me say, I am normally very good at caramel and I love making it.  I love the burnt sugar smell and watching it slowly turn a lovely dark amber color.  Making caramel is easy; you don't actually do anything.  You're not even supposed to stir it, just swirl the pan occasionally.  But you do have to stand there for the entire time.  Because caramel will go from appearing not even close to done to burning in a total of two and a half seconds and you need to be standing there when it starts to turn a caramel color so it won't burn.
In all other caramel recipes I have tried, you pour cream into the caramelized sugar, but this recipe has you pour the caramelize sugar into whisked cream and egg yolks. 
What happened to mine (both times) is as I poured the caramel in, it cooled to quickly and so rather than blending entirely, I had these hard pieces in my (otherwise delicious) caramel.  I actually had to strain it.  After the second failed attempt, I decided this is stupid.  Next time I make it, I will remove the pan with the sugar from the heat and beat the egg yolks and cream into it slowly, to avoid this:

One last thing about caramel.  This word has 3 syllabus: ker-uh-mel.  It isn't spelled car-mel.  And that is all I have to say about that.


2 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 cups (packed) powdered sugar
6 tablespoons water
1 1-pound box powdered sugar
2 scant eggcups almond meal
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup egg whites (about 6 large)
1. 4 tbsps of butter and cream to a simmer. Whisk into egg yolks in seperate bowl. Anchor bowl with yolk mixture by placing bowl on wet kitchen towel; set aside.
2. Stir sugar and 6 tablespoons water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan so caramel will color evenly, about 10 minutes.
4. Slowly whisk hot caramel into yolk mixture, then whisk until smooth. Transfer caramel mixture to small bowl; let stand until no longer warm to touch (caramel will become too thick if it cools too long), about 1 hour.
5. Whisk in remaining butter. Cover and chill until thick and cold, at least 1 day and up to 3 days.
1. Blend powdered sugar, almond meal and cocoa powder until smooth.
2. Beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry.
3. Fold almond mix a quarter at a time into egg whites gently, until just combined.
4. Spoon half of the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain round tip or use a spoon to create walnut sized mounds on a parchment covered baking sheet.
5. Bake cookies a sheet at a time in a 400 degree oven, about 11 minutes. Slide parchment paper off. Cool cookies.
6. When cookies and filling are completely cooled, drop 1 scant tablespoon filling onto flat side of half the macarons. Top with a second macaron and press down lightly.
7. Cover; chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Serve cold.

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