Friday, April 8, 2011

Wishing for summer...Pina Colada Macarons

Happy Friday!!! As you may have noticed, it has been a little while since my last post. Last week I got an order for 16 dozen macarons, I have to admit, after the excitement wore off the panic set in!  I have spent the last week in the kitchen, attempting different recipes and flavor combinations.  Several flopped attempts, a couple batches straight into the trash and a lot of cookies that never got filled.  When I made macarons for the first time in January, they worked perfect the time...beginners luck?!?  On Wednesday night, after I had attempted the same recipe for the third time with no luck, I would have said yes...this is the only time in the last week where I have been so frustrated that I just had to sit and cry for a minute.  It is a good thing my husband is a genius :)!!  He suggested that I go back to using the recipe that worked for me previously...not sure quite why this thought had not occurred to me previously?!? 

So last night I went back to my original recipe, from Martha Stewart but a serious thank you to AmberLee @ Giverslog, who shares some incredibly helpful tips on her blog.  I have been wanting to find something to do with all of the bags of coconut that I had in the cupboard...I got a really good deal on it!  So I decided Pina Colada macarons. 

Here is the recipe:
Adapted from French Macarons

For the Macaroons
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 tsp of coconut extract (I also added some almond extract, but it really overpowered the coconut flavor, so I would probably leave this out next time)

1.      Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
2.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
3.      Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macaroons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
4.      Let macaroons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macaroons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release macaroons.)
5.      Sandwich 2 same-size macaroons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.

For the filling I started with a cream cheese filling that I have used before and made a few adjustments to make it a pineapple rum cream cheese

Cream Cheese Filling

6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lemon juice (I put some pineapple in the food processor and substituted this for the lemon juice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract ( I substituted with 1/4 tsp pineapple extract and 1/4 tsp rum may want a little more of each, but this is a good starting point)
Yellow food gel (this really gave me the bright yellow color I wanted)

Beat the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar until combined, then mix in the juice and extract. Pipe a dollop onto one macaron and top with another.

With the added flavoring in this it was a little thinner that I wanted it, just pop it in the fridge for a bit and it should help firm it up.

Overall these macarons were a success, I will most definitely be sticking to this recipe for the ones I will be making at the end of this month.  I am looking for some flavor combinations to make for this order too, I really want them to be bright springy colors, with fresh flavors, here is what I have so far...I need two more flavors:
Raspberry with white chocolate gnache filling
Lemon with lemon mascarpone filling
Lime & Basil (?!?!?!)

Please share your thoughts, I would love your input!! 

Here are a few pictures of the Pina Colada macarons...they are delicious!

I have a few of things in the next couple of weeks I can't wait to share with you!!! 
Have a great weekend! 

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