Meet Macaron's not so distant cousin, Almond Rose Cookie! I like to think of them as the fitter macaron - a less pronounced girth, sleeker lines, and just as tasty.
Ok, you got me - these were intended macarons. I really enjoy the delicate, little French treats but have always heard how tricky they are to make. With three main ingredients - almond flour, egg whites and sugar - how difficult could they be, really. I read, and learned first hand today, that humidity and a gas oven are enemies to the process. I believe it was a combination of the two that produced these 'low feet' results.
Although the desired look was not achieved, there certainly was no shortage of deliciousness!! I infused the buttercream filling with rose water and a few drops of rose essential oil (food grade) for a divinely, delectable taste.
Move over Macaron, make way for Almond Rose. Short on looks, big on taste!
Makes about 2 dozen macarons
2/3 cup (3 oz/85 g) ground almonds
1-1/2 cups (5 1/4 oz/150 g) powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tbsp (65 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract, or seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean
Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Draw 1-inch (2.5 cm) circles on the paper, spacing them at least 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) apart. This pattern will be your guide for squeezing out the batter.
In a food processor, grind almonds and powdered sugar to a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve twice. Set aside.
In a stainless steel mixing bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites and beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and stir lightly. When the meringue is stiff, firm and has a glossy texture, it is done.
Add half of the sifted flour mixture from step 2. Stir it with a spatula, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl.
Add the rest of the flour and mix it lightly while forming a circle.
Attach a 1/4-inch (1 cm) tip to a pastry bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly. This prevents the batter from leaking out.
Place the sheet used in step 1 on the baking sheet and squeeze the batter onto the center of the circles. Make small circles since the batter tends to spread.
Let dry at room temperature, uncovered, for 15 minutes. A slight crust should form on top. If the batter circles do not stick to your finger when you touch them, the drying process is complete.
Place oven racks in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until slightly crisp and crackled on top.
Place baking sheets on wire racks to cool. When the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet.
3 tbsp (1.4 oz/40 g) granulated sugar
1.4 oz (40 mL) rose water
7 tbsp (3 1/2 oz/100 g) unsalted butter
Cut butter into pieces ¼ inch/5 mm thick and place in a heat-resistant bowl. Heat in a microwave oven for 10 seconds.
Stir the butter with a spatula until it becomes smooth and creamy like mayonnaise.
Put water and granulated sugar in a heat-resistant container and stir well. Heat mixture in microwave oven for 1 minute. Remove from oven and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. Heat for another 4 minutes. Remove from oven and stir with a spoon.
Scoop some syrup with a spoon and drop it into a small amount of water. Then try to scoop the syrup out of the water and make a ball using your fingers. If you can do this, the syrup has the right amount of density.
While heating the syrup, break an egg in a bowl and beat it lightly with a hand mixer. Drop the syrup, like a thread, into the bowl and whisk it at a high speed. Change the speed to medium and then to slow, continuing to whisk until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot and the mixture becomes white and heavy. Pointer: Place a wet cloth under the bowl so that the bowl does not move when you whisk.
Divide the butter made in step 3, adding it to the syrup in 2 or 3 batches. Whisk with a hand mixer at medium speed each time you add butter. When the butter is well mixed, the process is done. Pointer: While whisking the butter and syrup, bubbles may appear that seem to separate the butter from the syrup. You may think you have made a mistake but just continue whisking until the butter becomes creamy.
Stir a drop or two of rose extract into the mixture until blended. Spread the cream between the cooled puffs. Cover the remaining cream with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for future use. Write a date on the package. It can be frozen for one month.
Pipe some cream on the flat side of a macaron puff. Cover the bottom puff with another puff, flat sides facing in. Gently press the top puff into place.