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Macarons for mom

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Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 9:42 am

Sweet and soft yet crunchy, and colorful, the oversized macarons beckon to hungry customers from the large pastry case inside Lemonade, our favorite restaurant in Venice Beach. A few miles away at MILK, a local creamery, ice cream sandwiches of delicious flavors made with macaron cookies become an anytime irresistible dessert.

I discovered the wonderful colors and flavors of macarons in Paris, last summer, but only became obsessed with making them myself after we sampled these enchanting treats in southern California. Something about their innocence inspired me to master their delicate elegance. I assumed that an experienced baker like me would have little difficulty. Well after 20 batches, I discovered the method is more about the process than the actual ingredients, which are few and relatively common.

After researching several recipes, I discovered that four important kitchen tools are a must! I list below the exact steps and directions that proved the most successful in my latest culinary adventure. Cook, Eat, Laugh…Claudia

Macarons

You will need: a kitchen scale, a sifter, a stand mixer fitted with a whip and a wide-mouth pastry bag.

2 large eggs

Granulated sugar

Powdered sugar

Almond flour

Break and separate the egg whites from the yolks. Measure 2 ounces of egg whites and place into the bowl of the mixer. Add 15 grams (about 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar to the whites and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the powdered sugar and almond flour.

Sift about 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar into a bowl. Then measure four ounces of sifted powdered sugar into a separate bowl. Sift about 3/4 cup almond flour into a bowl. Then measure two ounces of sifted almond flour and add to the sifted powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Set aside.

Place mixing bowl with egg whites in mixer stand and set speed to 2. Beat for two minutes. Increase speed to 4 and beat for two minutes. Increase speed to 6 and beat for two minutes. Increase speed to 8 and beat for two minutes. Remove bowl from stand. Add powdered sugar and almond flour all at once. With a rubber scraper, fold into beaten egg whites counting 40 strokes.

Important: Add food coloring and or flavorings during the last 30 seconds of beating the egg whites,

or during the last 10 strokes of folding in the dry ingredients.

Invert the pastry bag over a tall glass and fill with meringue mixture using the rubber scraper. Pipe 16 rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Let sit at room temperature for one hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake macarons for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Place two halves together with buttercream frosting or fruit filling. For buttercream, I blend 1/2 cup room temperature butter with three cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 cup melted white chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon whipping cream.

Claudia Pruett was raised in Saratoga. She is an entrepreneur, chef and community volunteer and is co-owner of A Travola Together, a Stockton-based company that specializes in regular and gluten-free focaccia, pizza and tortilla mix. She is married to Greg and they have three children. She enjoys cooking for friends and Bikram Yoga.

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