February 17, 2010

cinnamon macarons

From the time I first heard and read about them, to the time when I finally started making them, these elegant French macarons have always fascinated me. I still remember how disappointed I was with the first batch of sticky and cracked macarons I made. I have since relied on my favorite technique, the Italian method, which involved boiling sugar syrup. This technique makes a stable meringue which, for me, makes the mixture much easier to handle.

I made two batches, cinnamon and amaretto flavors, for my husband on Valentine's Day. These cinnamon macarons turned out quite good, sprinkled with an extra dose of Vietnamese cinnamon on top. We like to eat them without any filling but every now and then, I also like to spread them with any tart jam we have in the fridge or Nutella.
250 g 10x powdered sugar
250 g almond flour
250 g granulated sugar
50 g water
187 g eggwhites
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or cinnamon extract
orange food coloring paste or powder
Combine powdered sugar and almond flour. Sift twice. Set aside. Combine granulated sugar and water. Using a candy thermometer, simmer to soft ball stage (220 degrees). When the sugar syrup almost reaches soft boil stage, whip the eggwhites to soft peaks using an electric mixer. While mixer is running, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the whipped eggwhites and continue to beat until very fluffy, stiff and stable enough to hold the peaks. Run a rubber spatula or knife into the icing and lift to test and see. Fold in the almond flour & powdered sugar mixture a little at a time to the beaten eggwhites until well incorporated. At this point, add the cinnamon and the coloring. Continue to fold and whip the mixture until it reaches the consistency of a thick batter. The mixture should flow slowly and spread very slightly. Be careful not to overmix or the shapes will become flat and irregular. Use an icing bag with a round tip to pipe the mixture to a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with extra cinnamon if desired. Allow to rest for the tops to dry for about 30 minutes before baking. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 280 degrees F or until macarons are set. Cool slightly on the parchment paper before peeling off and transfering to a wire cooling rack.

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