Would you consider yourself a do-er, or a procrastinator? They each have their benefits, their advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation.
In general, I’d consider myself a do-er; I like to “get things over with”, a trait that works well in places like school or when it comes to cleaning, and washing dishes. Deadlines are rarely an issue for me, and I am of the opinion that in not having the pressure of deadlines that in general I live a pretty low-stress life with minimal drama. I like it like that.
But 2011 has been a very different year for me. I’ve been behind at work, finding myself staying late and arriving early (if you know me, these things rarely happen in my life, but maybe that’s job-specific) only to find that clinic notes are still left undone, emails left unopened, and so on. I have to constantly look at my calendar, rearrange my schedule, and once I forgot an appointment completely.
I guess you never really know how things will turn out, how life will unwind, and when things might be more stressful than usual, right? But typically, they turn out just fine, once you give it a go.
Hence the macarons finally making a debut here. I have been terribly afraid of making these, and if you look at the recipe source you’ll notice this recipe has been clipped and in my stack since 2009. And I claim to not typically put things off, ha! But as a testament to how I typically roll, a semi-successful go at macarons a few weeks ago made me realize that even the scariest things, or recipes, probably aren’t half as bad as you expect them to be.
Plus, they are so damn cute now, aren’t they?
Adapted from Food & Wine, December 2009; makes 2-3 dozen
1 1/4 c confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 c almond flour (or almond meal)
2 1/2 T unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
2/3 c granulated sugar
2 T water
1/2 c heavy cream
w t light corn syrup
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400 and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large, wide bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the almond flour and cocoa powder. Add 2 of the egg whites and mix until evenly moistened.
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with the water and bring to a boil; using a moistened pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Boil over high heat until the syrup reaches 240 on a candy thermometer.
In another large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the remaining 3 egg whites until soft peaks form. With the mixer at high speed, carefully drizzle the hot sugar syrup over the egg whites and beat until the meringue is firm and glossy.
Stir one-fourth of the meringue into the almond-cocoa mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining meringue. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip; pipe onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 1/2-inch mounds, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Tap the sheets and let dry at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Transfer the meringues to the oven and immediately turn off the heat. Bake the meringues for 5 minutes. Turn the oven on to 400 again and bake the meringues for 8 minutes, until the meringues are puffed and the tops are firm and glossy. Transfer the baking sheets to racks and let the meringues cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cream with the corn syrup and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and let stand until melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Transfer the ganache to a bowl and let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally; it will become very thick.
Carefully peel the meringues off of the parchment paper. Spoon the ganache into a small pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch tip. Alternatively, use a resealable sturdy plastic bag and snip off a corner. Pipe the ganache onto the flat sides of half of the meringues. Top with the remaining meringues and serve.