Friday, February 7, 2014

French Macarons

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Valentine's Day is coming up and in honor of this love filled holiday, how about making something for that special someone from the heart? February sparks romance and love... and that reminds me of the romantic city of Paris. When I visited Paris years ago, I remember how there were lines of people waiting to get their hands on French Macaron cookies. These cookies were delicate, beautiful and so delicious. Making them were a challenge but they can be done. And you can make them for your loved ones too!

Aside from Valentine's Day, February is a special month dedicated to heart health. As a result, I've partnered up with Eggland's Best for "Recipes From Your Heart"  to support American Heart Month! Eggs are critical in making French Macarons... so making these cookies will not only be a welcome surprise for them to enjoy but beneficial for their health! Did you know? Compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland's Best eggs contain:

10 times more Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect body cells and tissues whether in the heart, skin, lungs, joints or elsewhere in the body.  Antioxidants are nutrients in our foods which can prevent, or slow down, the oxidative damage to our bodies.  Each EB egg contains 10 times more Vitamin E than ordinary eggs, which is equal to 25% of the recommended daily intake for Vitamin E.

4 times more Vitamin D
Vitamin D aids in the body's absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones.  It is important for maintaining muscle strength, healthy body fat levels, and body tissue health.  Each EB egg contains 4 times more Vitamin D than ordinary eggs, which is equal to 30% of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin D.*  (*based on third-party testing of ordinary eggs)

More than double the Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are classified as essential fatty acids because they are important for maintaining good health. Omega-3's are believed to be beneficial for heart health, brain and eye function, infant development, and alleviating hypertension.  Our bodies do not produce omega-3's naturally, therefore, they must be obtained from food sources.  

25% less saturated fat
Reducing the amount of saturated fat is recommended for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular functions.  

3 times more Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is important for healthy protein metabolism, as well as cognitive, cardiovascular, and nervous system health.  Vitamin B12 is needed for the process of converting carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from food into energy.  It also helps form healthy red blood cells.   

38% more lutein
Lutein is an important antioxidant that helps maintain healthy vision and overall eye health.  Lutein may slow the effects of age-related macular degeneration, and it is an important nutrient for those who may be at risk for cataracts

Check out Eggland's Best on the web and follow them on social media!
Thanks to Eggland's Best, I received an Eggland’s Best coupon, information and a gift pack... and an extra special gift pack will be award to a lucky reader! The gift pack will include a $25 visa gift card, 2 coupons to purchase EB eggs and an EB plush egg. If you'd like to be a lucky recipient of this Eggland's Best gift pack, leave a comment or message on our Facebook page with your favorite dish using eggs! One commenter/reader will be randomly chosen for the gift pack by the end of the weekend! Now, on to the elusive recipe...

French Macarons
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

2 large Eggland's Best eggs – room temp, whites only
¼ cup or 35 grams superfine or castor sugar [or process granulated sugar finely in food processor]
¾ cup or 105 grams almond flour [processed finely in food processor]
1 cup or 140 grams powdered or confectioners sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon extract flavoring of your choice
Gel coloring of your choice

Weigh out the dry ingredients. [Weighing ingredients ensures accurate results every time.]

In a medium bowl, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Set aside.

In a stainless steel bowl, add room temperature egg whites. Whisk with a hand mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low and add superfine sugar, extract and coloring. 

Increase speed to high and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. [The egg whites should look white and hold its shape when you pull your beaters out from the bowl.]

Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture again over the egg whites and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny. [Sifting twice ensures a smooth and consistent batter.] 

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. [A gallon sized storage bag with a snipped corner can be a makeshift pastry bag.]

Pipe ¾-1 inch rounds about 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheets. Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release any trapped air. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. [Variation – top the macarons at this point with dry sprinkles such as sugar crystals, jimmies, etc.]

To check if your macarons are ready for the oven, they should have a slight ‘skin’ to the touch.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven after check if they are ready. Bake for 12-15 minutes. [Ideally, the macarons will have formed ‘feet’ or a little ruffled bottom.]

Remove the maracons from the oven and cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. [If the macarons stick, spray water underneath the parchment paper on the hot sheet. The steam will help release the macarons.]

Once cooled, sandwich 2 same-sized macarons with 1 teaspoon filling.  [Fillings can include your favorite hams, curds, ganache, or cake frostings.]

Serve immediately or allow the cookies to rest in the fridge to soften slightly and absorb some of the filling flavors.


To store, stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic and freeze for up to 3 months.

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