Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Coffee Macarons

Three Macarons 

Irish Coffee Macarons
Last week I was in Seattle for two workshops with Helen Dujardin (of My Tartelette), organized by Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant (Thanks, Viv and Helen!). 

The first was a food photography class where I learned what I expected to learn: that I have a lot to learn.  But it was interesting, and great fun watching and learning from Helen and the others attending.  I’m looking forward to a day of cupcakes soon (that is, a day of photographing cupcakes).
The second workshop was a macarons-making workshop, fitting, since apparently we’re in the midst of a new macaron age—their trendiness rivaling that of cupcakes. 

Irish Coffee macarons

It was a first for me—first time making macarons, first time taking a cooking class.  Helen was a wonderful teacher, full of hands-on advice, plenty of humor, and the occasional sarcastic remark (that always makes me feel at home).  I felt as if I came away with a lot: a basic understanding of macaron science, a new French word (macaronnage, the perfect folding of the sugar and almond flour into the egg whites), a new pastry tip and a little jar of powdered pink coloring.

piped macarons  
Piped macarons drying before baking
A question—I see this word spelled two ways: macaronnage and macaronage.  French scholars, here’s your chance--help me out!  I just hope my high school French teachers don’t see this.  (Last time I saw them the whole department was lunching at Chez Panisse—I immediately broke into a cold sweat, and hoped they wouldn’t quiz me on the subjunctive).

What I didn’t come away with was any macarons.  We had worked in groups of two (or three), and, sadly, I had to leave to catch my train back to Portland before the macarons came out of the oven.

baked macarons 
What do you think? Feet, or cunning little pencil skirts?
But I did see pictures, thanks to Paula Thomas’ post, Sweet Tartelette Workshops (which includes a lot of photos from both workshops).  Other photos can be found at Jackie Writes (make that other wonderful photos—I have a lot to work towards!).

open faced macaron Open-faced macaron

Normally I let classes settle before trying out my new skill.  Not so much to let things percolate, but rather because I’m kind of lazy that way.  This time I was shamed, er, inspired, by another classmate, Nurit at Family Friendly Food.  Apparently she went straight home and started baking. 

Her macarons, filled with plum jam and whipped cream, nodded towards the famous meringue dessert called Pavlova.  Maybe her macarons deserve a new name: Pavlovarons?

elegant macarons

So I decided to be productive as well.  Following Helen’s basic macaron recipe, I separated my eggs a day ahead, letting the whites age for 24 hours (and, indeed, 4 grams of moisture did evaporate).  I decided to make my macarons for St. Patrick’s Day.  Since I didn’t have green powder coloring (our local supplier was out—go figure!), I decided to make Irish Coffee macarons. 

Only they’re really Irish Mocha macarons.  I added two teaspoons of ground coffee to the powdered sugar and almond flour.  The filling is a simple ganache, with a couple of tablespoons of Bushmills added, for Irish oomph.

Irish coffee macarons 

All in all, I’m pretty happy with these first macarons.  I think I see macaron feet there.  Or, if they’re skirts, they’re pencil skirts, no huge flounces.  I’ve tucked the macarons away to cure for a day.  Curing allows the moisture of the filling to invade the macaron, making it shatter-proof when you bite it.  By the time we’ve eaten our corned beef and cabbage, and had a Guinness or two, the macarons will be ready and waiting.

Irish Coffee Macaron

Now I just need to decide what kind to make next.  I have a glut of Meyer lemons, and Easter is coming…

And, finally, a video from the workshop, from Luuvu:


Nurit said...

Your macarons look amazing. If I leaved closer, I would be knocking on your door right now.

Giovanna said...

Thanks, Nurit--if you were knocking on my door, I'd be happy to share the macarons (and a little coffee, and maybe even a wee dram, since it is, after all, St. Patrick's Day).

Helene said...

Yeah!! They are perfect! I am so glad you jumped in made them right worked!

Giovanna said...

I just hope they work as well next time...fingers crossed!

Charles Shere said...

The word I know is macaroon, with two o's. It entered our mother tongue in 1611 from the French macaron, itself from the Italian maccarone (now maccherone). Cf. basson > "bassoon." There's a bit of an argument going on over at Wikipedia about all this.

In any case, one of my favorite cookies. Please, preferably without coconut!

lshere said...

They look quite professional.

Giovanna said...

Yes, well...I mainly agree, and feel silly saying macaron (I mean, I'm the one who says rocket instead of arugula half the time). But I find that these days if you say
'macaroon' people think coconut; if you're say macaron people know you're talking about the sandwiched cookies made with almond macaroons.

Giovanna said...

Oh--and thanks, Mom...that means a lot, coming from you!

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