Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gourmet French Macarons + a Giveaway

If you're up on the latest and greatest in dessert table party trends, you know the popularity of the little French confection known as the macaron.  I've personally stood in lines longer than I'd care to remember in Paris, just to purchase a few French macarons from the world renowned, LadurĂ©e.  But now, with the recent release of Mindy Cone's new book, Gourmet French Macarons, I can make and eat macarons in the comfort of my own home, and so can you!

For you macaron newbies out there, I will answer a few questions:

What's a macaron?  This delicate & petite almond-meringue based cookie with a soft crunchy outside & chewy inside marries the best of ingredients, which combine under carefully curated circumstances to create a beautiful confection most commonly filled with melt-in-your mouth ganache, buttercream or jam.

Chocolate with Chocolate filling

Why are macarons so popular?  Besides being so delicious, these elegant treats can be made to match just about any color palette imaginable, which makes them a perfect choice for any occasion.

What makes Mindy's book, Gourmet French Macarons, so special? First of all, Mindy takes a unique and creative approach on the classic French macaron.  Not only does she include recipes, techniques, styling ideas, templates & decorating tips for the classic round shaped macaron sandwich cookie, but she gives the macaron a modern & whimsical makeover by changing up the shapes & providing ideas for holidays, seasons & theme specific macarons perfect for a variety of events & occasions.  In Mindy's book, she shares over 75 unique and creative designs for making your French macarons delicious and adorable.  Plus, you'll get over 75 flavorful filling recipes and an included cd that has printable templates to make piping circles or unique shapes a cinch!  Making pumpkin, apple, ghost, tree, flower, animal & numerous other shaped macarons just became simple!

Apple Macarons 
Football Macarons

Frankenstein Macarons
Hamburger Macarons

Who is Mindy Cone?

I've known the talented Mindy Cone for a couple of years as we've worked together in many event planning/entertaining circles online, but didn't have the privilege of meeting Mindy until this past Spring, when we both attended a creative blogging conference in Utah together.  Mindy is every bit as spunky, adorable, fun & creative in person as she is online.  Mindy is an entertaining, food and party stylist on the blog Creative Juice.  She writes about how to entertain your guests and kids with style and creativity!  She shares DIY tutorials, recipes, tips, tricks and ideas to make your next event detailed, personalized and of course creative! 

Sneak Peek + free macaron circle template download for this recipe!

Chocolate with bite

Want a sneak peek of some of the great recipes you'll find in Mindy's book?  Here's her chocolate macaron & chocolate ganache recipes.  (**Please note, this has been slightly modified from the book, with some tips, tricks, and terminology excluded.)

Get a free 1.5" macaron circle template download for this recipe here.

Chocolate French Macarons

100g of egg whites aged at room temperature

Pinch of Cream of tartar

35g of superfine sugar

110g of Almond flour

200g of Powdered Sugar

10g cocoa powder

1. Measure out all ingredients using a gram scale

2. Prepare the baking sheets by lining them with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Slide a printed 1 ½ inch template sheet underneath and set aside. Prepare piping bag to be filled and set aside.

3. Sift powdered sugar, almond mixture, and cocoa powder together two or three times through a sieve and set aside.

4. Place the egg whites in a large bowl or in stand mixer with wire whisk attachment. Whisk on low until egg whites become foamy. Add the pinch of cream of tartar. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the superfine sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, scrape down the sides with a spatula.

5. Turn your mixer on medium-high and continue to whisk until you reach a stiff meringue. If adding liquid or gel food dye, do so toward the end of whisking.

6. Sift 1/3 of the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder mixture through the sieve and into the meringue. Fold the dry mixture into the meringue. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, the batter will be thick and have a dull shine. Continue to fold. As you do so, the batter will loosen. Stop folding when the batter has a glossy sheen, a “lava-like” consistency, and falls in a ribbon like manner off the spatula.

7. Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 1½ inch rounds on the parchment paper following the template.

8. When all of the rounds are piped on the parchment, rap the sheet pans evenly on work surface a few times. Remove templates from below your parchment paper carefully. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 20-40 minutes.

9. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes rotating the pan half way through.

10.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

11.  Match up similar size shells into pairs and sandwich with filling.


About 4 dozen 1.5 in shells (two dozen sandwiched macaron cookies)

Chocolate Ganache Filling

100 g (3.5 oz) chocolate*

1½ Tbsp. heavy cream

Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl.

Boil cream and pour over chocolate.

Stir until all the chocolate has melted and texture is smooth**

When warm, pipe onto macaron shells.

*I prefer to use the mini chocolate chips when possible to speed up the process.

** If the cream is not able to melt all the chocolate, place bowl in microwave. Heat for 20 seconds on low power. Remove and stir. Repeat until chocolate is fully melted.

Snowflake Macarons
Oh, and you've got to watch this adorable video Mindy created to share how her idea for the macaron book came about!
  Gourmet French Macarons from TK Productions on Vimeo.

Enter to win one of 2 e-book copies of Mindy's new book via the Rafflecopter widget below!  Contest is open to everyone, ages 18+.  Winners will be posted here upon contest end and will be emailed within 24 hours of contest end via the email attached to your Facebook account.  You will have 48 hours to claim your prize.  Contest runs, September 16 (12 a.m. EST) to September 23rd (12 a.m. EST).  Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Mariah said...

Mindy's book is full of so many awesome ideas, great giveaway!