Feb 26, 2016

macaroneconomics

three weeks ago, a friend of ours was telling us all about making french macarons and how he became a bit obsessed with them. At this point, I had this hazy idea that macarons were basically little lava cakes- everything made in one go and the middle filling just deliberately underbaked. I figured they were so expensive because they were so hard to make. then again, they are presented as these dainty luxury french sweets sold by pish bakeries, so I never really considered the fact they are basically egg white Oreos.

two weeks ago, i bought us a silicon decorator, basically a big squeeze bottle with a fat nozzle for forming macaron shells, and we made a batch of matcha green tea and white chocolate macarons and macacrons with earl gray buttercream filling. Our first batch came out looking fantastic. For about an hour of work and few dollars, we had a dozen cookies which would have cost us about $20-$30 in the department stores. It was a feeling of major validation since neither of us had ever assumed we could make macarons ourselves, any more than we could think we could make a authentic french croissant.

last weekend ago, we bought a cheap hand mixer for making meringue and made a batch of espresso coffee macarons as well as a new batch of green tea macarons with the leftover white chocolate and green tea ganache. this batch turned out really really well, my favorite of the ones we have made so far.

You can make macarons with nothing more complicated than a whisk and a ziploc for piping. The ingredients are simply eggs, sugar, and ground almond for the shells, and chocolate, cream, and butter for a rich ganache filling. Of course, an electric mixer is easier for making meringue, a sifter refines the almond powder, and we invested in a $25 silicon pastry decorator which we use to squeeze out the batter for the shells. Actually, the most important thing is the cooking scale.

The technique is a little tricky. In every step for the shells you have to have the right technique. I have read some recipes which specifies the number of turns with your spatula to fold the almond into the meringue, but really all you need is to find a good youtube video tutorial and you’ll be 80% competent even if you have never baked anything more advanced than a box mix.

But. Once you get it down, you could theoretically produce about 40 macarons for an hour of fairly light and intermittant work. If you sold them all for what they sell for at gourmet bakeries, you could pocket $50 for that hour. But whatever you do, make sure you wait a day before tlyou eat them.

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