December 24, 2013

Holiday French Cranberry MacaroonsFrench Macaroons are one of the most beautiful desserts and their cranberry flavor makes them perfect for the holidays. Enjoy these cookies with a cup of coffee after dinner or package them up for gift-giving.

Makes about a dozen

Ingredients for Macaroons:

2¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups almond flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 egg whites, at room temperature

Ingredients for Cranberry Curd:

2½ cups cranberries
½ cup + 1 Tbsp water
3½ Tbsp butter
¾ cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Method for Cranberry Curd:

  1. Cook the cranberries with the water on low heat, cover until the cranberries pop open.
  2. Puree the cranberries with a blender and pass through a sieve.
  3. Transfer cranberry puree into a bowl over a pot of water, or a double boiler. Heat on low to medium temperature and add the butter and sugar.
  4. Add the eggs to the mixture, stirring constantly. Be careful that the mixture is not getting too hot, or the eggs will curdle. It will take some time until the curd thickens. Your curd is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Let cool before transferring to a pastry bag and piping into macaroons.

Method for Macaroons:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
  2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
  3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Don’t over fold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
  5. Pipe one-inch-sized mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners or parchment paper.
  6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
  7. Let macaroons cool on the pan before gently sliding them off. Turn on macaroon top side down and pipe cranberry curd to cover the macaroon. Sandwich another macaroon on top of the filling, top side up. Repeat this process until you have made as many sandwiches as you can.

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