I have always wanted to make French Macaroons. They are so glamorous. Petite, beautiful and decadent sandwiches. So I decided to try it. I hunted down almond flour and caster sugar, I found my old piping equipment (from my caking phase) and replaced the missing piece that I needed. I researched a variety of very similar recipes and then I just went for it. I decided to decadent it up a bit by making them chocolate and filling them with dulce de leche (which I have also wanted to make for awhile). My piping skills could definitely use some practice, but overall, these came out delicious and beautiful. The cookies are so light and crisp, but so rich in flavor. It's like the perfect contradiction, and the filling, well there is no other way to describe that besides yum! I am so proud of my little beauties, even though my boyfriend kept calling them mini chocolate hamburgers. Oh well, I can sort of see what he means... I only kept a few of these for myself (for research/taste testing purposes) I packaged the rest up as a little gift for a friend, after all, the best part of baking is sharing!
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tbsp of dutch process cocoa
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp of cream of tartar
1/4 cup caster sugar
Allow egg whites to sit out on the counter until they are room temperature, longer is ok, I let mine site for 2 hours. Sift powdered sugar, almond flour and cocoa into a medium bowl. Stir gently, then sift the mixture again. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, using a hand or stand mixer and the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy on medium speed, about a minute. Add the cream of tarter and beat until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Add in caster sugar and beat on low until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes (I just timed mine for exactly 8 minutes). Sift flour mixture over egg whites, then stir with a spoon until just combined. Spoon mixture into a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe small circles 1/2 inch apart. Try to make them all as close to the same size as possible. Tap the sheet next to each cookie, to release any air bubbles. Let the cookies sit out for 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to the oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Cook for 5 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and cook for an additional 5 minutes. n the meantime, pipe the next set of cookies on to a new sheet of parchment paper (since they need to sit for 15 minutes), I found it easier to pipe the cookies if they weren't on the baking sheet. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Let cooked macaroons cool for 5 minutes, then loosen them from the wax paper. Transfer the piped but uncooked macaroons (that had been sitting out) onto the baking sheet and into the oven. Repeat this process until all the cookies are cooked and cooled. (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Dulce De Leche:
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
Pout the milk into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently until thickened and caramel in color, about 20-25 minutes. Yes, that is how easy it is to make dulce de leche, when someone told me this, I could not believe it, given what they charge for a jar of that stuff! I just had to see for myself, and let's just say I'll never buy a jar again! This stuff is delicious and so easy to make. Cook it shorter if you want it more like a caramel sauce and longer if you want to make a taffy/caramel like concoction.
Allow the cookies to cool completely, but have the dulce de leche slightly warm (you can touch it with your fingers, and it doesn't burn). Pair the cookies up by how similarly shaped and sized they are. Scoop a small spoonful of dulce de leche onto one cookie, and place the other cookie on top. Repeat until all the cookies are paired off and sandwiched up. Serve immediately or Save them for later, they are amazing either way!