We begin again… again!

Hello!

So, starting this week I will be picking up on the blog series that I started last year. 2016 was and still is a year that has kept me extremely busy, hence the lack of activity on the blog side of things.

I will be kicking it all off with the 3rd installment of the Macaron Files, on Wednesday. If you missed the first 2, you can do a bit of catching up here…

The Macaron Files: Tip #1 and The Macaron Files: Tip #2

I also have a delicious recipe from Faeema, better known as Fay in The Maze that I’ve been keeping to myself for a while now for my Blogger Recipe Series.

There is so much left to share and I am happy to have you here with me!

 

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The Macaron Files : Tip #2/20 – Know Your Almonds

 It’s week 2 in the Macaron Files Series and this week we’re talking Almonds

Almonds are the key ingredient when making macarons, so it follows that you need to know your almonds.

To start, almond flour, almond meal and ground almonds are all the same thing! So don’t be confused if you see them labelled differently in various stores.

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If you choose to buy almond flour
  • Make sure that the almonds are fresh, so  basically they haven’t been sitting on the shelf for too long, because not only will this lead to stale almonds, but also oiliness which is something that you definitely do not want
  • Before using your almond flour you will most likely need to sift it to get out any residual grainy bits. Now, while you can get away with about a tablespoon of slightly rough almond pieces in your mix, any excessively chunky pieces are going to tear not so pretty little hole in your shells or give you a very rough exterior instead of the smooth shiny shell that you are after.
  • If you find that your almonds are oily, the easiest way to rectify this is by running it through the food processor for a bit with some icing sugar. The icing sugar absorbs the oiliness and since it is a part of your recipe, you’re not adding in any foreign ingredients. You could also put the almond flour on a tray and into the oven for a few minutes, but personally I’ve had far too many instances of being distracted and ending up with toasted almond flour so I tend to stick to the icing sugar method.
If you choose you grind your own almonds
  • The first thing that you would need to do is blanch your raw almonds. So, if the skin is still on the almonds, follow the easy steps below.

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  • Now, the tricky party about making your own almond flour is that its very easy to take it a bit too far and create something closer to almond butter than almond flour. The key is to run the almonds through the food processor in short bursts rather than trying to get it done in one go. I use a coffee grinder because I find that I get a finer powder, although it does take a whole lot longer than a food processor because of the restriction on how much you can do at a time.
  • Again, after grinding sift the almond flour to remove and chunky bits.
How to store you almond flour

The best way to store your almond flour, whether you have bought it or ground it yourself, is in an airtight container, either in the fridge or the freezer. Alternately they will also be fine in a cool, dry place. The main thing is to keep them away from heat and humidity. A warm environment will cause the almonds to give off their oil and like I said previously, you don’t want oily almond flour.

If you missed the first post in this series you can find it here : Tip 1/20 – Know Your Oven and look out for the next tip next Wednesday where I talk about the pros and cons of using baking paper vs silicone baking mats.

There are also a few spots left in our Women’s Day Macaron Class on 1 August 2015, so you go here and book.

If you found this tip helpful or have anything to add, please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

xxx Viveshni

The Macaron Files: Tip 1/20 – Know Your Oven

Being Madame Macaron I get asked a great many questions about what I do to get the perfect macarons, so I thought that it was about time for this series of posts.
Each week I will be sharing one of my tips for getting the   perfect macarons and hopefully helping you to identify any issues that you may be having with your batches. So, save them , print them, collect them ,and by the end of the series you should have the perfect macarons every time!

One of the most often overlooked factors in making macarons and also one of the most important is your oven. 

There are 3 main factors that will affect your macarons.

1.The Temperature Control
The heat settings on your average home ovens are not always 100% accurate and a few degrees of extra heat can mean the difference between lovely feet that raise your shells up or skirts that frill out around your shells leaving your macaron looking like a rather pretty and tasty doily.
The best way to ensure that your oven is running at the correct temperature is to buy an oven thermometer. If however you aren’t keen on doing that and have some time and patience, you can test your oven by baking a few shells at 20 degrees lower than the required temperature. You would then increase the temperature by 5 degrees for successive batches until your shells form feet and bake in the required time.

2. Even distribution of heat
I went through many a batch of macarons where one half of the tray would be perfectly done but the other half was under baked. I tried a different tray and even different baking paper until I realized that it was a heat distribution problem, where one half of my oven was running hotter than the other. This can also cause lopsided macarons, where only one side of the shell is rising and you’re left with more of a wedge than a lovely symmetrical disc.
The solution to this problem is pretty simple. Half way through the baking process open the oven ( yes you can do that with macarons ) and rotate the tray 180 degrees. This will ensure that all your shells are evenly baked.
3. Using more than 1 shelf at a time
There is one rule that you need to remember when it comes to using more than 1 shelf in your oven and it is that hot air rises and cold air sinks. So the bottom shelf in your oven is always going to be a little cooler than the top and therefore your macarons will need a little extra time than those on the middle shelf. As always though, not every oven is the same and you will need to get a feel for how much longer your shells on the bottom shelf need to stay in for.
Please let me know if this tip helped and if you have any that you’d like to add.

xxx Viveshni