the difference an “o” makes — orange scented macaroons

by hungryrabbit on September 10, 2010

Orange Scented Macaroons

As much as I’ve enjoyed the Mactweets Challenges for these past few months, each one brings a dash of nervousness—a French macaron can fail for many reasons. I can control egg-white whisking, the flavor profile, and color manipulation by practice and experience.  On the other hand, I can anticipate and prepare for summer weather that’s too hot and humid, but no one can be certain of results until the tray is removed from the oven, the macaron’s cool, and the parchment paper cleanly lifts off.

So it’s nice to come across a recipe that has both simple in ingredients and baking instructions. The best part is Mother Nature isn’t contributing unwanted conditions to the outcome. In this case, it’s a macaroon recipe not one for French macarons. Macaroons are usually made with coconuts and various sweeteners and have a chewy center and a heavier texture than the French macarons. (Don’t be scared off by the overly sweet, dense, commercial hockey pucks you may have consumed in the past. These are a different, light species.)

These macaroons are made with almond paste, and you don’t need to whisk the egg whites to any stages (soft peaks, stiff peaks, etc.).  Mix, blend and roll, and shape like when making gnocchi, and you get a sublime crackly crust similar to a French macaron. Pinch and squish to maximize the flaky exterior. Before your place them in the oven, they look like a French macaron that’s been used as a soccer ball in a World Cup game.

Though macaroons do not have the regal appearance of perfectly shaped French Macarons , their free-form profile and distinct flavor may push you to cheat on that Parisian beauty from time to time.

Orange Scented Macaroons

adapted from Patrick Lemble, pastry chef at the Four Seasons
make about 6 dozen

Ingredients

2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure orange extract (optional)
1 pound almond paste, separate into 1 inch pieces
Pinch of table salt
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus more for rolling and coating (about 1 cup)
Zest of 2 orange
1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick baking mats; set aside.

2. Whisk one egg white and extracts in a small bowl until combined, set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, Add almond paste and salt, beat on medium speed until soft, about 2 minutes. Add egg white mixture and beat to combine, about a minute.

4. Reduce speed to low, add confectioners’ sugar slowly and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Add orange zest and orange liqueur; beat until evenly distributed, about 1 minute.

5. Lightly dust work surface with confectioners’ sugar. Turn dough out onto work surface; roll into 3/4-inch-thick logs (3 or 4), about 18 inches long. Cut each log crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.

6. Lightly beat remaining egg white. Coat each ball with egg white and roll in sugar, tapping to remove excess; transfer to prepared baking sheets. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

7. Pinch each piece of dough with three fingers to form an irregular pyramid shape. Bake until lightly golden, about 15-17 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely.

COOK’S NOTE:

1. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

2. The orange flavor of the macaroons intensifies after a few days, so try to be patient and don’t eat them all in the first 3 days.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie September 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

Oh, Ken, these are gorgeous! I can just look at them and see how moist and tender they are. There are some in my house who would prefer these to macarons! A stellar recipe and gorgeous pictures! Blown away!

Brian @ A Thought For Food September 10, 2010 at 10:19 am

Ok, my friend… I’m sold. I need to make macaroons ASAP. These just look absolutely perfect. Please save some for our get together in October.

catty September 10, 2010 at 10:20 am

Hehe I love the title! What a difference an ‘o’ can make indeed. your baking is always impressive.. these look delicious :)

Antoinette Baranov September 10, 2010 at 11:15 am

Amazing looking, actually they are barely more than Marzipan , slightly puffy. Understand concept. Macaroons normally too sweet for me. These are so luxurious but cost prohibitive can only give them to those dearest. Though I make my own marzipan. Thanks much, Antoinette

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle September 10, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I love! I could do these…I know I could!

I do love the title too; I’ve been down the macaron trail; for me, the uncertainty does not equate to a challenge, it equates to trauma.

I much prefer making something I can be somewhat assured WILL turn out…these look and sound lovely.

Barbara Bakes September 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm

When I stopped by after your Tweet I was expecting a Mac Tweets post. So fun to see macaroooooooons instead. They sound scrumptious!

Deeba September 12, 2010 at 6:49 am

Ooh Ken, this is more my kinda thing! Love it pinched, love it orange and love that I don’t need to look for FEET! Drop dead gorgeous!!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite September 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm

My kinda thing too. Damned feet (or lack of them!) make my life difficult!

Baking Barrister September 13, 2010 at 11:41 am

The one and only time I tried to make macarons, disaster struck. Sticky, sunken messes. Tragedy. But the flavor was there. So I can definitely get behind these–guaranteed flavor without the nail biting. And love the orange–we need more orange flavored cookies in our lives.

sippitysup September 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm

congrats on Top 9. GREG

Gail September 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I could have sworn I had left a comment earlier. Did you erase it? (kidding)
GORGEOUS post, even more gorgeous photos. You’re good. Really good.

Su-yin September 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Macaroons! Can’t remember the last time I had them. Love the dreaminess of the photos. You’ll have to bring some with you when you visit London. *cough*

My Man's Belly September 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Try not to eat them all in the first 3 days – HA, you’re funny! These would be gone in the first 24 hours at my house (courtesy of my ravenous appetite and love of almond flavor).

Do I get some of these when I come to visit?

dorie September 23, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I love the way you describe the difficulties of having Mother Nature as your partner when you’re macaroning. Great post and gorgeous pictures.

Quay Po Cooks October 4, 2010 at 11:49 am

I have never made macarons before. This recipe looks simple to do. I will try this definitely. Thanks for sharing.

Lori (All That Splatters) November 27, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I made these today and posted them on my blog. They’re wonderful! Your instructions were spot-on! I love your blog and will be visiting often. Thank you!

Foodies on the Fly May 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm

These look fabulous!

Paula - bell'alimento August 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I’m still dreaming about these.. They were THAT good! swoon xoxo

Elizabeth of AsianinAmericamag August 17, 2011 at 9:43 am

Ken, these are ABSOLUTELY divine ! I can just smell the orange scent as I drool over the computer screen. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been a bit scared to try making macaroons….but now with your recipe, I am motivated! Will be back to surf you blog some more soon.

Souffle Bombay (Colleen) August 17, 2011 at 9:45 am

One bite of these at BSP2 and I was hooked! (Remember when I chased you down for a second…lol) My new favorite sweet!
So easy to make. This is my new go-to food gift – coupled with a beautiful glass jar…it’s a home run! Thanks Ken!!

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