Recipe by Sarah Phillips and Kelly Hong; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 2012 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
We think we my have started a trend at CraftyBaking.com - shaped French macarons! We made ours into Bluebirds because they have a certain whimsy about them, plus, they taste GREAT! We have included a piping template you can print out as a guide to place on your baking sheet, so you cannot go wrong when making them. You can tint these any color desired and since French Macarons are sandwich cookies, fill them as you wish. We also show you how to make these into macaron pops. Have fun!
COOKIE RECIPE HELP
Letting the batter rest before baking and leaving the oven door slightly ajar during baking helps prevent the tops of the macarons from being too soft or fragile.
1 recipe UNTINTED French Macaron Batter *through recipe STEP IV: BEAT THE EGG WHITES AND FOLD IN THE ALMOND FLOUR MIXTURE. ADD THE VANILLA EXTRACT AND OPTIONALLY TINT THE MACARON BATTER. (Skip Step II, using the Bluebird Macaron Templates, instead)
1 recipe chocolate ganache or any macaron filling, your preference for Bluebird French Macarons
NOTE - For Macaron Pops: You MUST use White Chocolate Lemon Ganache or Bittersweet Chocolate Raspberry Ganache that are STIFF when cool, or the stick will not be able to support the macarons.
Royal blue gel paste coloring (I used AmeriColor)
Piping tip: Wilton 10, or an Ateco 801
18 - 20 lollipop sticks, if making macaron pops
Orange and black edible food markers
Two Silicone Baking Mats, translucent to fit the baking sheets: Must make sure it is 100% silicone if you have to cut to fit pan size and use for baking. Sources: NordicWare.com and World Cuisine Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
STEP I: PRINT OUT THE BLUEBIRD TEMPLATES
1. Print out 2 COPIES of each Template to actual size.
BLUEBIRD TEMPLATE LEFT - Print two copies
BLUEBIRD TEMPLATE RIGHT - Print two copies
2. Make a little tab at the top of each template by folding over a piece of tape on the edge. This will allow you to pull the template out, before baking the macarons.
3. Fit two baking sheets with the templates. Each sheet should have ONE LEFT and ONE RIGHT side template.
Make sure the tape tab is showing on each opposite edge of the short side of the baking sheet for easy removal of the template in STEP III.
4. Place a translucent silpat mat or parchment paper over the templates. Make sure you can see the templates beneath. Set aside.
STEP II: TINT THE FRENCH MACARON BATTER
1. Tint the French Macaron batter with 2-3 drops of royal blue gel paste food coloring.
2. Fold until it "falls like magma" from a rubber spatula.
STEP III: PIPE THE BLUEBIRD FRENCH MACARONS AND LET REST FOR 30 MINUTES.
Pipe the Bluebird's bodies and let rest for 30 minutes:
1. Put the tinted macaron mixture in a piping bag, fitted with a medium plain tip. You can use a Wilton 10, or an Ateco 801.
2. Pipe the bluebird macarons onto the silpat mat following the template placed beneath as a guide.
You will pipe a total 18 bird shapes per baking sheet; 9 fronts and 9 backs per baking sheet.
Pipe nine at a time, and then pull out the beaks.
NOTE: If you pipe all the birds out on the baking sheet at a time, the mixture can get too stiff to pull out the beaks correctly by the time you get to the second nine.
a. Start by piping a small blob for the head, then pipe the back of the bird and continue around the tail and the body. Lastly, fill in the center.
b. After piping nine, pull out the beaks with a toothpick on each bird body. To do, take a toothpick and pull a little of the batter out, making a point on the end of the head.
c. Pipe the remaining nine per baking sheet and pull out the peaks. Set the baking sheet aside.
3. Pipe the second baking sheet, following Step #2, above.
4. Tap EACH baking sheet on your work surface a few times, to release any air bubbles.
5. Set the UNCOVERED baking sheets aside for 30 minutes.
6. After 30 minutes, use the tape tabs to carefully remove the templates from beneath the silpat sheets.
Pipe the Bluebird's Wings:
NOTE: You must wait until there is a slight skin on the birds, or the wings will dissolve back into the bodies of the birds.
1. Pipe the wings on all of bluebirds.
To do: Pipe a blob of macaron batter a little forward of center on the bird, then use a toothpick to draw a point out, creating a wing shape.
2. Repeat Step #1, above, on the bluebirds on the second baking sheet.
NOTE: At this point you may have some macaron batter left over. If you do, place the templates on another(third) baking sheet and pipe out a few fronts and backs, making sure you have enough batter left to pipe the wings, after they have set to stiffen up for 30 minutes.
3. Let the baking sheets rest UNCOVERED for AT LEAST an hour, so the macarons can form a skin on top. This will ensure that they have a beautiful frilly foot when baked.
NOTE: If it is a particularly humid day, it is best to let them set for two hours.
STEP IV: BAKE, DECORATE AND FILL THE MACARONS. VIOLA!
Bake the macarons
1. Position an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (160C) for 30 minutes.
NOTE: It's best to bake one sheet at a time.
2. Bake one sheet at a time, for 10 to 11 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar.
Check at 30 second intervals because these cookies overbake very quickly; do not open the oven door to check, but rather peak through the opening in the oven door.
Bake until macaroons are slightly firm and can be gently lifted off parchment (bottoms will be dry).
3. Remove the macarons from the oven. Make sure you let them cool COMPLETELY before attempting to remove them from the baking sheet!
4. When cool, slide a metal offset spatula underneath the macaron to remove from silpat mat or parchment. Place on wire cake rack.
Decorate and fill the macarons:
1. Match the cooled macarons together, according to size, to make pairs. You will need a front and back for each pair.
NOTE: You will end up with some that are more successful than others, so use the prettiest macarons for the fronts of each pair.
2. Take each matched pair and use the edible markers to paint on the beak and eye. Use orange for the beak and black for each eye.
3. Place the filling in a disposable piping bag and with scissors, cut a medium sized hole in the end.
4. Pipe the filling on one side of the smooth side of the macaron.
NOTE: If you are making macaron pops, place the lollipop stick in the center of the filling, turning it to make sure it is completely enrobed in chocolate.
5. Place the matching top on the macaron.
NOTE: Do the same if making macaron pops.
6. Set the filled macarons aside until the filling has set.
Let the cookies stand at least one day before serving, so the flavors can meld. We recommend refrigerating the filled macarons in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or freeze.
KELLY CA SAYS: I have frozen the unfilled shells and they freeze beautifuly.
I put them in a plastic lidded container, with waxed paper between the layers.
When I wanted to use them. took them out of the freezer, opened the container and let them thaw for about an hour.