Macarons for the Annunciation

Tomorrow is another awesome solemnity in the Catholic Church–the Annunciation. It also happens to be one of those days which so many people confuse with the other “A”-name holy days: the Ascension and the Assumption. If macarons shipped easily, I’d send some to the first person to correctly explain the difference. Sorry to say, I don’t think they’d ship very well.

So, what is this solemnity all about? And are we solemn (sad/serious) about it?

Second question first: Yes, we are serious about it. Sad, no way. We take our solemnities seriously, as in, we treat these days with reverence and awe…and they are the highest sorts of feasts on the Church calendar. That means, they are special, and worthy of celebrating.

First question now: The Annunciation is when the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus.

https://i1.wp.com/www.internetmonk.com/wp-content/uploads/fra-angelico-the-annunciation1.jpg

(Fra Angelico painting)

That’s a pretty big deal. No Annunciation, no fiat (Mary’s “let it be”), there’d be no Jesus and with no Jesus, no Christianity! So, this solemnity is certainly important, and special. It’s worth reading the story from the Gospel of Luke with our families. Take some time to talk about how prayerful and faithful Mary was, to say “let it be done unto me” in response to the Archangel Gabriel’s message. Spend time in personal prayer, meditating on what Mary’s fiat can teach us, and where in our lives God is calling for us to follow Mary’s example. To what should we say, “yes, Lord, let it be”? (Which, by the way, this prayer of Mary’s is a bit of a precursor to Jesus’ own prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he prays “not my will, but Yours done” Luke 22:42.)

It’s also worth celebrating this high feast with something special (no fasting!), and in our house, it will be macarons. Blue macarons, for Mary. I believe I’ll set out the table cloth, bring some candles to the table, as well as our statue of Mary, and enjoy macarons in her honor. Tea sounds like a nice thing to have, also. It will be a tea party for the Annunciation, complete with the reading from Luke.

Many people fear making macarons, because they seem tricky when reading through the recipe. It’s also complicated when most of the recipes measure the ingredients out in grams, and how many of us own kitchen scales? Not this girl. Add the touchy bit of whipping the egg whites and folding in the dry ingredients, just right…I guess many bakers would rather not attempt the macaron. But they are so lovely! I can’t resist a lovely cookie like this.

When I first made macarons, it seemed tedious to weigh and sift the almond flour and powdered sugar…but it was (and is) totally worth it. Also, when I first made them, I used a recipe from a blog, which I had googled, and found this recipe to be worth trying since the baker/blogger literally had tested batches and batches of macarons. Her recipe was tried and true.

Happening now. #macarons #VSCOcam #rhonnadesigns

A month or so ago, Martha Stewart’s Living magazine arrive in my mail box, and the cover was delightfully covered in beautiful macarons. I knew I needed an occasion to make them again, and the Annunciation fit the bill. This is why we are having tea and macarons tomorrow…I admit it. A pretty magazine cover inspired me.

I will also admit that Martha’s recipe was/is lacking. One thing she’s missing is cream of tartar for whipping the egg whites. And as I read through the recipe, I was sure that baking at 350 degrees was too hot.

I went back to the first recipe I used, and then searched for high altitude tips. Baking anything at high altitude takes some adjusting. Turns out for this recipe, it is a minor temperature and baking time difference. Not too shabby. I also converted the original recipe’s measurements into ounces, thanks to Google. Does that mean I now have my own version of a macaron recipe?!
20140323revisions
{sorry, not sorry, Martha…I wrote all over your pretty recipe page with my adjustments}

Woah. I think it does.

Gina’s (heavenly) Macarons

supplied needed:

piping bag

piping tip with large opening

parchment paper

baking sheets

ingredients:

4.2 oz almond meal

7 oz powdered sugar

3.5 oz (or just 3 large) egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

3-4 T granulated sugar (don’t worry that I am not measuring that precisely. I don’t do precise on that…it whips with the whites)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

a few drops GEL food coloring, if desired

20140323prepping

After measuring the almond meal and powdered sugar (I use my postal scale), sift them together. I like to blend them quickly in my food processor to combine, then I sift. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy, then begin gradually adding the granulated sugar. Beat until glossy, stiff peaks form. At this point, add in the extract and food coloring if you are using them. DO NOT USE regular drop colors. The extra moisture will ruin your cookies. Trust me. I did that once.

Fold in the almond flour/sugar mixture, about 40 strokes, until it resembles what you imagine lava might look like, if it were sugary and brightly colored.

20140323folding

Fill your piping bag (it helps to put the bag into a tall glass and fold the top over the rim). Pipe small circles onto parchment-lined baking sheet. I make mine about the size of a quarter.

20140323pipedmacarons

Once your cookies are piped, tap the sheets a few times on the counter to release air bubbles.

Now. Important. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes to dry out a bit. You will know they are ready when the tops no longer feel tacky to a light touch.

Heat your oven to 255 degrees, and bake one sheet at a time for about 17 minutes. It can vary, so watch around 16 minutes in. Some batches may take longer to set up.

The macarons baked perfectly! Yea! Now for filling.

If it works, your macarons will be puffy and have sweet little crunchy feet at the bottom!

 

Next, you make little sandwiches with buttercream, jam, ganache…whatever sounds lovely. I made a cream cheese butter cream today.

#rhonnadesigns #sweet #macarons #celebrate #VSCOcam

And now we anxiously await tomorrow’s solemnity, so we can celebrate the Annunciation with these sweet little bites. Go now, and feast. Read the Gospel. Meditate. Be glad Mary said “yes.” Smile. Be grateful. Be joyful.

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One thought on “Macarons for the Annunciation

  1. Pingback: When Sickness Sets In… | Someday (hopefully) They'll Be Saints

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