The Ultimate Macaron Tree

macaron tree

Finally accomplished one item off my long list of to-do projects with food: the macaron tree! I have always adored the ones I would see behind the glass windows of macaron bakeries. I love how people even use these for weddings in lieu of cakes and I find them just so creative! Some of the top flavors for the macarons I have tasted include: lemon, raspberry, and coffee. There are so many more flavors you can choose though- I’ve seen blogs where people make popcorn flavored macarons or the Girl Scout Samoa cookies flavored macarons. For my tower, I decided to go with a classic raspberry for the bottom and for the top I chose a more unique flavor, pumpkin spice. Now the inspiration that got me to finally make this beauty was my best friend’s marriage ceremony. I gave it to her the day before as a delicious gift because I was so excited for her :)

The assembly of the macaron tree was a bit complicated as this one was my first. I had to triple my recipe for the macarons in order to be on the safe side to have enough macarons. You can choose to draw the circles on the parchment paper as a template for the macaron sizing. You can also buy silicon macaron mats that already have grooves for each macaron. I did both methods and found the silicon mat a lot easier as all the macarons came out the same size. (I got my silicon mat from World Market- if you do not have this location nearby, you can buy it online as well)

Here are previous posts where I have made macarons:

Chocolate Macarons with a variety of fillings

-Pistachio Macarons

-Peppermint Macarons

A few tips for assembling the macaron tree:

-The styrofoam cone can be found online or at local craft stores such as Hobby Lobby

-For the toothpicks, angle them at a 45 degree angle to the cone so that they are slanted and can hold the macarons better

-If you are transporting this, I would recommend bringing along a few extra macarons in case any fall off

-Flowers add a nice touch of elegance so I highly suggest adding these (I would have preferred larger flowers, but the store I got them from didn’t have any of the size I was looking for)

-You can use the Wilton colored edible sprays to create a sort of ombre effect for your tower or even to add a touch of gold/silver

-Another idea is to package it using cellophane wrap and top it off with two large artificial flowers or even a bow

 

Have you ever assembled a macaron tree and do you have any tips for me as well?

 

 

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Peppermint Shakes & Macarons = Pure Joy

College winter breaks are seriously the best!! Totally beats the measly two weeks we would get back in high school. One of many things that I was looking forward to making once I had finished with the busyness of all my exams was macarons!! This soft delicate cookie along with the slight crunch you taste when you first bite into it, is truly one of a kind. The hundreds of flavors that you can make it in, not to mention the crazy fillings you can come up with, only make it more desirable. In a previous post, I made chocolate macarons with 3 different kinds of fillings- chocolate espresso, chocolate chip cookie dough, and chocolate coconut. This post along with the recipe can be found here. Today though, I made a pink coconut flavored macaron and filled it with chocolate espresso. Needless to say, they disappeared within seconds. Can’t wait to make these again!

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The day before I made these macarons, I was really craving something sweet. Hmmmm, what to get?? I decided I must get a shake! Sadly though, there are no places near my house that are known for their shakes. I was quite disappointed with the ones from Sonic. They tasted more like ice cream and were so thick I had to use a spoon to eat it. The best shakes I have tried where at Chicago at a chain restaurant called Steak N Shake. I guess you can deduce from the name that they must be famous for their shakes! There is a Steak N Shake in fact near my area, but the fact that it has not opened yet is killing me!!! Oh well, the next best thing I guessed would be a homemade shake. Being it the winter season and all, I’ve been reading about all these peppermint desserts so I resolved that I would make a Peppermint Shake. A quick search on foodgawker and I had my recipe ready to go. It really is quite easy. All you need is vanilla icecream, white chocolate, milk, and peppermint candy canes. Blend it all together and top with crushed candy canes and whipped cream and you are good to go!

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‘Mazin Macaronz

Yes, I have finally made the epic macaron! And no, not that coconut macaroon that many people got confused with when I told them about these lol. Pictures of this vivid flawless cookie have always inspired me due to  the allure of the simplicity of it. I have to admit, my first try at making macarons was an epic FAIL. Although macarons are just a cookie, the steps in making them are exact and there are many opportunities for one to make a minor but fatal mistake. In my case, I think that I overmixed the mixture and as a result the cookies turned out sticky and small at the end.

No Worries! I was pretty determined and for the next try invited some friends over and we attempted another go at these delicate beauties. Do not let fear discourage you from making these cookies. From what I realized, all it takes is patience and preciseness and you will be good to go. It’s really just like any other recipe if you think about it, just follow directions. As you can see from the pictures, our second try was a SUCCESS :)

Chocolate Macarons featuring :

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Espresso, and Chocolate Coconut Fillings

We used a scale to measure all our ingredients because the recipe is in grams and you do have to be precise. For the almond flour, which is shown in this picture, we blended sliced almonds in a food processor to make it.

Mixing the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling!

The circles are not shown but we drew about 12 on each cookie sheet and used a juice cap as a template. Each cookie should be 2 inches apart from each other and the circles were roughly around 1 inch in diameter but that can vary due to your choice. We let the batter rest on the cookie sheets for about 45 minutes before putting it in the oven.

The cookies rose this time!! It was also exciting to see those little “feet” that are so notorious of the macaron. They are very delicate by the way, so be extremely careful when lifting them off the cookie sheets.

Macarons Ready to Be Iced

Our Deeelish Macarons! The left row is the chocolate chip cookie dough filling, followed by the chocolate coconut filling, and finally the chocolate espresso filling.

Chocolate Macarons

Ingredients:

  • 110 grams Almond Flour
  • 200 grams minus 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • 50 grams Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Cocoa
  • 100 grams of Egg Whites (3-3 1/2 eggs; various opinions about aging them but I didn’t and they turned fine)

Directions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and draw the circles using a template such as a juice cap and space them 2 inches apart.
  2. If you don’t have the almond meal bought, then take almonds and pulse them in the food processor until fine.
  3. Measure all your ingredients that you will need using the scale and set aside for combining them later.
  4. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder to the food processor and pulse until well incorporated.
  5. Take the egg whites and beat them with an electric mixer in a large bowl for a few minutes until they are foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar to the egg whites mixture and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, about 50-60 strokes (you will know it is ready when the mixture flows like lava and makes a thick ribbon when lifted that will sink slowly)
  7. Fit a round tip onto your piping bag, fill with the macaron mixture, and pipe onto the predrawn circles.
  8. Let the batter rest for about 45 minutes.
  9. Preheat your oven to 300 F.
  10. Bake for about 12 minutes and let the macarons cool before you ice them.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Icing recipe can be found here:

http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/2011/10/strawberry-milk-macarons-with-cookie.html

Chocolate Espresso and Chocolate Coconut Icings:

*this icing recipe can vary based on your tastes

-Simmer 1/2 cup of heavy cream and add it to about 2 oz of chocolate. Flavor it to your liking. We used espresso powder in one bowl and put sweetened coconut in the other. Simple amazing!!