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For My Special Valentines Homemade French Macarons by Julie Snyder

A special Valentine’s Day treat is easier to make than you may think, so get the family involved in crafting these pint-sized treats. Grab some cellophane bags and pretty ribbon, and package them up to make gifts for all your Valentines. MERINGUE: • 6 room temperature egg whites • 1 cup white granulated sugar • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2¾ cups almond flour • 2 cups powdered sugar • Red gel food coloring (for pink color: about two drops; for red: six drops or more) Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on a low speed until frothy, then increase the speed to medium and whisk until it turns fluffy white. Continue whisking, and add the granulated sugar 1/3 cup at a time. Increase speed to high, and add vanilla extract. Continue whisking until mixture forms stiff peaks. (Test by removing the whisk and holding it upright to see if the meringue stands up and does not fold over.) In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour and powdered sugar until

well combined and is a fine powder. Using a rubber spatula, mix half of the dry ingredients into the meringue by scraping the sides of the bowl and folding into the center. When just combined, add drops of red coloring until desired color is reached. Add remaining half of the dry ingredients into the batter, continuing the method of scraping sides and folding over. Batter should have a “lava-like” consistency and fall off of the spatula in a ribbonlike pattern (not in clumps). If too thick, continue scraping and folding. COOKIES: Prepare the cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Using a piping bag with a plain round ¼-inch tip, fill the bag with the meringue mixture and pipe the batter onto the cookie sheet, about 1 inch in diameter and a ½ to 1 inch apart (batter will spread). Once the cookie sheet is full, tap the tray to release any air bubbles. Let the tray sit until “skin” forms (you can run a finger over the cookie and batter does not stick). This time can vary, but takes about 15–30 minutes. Bake for 10–12 minutes. Cookies will rise and form “feet.” To know if baking is complete, touch top of cookie shell, if the cookie “wiggles” it needs another minute or two. If it sticks, it’s complete. Let cool

completely before removing from the sheet. (Tip: When using more than one cookie sheet, bake one sheet at a time for more even baking.) FILLING & ASSEMBLING THE MACARONS: Use any recipe for the center! It can be a simple buttercream, ganache, jam, or secret homemade family recipe. Try vanilla, chocolate, lemon, raspberry, anything! VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FILLING: • ¼ cup butter • 2½ cups powdered sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla • Dash of milk if needed Cream together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add milk if needed. Match up cookies, fill with filling and enjoy! Makes approximately 50 macarons.

Julie is a new mom who began Mercer Macs after countless orders for weddings and other events kept coming in. You can find her on facebook.

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January/February 2020

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CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM January/February 2020  

CharlottesvilleFamily's BLOOM January/February 2020