Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nutella Week!

This Friday is World Nutella Day, and to celebrate this momentous day, I'm going to share a different nutella recipe each day this week. Some of the recipes will be Nutella recipes, really emphasizing Nutella, and others will be recipes that merely include the silky, creamy, dreamy taste of Nutella. Today's recipe is from the second category. Tomorrow's recipe will be more of the first.

First we have something I was excited about before I thought to use nutella in it: French macarons. Bakerella went to a macaron-making class, and blogged about it great educational detail. Because I've wanted to make these for several years, ever since my dad brought home a box from a business trip to France, I jumped on this tutorial and made my own as soon as I could.

The recipe is different than anything I've ever done before. It's kind of like the amaretti I made before Christmas (with little success, they were hard as a rock, and not in a crunchy-crispy way). But 1. you need to measure by weight, not volume. As luck would have it, I have a kitchen scale. 2. you use egg whites, but you have to age them. I'd never seen anything lke this before. The reasoning is simple: fresh egg whites are too wet, they need to dry out a bit. Huh.

90g egg whites (about 3 large egg whites- my 3 egg whites were 100g, so I adjusted everything else accordingly). Dry them 24hrs in a loosely covered contained, at room temperature. Tartelette, who taught the macaron class, says you can age them longer, but put them in the fridge.I aged mine 24 hours in a deli container lightly covered with plastic wrap, on the counter (after warning my husband 1. not to knock them over, and 2. I meant to leave them there).

The next day, I beat the egg whites with 30g of granulated sugar in the mixer, until stiff but not dry.
While that was going, I weighed out 200g powdered sugar and 110g almond flour (I opted not to grind the almonds myself, I did that for the amaretti, and they were pretty chunky).
wooo kitchen scale! I had no idea I'd love this so much. I actually mostly got it for weighing yarn, and partly because Alton Brown says I should have one.

I whisked the almond flour and powdered sugar together, and dumped it in the egg whites. I folded it in by hand. Go see Tartelette about this, she gives good instructions on how exactly to add these together. Basically, dump the almond/sugar in, and fold it with a spoon for a few quick strokes. Then slow down the stirring until it's smooth, and you don't want to beat more than 50 strokes. Drop a bit of the batter on a plate and it should stay smooth, not crack- if it cracks, beat a few more strokes.

Anyway, go see Tartelette about that.

I colored my batter with paste food coloring: pink and red. The 2 bowls of batter were vivid, but pink and darker pink, nowhere near red. Ah, well, not a big deal. I transfered the batters to a piping bag, and ideally I would have used a big round tip, but I only had a big star tip- it ended up being fine, the batter's so liquid that it settled out on its own. I piped 1-1.5inch wide circles, and then let them sit on the sheet for an hour to harden. (Note: space the circles far enough apart, and remember that the batter's liquidy and will settle out a bit. I had some problems with my macarons running into each other).

Then bake for 18-20 minutes at 300oF.

Ok, so I had some issues somewhere along the way. My macarons didn't rise very much, and they got a little wrinkly on top. At first I thought it was an oven temperature problem, but now I'm wondering if my batter was was too wet, and I should have dried the rounds longer before baking.

But regardless, I turned an iffy result into something great, because I filled them with nutella!

A day after filling them, they have a really nice texture- kind of crisp, but kind of soft, and not in a sticky-soft-can't-bite-it way (if that makes sense).

Moral of the story: take a fancy recipe, have mediocre results, add nutella, and great success!

Tomorrow's recipe will have more emphasis on nutella, but this one was worth sharing anyway.

1 comment:

Bird said...

boy o boy am i inspired by your venture! this, however, may take a long weekend for me, which is nice, because there is one coming up!