Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches

The blue screen of death.  My poor laptop.  Sometime this past weekend while I was playing on the beach with my boys, my laptop crashed and it seems I won't be getting it back into working order anytime soon.  And you know how you're supposed to back up your files and photos?  Yeah well, I hadn't.  So all my pics (food and family) are stuck on that broken hard drive until I find some nice tech guy to help me out.  Sigh...
So in the meantime, I'm glad my hubby has a laptop I can steal every once in a while.  I found myself missing my regular blog updates and jonesing for the internet.  It was sad, very sad.  But I did manage to get quite a bit of work done in the past couple of days.  That's a good thing, right?
Here's something that's bound to make me happy in the absence of poor laptop- ice cream sandwiches.  But not just any old ordinary ice cream sandwiches!  These babies are made by sandwiching yummy berry ice cream between two soft and fabulous chocolate macarons.  I'm hiding them from my children, that's how good they are.
Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches
Cookie recipe from Le Petit Macarons, by Kathryn Gordon and Anne McBride.  Makes about 18 sandwiches.
For a printable version, click here.

I did not make my own ice cream for these sandwiches.  It would certainly be ideal, but not exactly the best use of my time.  I did however amend a perfectly good quart of french vanilla ice cream by letting it soften and then swirling a streak of cooked and pureed berries through it.  Use your favorite store bought or home made ice cream.  It's the cookies that make the difference.

1 packed cup almond flour
2/3 packed cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tbs powdered egg whites (also labeled as meringue powder)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup egg whites (from 4 large eggs)
1/2 tsp cream or tartar

Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Place the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor.  Pulse 3 times (for about 4 seconds each time) until the mixture is well blended.  Pass the almond/cocoa mixture through a fine sieve onto a piece of waxed paper. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the granulated sugar and powdered egg whites.  Add the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk quickly.   Using the mixer's whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed until the egg whites are very glossy and hold stiff peaks.  The whisk will leave behind streak marks in the egg whites and if you tip the bowl, the mixture should not slide around.  Remove the bowl from the mixer, and with a spatula, gently but quickly fold in the dry ingredients.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter sit on the counter for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Insert a half inch round tip into a pastry bag (or gallon size zip-top bag) or snip off the tip of a disposable pastry bag or zip top bag to reveal a half inch hole.  Fill the bag with half of the macaron mixture.  Pipe the batter into circles with a 2 inch diameter leaving an inch between each cookie.  When you have piped all the cookies on a tray, pick the tray up off the counter and then drop it back down with a bit of force.  This will release any trapped air bubbles and also even out the surface of the cookies.  Pick up and drop the tray three or four more times.  Place the tray into the preheated oven.

Bake the cookies at 200 degrees for 16 minutes, then raise the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes.  In the meantime, pipe the second tray of cookies and have it ready.  Remove the tray from the oven and slide the parchment sheet onto a baking rack.  Return the oven temperature to 200 degrees and let it cool.  You can leave the oven door slightly ajar to speed up the cooling process.  Bake the second tray of cookies in the same manner as the first.  Let the cookies cool completely before carefully peeling them from the parchment paper.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of softened ice cream onto the flat side of a macaron and top with a second macaron, using slight pressure to hold the sandwich together.  Wrap your sandwiches individually and stack them side by side in a freezer safe container until the ice cream is set.

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