By Erica Kritt, Social Media Coordinator, The Cruise Web, Inc.,
I admit I’m a francophile. I’m obsessed with France. I have never been to this country, which is consistently the most visited in the world. In 2010, 77.6 million visitors saw France, and that increased to 81.4 million in 2011. This year or maybe next I hope to be amongst those millions of people. Preferably, I’d like to travel through Paris and the countryside on a fabulous European river cruise along the Seine, Rhone and Saone rivers, but there are also ports along the coast that ocean-going ships visit, like Cannes, Provence and Antibes, which is a new port Oceania Cruises is visiting in 2014.
But for now I have to settle with bringing French culture and cuisine to my little corner of the world. So I decided to try my hand at my most favorite french dessert, the French Macaron. This almond sandwich cookie is famous for coming in a multitude of colors and flavors, but its lightness is what makes it so desirable.
However, after making my version of these cookies, I know they are great, but if I truly want the real experience then I must take a trip to Paris. These treats seem easy to make (only six ingredients), but the real challenge comes in whipping the egg whites so that they are firm, shiny and you can create peaks that don’t immediately deflate. In order to do that you have to make sure all your equipment is moisture free, and if you don’t have a mixer with a whip attachment, get ready for an arm workout. I spent a good 15 minutes vigorously beating my egg whites.
The beauty of these cookies are that they can be dressed up in any color and you can experiment by adding different flavors and fillings. For these I stuck with the classic recipe, but made a few substitutions.
- 3 egg whites
- 6 tbsp. of superfine sugar (I substituted 3 tbsp. of Truvia)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 and 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- A few drops of food coloring and flavor (optional)
- Whipped Cream Cheese
- Take your egg whites and beat them until they are stiff (about 5 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
- Add in the superfine sugar and beat the mixture until the eggs are firm, shiny and you can form peaks that don’t immediately deflate (about 10-15 minutes).
- Gently fold in the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar.
- Add any food coloring or flavoring (like vanilla).
- Spoon batter into a piping bag.
- On a cooking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat, squeeze out 1-inch round disks spaced at least two inches apart.
- Let stand for 15 min. before placing in the oven.
- Cook for 15 min.
- Let the cookies sit until completely cool and be very careful removing them from the sheet.
- Combine 1 tbsp. of Nutella with 1 tbsp. of Whipped Cream Cheese.
- Spread on the bottom of half the cookies and add another cookie on top, sandwich style.
There you have it, your very own piece of France in your kitchen, and as Julia Child would say, Bon Appetit! If you wind up making these tasty treats, please let us know in the comments and be sure to send me a picture of your final product!
Do you have a favorite French dish, or a country or city you are dying to visit?
Social Media Coordinator
The Cruise Web, Inc.