I'm making the macarons from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook and it recommends freezing them for 24 hours before letting them come back to room temperature for eating. The only part I'm not clear on is if I am meant to freeze the whole assembled cookie w/filling or just the cooked halves. If anyone knows what is supposed to be frozen and why I would really appreciate that help..
I don't know about the Bouchon recipe, but my wife just attended a macaroon making class at Mille Feuille last weekend.
They recommended refrigerating the whole macaroon overnight (and up to a week), not freezing. The idea is the moisture from the filling migrates to the cookies. This causes the cookie to be moist on the inside, but still have a firm and somewhat crisp outside.
The text on p.62:
"Once a macaron is finished, its flavor is good, but it will get better. This is why we freeze the macarons (it also makes them chewier and more fun to eat). ....
It sounds like they're freezing the completed macaroon, filling and all.
I'm getting ready to make my first batch, but I'm interested in these responses. I currently purchase mine from a reputable local bakery, and when they restock, they bring out plastic trays of macarons that are frozen and wrapped in plastic. They are delicious, crisp outside, soft, inside, when they thaw. Hope that helps someone; I'm going to freeze mine with filling.
I agree with Steve's interpretation of the text he provided. Sounds like the entire thing is being frozen. I can't comment on the reasoning of the author since I've never frozen my macarons whole. But the idea that it makes them chewier sounds like hokum (you don't have to use 'aged' egg whites either).
If you have spare shells you can freeze them in an airtight container for storage. Using a vacuum container may be even better still since you minimise the excess moisture the shells can soak up.
Once assembled, refrigerating in an air tight container should be enough. The shells will absorb some of the moisture from the filling and maybe the flavours too. 1 day is usually enough. You can also salvage overcooked shells this way. If they are too crisp, leave them in the fridge to absorb more moisture.