- Basic macaron recipe:
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 4.5 oz
- 3/4 cup almond flour, 2.5 oz. (I bought it, but you can make your own by grinding almonds)
- (3 tbsps cocoa powder for chocolate macarons)
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature (take the eggs out of the fridge the night before and separate the whites a couple of hours before baking and leave in a bowl covered in plastic wrap)
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar, 1.5 oz. (also called baker’s sugar, you can make your own my putting sugar in a food processor. I preferred buying it in case it didn't work)
- 1 tsp. Extract of choice - I used rose and hazelnut
- food coloring
- colored sugar or sprinkles
These pretty, delicate cookies bring me straight back to France. Not to be confused with what Americans call macaroons, which are also an egg-white based cookie, macarons are something else entirely. These colorful meringue based treats fill the windows of almost every pâtisserie (bakery) throughout France. I have had an urge to make them forever, but out of fear of their temperamental character, I shied away. Today I finally got the courage to make them.
What I love about macarons are the endless possibilities of flavor combinations. Since I just got 8 new Faerie’s Finest extracts, I decided to make rose and chocolate-hazelnut. My macarons were far from perfect, but I thought they were pretty good for my first attempt. Ironically, the rose-flavored macarons turned out more aesthetically appealing even though I made them first. The chocolate ones cracked in the oven, I’m guessing because I didn’t whip the egg whites long enough. In the end, they both tasted really good. I can’t wait to perfect this “patisserie” and try some different flavor combinations!
I found a lot of great tips on: http://www.giverslog.com/?p=1089. Definitely worth checking it out.
1) Pulse almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, (and cocoa powder if making chocolate macarons) in a food processor until combined. Sift the mixture into a mixing bowl to get rid of clumps. I used a baking spatula to help push it through. I recommend sifting it twice to make sure it’s light and airy.
2) Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment of your electric or stand mixer. Add the dash of cream of tartar. Beat for several minutes more on high and then add the superfine sugar. Whisk for another minute and then add in the extract and food coloring of your choice. You want to beat the whites until they form stiff peaks. This could take up to 8 minutes. At this time preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
3) Sift the flour mixture over the whipped egg whites, Gently fold them together until shiny and smooth. You want all the ingredients to be combined, but not over-mixed. This could take up to 50 folds.
4) Transfer mixture into a piping bag with a circular tip. I have a great cake decorating tool that makes much less of a mess and doesn’t waste plastic bags. Pipe 3/4 inch rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. The parchment paper is really essential because the cookies are so fragile. Add colored sugar or sprinkles at this point to the tops of half the cookies. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 30-45 minutes. This helps the cookies form an outer crust.
5) Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and bake the macarons for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them because everyone’s oven is different. You don’t want any browning on the top. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing.
6) I suggest cooling the macaron shells and the filling in the fridge for 10 minutes before filling the macarons. Fillings can range from raspberry preserves to Nutella to a buttercream frosting. This is where you can get creative! I filled the rose macarons with a rose buttercream frosting and the chocolate-hazelnut macarons with Nutella. there are endless possibilities. You can also be really inventive with presentation.
Hopefully this inspires you to make some of your own!