It’s been a while. I can’t believe it’s been more than three years since my last post! Social media makes it easy to showcase a food creation. You snap a photo, slap on a filter, add some clever hashtags and voila! You’re on the internet. Blogging is time consuming, but hey, I’m here now, and I want to talk about French macarons.
When most people think about French macarons, they think of adorable meringue cookies with a delicate outer shell and a sweet, chewy center. They can be sandwiched together with jams, jellies, ganache or flavored butter cream. All in all, they sound pretty amazing. The creation of a macaron is no easy feat. Mastering the macaron has taken me countless trials, quite a bit of wasted material, and a whole lot of frustration (I still end up with some ugly/unsuccessful batches every once in a while). Hopefully the post will help you avoid all of that frustration and put you on the fast track to mastering the one and only, macaron.
A few things before we begin:
- You will need a food scale so that you can measure the ingredients by the gram. Sounds dramatic, I know, but you’ll thank me later.
- Make sure everything you plan on using is DRY (bowls, mixer, spatula, sifter, etc.) Any additional moisture content will ruin the outcome of your quest
- Age your egg whites. Some may tell you that you don’t need to age your egg whites, but I have noticed greater macaron success with aged egg whites. Let the egg whites sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours in a covered container.
- You will also need a #12 Wilton tip and a piping bag
- Cut some parchment paper to fit your baking pan
- 100 grams of sifted finely ground almond meal
- 100 grams of sifted powdered sugar
- 80 grams of aged, room temperature egg whites
- 80 grams of granulated sugar
- Gel food coloring if you wish to color your cookies. Do not use regular food coloring.
Let the quest begin (sorry for the poor photo quality! it’s difficult to take photos with one hand):
1. Preheat your oven to 310º F. I’ve noticed that my oven tends to run hot, so I prefer a lower oven temperature. Too much heat can cause hollow, brittle cookies.
2. Weigh / measure each of the four ingredients and place them in separate containers. Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar together and set aside.
3. Using a whip attachment, mix the egg whites at a medium speed until foamy. This should only take about 2-3 minutes.
4. Continue to beat the egg whites, while slowly adding in the granulated sugar*
5. Beat the egg white and granulated sugar mixture until you they become soft peaks. This takes another 6-7 minutes. Be patient and fight the urge to turn the mixer to a higher speed. This can lead to overbeating the egg whites, which will lead to pointy, witch hat looking macarons.
6. Drop in some gel food coloring. I usually use about two to three drops. The color tends to fade during the baking process, so don’t be alarmed when the mixture looks like neon lava. Continue to mix at a medium speed for about 20 seconds, so that the color is evenly distributed.
7. Remove the mixing bowl and attachment. Add half of the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture into the egg white mixture and fold gently with a spatula. This will take approximately 25 folding motions. Add the remaining almond meal / sugar mixture and continue folding. This should take another 25 folds.
8. The batter should be thick, but flowy, similar to the consistency of lava.
9. Transfer the batter into your prepared piping bag with the #12 tip
10. Hold the bag / tip perpendicular to the parchment paper / baking pan and pipe even, round circles. The batter should spread slightly, so be sure to provide about an inch of space between each circle.
11. Tap the baking pan lightly to get rid of any air bubbles in the meringue.
12. Let the baking pan sit for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature so that a shell begins to form (resting stage). The macarons should feel lightly tacky to the touch, but should not stick to your finger.
13. After the resting stage, put the tray in the center rack of the oven and bake for 14-15 minutes at 310º F. Watch the macarons grow feet!
14. Remove from oven after they finish baking and cool.
15. Fill them with your choice of filling and enjoy!
* I ran out of granulated sugar, so I used Sugar in the Raw. I ground the sugar in the a Vitamix blender and hoped for the best. Probably why they turned out a bit ugly.