French Macarons

Macarons are a sweet meringue-based confection made primarily from almond flour, sugar and egg whites. They are commonly filled with buttercream, curd or ganache. A true Frenchy and cooking-whore will tell you that macaron is pronounced:  “mah-kə-rohn”. While it’s technically not incorrect to call them macaroons (mɑːkəˈroʊn), this usually refers to coconut cookies. Here’s a pretty picture of some flawless macarons (what we’re going to attempt to achieve):

Flawless_Macarons

To be honest these “cookies” are a pain to make, but if you’re feeling crazy and want to challenge yourself to become a true fat cow then these are for you! I’ve botched a lot of batches and I’m still learning after attempt three; however, even if they don’t look perfect they’re still super yummy (assuming you don’t burn them).

INGREDIENTS:

3 Egg Whites

1/4 Cup White Sugar (50g)

2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar (200g)

1 Cup Almond Flour (120g)

1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Pinch of Salt

Filling of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make sure your hands and equipment are very clean and free from oil. If you get oils in your meringue then it will not be able to get to right consistency.
  2. Add 3 room-temperature egg whites to your mixer bowl. If your eggs are cold then place them in warm water for 5 minutes. Also, I like to crack each egg in a separate bowl one at a time so that if you accidentally get yolk in your egg whites you only waste one egg instead of three. Save your yolks and make scrambled eggs or whatever you want?
  3. Beat your egg whites until they look like a frothy lake. Now add your cream of tartar, salt and white sugar.
  4. Whip the egg whites for about 8-10 minutes on med-high or until the egg whites turn into stiff-peak meringue.
  5. Add any food coloring to your meringue after it’s stiff and beat until homogeneous. Note that the macarons fade a little bit after they’re done baking.
  6. While that is ‘whipping’, measure out your almond flour and confectioners’ sugar. Either mix thoroughly or put through your food processor. You can find almond flour at Winco or you can buy blanched, unsalted almonds and chop them very finely in the food processor. Just be sure not to make almond butter. I’ve tried both ways and I like store-bought because it’s a bit finer.
  7. Once your meringue and dry ingredients are ready you want to grab a fine sieve/sifter and sift your flour-sugar mixture into your meringue. Dispose of any large chunks or snack on them later. Using a spatula, carefully fold the dry ingredients in. Slide your spatula under everything then scoop the mixture over itself. Repeat this around 60 times or until you have a viscous batter that is as smooth as you can get it.
  8. Transfer your batter to a piping bag with a small-medium circular tip.
  9. Pipe out 1.5 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not wax paper) or a baking mat (these things are amazing, they make baking stuff significantly less messy). Tap your baking sheet against a hard surface several times to get rid of any air bubbles.
  10. I print out these macaron templates to make it easier to make them roughly the same size when piping.
  11. Let your macarons sit out for 15-30 minutes. Lightly touch a macaron and make sure it is dry and kind of tacky (no batter should stick to your finger). If you don’t do this then your macarons will spread flat in the oven. They won’t puff up and have “feet” (the ruffled bottom part) – the mark of a well-made macaron.
  12. While they sit out, preheat your oven to around 300°F. You might have to experiment a bit. For me, 290° is about right. You can adjust the temperature between 275° and 325° and see what works for you.
  13. Bake for 13 minutes and then turn your baking sheet around to ensure an even bake.
  14. Continue baking until you are easily able to remove your macarons- they should not stick when you try to remove them. This can take up to 22 minutes, but it’s usually done by 18 minutes or less.
  15. Now frost a shell and top with another one and there you have it! If your macarons are crispy (not too unusual), then place them in an airtight container in the fridge for 24hrs or overnight and let them come back to room-temperature and they should soften up. It’s weird but it usually works!

Pretty picture time! Here’s how mine turned out:

10935181_10203733376678166_1551772361_o

I filled mine with vanilla and lemon buttercream. If you want to learn how to make buttercream or want to see me make something else then let me know in the comments below. Happy fat cow cooking!

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