Have you ever gone into a bakery and saw these gorgeous little French cookies for about $2.50 each? Yes, these are a classic treat in Paris. However, they are a nightmare for most bakers. Most bakeries throw away 25% of each batch of macarons. Even with the most perfect recipe, the technique must be perfect. Technique comes with practice. Macarons take a lot of patience, precision, accuracy and practice to achieve a delicate crunch, with a smooth top and little feet around the edges. With this recipe and tips, hopefully you can create this French masterpiece in your own home. They are the most amazing little cookie you will ever eat.
Tip 1: You must weigh your macaron ingredients. A few grams off and they will never set up or they turn into an actual hard cookie. As a woman of science, I am seriously OCD about this one haha. You can buy an inexpensive scale at any local store.
Tip 2: Sift your ingredients. Any lumps in the sugar or almond meal will cause them to crack and not sit up correctly.
Tip 3: Humidity is not your friend. If you are making these in a humid environment, you must have an excellent way to dry them or they will never sit up.
Tip 4: Do not use liquid egg whites. They only work about 70-80% of the time. They have too much water content to form a nice dry and stiff meringue that you need for macarons.
Tip 5: The macarons must be dry to the touch before baking. Let them air dry for about 15-20 minutes and even up to an hour in hot-humid conditions.
Tip 6: If you over mix your batter, the batter will become runny and will not set up. But, if you under mix the batter, the tops of the macarons will crack. Its all about the right consistency. The batter should look like a shinny thick lava when ready to pipe.
Let’s Get Baking!
You Will Need:
200 grams of Powdered Sugar
100 grams of Fine Almond Meal (you can buy this at most local groceries)
40 grams of granulated Sugar
120 grams of Egg Whites (About 3 Eggs) at room temperature
1 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
2-3 drops of Food Color (if using)
Filling of choice
Pre-Heat Oven to 285F. In your kitchen aid mixer, add the egg whites. Start whipping them. Once they are foamy, add the cream of tartar and slowly add the 65 grams of granulated sugar. Also, add your food color at this time if using. Whip for 2-3 minutes on high speed until a stiff meringue forms. In the mean time, weigh out the dry ingredients. Turn your mixer off and sift the almond meal and powdered sugar on top of the meringue. Make sure there are no lumps in the dry ingredients, and the dry ingredients should be as smooth as sand.
Once all dry ingredients are added to the meringue. Gently use a rubber spatula and fold in the dry ingredients to the meringue. Do not stir or whisk. All ingredients should be well-combinded but do not over mix. The batter should be thick and shinny when ready. The batter almost looks like a thick lava. A tasty one though. 🙂 If you over mix, the batter will become runny and will not set up. But, if you under mix, the tops of the macarons will crack. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Place batter into a piping bag. Pipe circles of batter about the size of half dollars onto parchment paper. You can draw the circles onto the paper before hand or just eye ball them as you go. Once all circles are piped, lightly tap the cookie sheet on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles from the macarons.
Let the macarons air dry for about 15-20 minutes if not living in a humid environment. They are ready to bake when the tops are not sticky to the touch. None of the batter should come off the macaron onto your finger when touched if they are dry enough to bake. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 285F. Let cool and fill with pastry cream of your choice.
Vanilla Buttercream Pastry Cream:
You will need:
1 stick of Unsalted Butter
1/3 cup of Crisco Shortening
1 Vanilla Bean scraped (Slice open vanilla bean, take a knife and remove the inner contents of the vanilla bean. It will look like tiny coffee grains and that’s what we want to use in our pastry cream.)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1-2 tablespoons of Whipping Cream
1-2 cups of Powdered Sugar
Cream butter, crisco, whipping cream, vanilla bean and vanilla extract together with an electric mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar until well combined and thick. Pipe into macaron shells.