This post is probably a bit late for some due to the fact some prep is required, but if you have time on Saturday, these would be a real treat for Mother's Day. Everyone knows what French macarons are, since they've become one of the most popular treats found in virtually any bakery, or even your local coffee shop. For those who don't know how to pronounce the name of these sweet delicacies, it's "mack-a-rohn", not to be confused with macaroon, the coconut-based American dessert.
The macaron is a French sweet meringue-based confection made with egg whites, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling, sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccarone or maccherone, the meringue.
I signed up for a 3-hour culinary class to learn how to make these sweet confections. My hubby and I made a date night out of it, and we had the best time. I wasn't sure how excited he would be at first, since he isn't really the baker in the house, but he was definitely up for the challenge.
One important thing to know is that these are not an easy dessert to make. We made three batches in class and only one turned out perfectly. It takes practice and then even more practice to learn how everything should look and feel. The meringue is easy to mess up when you're folding it into the almond mixture. A few folds too many and your cookies won't rise; not enough and they will crack. I still need to practice to get it just right.
Before I post the recipe, let me share the tips and tricks I got from class:
- Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature. If you forget to plan ahead, place them in a bowl of warm water - just make sure it's not boiling.
- Be sure to properly mix the egg whites to stiff peaks - test by stirring the whisk in, pulling it out and turning it over to see if the whites stand without flopping.
- It's really important that you sift all your ingredients. You don't want big chunks of anything in these perfectly smooth, delicious confections.
- Measure all your ingredients in grams because it's much more accurate and you need complete accuracy for this recipe :-)
- When you fold the almond mixture into the meringue, you'll fold approximately 70-75 times. It might seem crazy to count but it will take you really close to being the perfect amount, and give you a better idea on when to stop.
- Don't forget to rotate the tray halfway through the baking so that they rise evenly.
- When you pipe the cookies, start at the center and keep the piping bag uptight. Squeeze slowly and watch it grow, leaving a fine edge before it touches the circle - the batter starts to spread on the tray so you don't want them to get too big.
- When the cookies come out of the oven make sure you have given them at least 30 minutes to cool. Otherwise, it's difficult to remove them from the parchment and you won't be happy with the results.
- 3 large egg whites (room temperature)
- 50 g (1/4 cup) fine granulated sugar
- 200 g (2 cups) powdered sugar
- 120 g (1 cup) almond flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
- For chocolate macarons: add 2 tbsp cocoa powder to dry ingredients when you are sifting.
- Measure out of all of your ingredients as accurately as possible.
- Whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt, cream of tartar, and fine granulated sugar.
- Whip mixture until completely stiff peak.
- Add food coloring as desired and mix well. Make sure to go a little darker, the color will lighten as we add the other ingredients.
- Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together into a bowl.
- Fold egg whites into powdered sugar/almond flour mixture.
- Gently fold approximately 70 times.
- Place macaron batter into a pastry bag with a plain tip.
- Pipe 1” - 1 1/4 “ rounds onto parchment lined sheetpans.
- Firmly tap sheet pan 3 times.
- Let sit 20-25 minutes until the outside has dried. When lightly touched, the batter should not stick to your fingers.
- Bake at 300° F for approximately 20 minutes. Turn pan half way through the baking process to have more consistent baking.
- Let cool, remove from parchment with a metal spatula.
- Fill with desired filling. (ex. jam, ganache, flavored buttercream)
Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. They are even better if you wait and refrigerate 24 hours before eating.
After filled, macarons will last for approximately 7 days in the refrigerator. The shells unfilled can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 weeks. (as long as it is a cool dry place)
- 2 oz butter
- 1 tsp water
- 4 oz powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp extract (your choice of flavor - almond, vanilla, peppermint, etc.)
- Cream the butter until completely smooth with NO LUMPS!
- Add the powdered sugar and mix until well combined
- Add the egg white (or water) to smooth the buttercream
- Lastly, addthe extract.
- Chocolate, Semi-Sweet! ! 3 oz.
- Heavy Whipped Cream! ! 3 fl. oz.
- Place the chocolate into a bowl.
- In a small saucepan, boil the cream until it starts to climb up the sides of the pot. (watch very closely, this can easily boil over).
- Pour the cream over the chocolate, mix until all the chocolate is melted.
- Chill until firm and serve.