In the United States, a macaron is a type of coconut cookie with a chocolate bottom. In France however, a macaron is a delicate, chic, merengue cookie sandwich with a filled center. These cookies have become very popular all over the world. Their flavor and minimalistic, chic look are very attractive but they come with a price. The price represents the hard work and effort it takes to make French macarons. While they require careful technique and accurate measurements, I can guarantee that they are not impossible to make.
Here, I will lay out important tips, tricks, and a great recipe so that you can have yourself a fancy treat this Valentines day. This recipe is for the French Macaron shells only. You can fill them with any filling of your choice. French macarons are usually filled with buttercream or even your favorite jam.
Tips to know before you begin:
1.Use a kitchen scale.
A scale is the most accurate way to measure out ingredients and because French Macarons are so delicate to make, you want very accurate measurements of your ingredients. If you don't have a kitchen scale, here is one I recommend
2. Blend your almond flour and confectioner's sugar in a food processor.
This step will help you get very smooth French macarons instead of ones with a bumpy top. Even though you are working with store bought almond flour, it is still possible to get slightly larger pieces of almonds in your flour. To ensure this does not happen, blend sugar and almond flour in a food processor then run it through a sif.
3. Use room temperature egg whites.
So many recipes call for room temperature eggs but it's super important in a French macaron recipe. The reason for this is because the most important part of a French macaron is the meringue and the room temperature egg whites will give you a much better meringue with much more volume. This will give your French Macarons great "feet."
4. Use gel food coloring.
As mentioned previously, French Macarons are a delicate recipe and because of that, you want to be extra careful with the ingredients. If you use liquid food coloring, you will end up with more liquid. Gel coloring, on the other hand, will not change the consistency of the batter as easily as liquid would.
5. Don't over-mix the batter.
This is the trickiest part of the whole recipe and is the one step that could potentially make our break your French Macarons. The key to perfect batter is to fold the dry ingredients into your meringue instead of mixing it. After folding in the ingredients a few times, using your spatula, make a figure "8" with the batter. If you can make an 8, or your batter "ribbons" down from the spatula, your batter is complete. Do not mix any more once your batter is the consistency that you want it.
6. Use a French Macaron Silicone Mat:
This will be very helpful in making all your French Macarons the same size because these mats show you how big the macarons have to be as well as how far apart to place them.
- 170g galmond flour
- 300g powdered sugar
- 180g egg whites, at room temperature
- 160g granulated sugar
- A few drops of pink gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 300˚F and place your French Macaron silicone mat on each baking sheet.
- Combine the almond flour and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
- Gradually add the sugar and increase the mixer speed. Whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add pink gel food color a few drops at a time,until the desired color is reached.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue.
- Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava or ribbon down when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it without the batter breaking.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip. Fill the pastry bag with the filling and holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into into the circles outlined on your silicone mat.
- Hold the baking sheet in two hands, tap the baking sheets on the counter to get rid of the air bubbles. Repeat this a few times.
- Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes to one hour. Depending on the moisture in the air, the time may vary. To check if they are ready, gently run your finger on top of a macaron to check if the top is solid. If no batter got on your finger, they are ready to be baked.
- Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot and bake without browning. Test a macaron shell, f you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done.
- Remove macaron shells from silicone mat and transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Once completely cooled, assemble them by placing your desired filling in the center and
- Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use.
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