French Macarons

A few weeks ago I went on my Skillshare account and randomly decided to watch a video on making French macarons by Marie Asselin. I laid in bed with the screen light on low so as not to wake my husband and absorbed all this information she shared.

Honestly, I always thought they were the same thing as macaroons. I only like coconut once in a while, so I never bothered to check it out…only recently finding out that they’re not the same thing at all! Not even close.

The whole process sounded intriguing. Measurements had to be exact. You had to leave them alone quite a bit. Any deviations would leave you with a shameful puddle to cry your salty tears on (not really.)

Nonetheless, I saw a challenge and decided I’d try making them for my daughter’s birthday.

I followed Marie’s recipe mostly to the T, which can be found at her detailed macaron post.

ingredientsThe players:

  • 210 g powdered sugar
  • 125 g almond meal
  • 30 g granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, aged at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

 

food processerPut the powdered sugar and almond meal into a food processor and grind for a few minutes. This mixes the sugar and almond meal but also breaks down any larger pieces of almond meal. Sometimes you can’t get all of the almond pieces (I happened to have quite a bit of the larger chunks) but keep reading for a solution!

sift dry ingredientsSift the mixture through a sifter or fine sieve.

grinderAs mentioned above, I had quite a bit of the larger almond pieces left over. I hate seeing stuff wasted so I took out an electric grinder like this one  and that pretty much took care of the large pieces. You could also use a mortar and pestle but if you have weak wrists like me, this grinder works like a charm. Plus it was cheap enough!

mixer

Now that you have the dry ingredients, let’s beat some egg whites! I took them out of the fridge in the morning so that they were room temperature by the time I was ready to use them.

Once you see whip marks in the frothy egg whites, start adding the granulated sugar slowly until it’s all in there.

stiff peaks

Whip until you get stiff peaks. The egg whites should look glossy.

mix in colorMix in whatever color you want at this point. I used Deep Pink from this color gel set.

add in dry mix

Slowly add in the dry mix to the egg whites. I added about 1/5 of the mixture at a time and gently folded it in, scooping from the bottom and sides.

piping bagPlace the templates underneath fitted parchment paper on a cookie sheet. I used a half-sheet pan and could fit 2 templates on there.

let macaron set

Now…let them sit on a flat surface for about an hour. When the tops feel dry, they are ready. The time they sit out will vary depending on the humidity/temperature of your kitchen.

About halfway through the waiting time, pre-heat the oven to 300°F.

Once ready, place the macarons in the oven (don’t forget to remove the templates!) and set the timer for 12 minutes.

After that, check on them to see if the tops are dry and they don’t wobble around when you touch them. My oven actually took 16 minutes..

Undercooking them I found makes it stick to the parchment.

French MacaronsOnce they’re done, take them out and let them cool about 10 minutes. Gently lift them out and put them on a cooling rack until they reach room temperature. Tip: Use a fish spatula if you have it. It works great since it has a thin profile and angled shape.

Tip: I used an old crappy pan and a new pan and it made a HUGE difference on how they lifted off the parchment. Even though they both had parchment paper, I had to play surgeon lifting them out of the old pan without breaking the top shells..while the new ones lifted quite easily.

 

Once they’re cooled completely, fill with a filling of your choice. You’ll get some shells that are bigger/smaller than others, just match them up before you fill them.

I made a basic vanilla buttercream filling by using:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 oz unsalted butter, room temperature, sliced
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt

Directions: Put eggs whites and sugar in a mixer bowl.

Place about an 1/2″ of water at the bottom of a sauce pan that is big enough to hold your mixer bowl (without the bottom touching the water!)

Bring the water to a simmer and place the mixer bowl with egg whites and sugar over it. Whisk occasionally. I use the stand mixer whisk attachment (saves on cleaning!)

Once the mixture reaches 160°F, put the mixer bowl on the stand and whip on high.

Once the mixture reaches a stiff peak, switch to a paddle attachment.

With the mixer on low, add in the butter, a piece at a time. When all the butter is in there, add in the salt and vanilla then turn the speed up to high.

There will be a stage where it looks like it’s curdled and you think you completely messed up…but just keep watching it until it turns into a smooth, silky texture. When you hear a slapping sound, it’s done.

I like this buttercream better than the powdered sugar version because it’s not overly sweet but that’s just me.

Alright so now that they’re done, you eat them right? No. Apparently you have to suck it up and put them in an airtight container for 24 hours (spoiler alert: I ate one anyway.)

When I tasted them the next day, there was a big difference in texture and they tasted unbelievable. Like seriously, how did I go for so long not knowing the difference between macaroons and macarons? I’m so mad at myself. I would have made these ages ago!!!

They are a bit of a pain in the arse to make but the results are well worth the sticky utensils and the inevitable cleaning of that food processor. Oh so worth it.

Bonus cake picture:

Hello kitty cake

 

Have you made macarons? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

French Macarons
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
French Macaron Recipe
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 60 cookies
Ingredients
  • 210 grams powdered sugar
  • 125 grams almond meal
  • 30 grams granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, mix the powdered sugar and almond meal together for a minute or two. Sift the mixture into a large bowl.
  2. Whip the egg whites and add the granulated sugar once you start seeing "tail marks" from the whip. It will be at a frothy stage.
  3. Whip until it reaches a stiff peak stage. Add gel food coloring.
  4. Gently fold in the dry mixture into the egg white mixture using 4-5 passes.
  5. Put about half the mixture into a disposable pastry bag fitted with a ½" circular tip.
  6. Place template under fitted parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Pipe macaron batter on to parchment paper.
  7. Let rest for about an hour. Preheat oven to 300°F about halfway through waiting period. Tops of macarons should feel dry when ready.
  8. Bake macarons for 12-16 minutes, depending on your oven.
  9. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Remove with a spatula and place on cooling rack to let cool completely until it reaches room temperature.
  10. Match macaron sizes in pairs and fill with filling of your choice.
Notes
Recipe inspired by Marie Asselin of www.foodnouveau.com