Hey guys! Valentine’s Day, (or Galentine’s Day!) is coming up soon! Let me tell you everything I know about French Macarons so you can master these in time to gift them to all the sweeties in your life.
I know from speaking to a lot of you that you would love to be able to make these adorable, elegant and delicious bite sized beauties but are intimidated by them. You’ve heard that they are fussy and unpredictable. Which, ok, you’re not totally wrong. I like to say that making them is simple, but not easy. If you have the right techniques, though, you can easily master this recipe. This is the recipe I was taught to make Macarons from at school and it has never failed me.
We moved into our new spot last week and I was beyond excited to get into my new kitchen. So far I am loving it!! I have more counter space here than I’ve had in a long, long time. I can’t tell you how great it is to just sprawl my ingredients and kitchen tools out. It’s like everything I’ve learned about space management has just gone out the (50th floor) window. I feel motivated to experiment with new recipes, too, because now I have the room. So a big Yay to that! Also, to the view. It’s pretty spectacular. And until we’re completely settled, when the clutter of the move starts making me crazy, looking outside is a nice distraction.
So a few notes about this recipe.
Mise en Place is an absolute must here – that means all of your ingredients are measured out and ready to go. Your sheet pans are lined with silicone mats, and your piping bags are ready to be filled. This is a good habit to get into before preparing any recipe, but it’s especially important here because timing is a factor.
Also – I’ve listed the ingredients by weight, not volume. Because these can be fussy, it’s really important to have exact amounts of each ingredient. So dig out your kitchen scale!
When you make an Italian meringue, you add sugar syrup to frothy egg whites. The key is to time it so that your egg whites in the mixer are quite foamy by the time your sugar syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft ball stage). It’s best to start whipping the whites a minute or two before you start the syrup. If your syrup is almost ready and your whites aren’t quite foamy enough, you can increase the speed to hurry them along, but overall, it’s best to get them frothy by beating them at a consistent, lower speed.
When you add the meringue to the almond flour mixture, fold it in with a large spatula. Keep folding until the batter is shiny and semi-fluid. When you pipe the macarons, you want the batter to spread slightly so that any bumps smooth out; if you haven’t folded the batter enough, it won’t have the fluidity to spread out. So keep an eye on how the batter moves after you fold it – it should slowly spread on it’s own in the bowl. That’s when it’s time to fill your piping bag.
I used an Ateco #805 tip to pipe these out. I made 2 different sizes, and personally I prefer the smaller, much cuter ones.
Letting the macarons rest for at least 20 minutes (and up to an hour) after piping and before baking allows them to create a skin which will help the air escape through the bottoms in the oven (creating those little ruffled ‘feet’) as opposed to escaping through the top, and forming -ugh- cracks. No good. So let them rest long enough that you can lightly touch their surface and come away without sticky fingers.
** Edit: You must bake these in a convection oven! Most ovens have this setting, and most people never use it (admit it!). The convection setting circulates the air, as opposed to just beaming it straight down onto your product. The circulating air will encourage these to rise straight up, whereas the concentrated heat of the regular bake setting on your oven is just too intense for these and will cause them to peak and crack.
When baking in a convection oven, space your product (whatever that may be – cookies, macarons, anything you place multiples of on a cookie sheet) in a staggered fashion (ie, a row of 5, then a row of 4, and repeat). This allows the air to circulate in between and around the items, resulting in a more evenly baked product.
Store baked shells in the fridge for a few days, or freeze them unfilled for up to 6 weeks.
To separate eggs whites and yolks, the easiest way is to (obviously) wash your hands and then pour the cracked egg right into your palm. Let the white drip through your fingers into the bowl. Easy!
And lastly, experiment! The options for flavours and fillings is endless. I’ve included a recipe for white chocolate ganache, but here are some other ideas to inspire you:
Peanut butter chocolate ganache
Passion fruit pastry cream
Nutella anything 😉
You’ve got this! And Happy V day! Post your comments or questions below. Xox Leslie
- 300g Almond Flour
- 300g Icing Sugar
- 110g Egg Whites (a)
- Pinch of Cream of Tartar
- 30g Sugar (a)
- 75g Water
- 300g Sugar (b)
- 110g Egg Whites (b)
- Desired Color
- For White Chocolate Ganache
- 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
- 1/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- Pinch Salt
- For Raspberry Preserve filled macarons, use your favorite seedless brand. I like Sarabeth's.
- Add the almond flour and icing sugar to a food processor and grind for about 30 seconds, then sift the mixture into a large bowl. Set aside.
- Make an Italian meringue: Add the egg whites (a) and the cream of tartar to the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium low. When they are just starting to get frothy, add the sugar (a).
- Meanwhile, add the water and sugar (b) to a small pot and bring to a boil. Brush the sides of the pot down with a brush dipped in water to remove any sugar clinging to the side of the pot. Bring to a boil, and do not stir. Cook to a temp of 238 degrees (softball stage), then, with the mixer still running, immediately add the syrup to the very foamy egg whites by pouring it gently down the side of the bowl, being careful to avoid the whisk. Turn the mixer to high speed and whip until the meringue cools to about 120 degrees (or just barely warm to the touch).
- While the meringue is cooling, add the egg whites (b) and desired food coloring to the almond flour mixture and incorporate using a spatula. To get this color, I used about 10 drops of Club House Red food coloring.
- When meringue is cool, sacrifice a small amount (about 1/2 cup) into the almond flour mixture to lighten it and make incorporating the rest of the meringue easier.
- Once it is mixed in, add the rest of the meringue and fold continuously until the right consistency is reached. (See note in post above)
- Pipe onto silicone mat covered sheet pans, then let rest for 20-60 minutes to develop a skin. (See note in post above)
- Set oven to 300 degrees on the CONVECTION setting while macarons are resting. When ready, bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Cool on a rack, then separate them into pairs that are similarly sized. Add filing to one side, then sandwich the second side on top.
- For White Chocolate Ganache
- Add chocolate chips to a small bowl.
- Heat cream and pinch of salt in a small pot on the stove until just bubbling.
- Pour over white chocolate chips and let stand for 3 minutes.
- Whisk until smooth, then add to the fridge to chill.
- Once chilled, beat with a hand mixer until piping consistency.