So. French Macarons. You guys, I love them. The first time I had them I was at a Juicy Couture party during NYFW (so random, but I think it was a Chictopia party?), and there were these male models who were walking around with trays full of cute beverages and macarons. I am not at all about male models or Juicy Couture, but I am all about cute beverages and macarons. Well, I didn't know that I was all about macarons at the time, but once I had one, I knew. I rarely get them because they feel like such a treat. Metropolitan Market has a selection of different macarons and every once in a while I treat myself to one. Well, the other day I got it in my head that I was going to make macarons. I'd heard that they were pretty difficult to get right, but I found what looked like a good recipe and went for it. They turned out perfectly. I was a little blown away that I got perfect macarons on my first try, and thought it might be a fluke, so I made another batch a couple days later. Another perfect batch of macarons. So, you guys, this recipe is totally fool proof.
The recipe I found has a video that accompanies it and holy cow was it so helpful. Macarons are fussy and you have to make them just right, otherwise they won't turn out right. By being able to see what the textures and consistencies looked like in a video I was much better able to replicate the recipe exactly. With macarons it seems like the method is just important, if not more so, than the ingredients. You have to get the right consistencies when you're whipping and mixing things, and let them sit out, and then bake them for just the right amount of time. I was really glad I used this recipe for my first time. She's very specific about what you need to do to achieve a perfect macaron and gives tips for how to do it right, and what will happen if you do it wrong. Definitely check out her youtube channel! Not only are her videos all beautiful, but she's got some great recipes for entertaining!
¼ tsp cream of tartar (You can omit if needed, just may take a bit longer to reach stiff peaks but the recipe will still work)
(Eventually you will need to preheat your oven to 300ºF but I wouldn't do that first thing. After everything is mixed and you've piped them onto the cookie sheets is a good time to start your oven preheating.)
1. Sift almond flour, and powdered sugar. What remains will be the larger lumps of almond pieces. Just discard those/snack on them (they're really tasty sweet almond bits!) You want a really fine powder mixture to create a smooth and pretty top to your macaron.
2. Beat egg whites until foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar and white sugar for 8-10 mins. TIP: #1 eggwhites should be room temp. (If you didn't let them sit out prior to starting, just submerge the whole eggs in warm water for 5 minutes.) Whip until they form a peak that stands upright. Then add the food coloring. Color does fade as it cooks, so do a shade or two darker than you want them to be.
3. Fold your flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture. This part is really critical. Under mix and your macaroons will be lumpy and cracked when they bake with no feet, over mix and your macarons will be flat and won't have feet. With this recipe I found that 65-75 turns of the spatula when folding is about the right amount. You want the batter to move like lava when you're done. Watch the video and it'll show you visually what this consistency looks like.
4. Transfer batter to a pastry bag, or if you're fancy like me and don't have one, a ziplock bag. Cut a little bit of the bag's corner off (about a 1/4 inch bit), and pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Once you've filled your cookie sheet, rap the pan on the countertop hard at least 2-3 times to release the air bubbles. This will prevent the tops of your macaroons from cracking. Let them sit out for 20 mins, or up to an hour if you want. This will allow them time to dry out a bit before hitting the hot oven. They should be "tacky" to the touch, but not stick to your fingertips. This is when I preheated my oven to 300º F.
6. Only put one tray of macarons in the oven at a time. This will ensure that each tray gets in the ideal spot of the oven. The macarons sitting out waiting for the oven won't mind, as they're supposed to sit out for a while anyway. Bake for 20 mins. If they stick to the tray, they're not done. They should slide right off the parchment paper. If they're still sticking to the paper after 20 minutes, add 5-7 minutes to the cook time and see how they're doing then.
While you're baking all your macarons, you can make the filling! I made both raspberry filling and lime filling, and both are super easy and quick to make:
RASPBERRY or LIME BUTTER CREAM
1/4 cup salted butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
~1 cup fresh raspberries, worked through a sieve to extract 3 tbsp of juice
OR 3 tbsp lime juice
1. Whip butter until pale and fluffy. Slowly add sugar.
2. Add your raspberry or lime juice to buttercream, and whip until combined. For my raspberry batch I didn't quite whip long enought to fully incorporate the juice. I whipped for much longer when I made my lime batch and it mixed up just right. You don't want the juice to separate from the frosting. Transfer to a pastry bag or ziplock. Again, cut a little corner off the ziplock bag, about 1/8 - 1/4 in
3. Take one of the baked cookies and pipe a small mound of buttercream onto the flat side, then grab another one and slightly squish the butter cream between the two. Ta-Da!
If not eating within 12 hours, put them in the fridge. I kept mine in the fridge for 4 days, and I've read that they can stay good refrigerated for up to a week. You can also freeze them for up to 6 months!
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