French Macarons are small bite sized cookies. These lovely, light little French almond meringue cookies are just begging to be filled with your favorite filling and made into sandwiches for a delightful treat. They first have a crunch in your mouth, then leading into a soft texture as you bite into the filling. This cookie can be filled with jam, ganache, salted caramel, or different buttercreams.
In the past decades the trendiest dessert has been CUPCAKES CUPCAKES and more CUPCAKES. But lately foodies have discovered another treated that will be poised to be this decades defining sweet: Bonjour, macaron!
The fad for macarons came to everyone’s attention when the show Gossip Girl fetished the macaron in a manner reminiscent of the way Sex and the City launched a cupcake boom. So, now I see them EVERYWHERE in the East coast and are slowly creeping into the West coast.
I love these cute little French cookies, but I quickly got tired of spending $2-3 per cookie. So, of course I had to find a way to make these delicate beauties.
Say BONJOUR to my recipe.
Sifting is extremely important because it helps the cookies have a smooth top shell and a fluffy interior.
When you are whisking the egg whites, you want to have stiff peaks. So when you hold the whisk up the peak should stick up and not limp over. This is important in order to obtain smooth and fluffy shells. If you over mix your shells, you will have flat and runny shells. Not fun 😦
After piping onto parchment paper, it is important to let the shells to sit out for an hour to form a soft layer before placing into the oven. This is to get a nice rise and crown on the rim of the shells.
When you take the shells out of the oven and the bottom of the shell sticks to the pan, separating your beautiful shells, then your cookies are under baked. It doesn’t matter if you are using a silicon Silpat or parchment paper, it’s all about if they are baked all the way through. But DON’T burn them! Burnt shells do not make your house smell pretty 😦
So, to check if they are fully baked you gently lift the bottom edges with your finger or a knife, and if they still stick, then they are under baked, if they pop off, then they are done! You do this while the baking sheet is still in the oven, so be careful please!
Once the shells are fully baked, let cool down and then gently peel off the shells from the parchment paper and let cool completely. Fill with your favorite filling.
After filling the cookies, refrigerate 24 hours to get a perfect fluffy interior.
In these photos I have dyed the macarons fun colors and added vanilla buttercream in the center. Let me tell you, everyone will be gloating over these little cookies!
These cookies are great for the holidays, especially as gifts. They look so delicate and beautiful, you will be sure to impress everyone.
Yields: 30 sandwich cookies
2/3 cup egg whites, about 4 large egg whites, room temperature (be sure to measure as it is extremely important)
1/3 cup and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter (pinch)
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 cup and 3 teaspoons almond flour, sifted
pinch kosher salt
Place egg whites, cream of tarter, and granulated sugar in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until stiff enough to hold the whisk up and the peak sticks straight up and does not limp over. How long this takes will depend on your mixer. Add gel or powdered food coloring and continue to mix. You might want to add more food coloring than you think, the color will fade as you bake the shells.
Sift the almond meal, confectioners sugar and salt twice, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve. Fold into egg white mixture. It should take roughly 30-40 folds using a rubber spatula.
The mixture should be smooth, very viscous, and not runny. Over-mix and your macarons will be flat and have no crown, under mix and they will not be smooth on top.
Spoon batter into a pastry bag with a plain round tip and pipe onto trays lined with nonstick parchment paper or a silicon Silpat. About 1 1/2 inches in diameter, leaving space in-between the disks. Then take the baking sheet and tap the pan on the counter to bring up any air bubbles. This will help prevent your shells from cracking while baking.
Let the piped shells stand out at room temperature until they form a hard skin on top, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300 ºF and bake shells until set but not browned, about 10 minutes; let shells cool completely before filling.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar, SIFTED
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream, milk or heavy cream
Beat butter and slowly add 2 cups of sugar, until sugar is incorporated with the butter. Add vanilla extract, salt and milk/cream and beat for 2 minutes until smooth.
Fill the shells with the buttercream and refrigerate the sandwich cookies for 24 hours for the best texture.
Serve at room temperature. Bon appetit.
*NOTE: I spent hours on YouTube watching what different techniques to use. I definitely recommend watching some videos to figure out how the techniques work.
Here are some great articles that helped me perfect the French macaron: