Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Macarons



A professional macaron maker I am not.
I love the light crispy dainty filled with buttercream but have found that I've had to try and try again to make a macaron that I'm satisfied to post.  These macarons are still not perfect and I'll continue to practice them because practice makes perfect. 

The recipe I am sharing today is without special flavourings but I can assure you I plan to get creative in my macaron making and will come back with some flavoured macarons in the future.

There are so many fantastic video tutorials and thorough explanations available.  Before you begin, it is well worth your time to read all the hints available on various websites.
I've used the ingredient amounts from  Beth's Foolproof Macaron.
Please go check her fantastic photos and instructions.
Her video tutorial will give you the confidence you need to try this very special treat.


While I was practicing, I found there are many willing samplers and photo opportunities.
There is never a shortage of those willing to come to a tea party.


I learned that adding the gel food coloring to the egg whites instead of the almond mixture since getting the color right takes time and easily results in over mixing the batter.  At first I tried to divide the batter so that I could make two colors. This was not a good idea as it resulted in an overmixed batter.


I also realized after trial and error that my farm fresh eggs needed to be aged slightly.
Several different sites suggested putting the egg whites into a bowl and microwaving them for 10 seconds.  Once I started to do this, my macarons turned the corner and I started having more success.


The easiest way I have found to fill the piping bag is to put the bag into a tall glass to fill.


I'm still having a hard time making my macarons perfectly uniform.
The best way to pipe them all the same size is to make a template by tracing  small circles on a piece of parchment paper with a fine black marker and then using that as a template to trace circles onto all your pieces of parchment.

Have you tried making macarons?
What are your best tips?
  • 2 cups pure icing/powdered sugar (make sure it doesn't have added cornstarch) 
  • 1 cup almond flour (120 grams) 
  • pinch salt
  • 3 egg whites  (this should work out to about 6 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • gel food coloring (optional)
  1. Prepare  parchment paper by tracing 1 inch circles as I described above. This will be your template.  You will need two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Don't pipe directly onto the template. 
  2. Prepare the almond mixture by placing the almond flour, salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar in a food processor and pulsing about 10 seconds.  Add the remaining icing sugar and sift.  Any bits of almond flour that remain need to be removed. If there is a fair bit of almond bits left I found the easiest way to keep the amount of almond measurement right was to measure the amount of bits left in the sieve and replace with the same amount of almond flour and sift and repeat until 1 cup of almond flour is used in the recipe.
  3. In a large clean bowl place egg whites, cream of tartar and the 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat until foamy and then add a tiny bit of gel food coloring and continue to beat and then adjust color.  The color will fade during the baking so unless you want a very soft colored macaron, make the batter vibrant.
  4. Beat until stiff peaks form.  The meringue should be very stiff.
  5. Fold the almond flour into the beaten egg whites until the mixture is like lava. It is good to test it in between by dropping a small spoonful on a plate. It should still mound slightly when first piped and then slowly flatten out.  If you overmix it will be too runny and the macarons will not have the feet that make them so pretty and if you undermix, the macarons will not have a smooth top.  I've had both of those scenarios happen and will be happy to sympathize with you.
  6. Transfer the macaron batter to a piping bag with a 1/2 inch tip. If you don't have a tip that size the bag can just be cut off to make a 1/2 inch hole which I find works fine. Pipe the batter and then tap the cookies sheet hard on the counter several times to release any air bubbles.
  7. Preheat the oven to 300. F.  There is no need to preheat the oven earlier since the macarons now need to sit for 30 minutes. The batter needs to dry on top so that the macarons will rise up from the bottom making the feet. It might still feel slightly tacky but it should not stick to your fingers before placing them in the oven.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.  
Once the macarons are cooled and paired up with their best matches, they can be filled with  buttercream of your choice.  I have always made my buttercream made with a custard base and found that this is just the right amount of buttercream for two recipes of macarons.  It can easily be divided in half if you are making only one recipe.  

  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon flavouring
  1. Use a whisk to mix the milk and flour in a microwave safe bowl.  Once no flour lumps remain, microwave several minutes or until a thick paste forms.  Stir well and seal the top with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature. It is important that it has completely cooled or the butter will begin to melt.  
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until the sugar has lost its grainy feeling.  Slowly add the cooled custard and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flavouring.
  3. The buttercream can be made ahead and chilled.  Allow to come to room temperature before filling macarons.
Macarons can be made ahead and frozen or kept in the refrigerator for several days.  



9 comments:

  1. Oh wow...have I tried making them? No. I only recently tried eating them and now I am hooked.

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  2. You have given yourself quite a challenge! I eagerly await your final word on a "fool proof" recipe to make this delicious treat! I love that macarons are made in so many flavors, and am thankful Salt Lake has several venues that offer the treat for purchase as I know even a fool proof recipe is no match to the challenges presented by high altitute baking in my kitchen.

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  3. Lovella, those macaroons look pretty perfect to me ! Great Post !

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  4. Congratulations! You did it! I think I asked you about these, just over a year ago, and we both tried our hand at them at that time. You persevered. I did not. Well done! They are beautiful!

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    1. Lorrie, I thought of you often while I was making them... again and again. Thank you for inspiring me with the idea.

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  5. I tried making these once.......not nearly as pretty as yours!

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  6. These are lovely. I will have to try making them someday. Truthfully, they have always looked a little tricky to me and I'm not sure I would have success . . . but they are so beautiful, it seems like they really would be worth a try. Applause, applause!

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  7. Wow! Gorgeous cookies and they taste great too? I'll have to try these after gardening season is over. How pretty! Congratulations to you as it seems they are not easy to make successfully.

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  8. Different. I make macaroons out of coconut. These look like mini whoopie pies. I will have to try them... your tea party looks absolutely charming.

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