I’ve long dreamed of making the perfect, cute little French macaron at home, and have been eternally too intimidated. I could never even buy the almond flour to push me in the right direction! They seem so delicate and although the taste is simple, they seemed out of reach to get it right. It literally took someone giving me a bag of almond flour and making a special request to get the gears in motion– I can never turn down a challenge when someone ELSE gives it to me (thanks Judith!). It was not easy to sift through roughly worded recipes and unclear instructions online, and after three flop attempts, I finally got it right 🙂 and so I give you: French Macarons
You will need:
4 large egg whites
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 4 tsp powdered sugar
1 cup plus 3 tsp almond flour
gel food colouring (optional)
I filled most of mine with a Nutella buttercream, but the options are endless! Here’s the recipe for what I did:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup Nutella
2 tbsp whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 250. We’re going to start off with the merengue. Place egg whites and granulated sugar in a cool, stainless steel bowl (clean, dry stainless steel has always given me the best merengue results) and mix with electric mixer until stiff enough to turn the bowl upside down without it falling out – about 10 minutes, first on medium speed and moving up to high. You’ll know you’re getting there when stiff peaks form — feel free to check my Instagram (mikagiordano) for my video of the steps of how the merengue looks while whipping. Add gel food colouring and continue to mix for a further 20 seconds.
While your merengue is beating, sift the almond meal and powdered sugar, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve. Once merengue is done, fold your almond flour mix in. It should take roughly 30-50 folds using a rubber spatula to combine to the right consistency. The mixture should be smooth and not runny. Over-mix and your macarons will be flat and have no foot, under mix and they will not be smooth on top!
Load your batter into an icing gun or bag with a round tip. Pipe onto trays lined with baking paper (I almost always use silpat mats for everything — I found that they actually stuck to mine, and parchment paper works much better!) — you’ll want to do small, smooth circles without swirling, the only movement you’ll need is to keep the tip where you break off close the round of batter.
This step is very important — rap/slam trays on a table or bench firmly 3 times, turn the cookie sheet, and slam again (this prevents cracking) and then place in the oven. Your baking time will vary, especially when adding food coloring which can have a big impact on baking times– mine were in for about 30 minutes, and for the last 5-7 minutes I kicked the heat up to 275. Check if one comes off the tray fairly cleanly, if not bake for a little longer.
Bring together your nutella buttercream by beating the nutella and butter. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and combine completely. Add milk and vanilla and whip until fluffy.
Once your cookies have cooled, pipe little dollops of frosting in the center of one and press it down with a second. Repeat with all cookies and enjoy!
I found this guide to be super helpful during my trial and error, so if you’re having trouble with any of the steps, this is a great reference — http://foodnouveau.com/2011/12/destinations/europe/france/a-macaron-troubleshooting-guide-useful-tips-and-advice-to-master-the-french-delicacy/