French Macarons

STORY

I am so excited to post my favorite “petite” dessert of all times. They are an elegant and flavorful dessert with so many different varieties of flavor. Each time I go to Paris, it’s a must to stop at Ladurée for a taste of the most delicious macarons in the world. Paris, being so far away from California, makes it very difficult to get to whenever a macaroon craving hits, so I figured I would make my own. My daughter and nieces kept asking me to make macarons and after several attempts over the course of this past year, I have finally perfected the recipe and I am ready to share. My only suggestion for you is to have the right tools before you start. Macarons are a very delicate dessert and you must have patients and the right tools. If you follow my recipe exactly, they will turn out every time!

 

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SECRET

For this recipe there are several secrets…

1. YOU MUST AGE THE EGG WHITES! What I mean by this is, refrigerate the egg whites in a bowl with a paper towel over loosely over the bowl so that the egg whites can breathe. Let them sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours. I usually age mine for 48 hours. When you are ready to start making the macarons, let them sit out for several hours to bring the egg whites to room temperature.

2. USE A DIGITAL SCALE FOR MEASURING! This is very important because you must weigh your ingredients. I’ve tried using measurement cups and spoons and it simply doesn’t work. The scale must be DIGITAL to get the exact measurements right.

3. USE ONLY GEL FOOD COLORING! Do not use liquid food coloring because that will change the texture of your meringue.

4. MUST PURCHASE “Lekue Macaron Kit with Decomax Pen and Baking Sheet Well worth the investment and will make the macaron process a million times easier!!!

5.  BE PATIENT! Plan ahead and be very delicate with these beautiful desserts. They will be worth all the effort once you taste one. 

 INGREDIENTS

  • 100 grams Bob’s Red Mill finely ground almond meal/flour
  • 180 grams powdered or icing sugar
  • 100 grams “aged” egg whites (≈ 4 large eggs)
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 35 grams super fine or castor white sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Gel food coloring only (OPTIONAL I use the food coloring for macrons that require color like rose, mint, orange, etc…)

White Filling:

  • 1 tsp (1/2 packet) unflavored gelatin
  • 4 Tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (very cold)
  • ¼  cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla*
  •  Gel food coloring (optional)

 *you can substitute the vanilla with rose water, or mint depending on the macaroon flavor you are making.

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RECIPE

Make sure your egg whites have been aged and are brought to room temperature. Measure 100g of egg whites on your digital scale and pour them in a mixing bowl. Sift the almond meal through a sieve to remove any large clumps and then measure out 100g. Discard the large clumps. Place the measured, sifted almond meal in a bowl. Sift the powdered sugar as well and then measure out 180g and combine with the almond meal. Mix the almond meal and powdered sugar by using a wooden spoon. Measure out 35g of castor sugar and set aside.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until they start to foam and thicken. Add a pinch of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Slowly add the castor sugar a little bit at a time. Continue beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form a think meringue (you can test this by flipping your bowl upside down. If nothing falls out, then the meringue is done!).  Take a 1/3 of your almond meal and powdered sugar mixture and pour it into the meringue. Using a big rubber spatula, slowly fold the mixture into the egg whites by scraping the sides of the bowl and then down the middle. Fold until combined and repeat this process 2 more times. The mixture should be thick and fall back into the bowl like a thick ribbon.

macaron shells

Fill a piping dispenser with ½ of the mixture and use the 2nd to smallest attachment. Place the rubber macaroon sheet on the back of a flat cookie sheet and starting piping the macarons. Be sure to pipe them out just until the meringue starts to go over the inner circle of the template. You are welcome to use parchment paper and a regular piping tool, but I highly recommend this product. If you plan on making macarons again this is well worth the investment!!! Trust me, I bought two!

Kit 

I like everything to come out perfect and with this template, every macaroon will be perfect! It might take some practice to know exactly how much to pipe out but after a few tries you will get it. Just remember that the meringue will spread so don’t over fill the circles. Once you have filled up all the circles, tap out any air bubbles and let the meringue sit for 40 minutes. This will create that crispy outer crust macarons have.

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While you are waiting for your macarons to set, you can start preparing your filling. See Vanilla filling down below or look at the Macaroon Fillings recipes, for a variety of flavors dependent upon the type of macaroon you are making. My personal favorite is the rose macaron.

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Vanilla Filling: Combine gelatin and cold water in a small sauce pan and let stand until it thickens (≈ 5 minutes). Place over low heat and constantly stir just until gelatin dissolves and remove from heat. Using an electric mixer on high speed whip the heavy whipping cream and sugar until slightly thickened. Slowly add the gelatin to the whipped cream and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add your flavor, in this case 1 tsp of vanilla and mix with a spatula. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the macarons.

Preheat the oven to 325˚F and once the temperature is reached, place the macarons in the oven on the middle shelf. Bake for 15 minutes or until you notice the macarons are puffed up slightly and have a crinkly crust on the bottom. Remove from oven and let cool completely! Do not remove them from the rubber mat until they are completely cold.

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Now all you have left to do is assemble your macarons! Remove the cooled macaron shells from the sheet and add 1 tsp of the filling to the flat side of the shell. You can dispense the filling from an icing tube or use a spreader. Just be sure to add the filling in the center of the shell. Take another shell, flat side down and press down to create a sandwich cookie. Repeat this process for all shells. Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours and serve! Voilà! Enjoy – the taste of a Parisian macaroon in your own home!

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