Macarons: Magical Madness! (French Almond Macarons, NOT Macaroons)
Tuesday July 31 2012
Sheesh! Now that I’ve put together all the steps, I can see how actually long and involved this recipe and process may seem. But seriously, once you get the hang of making macarons from scratch, you may become as addicted and as macaron-mad as me! I can’t promise perfect results on your first, or even 2nd or 3rd try, but I swear – after having tried dozens of recipes over the years, and after having made hundreds, if not thousands, of macarons – this is one of the easiest, requiring the least amount of ingredients, and believe it or not, the least amount of effort. (Umm, hello! The Laduree recipe uses 7 eggs!?!) So, here goes the “magic”…
This recipe will yield anywhere from 15-20 macarons, depending on how big you make them. OK, here are the ingredients you’ll need – in the order you’ll use them…
- 2 large egg whites (at room temp)
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar (a pinch will do)
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1 cup icing or confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup finely ground almond flour
Additional supplies you will require:
- 2 baking sheets covered with baking parchment
- 2 mixing bowls
- hand blender or stand mixer (I prefer the hand blender to better “feel” the batter with, my dears)
- additional flavours & food colourings as desired
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Make sure your rack is on the lowest shelf possible.
Sift your 1 cup icing or confectioners’ sugar +3/4 cup finely ground almond flour together in your first bowl. Discard anything left in the sifter & set the bowl with the sifted flour & icing sugar aside to use later.
Then, in your second bowl, whip your egg whites until they start to foam. Add your pinch of cream of tartar.
Whip your egg whites further until they reach soft peak stage.
With your mixer on a low speed setting, gradually sprinkle in your 1/4 cup of caster sugar.
Once all of your caster sugar has been added to your egg whites, set your mixer to high and whip until your egg whites reach stiff peak consistency. This will take anywhere from 2 – 5 minutes, depending on the speed settings of your mixer.
Gradually sprinkle in your sifted almond flour and icing sugar mix from your first bowl into your second bowl with the stiff-peaked egg whites.
MACRONAGE STAGE: gently fold in your almond flour with your spatula. This is the tricky and critical stage. You need to be sure to complete around 40-50 folds until the batter is just the right consistency. This is where you really need to “feel” the batter. I can tell when it’s “right” for me when I lift up the spatula, let a bit of the batter drip into the bowl, and the “drip” doesn’t form a tip, i.e. that it kind of plops back into the batter smoothly. If you want to get technical, there is lots of information on Bake It Off.
This is the stage when I add my flavouring(s) and/or food colour(s). The critical thing to note here is that any wet ingredients will affect the consistency of your batter. So when I reach the 30th or so “fold,” that’s when I add any additional ingredients, as they will also need to be folded in. Be careful not to overbeat your batter, otherwise it will be too runny and not pipe or bake properly.
Use any batter leftover on your spatula…
…to paste down the corners of your parchment paper onto your baking trays.
Now for piping. I don’t “template;” I just eyeball the sizes of the macarons so they’re about the right sizes. If you want each to be uniform and perfect, you can draw perfect circles on the back of your parchment paper, about 1-2 cm apart. I use a round, 1 cm tip.
You can also pipe other shapes, like hearts, or I’ve even done lips before… (also note that this batter was not folded sufficiently, so you can see that they have not piped as smoothly / flatly as the green round macarons above).
Once piped, tap your baking sheet on your workspace a few times to get the air bubbles out, then allow to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, or until the tops of your macarons are dry to the touch.
After the macarons have dried, reduce your oven temperature to 165 degrees Celsius, and put your baking sheet in for the first 5 minutes. You should see the “feet” of the macarons formed after these first five minutes. Then, turn the baking sheets a half turn to ensure even baking – for a further five minutes.
After the full 10 minutes of baking time, remove from the oven and let the macarons cool on the tray with parchment paper for about 10 minutes. Then gently peel the macs off the parchment paper and allow to cool further and dry out on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before filling.
* Note: these are all from the same batter, but I accidentally/on purpose under-folded the half of the batter used for the hearts & pink macs to the left. You can see the difference that makes to the final product…
You can fill with ganache, or any other fillings of your choice, but here’s an easy one that I often use because you can add any flavours/colourings you wish…
Then, serve and enjoy! *Note: If you are not serving immediately, be sure you store them in a solid container in the fridge, but allow your macs to come back to room temperature before eating.