You have baffled me, you have amused me, you have satisfied tummies all over Los Angeles, and now… I have succeeded in making you!!! (special thanks to my bestie for helping!)
I’ve come a long way making french macarons. I’ve tried multiple times - some more successful than others. The overarching recipe I used is from Martha Stewart - I find that I can always count on her recipes. However, I’ve tweaked it in a couple ways and after doing a lot of research, I give you….the french macaron:
1 Cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 Cup almond flour
2 Large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 Tsp of cream of tartar
1/4 Cup superfine baker’s sugar
1/2 Vanilla bean, scraped or 1/4 Tsp Vanilla extract (preferably, clear vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare parchment lined baking sheets.
1. Measure out almond flour on large baking sheet and let it air dry for at least one hour.
2. Combine the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar. Mix so that there are no lumps.
3. Whisk egg whites with mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to whisk until soft peaks form:
^^ THIS IS FOAMY-SOFT PEAKS: KEEP MIXING FOR STIFF PEAKS!
Add superfine baker’s sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. This may take a while! Stiff peaks = when you lift up the whisk and turn it upside down, the little peak that forms should stay in place and not tip over at the point).
4. At this point, if you want a different color macaron then add little by little the food coloring to the egg white and also add the vanilla bean scrapings or clear vanilla extract. Whisk just until the color is pretty much uniform. It does not need to be completely combined, little areas of white is fine.
5. Sift the flour and sugar mixer into the egg whites. If the almond flour does not sift completely, just dump the rest in. Fold just until everything is combined. Do not overfold - the whole point of beating up your egg whites to a stiff peak is to incorporate air, so you don’t want to deflate it by over folding.
6. The mixture should be thick and sticky. Transfer the batter to a pastry piping bag with a 1/2 inch plain round tip. Listen closely here! Pipe the batter onto the parchment lined pan by holding the tip straight up and down and making sure it remains straight as you pipe the batter. Keep the tip in one position (no need to move it around, the batter will spread to a circle on its own). Pipe them at least 1 inch apart and as uniform in size as possible. If you’re really nervous, you can also draw circles on the parchment paper, flip it upside down so you can still see the circles and pipe until the batter fills the circle.
7. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.
Tap the pan on the countertop a few times and hit the bottom of the pan with your hands. Let the pans sit for 15 minutes. Tap it a lot - you will see some bubbles come to the top and pop and thats exactly the purpose of the tapping! This is such an important step - I have gotten macarons that fall apart, have holes in the bottom, dont puff up and pretty much every thing else that could go wrong because I did not tap the pan enough or let them sit long enough. DO NOT TAP THE PAN AFTER THEY HAVE RESTED. Carefully place them in the oven - any hard hit to them will result in cracks when baked.
8. Bake one pan at a time and rotate the pan 5 minutes in. Bake another 5 minutes and take them out. (Total bake time - 10 minutes) Let them rest on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. It should not be hard to take them off but if they are somehow sticking to the pan, spray some water under the parchment and the steam should release the cookies. After taking the first batch out, turn the oven back up to 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then, turn it back down to 325 degrees F for about five minutes before putting the next batch in.
This recipe makes only about a dozen macarons - but they are sooooohoooo worth it!
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling:
Courtesy of Martha Stewart.
I am terrible at making frostings and icings. Its my achilles heel in baking. I was so excited when this filling came out. This will surely work out for you if even I can make it! I cut this recipe by 4 because frankly, a dozen macaroons just doesn’t need that much icing. Since its pretty hard to cut 5 egg whites (what the original recipe calls for) by 4, I just used 1 egg white.
1 Large egg white
1/4 Cup plus 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/4 Tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 a vanilla bean, scraped or 1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
1. Add sugar to egg white in heat safe mixing bowl. Hold mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk by hand until the sugar is melted. Its ready when you rub the mixture between your fingers and you can’t feel any granules.
2. Use the whisk attachement: start at low and increase to medium speed. Whisk until its a stiff ribbon like consistency. Touch the bottom of the pan to make sure its cool. Thats another sign that it is ready.
3. Switch to low speed and add cubes of the room temperature butter little at a time. Making sure it is combined after each addition. At this point, add food coloring (very little…this is a very small recipe!) of the same color as your macaroon batter.
4. Add vanilla bean scrapings or vanilla extract. Switch to a paddle attachement and continue to mix until the mixture is smooth.
After the macarons have cooled, pipe the icing with a plain tip along the edge of the cookie and a little in the center. Match the cookies together (don’t smash them together - its just cuter that way!) and…
TA DA! The French Vanilla Macaron!