Macarons

macaronsSeveral months ago, I promised myself I would at some point, attempt to make macarons. I had always heard that they were difficult, finicky, and easy to mess up, and they definitely lived up to their expectation. It took an embarrassing number of attempts, and was certainly a trial and error process, but I finally made a batch that somewhat resembled the real thing, and tasted great. Here’s the recipe and a few tips that I found worked the best.

Ingredients

Macarons:

1 c confectioners’ sugar

3/4 c almond flour

2 large egg whites, room temperature

pinch of cream of tartar

1/4 c superfine sugar

Filling:

2 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar

1/2 c unsalted butter

3 tbsp milk

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and almond flour. Sift two times.

Whisk egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add fine sugar, and turn speed to high. Add food coloring at this point if desired, and whisk until stiff peaks form (about 8 minutes).

Sift flour mixture over egg whites, and fold until smooth and shiny (about 30 times). BeĀ very careful not to over mix in this step. As a good rule of thumb, stop one fold before you think you should.

Fill a pastry bag with a 1/2″ tip with mixture and pipe 3/4″ diameter rounds onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Make tops of rounds as flat and smooth as possible. (Macaron template sheets are available if you want macarons to look more perfect and consistent.)

Slam cookie sheet against counter top several times to release all of the air from the cookies. There should be no lines or creases left in the rounds. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes. Macarons are done when they can be lifted off of parchment paper without leaving any residue. Once cooked, let cool on cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees between batches and then drop back down to 325 degrees to bake.

For filling: beat together butter, sifted confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Mixture should be thick. Place 1 tsp mixture in between two same-size cookies.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or chocolate powder and serve.

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