Le Macaron de Français

My first attempt at making macarons’ was a success! Last Monday night I baked up these raspberry butter-cream macaron’s for my Postcolonialism & Craft class. They were a welcomed treat as we sat through another two hours of research presentations. I ‘sifted’ through many different recipes to get to this point. They all recommended different methods of mixing ingredients, oven temperatures and tips to get the perfect macaron: crunchy thin meringue shell, characterized by the tell tale ‘feet’ that crumble outward from the edges, and moist chewy interior (without being hollow). I watched dozens of youtube videos, my favorite of which will be at the end of this post, and came up with a consistent ‘method’ to create the perfect macaron: on the first try!

Set aside the whites of 3 medium eggs (2.5 large) in a stainless steel bowl, with a 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar, 1/8 tsp baking soda bring to room temperature, and leave for 1-2 hours.

Measure out  1 cup of almond meal, process or grind into a fine powder.

Sift 1.5 cups of icing sugar and the almond meal together into a bowl, combine and set aside.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, heat oven to 295 degrees F.

Whisk egg whites into a light foam. Beat with electric mixer on consistent low speed until stiff and frothy, gradually adding 1/4 cup sugar and desired food coloring after whites begin to take shape.

Add icing sugar & almond meal in three or four portions to the egg whites, folding over from the sides to the center, never stirring until completely mixed together.

Place mix into piping bag with a #12 round tip. (or large tip in general)

Pipe 3/4″ circles onto cookie sheets, using some batter to adhere the paper to the pan if necessary.

Heavily tap the bottom of the pans to release the air bubbles from the macarons.

Leave for 30-45 minutes to dry the outsides, exterior should be tacky but not sticky to the touch (when in doubt leave longer, not shorter)

Bake at 295 F for 10-13 minutes, until feet have formed and crusts are dry. Do not over cook!

Remove from pan, almost immediately careful not to crush the outside shell.

Cool and sandwich two macaron’ s with desired butter-cream or jam!

My second & third batches on Thursday were characterized by a few failures. In the first batch I used three large egg whites, which resulted in really wet  batter that produced chewy flat (expensive) sugar cookies. On the bright side they made delicious ice cream sandwiches with our Bryer’s Cookies & Creme 😉 The second batch (with 2 large egg whites & almond meal that was still a little chunky) were cinnamon macaron’s filled with rum & nutmeg butter-cream – tasty, but a few to many had air bubbles on the surface between the crust and the chewy interior. The third batch (finished at 1:00 a.m.) were made with less then finely ground almond meal, and dried out within 24 hours. I over flavored the butter-cream (again) with mint, and called it a night. The cream was less then aesthetically pleasing (oozing off every side) so there are no pictures from that batch! I will post some more successes or failures in the future…once I figure out the perfect flavor combinations and buy a better processor for the almond meal, my macaron’s will be consistently and pleasingly perfect. Until then – enjoy!


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