Once upon a time, I made green tea macarons with chocolate ganache and managed to get them right. I titled the post “trial 1″ and never wrote about trial 2, trial 3 and trial 4. I was so tired of eating weird looking cookies so I took a long break. I’m happy to report that this time, I actually got it right!
French macarons, as many of you know, are quite difficult to make, only because so many elements have to be in perfect sync. Despite my many attempts, I can’t say that I’m an expert at macarons. All I can tell you is that I added cream of tartar and aged egg whites just to help things along. I was also screaming “I have feet!!!!!” while watching them bake and doing a happy dance.
The internet is full of tips, tricks and articles for the home cook who wants to make macarons. If you search long enough, you’ll get information from different sources and you’ll end up more discouraged than before. Start with a recipe and tweak as you go, since every oven is not the same across the board. I was having trouble with macaronage part, where you fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites. So I turned to YouTube for a visual tutorial and found this awesome recipe that worked for me. I did make a couple of minor changes (noted in the recipe).
Recipe: Beth’s foolproof French macarons (adapted)
Makes 24 completed sandwich cookies
3 egg whites (aged at room temperature for 3 days)
¼ cup of white sugar
2 cups of confectioners sugar
1 cup of blanched almond flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
Pinch of table salt
¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of aged egg whites (my addition)
Optional: 10 drops of food coloring of your choice – I used red liquid and it was fine
Silpat mat or parchment paper
Piping bag and tip (Wilton tip 1o or 12)
2 or 3 cookie sheets
½ cup salted butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1. Egg whites should be room temp. To create room temp eggs, submerge in warm water for 5 mins. (My egg whites were already at room temperature for 3 days.)
2. Sift almond flour, and powdered sugar through a sieve. What remains will be the larger lumps of almond pieces. Just discard those, or use them to snack on. You want a really fine powder mixture to create a smooth and pretty on top to your cookie.
3. Beat egg whites, white sugar, cream of tartar and aged egg whites for 8-10 mins. Whip until they form a peak that stands upright. Think Seattle Space needle. (When you lift the whipping blade, the tip should not topple over. If it does, keep whipping.)
4. Then add the food coloring. TIP#2 Color does fade as it cooks, so do a shade or two darker than you want them to be. (This explains my salmon colored macarons.)
5. Fold flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture.
6. This is where all your hard work can really go wrong. Under mix and your macarons will be lumpy and cracked when the bake with no feet, over mix and your macaroons will be flat and won’t have feet, the mark of a well-made macaron. In my experience 65-75 turns of your spatula when folding is about the right amount of time. But again, it can be tricky, depends on how strong you are, Ha! So it can take a few tries to get it right. But when you do, the trumpets will blare and you will feel SO accomplished!
7. Transfer batter to a pastry bag by letting the bag sit on a cup so that it stays upright.
8. Pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. (You can print out a template or draw circles on your parchment paper. I did not do either of those and got weird sizes.)
9. (Pipe all of your batter onto baking sheets. Once you pipe them, it’s ok for them to sit out for a while. But if you don’t, the batter will dry out and it will be impossible to pipe once egg whites deflate.)
10. Tap the pan hard at least 2-3 times to release the air bubbles. This will prevent the tops of your macarons from cracking.
11. Let them sit out for 20-30 mins, or up to an hour if you want. This will allow them time to dry out a bit before hitting the hot oven. They should be “tacky” to the touch, but not stick to your fingertips. This is another important step to assuring your macarons develop feet! When they dry out they can’t spread out in the oven, and are forced to rise up. That’s what creates the feet!
12. Bake for 20 mins (I baked for 19 minutes). DO NOT UNDER BAKE, even if they look done! Otherwise they will stick to your tray. (Let them cool completely before removing.)
13. Meanwhile mix the buttercream. Whip butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Slowly add sugar. Whip until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag, fitted with a small tip, about ¼ ” in diameter. (I did not pipe – just used a spoon.)
14. Reverse cookie shells on their backs, and place a small mound of filling on one of them. Top with the other shell et Voila!
Macarons taste best after they have been sandwiched and kept in the fridge to mature for at least 3 days. You might feel that the macaron shells are too crunchy but they will become chewy after 3 days. The ones you buy at the store are 3 days old!