Macarons are a French dessert composed of two sweet cookie wafers with a filling – typically jam, ganache, or buttercream – sandwiched in between. Part of their appeal is that they come in numerous flavors and colors, and are delicate and bite-sized confectioneries. Characteristics of a macaron include their round, smooth tops and lifted “feet,” and crunchy shells with a chewy interior. Here is a recipe for making them yourself at home.
Macaron Ingredients (serves 16):
– 1 cup finely ground almond meal (available in-store at Trader Joe’s, or online via Amazon)
– 3 egg whites (at room temperature)
– 1/4 cup white sugar
– 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or with a Silpat silicone mat.
2. Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric beater until foamy, then add the white sugar. Continue beating until egg whites are glossy and peaked. (Tip: You can test this by turning the bowl upside down. If the contents remain intact, you are good to go – but be sure not to overbeat.) If you want to add color, put in a few drops of food coloring in the mixture towards the end of beating. Keep in mind that once baked, the finished product will be lighter than how it appears in the egg white mixture.
3. Sift the confectioners’ sugar and almond meal together in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients into the egg whites and carefully fold together (approximately 30 folds but it can vary). Take care not to overfold, otherwise you will deflate the mixture and end up with a flat product. To test whether the batter is ready, put a small dollop on a plate. If it settles and becomes rounded at the top after about 20 seconds, your batter is ready. If the dollop is still pointed at the top, fold the batter a few more times and test again.
4. Transfer batter to a pastry bag with a plain round tip (if you don’t have one, a ziplock bag will do – cut a bit off a corner when you are ready to pipe). Pipe the batter onto your lined baking sheets in 1 inch rounds. (Tip: if you want the shells perfectly round, you can trace circles as guides on the back of your parchment paper prior to piping.)
5. Once you’re finished piping, let the macarons sit out at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. This will let them develop a “skin” which will form the “feet” when baking. They are done sitting when you can very gently touch the macaron and no batter sticks to your finger.
6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake macarons for about 12 minutes (keep an eye out to ensure the tops do not brown) and let cookies cool completely before filling. (Tip: You can test a cookie at 12 minutes by breaking it in half – if it is hollow on the inside, chances are it is not fully cooked. Let the rest of the batch bake for a couple more minutes.)
Vanilla Buttercream Filling Ingredients:
– 1/3 cup butter (at room temperature)
– 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
– 1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a bowl, beat the butter until soft. Stir in vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe onto a cookie shell. Take a second cookie shell and gently press together.
Feel free to experiment with different colors and flavors of macarons. Alternative easy fillings include jam and Nutella. Enjoy!