I have NEVER liked Macarons, I admit it. I just didn’t GET them… until last month. I FINALLY had a GOOD macaron and now I’m in love. When we decided to make recipes for National Chocolate Mint Day for our Celebrating Food round up this month I knew JUST what I wanted to make!
So before I got started I did a TON of research. Online AND asking friends that I know have made macarons (successfully – Thx Cynthia). I heard such scary stories about making them that I was a little nervous. So I spent a few days learning everything I could (like the difference between Italian and French macarons – these are french), then I just bought everything and got started!
Up until the point that I opened the oven door and saw those perfect feet on the shells I wasn’t sure if it worked! PHEW!
- Print your template and place in pans (2-3) under parchment paper - OR draw 1 1/2 inch circles on the underside of your parchment paper.
- Stir the sugar and egg white powder into a small bowl.
- In another bowl sift together the almond meal and powdered sugar at least twice.
- In a copper or grease free bowl add the cream of tarter to your egg whites, beat them on low speed until foamy (with a hand mixer or by hand - not a big machine mixer).
- Slowly add the sugar/egg white powder mixture as you beat the eggs.
- Increase the speed to medium and beat until almost stiff egg whites, still glossy, but more firm that soft peaks.
- Beat in food coloring gel, until uniform.
- Gently fold in 1/3rd of the almond mixture.
- Once its combined, add another third of the almond mixture, fold, and so on.
- Add your batter to a piping bag with a large round tip (around 1 cm or less) and pipe rows of macarons.
- Pipe into the smaller circle they will spread to the larger circle.
- Pick up the pan with both hands, and holding it level, tap it firmly onto the counter several times. This will bring up any air bubbles in the cookies for you to pop (with a toothpick)
- Let the cookies rest between 45-60 minutes
- This is a great time to make the ganache - in a small pot bring the cream to a simmer
- add the flavored oil and stir
- pour the cream over the chocolate, let it sit for 5 mins
- stir it until it's smooth (if it's still chunky you can melt it over a double broiler
- Let it cool, it will thicken so it can be pipped
- Pre-heat your oven to as close to 290°F as possible, a little over is better than a little under.
- Bake the cookies for 16-18 minutes. One sheet at a time.
- Let the shells cool, then pop off the parchment paper
- LIGHTLY brush some of the syrup to the bottom of the shells
- Pipe the ganache onto half of the shells
- Twist the other half of the cookies onto the ganache
- Refrigerate the cookies and let them maturate, 1-3 days
- Bring to room temperature then enjoy
Tips and Tricks
- use a template – otherwise you’ll have a hard time matching up sandwich halves.
- egg whites – AGE them, separate them, throw the yolks back in the fridge, or in a recipe, and leave your egg whites out (and covered) for 1-3 days.
- hand mixer – You guys KNOW I love my bosch, but it is SO powerful that it easily OVER beats egg whites (so does the kitchenaid stand mixer) so it’s best to stick with a hand mixer OR whisk by hand.
- clean bowl – Copper is best for beating egg whites, if you don’t have copper (I don’t..,. yet) just make sure your bowl is completely grease free (and make sure you have NO egg yolk in your whites)
- oven thermometer – ovens can be WAY off, I suggest this for EVERY baked recipe, my oven is off by 25 degrees!
- scale – recipes this sensitive often call for weight not measurement, since dry ingredients settle. I use my scale ALL the time totally worth the investment
- parchment paper – you can also use silpat mats, but they can be tricky, and sometimes the shell’s won’t pop off as easily
- sift – don’t skimp on the sifting, it’s frustrating and time consuming but you won’t get the right texture if you don’t do it
- syrup for moisture – using syrup to brush on the shells brings flavor to the shells as well as helps the maturation process
- wait 3 days – something magical happens during that time, I try one every day to test the overall effect. The first day it’s all too dry, the maturation brings moisture to the cookie while still leaving a crisp outer shell
- overcooking is better than undercooking – the syrup and maturation will bring the moisture back if they are a little dry