Macarons

Macarons are my new favorite thing to make. They are simple enough that I can make them, but they are challenging enough that each time I make them I learn something new. Also, they are delicious! I had never eaten a macaron before I made them and I’ve been missing out. They are chewy and marshmallowy and sugary and amazing. I’ve used this recipe as a guide both times I’ve made them and it’s been a life saver. But if you don’t want to have to read through all that, here is the recipe with my added notes and changes.

Ingredients:

200 g powdered sugar

115 g almonds or almond flour (get the almond flour, it makes life so much easier)

2 teaspoons vanilla

100 g granulated sugar

4 large egg whites

Instructions: 

1. Preheat over to 300 degrees F : Be sure your oven temperature is accurate. I have gotten an over thermometer just to make good macarons. My oven is old because my apartment is old and it is off consistently by 50 degrees or so. Macarons are very temperamental.

2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper: If you can’t get your parchment to lie flat, lightly spray the tray with cooking spray and then it will act like a glue to get the parchment to stay.

3. Combine 100g of powdered sugar and all of the almond flour in the food processor until it is a fine powder: I don’t have a food processor, so I used my magic bullet. It is not quite big enough or powerful enough to do the job, but it ground it down a bit. Don’t stress over this part. However, if you do process it, make sure the powdered sugar is in there! It soaks up the oil from the almonds so it turns to powder and not almond butter.

4. Sift mixture with remaining 100 g powdered sugar 4 times: I’m not sure 4 times is absolutely necessary and this step is a big ole pain. It certainly lightens the flour and gets out bits of almond that didn’t ground quite finely enough; however, stop after 2 if you don’t have a whole afternoon to waste like me.

5. Wipe down stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment with towel soaked in vinegar: This step replaces the need for cream of tartar, which I appreciated since the only reason I would need cream of tartar is when making meringue and, like Alton Brown, I don’t believe in one-use items. The towel shouldn’t be dripping and you shouldn’t notice pools of vinegar in the bowl. Just enough to make it look shiny and create the smell of vinegar.

6. Add egg whites to mixer and whisk on a medium speed until foamy: DO NOT WHIP ON HIGH SPEED. Our goal here is not to make the stiff peaks, but merely to get them foamy.

7. Gradually add granulated sugar: Put the sugar in a bowl or measuring cup and pour in with a slow, steady stream. This is so that it can be incorporated evenly and not stick to the sides of the bowl.

8. Once all sugar is incorporated, scrape sides of bowl, add vanilla and whisk on high until stiff, firm glossy peaks form: Now is the time for our glossy peaks. You will know when it is done because ribbons will start forming behind the whisk. Once it is glossy and firm test for stiff peaks by removing the whisk.

9. Add almond flour mixture one quarter at a time: Fold in carefully. Don’t be too careful though! Mixture should be mixed well enough that everything is combined. Once all flour is added, you may split up the batter and add color. Gently fold in food coloring.

10. Transfer batter to a pastry bag and pipe directly onto parchment: This is the part that I am still not perfect at. I have experience piping, but getting all the circles the same size is very difficult! If you have this problem, draw circles on the back of your parchment before putting it down. They should be about 1 1/2-inch circles.

11. After piping, drop tray onto counter from about 3-inches high: This will let out any trapped air.

12. Let rest for 30 minutes: The resting stage is very important. You’ll be disappointed if you rush it! A skin should form on top of the macaron so when you touch it nothing will get on your hands. If you put them in without the skin, the foot of the macaron (the lift around the bottom) will form on the top and you will get a crack. Resting guarantees a smooth, shiny top.

13. Bake for 15-20 minutes: Rotate trays halfway through baking time. Done macarons will easily peel away from the paper. If they start to come way from their bottoms, leave in for a few more minutes.

14. Filling!: Macarons can be filled with a variety of things. My favorite is buttercream! Check out the swiss meringue recipe I have on here if you want to use a buttercream!

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