For example, did you know that when you're doing the macaronnage ("term for mixing flour and meringue to make macarons") if you do the steps only 10 times, the macarons will lack luster, but if you do it more than 20 times, they will have oil stains after baking. There are lots of other little details, that other books and recipes go into major detail about, like the consistency of the meringue and even what kind of eggs and egg whites you have to use. Making macarons is a science and you have to be ever so precise. However, I've found out and read about on many people's blogs, even if yours don't come out perfect, they're still going to be really delish, and chances are, you won't mind.
So, I decided to make a simple vanilla macaron with a vanilla buttercream. I thought this was a great recipe to start with, since other flavorings can usually be substituted in for the vanilla and coloring can be added when the vanilla is added.
Basic Vanilla Macaron Batter (from I love Macarons)
- 2/3 cup finely ground almonds or almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 5 tbs granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Cut a sheet of parchment to fit your baking sheet and draw 1 inch circles on your sheet, separated by at least 1/2 inch.
2. In a food processor, grind almond flour and powdered sugar to a very fine consistency. Sift the mixture though a sieve twice.
3. Beat egg whites on a high speed until they are foamy. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until you have stiff peaks.
4. Add the vanilla and stir. (I also added food coloring here.) The meringue is done when it is stiff, firm and has a glossy texture.
5. Add half of the sifted flour mixture and stir it with a spatula, scooping from the bottom of the bowl. Add the other half and mix lightly.
6. Macaronnage- When you have added all of the flour, press and spread the batter against the bowl's sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this about 15 times.
7. Macaronner - When the batter becomes nice and firm and it will drip slowly off the spatula, it is done.
8. Add the batter to a piping bag with a 0.4" tip. After the batter is in the bag, twist the top and clip it so that batter doesn't come out the top.
9. Squeeze the batter out of the piping bag into the circles on your parchment paper. Do not fill them all the way, as your batter will spread out once on the sheet.
10. Once all of your circles are filled, rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter or another flat surface. This helps them keep their rounded shape and helps the pied or foot to form.
11. Dry the batter at room temperature for 15 minutes uncovered. A slight crust should form on top of the macarons. The batter circles are done when they do not stick to your finger when you touch them.
12. Place the sheet inside of another cookie sheet and place on middle rack in a 375 F oven. I used an insulated cookie sheet and it seemed to work okay, I'd suggest using two of the same pans and just stacking them together when you cook. It helps to prevent the bottom of the macarons from getting overdone (which did happen to some of mine).
13. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until slightly crisp and crackled on top. Make sure to rotate the pan during this time so that they are all evenly baked. (Check on the macarons throughout, I found that mine got a little more golden brown at the end than I wanted, so I should have taken them out a few minutes early.)
14. Remove the baking sheet from oven and cool on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet.
15. Add whatever filling or cream you want to one macaron and top with another, to make a sandwich. Enjoy! Afterwards, they can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week. (haha, like they'd ever go that long without being eaten!)
This is my condensed version of the instructions, if you want to make them, I highly suggest buying this book. It has a lot of great information about the prep and ingredients, pictures for every step, and lots of different combinations and flavors to try.
For my cream filling, I tried to make the standard "Butter Cream #1" listed in the book, but I had a lot of trouble with it. I ended up with a soupy mess with crystalized sugar blobs. Yes, this cream was actually harder for me than making the batter! So after I made a big mess, I just decided to do an easy vanilla cream cheese filling.
I mixed 4 tbs butter, with 4 oz cream cheese until creamy, then added about a cup of powdered sugar. I added a tsp of vanilla and mixed it all together. This made a lot more than I really needed, but it was an easy solution for my cream.
Here are some more pictures of my results!!
|Macarons right after baking.|
|Matching up the cookies and preparing for filling.|
|Documenting the success!|