I’m just going to put it out there: these are really tricky, but when that successful batch comes out of the oven, it all becomes worth it. They’re a little crunchy, a little chewy, and a lot of delicious all packed into one little sandwich cookie.
120 g almonds, ground or sliced
200 g icing sugar
100 g egg whites
30 g granulated sugar
food colouring in paste/gel form (optional)
If using sliced almonds, ground them in a food processor with a little bit of the icing sugar (this prevents the almonds from becoming a paste).
Add remaining icing sugar to the almonds and process until very fine and well mixed. Sieve the mixture.
In a very clean bowl (you can use the bowl of a stand mixer), wipe down with lemon juice to cut any grease, and add the egg whites. Heat over a double boiler under egg whites are lukewarm. If using a stand mixer, transfer the bowl to the mixer with whisk attachment and beat until foamy. If using a hand mixer, simply take the bowl off the heat and whisk until foamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until you have still peaks.
Gradually fold the dry mixture into the egg whites in 3 parts. This shouldn’t take more than 30ish strokes. If adding colour to your macarons, do so about halfway through the folding process. Fill the batter in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.
Pipe 1 to 1.5 inch circles on a parchment lined baking sheet (silicone mats work too but I find the parchment gives it a cleaner edge and nicer foot). They can be relatively close together, as they will rise during baking but will not expand widthwise.
After piping one row, any peaks on the macarons should disappear. If the peaks stay up after you’re done piping a couple rows, the batter is probably undermixed. If there are no peaks at all and the batter immediately pools, it is probably overmixed. Let the piped macarons sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes (this should form a dry cap).
Preheat oven to 275- 300F (I have had success with different temperatures in different ovens, so use your judgement from past experience with your oven). Place the macarons in the centre of the oven and start watching very carefully after 15 minutes. They will take 16-20 minutes to bake. Macarons are done when dry, matte, and firm when (very) lightly tapped. They should not take on any colour.
Let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and move onto a cooling rack. Cooled macarons should easily lift off the parchment.
Use an offset spatula or piping bag to add the filling in between two cookies. Store in an airtight container overnight to mature. These taste significantly better after at least a day of waiting, as the flavours and moisture from the filling have a chance to permeate the shells.
Some wonderful resources:
– lots of troubleshooting help at Not So Humble Pie
– a great tutorial by Helen from Tartelette.
Some filling ideas:
– jam mixed with mascarpone cheese or white chocolate ganache
– bittersweet chocolate ganache
– chocolate ganache with peppermint extract
– swiss meringue buttercream of any flavour
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