HOW TO MAKE PERFECT MACARONS

by Jyoti Sawant
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Here is me sharing this easy French Macaron recipe that will help you make some delicious, dainty, chewy, delicate and melt in the mouth cookies that will take all the guesswork out of you. Are you ready to take that leap?

I am sure you all you are wondering just like I did, as to why is everyone so obsessed with Macrons and what’s all the hype about?

Macrons are these beautiful round, pillowy light, chewy, sweet, bite-sized almond flour-based French pastries that have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years. Along with being popular for good reasons, they are notoriously famous for being one of the hardest things to make in pâtisserie world, although I would beg to differ as they are not hard to make but are more of a technique based pastry, which if nailed it right can go a long way. I usually take my food passion quite seriously and find ways to challenge myself every day, hence these have been on my list to try out for a while now.

MACARON VS. MACAROONS.. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

A Macaron is a French cookie often confused with French Macaroon made with coconut.

A macaron (say: mac-a-ron) is a tiny, round, dainty little sweet cookie sandwiched with butter cream or ganache, which is what you will be mastering soon on this post.

A macaroon (say: mac-a-roon) is basically a mound of sweetened coconut flakes, egg, and sugar. It is a more dense, large, blob-like, coconut-based sweet cookies. Delicious but not very light.

HISTORY OF MACARONS:

While macarons are heavily associated with France, they are known to have been brought over from Italy to France. The macron is known to have been introduced in France by the Italian Chef of Queen Catherine De Medici during the Renaissance (15th and 16th-century era). Macarons were originally just a single cookie. Like taking the top off of a traditional, modern macaron and leaving the filling and the other half behind. Apparently, they used to have little macaron bars setup with the cookies and a bunch of fillings that you could spread on top. The macrons were adapted over time and by the 19th century, they were presented with a buttercream, ganache or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies, akin to sandwich cookies.

STRUCTURE OF MACARONS:

The biscuit part of these cookies is characterized by 3 parts, first is the smooth round top, second is the “foot” or “pied” or crown as it is called, which is a ruffled circumference in the middle and third is the flat smooth base. Two of these biscuits are sandwiched by the filling (buttercream or ganache) to make a complete Macaron cookie.

These cookies are mildly moist and chewy and easily melt in the mouth. Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from traditional raspberry or chocolate to unusual ones like foie gras, matcha.

So, is this the first time I am making these cookies? No, I definitely have tried it a few times before and I surely had my trials and errors and a lot of fails but usually when I set my head on something, I am on my way to perfecting it.

It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us!

RACHEL WOLCHIN

HOW WE ENDED UP MAKING MACARONS FOR CHRISTMAS…

Christmas time and we were about one week before the schools were going to shut down for Christmas holiday break. My 13-year-old daughter said that she wanted to make something homemade, special and more personal this year to gift to her teachers and friends for Christmas, something fancier, and when your daughter asks you for something so ardently, it is hard to decline. We did a lot of brainstorming to decide what would be worthy enough to be a Christmas gift, most of my suggestions didn’t seem to impress my daughter that much. Finally when I said Macarons? She immediately lit up and with a naughty grin on her face and hope in her eyes she asked me, can we? Well! When your child pushes you to go that extra mile, we create Macarons!!

Once we had decided that’s what we want to make, I had decided that I was going to make sure that this is one art I want to pass on to her so she can have for her life. I asked her to make a list of the ingredients and go and purchase it with her dad. I told her to go over the recipe a few times, have everything mise en place and then we were all set.

She diligently helped me through the whole process and in the end what we created were not just these gorgeous cookies but a whole lot of beautiful memories on the way. We had a fabulous time creating this gorgeous French delicacy, our Santa too was a happy man this Christmas as he got to taste some of this goodness as well!!

Now let’s get down to business and see what all this hype about Macrons is?

By the way all the gluten-free, gluten intolerant people out there, this dessert should be your number one priority, one almonds are naturally gluten-free and two they super delicious, so score on that!

GET YOUR INGREDIENTS READY

Ingredients for Macaron Shell:
  1. Almond Flour: Almond flour is nothing but raw almonds (blanched or unblanched) that have been ground into a fine powder in a flour-like texture. My suggestion is to you use the blanched almond flour to save a lot of time and effort as these cookies need really fine flour and the flour from the unblanched ones leaves a lot of almond skin specs that create bubbles which are hard to break and thus resulting in not so smooth texture cookie top. There are many brands out there, here are my two favorite ones, both tried and tested :
    • Costco’s Kirkland brand: The one that says, California superfine Almond flour, blanched. This packet of Almond four is quite fine plus it is super cheap for the quantity. Here is the link to it: https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signature-almond-flour%2C-3-lbs.product.100438553.html
    • HEB’s Gluten-free almond flour: In case you aren’t a Costco member or cannot find Costco brand try HEB’s Gluten-free almond flour. Not as cheap as Costco, but that packet still goes a long way. Here is a link to it: https://www.heb.com/product-detail/h-e-b-gluten-free-almond-flour/1891854 In case you are getting too creative or absolutely can’t find almond flour anywhere, just blanch your regular almonds, let them dry out well and then grind them into a fine powder. Add a little sugar along with it to prevent it from turning into almond butter.
  2. White Powdered Sugar/ Confectioners/ Icing sugar: The is no right or wrong white powdered sugar, just buy any brand, I used H‑E‑B’s Confectioners Powdered Sugar. Here is the link: https://www.heb.com/product-detail/h-e-b-confectioners-powdered-sugar/1268333.
  3. Egg whites: Use any large eggs. Make sure you use the right weight or number of eggs given in the recipe.
  4. White Sugar: No brown sugar please, just regular white sugar is what you need. I used Imperial Sugar Pure Cane Extra Fine Granulated Sugar. Here is the link: https://www.heb.com/product-detail/imperial-sugar-pure-cane-extra-fine-granulated-sugar/172831
  5. Essence: You can use whatever flavor that you want for your Macrons. My daughter wanted strawberry flavor so we used strawberry essence. We used the McCormick Strawberry Extract here. Here is the link: https://www.heb.com/product-detail/mccormick-strawberry-extract/150184
  6. Gel food color: Honestly I haven’t tried any other food coloring but the gel ones as that’s what I was recommended, by the chef when I took a macron class one time. I think it worked great. We used Great Value Gel Food Colors, Classic. Here is the link: https://www.walmart.com/ip/2-Pack-Great-Value-Gel-Food-Colors-Classic-4-Count/739031565?athcpid=739031565&athpgid=athenaItemPage&athcgid=null&athznid=PWVUB&athieid=v0&athstid=CS004&athguid=ed535264-cb3-16f53f9bd04412&athancid=null&athena=true+
  7. Cream of tartar: Cream of tartar actually helps to stabilize the egg whites when you whip them up. Is it necessary? No, but if you are in a humid place then it definitely helps, being in Houston it definitely helped us, you can skip it if you want to. We used McCormick Cream Of Tartar. Here is the link: https://amzn.to/36EVUEw
  8. Salt: Just simple regular salt, please.
Ingredients for Buttercream Filling
  1. Butter: You can use any salted or unsalted butter, I usually add a pinch of salt to all my desserts and hence instead of adding salt I just use salted butter. For this recipe, I have used Kerry gold’s pure Irish salted butter. Make sure your butter is softened/room temperature. Here is a link to the butter I have used https://www.kroger.com/p/kerrygold-pure-irish-salted-butter/0076770700106
  2. Powdered Sugar/ Confectioners/ Icing sugar: You will need some more of the powdered sugar for the filling. Again there is no right or wrong powdered sugar, just buy any brand, I used H‑E‑B’s Confectioners Powdered Sugar. Here is the link: https://www.heb.com/product-detail/h-e-b-confectioners-powdered-sugar/1268333.
  3. Vanilla extract: To flavor the buttercream I have used vanilla essence, you can use any other flavor that you prefer. Here is a link to the one I used: https://amzn.to/2R1934b

 

 GET YOUR EQUIPMENT READY

  1. Measuring spoon and Measuring cups: You will need measuring cups and spoons to make sure you measure everything well as per the recipe.
  2. Rubber Spatula: A rubber spatula is quite handy and extremely helpful while transferring the meringue or mixing the macaronage.
  3. Silicone macaron molded mats or Parchment paper: Many people say that these don’t work that well but honestly, I made a lot of my macarons on them and they came out great. Make sure you give enough resting period to the cookies before removing them from the mats. You can also use Parchment paper and it works as good, just make sure you make the circles beforehand for even cookies. There are some templates out there, just download it and place the template under the parchment paper and trace the outlines. You can also just place it under the paper and pipe to save time.  Here is a link for silicone mat: https://amzn.to/2Qp29H4
  4. Oven safe baking tray: You need a baking tray to keep your silicone mat or parchment paper on before you pipe the batter on them. Here is the link to one: https://amzn.to/2QMt7Hz
  5. Piping bag: You will need disposable piping bags to pipe in the batter. Use extra thick 18” bags so you can fill all your batter and so it does not tear while piping. Here is the link: https://amzn.to/35s86Hx
  6. Round Decorating Piping Tip #12: You will need the #12 number round decorating piping tip to pipe your cookies. Here is the link to one: https://amzn.to/2sDnjIt
  7. Fine Meshed Sieve: You will need a fine-meshed sieve to sift the almond flour and powdered sugar mix.

Other equipment

  1. Stand Mixer: A huge huge time saver. While beating your egg white and making the meringue, it takes a long time to get the stiff peaks desired in this recipe so if you have a stand mixer you are in luck. In case you don’t have a stand mixer don’t lose heart, you can still make macarons with a hand mixer, only it will take longer and you will need some muscle power but you will surely get there. Here is a link to a good stand mixer: https://amzn.to/35riTBu Link to a hand mixer: https://amzn.to/2ZQg63S
  2. Food processor:  To make sure you get the right even texture and combine the almond flour and icing sugar together it is important first to whiz it well in the food processor before you put it through a sieve. Here is link to one: https://amzn.to/37B7yAv

PICTURESQUE RECIPE STEPS OF HOW TO MAKE FRENCH MACARON:

Step1: Process Almond flour and icing sugar in a processor: Make sure you process almond flour and icing sugar well in a food processor before you put it through the sieve. This helps in breaking down the bigger pieces of almond in the almond flour.

Step2: Sieve the mixture: Sieving it through the sieve further helps in breaking down any lumps, aerates the flour and makes sure there are no large pieces of almond flour or it will deface the surface of your macarons. Discard the larger particles if any, don’t try to press them through the sieve.

Step3: Making the Merengue:

a) Separate the whites and the yolks from the 5 large room temperature eggs, saving the yolks for another recipe and adding the whites to another bowl. Many makes talk about aging egg but I did not. From my experience, egg age doesn’t matter much. Make sure you have let your eggs come to room temperature before you plan to use them. Cold whites just don’t whip up as well as the warmer ones do. Wait a few minutes or put them in room temperature water for a few minutes.

b) Now using your stand mixer or hand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk your egg whites at medium speed add salt while the mixer is still running. With the mixer on high, add the cream of tartar until the egg whites become foamy.

c) Once they are foamy and translucent slowly sprinkle in the ½ cup of white sugar as well. Keep whipping until your egg whites achieve a soft peak stage.

d) When the egg whites are at the soft peak stage,  add the strawberry essence and coloring. Always add your food gel and essence to the meringue after it reaches the soft peak stage or else the next stage of stiff peaks will become runny and won’t give you the right result.

e) Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Make sure that meringue has very STIFF PEAKS!! You’ll notice the meringue starts to fill the whisk when you’re getting close to the right stage. You will have stiff and pointy peaks once your Meringue is ready.

Step4: Making the Macronage:

a) THIS is the most important step in proper macarons. Transfer all the mirengue to the dry ingredients (almond flour and icing sugar mix) and fold together. The mixing takes some practice, don’t go stir-crazy on this mix, you’ll spoil everything (too much folding will result in a runny batter thus ruining the feet of the macron, so avoid it). 

b) Take your rubber spatula and lightly roll it around the batter in the bowl and fold the mixture over itself. Initially, it may look like it just isn’t mixing and that you have too much of the almond mix but eventually it will come together. When it starts coming together, start to drag (pressing the batter against the sides) the mixture around the bowl.

c) Don’t deflate the batter too much, this process just takes time to recognize the proper consistency. It should end up like thick lava. This is called the macaronage.

d) The secret test to know the right consistency for the perfect macaron batter is when you pick up the batter with the spatula and try to create an “8” pattern with a solid, streaming ribbon of batter. If you can make an “8” a few times over on top of itself and see the entire shape not disappear, you have mixed the batter to readiness to pipe.

Step5: Filling the batter in a piping bag: Spoon in the batter to a piping bag fitted with a #12 round tip. You can pipe the batter onto silicone macron molded mats or pre-traced sheets of parchment paper fixed to a baking tray.

Step6: Piping Batter:  You can use some batter as glue to hold the parchment sheet steady on the baking tray. Now pipe the macarons perpendicular to the surface. If your tip is pointing a bit in any particular direction when you pipe the macarons might come out oblong or malformed. Pipe inch rounds about an inch apart, filling up only the first circle on the Silicone mat or the traced parchment paper. When you are finishing the piping motion stop squeezing the bag and pull up with a circular motion.

Step7: Rap the baking tray: Once you have piped your macrons on the sheet, hold the baking sheet a good foot or so above your flat work surface. Drop the pan (evenly. Repeat several times. Then do it once more. This ensures that all of the bubbles make their way out of the batter. If you don’t do this well, you will end up with hollow macarons. Rap the sheet on the work surface for 5 to 6 times atleast.

Step8: Rest the macarons: Rest your macarons to set for 30 minutes, so that the macarons form a skin. You should be able to touch the shell and feel a dry surface. You will notice that they harden and appear a bit glossy. Resting the shells will force the macarons to bake upward and not outward. This is what is responsible for forming the iconic feet and shape of each cookie.

Step9: Bake: Bake at 300˚F (150˚C) for 15 minutes, rotate tray after 7 minutes. Always make sure to place the baking tray on the top most rack in the oven to prevent them from baking too fast and cracking. Allow them to cool completely before you attempt to poke or attempt to remove them from the baking sheet. These cookies are very delicate.

Step10: For the Buttercream Filling: To make the buttercream filling beat the butter for 5 minutes with a stand or hand. Add the sugar in thirds, beating in between each addition until incorporated. Finally, add the vanilla essence and mix until combined.

Step11: For Assembly: Pipe about 1 tablespoon worth of buttercream filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and press until the buttercream reaches the edges, repeat until you have made all of them. The macarons will be best after 1-2 days resting in the fridge. Enjoy!

HOW TO MAKE PERFECT MACARONS

A French Macaron Recipe that will let you make the most beautiful, delicate, pillowy light, chewy, delicious and melt in the mouth cookies in the easiest possible way, that will give you successful results each time. 

Macaron Shell

  • 1 ½ cup (140gms) ground almond flour
  • 2 cups (250gms) powdered sugar/ icing sugar/ confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 largs eggs whites, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup (90gms) white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon strawberry essence or vanilla essence
  • 4-5 drops red gel coloring

BUTTER CREAM FILLING

  • 1 cup (2 sticks/ 226 gms) salted butter, softened
  • 3 cups (380 gms) powdered sugar/ icing sugar/ confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  1. Step1: Process almond flour and icing sugar:

    Add the ground almonds and icing sugar or powdered sugar to a food processor and process well for 2 minutes, until the almonds and sugar are well combined and if there are any large particles in the almond flour they get broken down to fine powder.

    Step2: Sieve the mixture:

    Transfer the almond flour and icing sugar mixture into a sieve and sieve the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Make sure there are no large pieces of almond flour or it will deface the surface of your macarons. Discard the larger particles if any, don’t try to press them through the sieve. Keep your dry ingredient mixture aside.

    Step3: Making the Merengue:

    • Separate the whites and the yolks from the 5 large room temperature eggs, saving the yolks for another recipe and adding the whites to another bowl.

    • Now using your stand mixer or hand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk your egg whites at medium speed add salt while the mixer is still running. With the mixer on high, add the cream of tartar until the egg whites become foamy.

    • Once they are foamy and translucent slowly sprinkle in the ½ cup of white sugar as well. Keep whipping until your egg whites achieve a soft peak stage.

    • When the egg whites are at the soft peak stage, add the strawberry essence and coloring.

    • Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Make sure that meringue has very STIFF PEAKS!!

    Step4: Making the Macronage:

    • THIS is the most important step in proper macarons. Transfer all the meringue to the dry ingredients (almond flour and icing sugar mix) and fold together. Take your rubber spatula and lightly roll it around the batter in the bowl and fold the mixture over itself. Initially, it may look like it just isn’t mixing and that you have too much of the almond mix but eventually it will come together. When it starts coming together, start to drag (pressing the batter against the sides) the mixture around the bowl.

    • It should end up like thick lava. This is called the macaronage.

    • The secret test to know the right consistency for the perfect macaron batter is when you pick up the batter with the spatula and try to create an “8” pattern with a solid, streaming ribbon of batter. If you can make an “8” a few times over on top of itself and see the entire shape not disappear, you have mixed the batter to readiness to pipe.

    Step5: Filling the batter in a piping bag:

    Spoon in the meringue to a piping bag fitted with a #12 round tip. You can pipe the batter onto silicone macron molded mats or pre-traced sheets of parchment paper fixed to a baking tray.

    Step6: Piping Batter:

    You can use some batter as glue to hold the parchment sheet steady on the baking tray. Now pipe the macarons perpendicular to the surface. If your tip is pointing a bit in any particular direction when you pipe the macarons might come out oblong or malformed. Pipe inch rounds about an inch apart, filling up only the first circle on the Silicone mat or the traced parchment paper. When you are finishing the piping motion stop squeezing the bag and pull up with a circular motion.

    Step7: Rap the baking tray:

    Once you have piped your macrons on the sheet, hold the baking sheet a good foot or so above your flat work surface and drop the pan (evenly). Rap the sheet on the work surface 5 to 6 times at least. This ensures that all of the bubbles make their way out of the batter. If you don’t do this well, you will end up with hollow macarons.

    Step8: Rest the macrons:

    Rest your macarons to set for 30 minutes so that the macarons form a skin. You should be able to touch the shell and feel a dry surface. You will notice that they harden and appear a bit glossy. Resting the shells will force the macarons to bake upward and not outward. This is what is responsible for forming the iconic feet and shape of each cookie.

    Step9: Bake:

    Bake at 300F or 150C for 15 minutes rotate the tray after 7 minutes. Always make sure to place the baking tray on the topmost rack in the oven to prevent them from baking too fast and cracking. Allow them to cool completely before you attempt to poke or attempt to remove them from the baking sheet. These cookies are very delicate.

    Step10: For the Buttercream Filling:

    To make the buttercream filling beat the butter for 5 minutes with a stand or hand. Add the sugar in thirds, beating in between each addition until incorporated. Finally, add the vanilla essence and mix until combined.

    Step11: For Assembly:

    Pipe about 1 tablespoon worth of buttercream filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and press until the buttercream reaches the edges, repeat until you have made all of them. 



IMPORTANT TIPS FOR MAKING MACARONS:

  • Make sure you process almond flour and icing sugar well in a food processor before you put it through the sieve.
  • Sieving the mix through the sieve aerates the flour and makes sure there are no large pieces of almond flour. Discard the larger particles if any, don’t try to press them through the sieve.
  • Make sure you have let your eggs come to room temperature before you plan to use them.
  • Add your food gel and essence to the meringue at the soft peak stage.
  • You have to make sure that your meringue is stiff. 
  • The mixing of batter to make the macronage, it takes some practice. When the batter starts coming together it should look like thick lava. This thick lava is called the 
  • Pipe the macarons perpendicular to the surface. If your tip is pointing a bit in any particular direction when you pipe the macarons might come out oblong or malformed.
  • Once you have piped your macrons on the sheet, hold the baking sheet a good foot or so above your flat work surface and drop the pan (evenly). Rap the sheet on the work surface 5 to 6 times at least to remove bubbles
  • It is important to rest the macarons for at least 30 minutes so that the macarons form a skin. This is what is responsible for forming the iconic feet and shape of each cookie.
  • Always make sure to place the baking tray on the topmost rack in the oven to prevent them from baking too fast and cracking.
  • Allow them to cool completely before removing them from the baking sheet. These cookies are very delicate.
  • The macarons will be best after 1-2 days resting in the fridge.
  • Overbaked your shells? In case you overbake your shells and they become too crispy you can brush the bottom with some milk before assembly to soften them up.
  • You can change the flavoring by using a different type of essence or extract – 1 teaspoons worth. Use anything you would like to fill the macarons, buttercream, ganache, lemon curd or fruit preserve.

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