Have you ever been walking in a downtown location and all of the sudden you see a specialty shop that has these little sandwich type cookies? The sign says, “Macarons”! You automatically say it out loud and think, “I’ve had a macaroon, but it ain’t nothing like that.” (in my accent at least.) Though these two cookies come from the same origin, the term isn’t misspelled, these are FRENCH macarons! They are hard to make, but with a little practice (and some Will Bake 4 Food tips), you’ll have a successful Macaron in NO TIME (well, a couple hours. . . )
90-110 grams of egg whites(3 medium to large eggs), aged at least 2 hrs at room temp.
*1/8 t of cream of tartar
35-45 grams of white sugar (about 3 T)
Red dye, about dime sized blob.
DRY (size doesn’t matter, but weight does):
100-110 grams of Almond Flour
200-210 grams of Confectioner’s Sugar
5 T butter, room temp
1 t vanilla extract (If ONLY using vanilla or Almond is good, up the measure to 1 T)
*1/8 t raspberry oil extract
Red Dye, About dime sized blob
80 g (about 1/2 cup) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
Other Stuff you’ll need:
2 cookie sheets
2 Piping bags
½ inch tip (2A wilton is what I have)
Hand mixer with whisk and beaters
*Stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
*indicates an item that can be modified/is optional
The night before you know you’re going to make your cookies, separate your eggs and leave them on out in a bowl with a paper towel over them. Don’t measure them now, they will “age” and dry out slightly changing the weight. If you can’t achieve this time frame due to a busy life (believe me, I KNOW), bring your eggs to room temp, separate and leave sit at least 2 hours: the LONGER the better because the egg whites break down and whip up much better the longer they age.
You can do this now, or before you start the actual “macaronage” process: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and prepare your piping bag with tip. Once you have your tip in the bag, twist and stuff the twisted part of the bag into the bag side opening in the tip so that the batter won’t run out; place tip end in to a large drinking glass and fold down the edges of the bag around the outside of the cup.
With a mixing bowl placed on your scale, tare/zero the scale set on the GRAMS so that you get an accurate measurement of the egg whites. You’ll get between 90-110g. I’ve tried to separate out and get an exact measurement here, but it’s WAY easier to manage the weight of the dry ingredients. Set your eggs aside.
Next, put a separate bowl and the sifter on the scale, tare/zero, and measure out your almond flour. Now that you know what your egg whites are, take your measurement and use that as your baseline for a 1X1 measure for the almond flour; THEN add 10g. I had 92g of egg whites, so I ended up with 102g of almond flour. If you don’t have a scale, it’s hard, but you can succeed. This ends up being about 1 Cup.
With this mixture in your bowl, tare/zero your scale and measure your confectioner’s sugar. You want 2x1 ratio here: we had 92g of egg whites; that would be 184g. I like to add about 15-20g more. . . So I went to 204g.
Sift the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar mixture together about 4 times. Make sure to whisk them together at some point between sifts to make sure that the ingredients are well combined. MANY tutorials suggest putting these into a food processor to combine. If you use that method, you’ll still have to sift to extract any lumps, SO, I skip that step. ONE less thing to clean too!
After sifted, set aside. It’s time to make the meringue!
There are 3 basic types of meringues: French, Swiss and Italian. I’m using a French here: Put your cream of tartar in the egg whites and with a hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, break up the egg whites until they become frothy. Then start to add your granulated sugar about 1 T at a time, whisking in between. You want to bring your egg whites to a pretty firm peak (takes 3-4 minutes). Once they are to a firm peak, incorporate your food coloring; incorporate completely and bring to a stiff peak. NOW, you’re ready to macaronage!
With our ratios, we’ve basically added 30g extra of dry ingredients to help to stiffen the batter and keep from over mixing. The part that is quite possibly the place that all of this work can go completely wrong! About a 3rd at a time, sprinkle your dry ingredients overtop of your meringue and “fold” in: Cut down the middle, scoop to the left or right and turn the bowl, repeat until incorporated. Add the second 3rd, repeat; final 3rd and repeat.
The consistency that you want is like “lava”. . . I’ve never seen that in person, but basically once the mixture is about where it will flow off the spatula and sink back into the batter, but still kind of hold a peak for a couple seconds, it’s ready. The batter will be glossy; one of the other things I look for is a “jagged” edge once the batter is lifted up out of the mixture. If it’s too “smooth” and like silk, it’s over mixed. If you’ve gotten there, don’t throw it away! The taste will be great, you just have to be careful when piping. . . You can see this in my video demonstration MUCH better.
After your batter is ready, put it into your piping bag; untwist the end and holding it straight up and down, pipe out about 1 ½-2 in. mounds about 2 in. apart on your parchment paper. After all the batter is piped, pick up your pans and drop them evenly to get out air pockets. (I drop/tap mine about 5-6 times).
NOW, turn on your oven to 300degF and let your pans sit for a minimum of 20 minutes to allow the shell to dry out a bit on the top. Humidity is NOT your friend here! After 20 minutes, test by touching the top, if the better sticks, allow 10 more minutes and check again. If the batter still sticks, go at 5 minute increments. Eventually, they will only “dent” and not stick. Once they “dent”, they’re ready to bake! Place in the oven for 13-15 minutes. I only bake 1 sheet at a time. I did both and rotated once and almost all of them broke. . . Check and make sure the shell lifts off of the parchment paper cleanly, then they’re done.
Once baked, pull from the cookie sheet to cool. Some tutorials just pull the parchment right off of the pan; um, I did that. . . they all were everywhere. . . Put on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely (about 30 minutes).
While your shells are cooling, make the buttercream filling. With your paddle attachment in a stand mixer/beaters on a hand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy and pale (about 3 minutes). Add the sifted confectioner’s sugar; once combined, add in your flavor and dye (if using). Put buttercream in another piping bag. Set aside for a second and pair your cookies. I always end up with slightly different sizes (the first couple of times, they were DRASTICALLY different sizes; again, flavor is GREAT). Once matched in two rows, flip one row over and pipe out some butter cream and sandwich the two matched sides together!
The more these age and soak in the moisture from the buttercream, the better these get. I store them in the fridge in an air tight container overnight and then they’ll last up to a week. I mean, they won’t stay uneaten in my house that long . . . LOL
Et voilá!! You have made Raspberry French Macarons!