Yesterday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new… traditional French Macarons. I know what you’re thinking, macarons are crazy difficult and are a huge undertaking. They intimidate almost everyone who tries them.
ARE YOU CRAZY?!?
I know that’s what you’re thinking.
The answer is no. I’m not crazy. I needed a new challenge. I was getting bored in the kitchen and I needed to test my skills with something new, creative and outside the box.
Mindy Cone recently published a new cookbook, Gourmet French Macarons: Over 75 Unique Flavors and Festive Shapes, that everyone in the bloggersphere is talking about. So, I knew this was the perfect challenge for me. Mindy generously offered to send me a copy of her book so I can try out her recipes. I seriously can not wait to get it!
But, until Mindy’s book arrived, I wanted to see if I could at least get the basic recipe and technique down for French Macarons before I tried new flavors and shapes.
Yesterday was that adventure.
I began my research with Mindy’s blog, Creative Juice. She’s got several links to videos, tutorials and recipes that I spent an entire day watching and reading. LOTS of information to take in.
Next, I read the blog of my friend Jen who is a UK baker and a macaron expert! She’s got a great tutorial on her blog Jen’s Just Desserts with lots of tips on how to make French Macarons. I love how Jen’s tutorial goes into great detail on exactly how many folds, minutes, etc it took to make the macarons. VERY helpful.
I also watched the first part of this video and I used the weight measurements from this recipe on Giver’s log. The Food Nouveau has a ton of great info about macaron making including templates for piping and a video tutorial. Definitely check out this blog!
And finally, between the blog Bake it Off and Jen’s Just Desserts – I learned how important counting the number of times you fold the batter is. This was very helpful when it came time to actually making the batter.
During the process of research and in actually making the macarons, I found a few things stood out as being very important. I’ve listed below what I found the be the most helpful.
JavaCupcake’s Top 5 Things to Know Before Making Macarons
- Prep everything before you begin making the batter. Gather all your tools then weigh and measure all ingredients. This will ensure a smooth baking process. Wash, clean and dry all your tools. Make sure no grease is on anything that will touch the egg whites.
- Use older, room temperature egg whites. If you have time, crack and separate your eggs. Cover and leave them out overnight to age.
- Use a food scale to weigh ingredients. I know a lot of recipes list ingredients in cups, but it’s best to have a more accurate measurement by weight. This will ensure you have the proper texture and flavor.
- Use a template to create consistency in the size of your macarons.
- BE PATIENT – do not try to rush the process. Fold the batter slowly & count the number of folds/strokes. Set a timer for at least 20 minutes & walk away from the macarons while they are resting. Patience is what will make your macarons successful!
Now, this was just my first attempt. I’m not claiming to be an expert by any means. My goal here is to share this process with you so that you can feel confident to try making macarons yourself! It’s much simpler than you think!
So, if you try my method, please let me know. I’d love see pictures and hear how they turned out for you!
Good luck and Enjoy!
- Stand mixer with whisk attachment - both very clean and dry
- Medium mixing bowl
- Mesh sifter
- Wire whisk
- Rubber Spatula
- Disposable piping bag
- ½in round piping tip (Wilton 1A)
- Small round piping tip (Wilton 12)
- 3.5cm piping template
- 4.5oz powdered sugar (about 1 cup)
- 2.5oz almond flour (about ¾ cup)
- 90g egg whites (about 2 large eggs)
- 1.5oz granulated sugar (about ¼ cup)
- Sky Blue Wilton Food Color Gel - just a pinch
- NOTE: These amounts make more than you need, just save the leftovers for another project!
- 120g semi-sweet chocolate - I used Lindt 50% zartbitter schokolade
- 120ml or ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ T unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ T flavoring - I used Mozart Chocolate Cream Liquor, but any flavoring can be used
- Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Place the racks on the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 2 templates per baking sheet under parchment paper.
- In the medium bowl, sift together the powdered sugar and almond flour. Sift three times. You may have a few lump of almond flour left in the sifter, discard it. Stir the whisk around 5-10 stokes to ensure everything is combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites. Start the mixer on low and gradually bring it to high speed. Once the eggs have become foamy, add the granulated sugar 1 Tbsp at a time. Mix for 20 seconds after each addition. After all the sugar has been added, continue to mix on high until stiff peaks form. This entire process should take 6-10 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and tap off any extra meringue from the whisk into the bowl.
- Gently pour half the almond/sugar mix into the meringue and fold with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. Take care to fold VERY gently, about 10-15 strokes, scraping the bottom and sides occasionally. Add the remaining almond/sugar mix and repeat another 10-15 strokes, again occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add a drop of food coloring to the batter.
- Continue to slowly fold the batter another 10-20 strokes or until the surface is smooth and shiny and the batter is thick. When you lift and drop the batter back on itself, after waiting for about 30 seconds, the ridges should slowly ooze back into the batter.
- Attach a ½in wide, round piping tip to a disposable bag and fill it with batter. Holding the bag upright, slowly squeeze dollops of batter onto the prepared baking sheet lined with the template. Read this tutorial for more details on this process.
- Tap the pan on the counter several times to release any air holes in the macarons.
- Allow macarons to rest on the counter for 20-30 minutes or until a crust has formed and is stiff to the touch. Remove template before baking.
- When ready to bake, place one baking sheet on each rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate pans 180 degrees and switch racks moving the pan on top to the bottom and the pan on the bottom to the top. Bake another 3-5 minutes or until firm with the slightest amount of give when gently touched.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on the pans. The macarons should then gently pop off the pan when lifted. Set them on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. BE CAREFUL, they are FRAGILE!
- Chop the chocolate and place in a medium glass bowl.
- In a small sauce pan, bring the butter and heavy cream to a boil. Immediately pour of the chopped chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently and slowly stir the ganache until smooth.
- Add the flavoring and mix until incorporated.
- Allow the ganache to come to room temperature and be completely cool before piping onto the macarons.
- Fit a piping bag with the Wilton 12 tip. Fill with chocolate ganache.
- Match up macaron shells so that they are equal in size and shape. Lay them open face on your work surface.
- Squeeze about a teaspoon of ganache onto one macaroon.
- Holding the macaron by it's sides and NOT the tops, gently place the matching shell on top of the ganache and wiggle it down gently until the ganache reaches the sides.
- French Macarons will last up to 5 days. If serving the day they are made, leave them out at room temperature.
- If not serving the same day, store them in an air-tight container on the lowest shelf of your refrigerator.
- Allow the macarons to come to room temperature before serving, about 30 minutes.