When it comes to French macarons, texture is the answer to these little delicacies, which are actually two meringues made out of egg whites, ground almonds, and sugar. They are sandwiched with a French macaron filling, such as ganache or lemon curd. Classic French macarons are not to be confused with the American coconut confection, the macaroons. A well made French macaron is more the result of technique, rather than following a recipe to the last detail. There are a lot of tips and tricks that you will discover as you go along.
Here is a simple French macaron recipe. This is a step by step process of making the cookies and then we will prepare them with these delectable fillings, Vanilla Butter cream and Lemon Curd. Do not be limited to these two fillings however. You can be creative and the combinations are practically endless. Let us begin by making a subtly sweet Almond Macaron, which are a very versatile base.
7-3/8 oz. or 1-3/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
4-3/8 oz. or 1-1/4 cups plus 2 Tablespoons of almond flour
4 large egg whites, set at room temperature
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
Macaron filling of your choice: Vanilla Buttercream, Lemon Curd and/or Chocolate Ganache
DIRECTIONS: How to Make the Batter
First, line three totally flat baking sheets with nonstick baking liners or parchment and set aside. With a medium sized mesh sieve, sift the confectioners’ sugar as well as the almond flour into a large bowl and set aside for now. Now, in a clean stand mixer with the whisk attachment on, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they turn foamy and the wires of the beater leave a trail. You can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer. Add 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and continue whipping for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat this 3 times with the remaining granulated sugar. Once all of the sugar has been mixed in, continue whipping the whites until they become glossy and stiff when you raise the beater from the bowl. The egg whites should hold a straight peak that doesn’t break at the tip. Do this 4 to 8 minutes more.
For accuracy, use a scale to weigh ingredients such as the confectioners’ sugar or the almond flour. This method is actually much more precise than a cup measure. Also make sure the egg whites are room temperature before using them as they will whip up better. When separating eggs do it while cold, since they separate more easily.
Using a large rubber spatula, fold in half of the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once most of it has been integrated, fold in the remaining mixture until combined.
DIRECTIONS: How to Pipe
With a piping bag fitted with a 1/2- to 3/4-inch round tip, you can pipe the macaron batter onto the prepared sheets in circles that are approximately 1 inch in diameter and 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick. Space them around 11/2 inches apart from each other. As you pipe, make sure to hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, flicking the tip of the bag as you do each cookie to reduce the peaks. Tap the sheet against the table counter a few times to encourage the mounds to flatten. Also pop any visible air bubbles. Allow to rest the meringues around 20 to 30 minutes. You can now position the racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
Always use a flat baking sheet, a new piece of parchment, or a nonstick baking liner to make sure that your cookies turn into a nice round shape. A warped baking sheet or creased parchment will produce ugly shaped cookies. Also test the exterior of the batter after it has rested for 20 to 30 minutes. It should feel a bit dry and not feel sticky anymore, making sure that each meringues will form a crisp top once baked. If the batter still feels sticky, allow it to rest for a few more minutes before you place it in the oven.
DIRECTIONS: How to Bake the Meringues
Place two of the meringues sheets inside the oven and instantly turn down the temperature to 300°F Allow the third sheet to sit at room temperature for now. When you bake, rotate the sheets and exchange their positions after eight minutes, or until the meringues turn into very light golden color, baking for 15 to 20 minutes total. Now allow them to totally cool on the baking sheets. Reset the oven temperature to 325°F and then bake the third sheet just as you did for the first two. Once totally cool, you can remove the meringues from the parchment and match them by size. Always make sure to rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking time so that the cookies bake evenly.
DIRECTIONS: How to Fill the Meringue
With a piping bag using the same tip used to pipe the cookies, pipe 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons of the filling onto one of the French macaron cookies. The idea is you will want to use just enough filling so that it spreads to the edge when sandwiched with the matched cookie, but it will not squirt out when bitten. This will take trial and error. A technique is to leave a narrow, unfilled border when piping the filling onto the cookie. When topped with the partner cookie, the filling will extend to the edge. Partner the filled halves with their pair cookie. The macarons are best the day you make them. If you store them in an airtight container at room temperature they will be ok for a day. Frozen they will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Enjoy this best French macaron recipe, and make it your own with original filling you, your family and friends will enjoy.