French Macarons

macaron_1

Chocolate, mint and coffee macaron

French Macarons made with Italian Meringue

French macarons – petit and delicate cookies with a crunchy exterior and soft, fluffy interior, filled with the creamy ganache, frosting, or curd. I took a challenge and made them at home. Some say they are complicated, yield to many unsuccessful batches, I say if you follow the recipe you will succeed, but do not give up after the first try. It definitely is a challenge to perfect them, so experiment and tweak the techniques. My wish was to write a recipe which is easy to follow, but detailed enough to understand, hopefully I succeeded.

Macarons consist of a very few ingredients. Shells are made of almond sugar syrup mixture which gives a natty taste to cookies. For the filling there is a big variety of tastes you can choose from. I made quite a number of them and I will write about them in the next posts.

Italian method macaron recipe
I am using an Italian method to make a meringue (sugar syrup and egg whites mixture). The reason behind is that I got introduced to it earlier, but also because it makes the most stable meringue so it won’t leak, weep or collapse, but it will be extremely fluffy. You will need a candy thermometer for this method.

Notes before starting
The base ingredients for French macarons are almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar and good quality egg whites. It is recommended to age the eggs. Egg whites consist mainly of water, which can make the final batter quite wet. While aging the eggs some of that water evaporates, so this could be a good trick to a more successful results. Eggs age one day per hour compared to how they’d age in a refrigerator. It is recommended to age them for about 12 hours at a room temperature.

You will need…

  • kitchen scale
  • 2 very clean mixing bowls
  • hand mixer
  • candy thermometer
  • piping bag
  • round piping tip
  • template with macaron outline
  • parchment paper

Preparation
It is good to be well prepared with all the ingredients and tools, as once you start everything goes fast.

  • Age egg whites for around 12 hours at a room temperature. Separate egg whites and place them in a bowl. Set aside to dehydrate until ready to use.
  • Prepare baking trays. Line the tray with non-stick baking paper and place macaron template under it.
  • Measure all the ingredients.
  • Process the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor, and sift them together. This will help with getting smooth shiny shells.
  • Prepare pastry bag fitted with a 1 cm tip.


 

Makes9 buns

Time
Preparation: 45 min Resting: 1 h 15 min Total: 2 h

Ingredients

Almond base

  • 300 g ground almonds
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 110 g egg white
  • 1 g food colouring

Italian meringue base

  • 110 g egg white
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 55 g water

1

Almond base

Place almond-sugar mixture in a very clean bowl and add first half of egg whites. Set aside.

  • 300 g ground almonds
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 110 g egg white

2

Italian meringue base

Let’s prepare meringue. Get the new and clean bowl and add the second half of egg whites. Set aside. Place granulated sugar into a small sauce pan and add water. Attach candy thermometer and place over medium heat. When the sugar syrup reaches 110°C start beating the egg whites are foamy. Usually it takes as long as temperature of the sugar syrup reaches final temperature of 118°C. Set the mixer to slow speed and slowly pour sugar syrup into the bowl of beaten egg whites. Let the mixture to trickle down the side of the bowl, so it does not splatter onto the sides. When all the syrup is poured over increase mixing speed to maximum and beat several minutes (5 – 8 min) until the meringue is just warm to the touch.

  • 110 g egg white
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 55 g water

3

Take the first bowl with the almond/sugar/egg mixture and add any food coloring if wanted. The color get lighter after the meringue is added so when adding the color aim for a little darker then the final goal. Mix all the ingredients together, until well combined.
  • 1 g food colouring

4

When the meringue is ready pour the half to the almond/sugar/egg mixture and fold together gently, in a medium fast moves. Add the rest of the meringue. This process is called macaronage. Folding is critical step in the macaron making process. With the spatula gently go under the mixture and sweep around the bowl towards the mixture. Occasionally, sweep against the top of the batter and cut down through the center of the mixture. When all the ingredients are incorporated check the consistency of the batter. Pick up the batter with the spatula and drop it back into the bowl. You are done with folding when your batter has reached a honey consistency, meaning that it slowly falls down from the spatula when you raise it in the air. If not done continue by sweeping the batter against the bowl. It is very important not to over mix your batter.

5

Take out the prepared tray. You are ready to fill pastry bag with batter. Pipe macarons with a diameter of 3 cm, spacing them a few centimeters apart. When you are done with the first tray take the template paper out and knock the tray on the counter to allow air bubbles to escape and prevent macarons from cracking during the baking process. Rotate the tray and repeat.

6

Allow macarons to rest for 30 minutes, or until the tops dry and form a shell. This step is very important as the macarons become strong to develop feet during baking.

7

Now you are ready to bake your macarons. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the tray on the middle shelf and bake for around 10 minutes. After 5 minutes the shells should develop feet. 6-7 minutes after baking they start to color slightly. Now you can turn your tray around if your oven bakes unevenly. When shells are baked remove from the oven and transfer shell with the baking paper on the kitchen table. After 2 minutes gently lift the shells from the paper.

8

Next step is to make your favorite ganache to fill the macaron.

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