French Macaron

FRENCH MACARON, described in Wikipedia as a sweet meringue-based confection made with eggs, icing/powdered sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two biscuits. The confection is characterised by smooth, squared top, ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot” or “pied”), and a flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth. The fillings can range from jams to ganache to buttercream.

ChamoritaMomma’s kitchen describes it as a well rounded delicate, crisp, chewy, beautiful but time consuming cookie.  Either way, it’s well worth the effort and I hope you’ll tackle making this.  I hope that with my step-by-step instruction, you too will be a success.

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3 Egg Whites
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Cream of tartar
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 cup Almond Flour
Food coloring, your choice
Buttercream, Ganache, jams or jelly, for filling

First thing you need to do, is allow the eggs  to come up to room temperature; start by breaking the eggs into a clean bowl and separate the yolk from the whites. Save the yolks for another dish or dessert such as creme brulee or flan.  Make sure that when you crack the eggs to remove the whites from the yolk, you DO NOT have any yolk or shell mixed in.  A faster way would be to put the whole eggs into a bowl of warm water, and allow it to sit for a bit to come to room temperature before separating them.

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Measure out the powdered sugar and the almond flour, then run them through a sieve to remove any large bits that may be mixed in. This will also ensure a smoother batter.  Set this aside

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When you’re ready to prepare the batter and your egg whites have come to room temperature, pour your egg whites into a large mixing bowl.  I just used my stand mixer with the wire whisk.  Beat the egg whites until you get a little foam develop as shown in picture.

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Measure out the 1/4 granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp. Cream of tartar, and 1/4 tsp. Salt.  Add these ingredients in and whip on high until you get shiny soft peak that forms.  When you start to notice SOFT peaks forming, meaning that the peaks of the meringue are slightly soft and drooping over;  add in your food coloring to achieve the desired color.  Just realize that once the almond flour and baking time is accounted for, the color will lighten, so allow for this factor.

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Once stiff and shiny peaks form, meaning that the peaks of the meringue are standing straight, without drooping over;  remove the whisk and using a large rubber spatula, add some of the flour/powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites, fold this into the mixture in several increments, making sure to mix it well.  Once you’re done adding the almond mixture, continue to mix and fold until you have a shiny and slightly runny batter. DO NOT over mix the batter!

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Now, here’s where the fun begins, lol!  I own a macaron kit, which you can purchase online or at fine kitchenware store such as William Sonoma.  It’s consists of a mat that already has the grooves for measuring each macaron and an awesome extruder.  You don’t need this, just use some parchment paper to line your baking pan, but DO NOT GREASE the paper.  I prefer to use a SILPAT silicon baking liner to bake my macarons on. Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip,  add the batter into the pastry bag and carefully extrude about a quarter-sized dollop spacing about 1-inch apart to allow for spreading.  Realize that when you dollop the batter onto the mat, it will spread out.  Once the mat is full, tap it onto the counter to help remove some of the air bubbles. Now this step is VERY CRUCIAL!  Allow the macarons to sit on the counter top to “dry” for about 20 – 30 minutes. Do not cover them!  This process will aid the macarons to form a “skin” over their tops so that when it bakes, the cooking steam will not penetrate through the tops, but rather out through the sides, thus forming the “feet” of the macaron.

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Here are macarons that I free handed, using the quarter sized dollop on a SILPAT baking mat.  One way to see if your macarons have properly dried is to gently feel the tops, if they’re not sticky, then it’s dried enough.  Preheat your oven to 300°.  Place your macaron tray, ONE AT A TIME, in the oven.  DO NOT BAKE MORE THAN ONE TRAY AT A TIME!  The other tray can stay sitting on the counter,continuing to dry until the one tray is done baking.  Bake your macarons for 20 minutes, in my oven 21 – 22 minutes was perfect. So keep an eye on them, but DO NOT UNDER BAKE THEM!

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Once the macarons are done baking, allow them to cool off completely before removing them from the baking sheet.  DO NOT ATTEMPT to lift them off before they cool off, because they are still soft and will break!

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The signs of a GOOD MACARON, you need to have the “feet” and there should NOT be any “hollow” areas.

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Now, the filling is completely up to you!  There are several recipes out there for ganaches, buttercreams, jams and jellys, which can also be used.   The options are endless.  Use this recipe as a base for your creativity.  I added almond extract flavoring to the meringue while it was whipping up, but you could use other flavorings as well.  I’m actually not even sure if this is allowed in the macaron bible, but I sure worked for me 😉

I found that while I was waiting for my ganache filling to set; pairing up my macarons with the tops and bottoms actually helps when you get ready to fill because you’re not trying to find one that fits perfectly.

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When you add your filling, do not fill it too much, because when you add the tops to the macaron, it may ooze out slightly!  Do not push the tops down too much when covering

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To store the macarons, you can fill them and then store them in an airtight container separated in layers by wax paper, in the freezer.  Storing them in the refrigerator will only make them stale.

As I continue to make macarons, I’ll add more to this recipe.  But please use it as your basic macaron recipe and have fun with it.  HAPPY BAKING!

 

 

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