I’ve never actually seen, or even tasted a macaroon, but after reading post after post about these beautiful delicacies by many food bloggers I held them in the highest regard as one of the most delightful yet difficult petit fours in the dessert world. Because of the the difficulty rating that everyone seemed to give them, I’d never even thought about attempting them till yesterday.
Well, you can see how well that adventure went. Call it sheer bloody-mindedness, but yesterday’s failure only strengthened my resolve to beat these meringue-based marvels into submission of the tastiest kind. I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter
Easy Macaron Recipe
I was unwilling to try the same macaron recipe, so after some googling, I found the recipe at A La Cuisine which I thought I’d give a shot, as, y’know, a real person had actually tried it and not some airy fairy chef. The only point at which I deferred from the instructions was the last bit – I was scared of over-mixing and I didn’t quite get it “flowing like magma”.
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Look at those puffy, well-formed feet! It worked out fine, except that after the first tray left the oven, I began to have a sneaking suspicion that my oven temperature was off. After they had cooled and I tried to remove them, they could not be pried off the baking paper to save my life.
However, with the second tray I left them in much longer and they turned out pretty much spot on, as you can see above 😉 They are crunchy with a chewy centre, and a beautiful combination of flavour and texture!
Well, the macaroon with bittersweet chocolate ganache filling taste soo good. I’ve adapted the original recipe ever so slightly as they were far too sweet for my liking (but tasted fine once paired with the creamy, intense, almost bitter dark chocolate ganache) with a few additional notes from my own learning experience today 🙂
French Almond Macaron Recipe Ingredients
- 3/4 cup (150g) pure icing sugar
- 1 cup (110g) commercial ground almonds (much drier than grinding them yourself)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (105g) egg whites at room temperature*
- 1/4 cup (65g) castor sugar
- pinch of salt
*measure out your egg whites the night before, leaving them out, uncovered, at room temperature to slightly dry out and thicken.
How to Make French Macaron Recipe
1. Sieve the almond flour and icing sugar seperately, then mix them together and set aside.
2. In a large, clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with salt on medium speed till they are foamy. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the castor sugar (1 tbsp at a time), and continue to whip till you have stiff peaks (the whites should be firm and shiny).
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3. With a flexible spatula, gently fold in the icing sugar/almond mixture into the egg whites till completely incorporated. The mixture should be shiny and ‘flow like magma’. When small peaks dissolve to a flat surface, stop mixing. Line a heavy baking tray with a silicone baking mat and parchment (the heavy tray and silicone mat are to ensure even heat distribution).
4. Pipe the batter onto baking sheets in 1 inch circles, between 1cm – 1.5cm tall. Firmly tap the baking tray against the tabletop to remove air bubbles, and leave in a dry area of the room to dry out for 1 or 2 hours to allow skins to form. You’ll know that the skin has formed when you can lightly press your finger against the piped form and bring it away clean without a single trace of wetness or stickiness.
5. Bake in an oven preheated to 160 degrees C for roughly 20 minutes with a wooden spoon to prop open the oven door, rotating the tray after 10 minutes for even baking. Keep an eye on them, and once the macaroon can be easily pushed off the parchment, remove them immediately. If they are still sticking to the sheet, they are undercooked.
6. Place the parchment on a cooling rack, and leave to completely cool. Once cool, pair them up with other halves of similar size, then pipe filling onto one half and sandwich them. Refrigerate to allow the fillings to harden and flavours to meld, and remove from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.
Flavour & Macaron Filling Options
- Ordinary Buttercream
- 100g butter
- 35g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
Beat together till well combined, then chill till firm enough to pipe.
- Italian Buttercream
- 2 egg whites (60mL)
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp castor sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, roughly diced
How to Make Macaron Filling
Whisk together the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl bain-marie style (over a pot of simmering water) and heat the mixture, whisking often, for 3-5mins or till it feels warm and sugar has dissolved.
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Remove from heat and whisk on high speed till stiff and shiny. Add the butter slowly, one cube at a time, and continue to mix till all the butter is combined. Add any flavourings and refrigerate till firm enough to pipe.
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
Equal parts bittersweet chocolate and cream
Melt bain-marie style, then mix till combined and leave to cool, mixing occasionally.
You can also:
- Mix in 1/4 cup strained strawberry jam into the buttercream.
- Sift in 2 tbsp Dutch-process coca powder with the icing sugar for the macaroon batter.
- Replace part of the almond powder with another nut powder such as hazelnut.
- Scrape seeds from 2 vanilla beans and add to almond meal mix. Add 2 tsp vanilla. extract to butter cream.
- Add 1 tbsp coffee powder to egg whites. Add 1 tsp coffee powder to butter cream.
- Mix pistachio paste into butter cream.
- Add a little lemon juice and zest to butter cream.
- Add 1 1/2 tbsp chestnut paste to meringue after adding icing sugar, and 1 tbsp to 1/2 butter cream and 2 tbsp to other 1/2 of butter cream.
- Add 2 tbsp matcha (green tea powder) to butter cream.
- Toast 2 tbsp sesame seeds then grind and push through a sieve. Mix into batter when combining icing sugar with almond meal. Process 2 tbsp sesame seeds and push through a sieve, then mix into butter cream.