This has been a long overdue post. Like the foodblog world, I too have been bitten by the macaron bug. Macarons are not to be confused with macaroons, the coconut variety of which they share a close spelling. Just take out the extra O and everything will be fine. These finicky french cookies made from 3 simple ingredients: almonds, egg whites and sugar have so much notoriety. When you get them right and get pied (feet), it feels like you just won the lottery ,but when you get sad looking meringue impersonators, it is a sad day.
My very first attempt at making macarons without a kitchen scale, I got feet and I felt I was a genius. 15 attempts after that I was ready to throw in the towel. A KITCHEN SCALE IS A MUST !! It just makes the hair tearing incidents a little less likely. A cup of sugar in Baltimore is not the same as a cup of sugar in Seattle. However with gravity still working on this side of the stratosphere, 1g of sugar in Baltimore is the same as 1g of sugar in Seattle, now if you want to make macarons on the ISS, that’s another story entirely.
I would not claim to be an expert at making macarons, for expertise in that arena, I would direct you Helene of Tartlette or check out Mowie Kay’s macarons. There are lots of sites and videos on how to make macrons, so i won’t try and re-invent the wheel, Mowie Kay has a list of links on his website. While you are at it you can feast your eyes on some macarons here. ,I used Helene’s recipe as the basis of this attempt.
Strawberry macarons adapted from Tartelette
90g of aged whites
25g of sugar
200g of powdered sugar
110g of almonds, finely grind ( use almond flour)
25g of strawberry powder
6 -9 drops of red food coloring, gel ( I used 3 in mine)
Pastry bag or quart sized freezer bag
Pastry tip (I used and Ateco 816/825 tip)
Now u may ask, what are aged egg whites ? Separate your whites from the yolks, the yolks can be salvaged for making some lemon curd, hollandaise, creme brulee, but that’s another show. Now there are several ways to age your egg whites. One school of thought is to put in a container covered at room temperature on the counter for at least 48hrs. With being able to make sour dough starter by leaving yeast, water and flour out in the open , i was too chicken to do that .So,I went the other route, aging them in sealed container in the fridge for a couple of days ( almost a week). Now to the recipe.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. If your piping skills are excellent you can skip this step. I got a few macaron round templates from Pure Gourmandise ( It’s in French and i don’t claim to speak or understand). Pick the macaron size you want and trace the outlines out on a piece of parchment paper. I think I chose the 4cm rounds and I traced 3 sheets for my baking sheets. Set the traced parchment paper aside.
Grind the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor if using blanched or sliced almonds. Sieve the mixture twice to get rid of any large pieces and set aside. At this point you can add the strawberry powder to the almond mix. In another bowl, add the egg whites and sugar together and beat at high speed, until you just get stiff glossy peaks. Add the red food coloring and mix till its well incorporated. If you want a really deep color, add some more food coloring, the color u get when baked is much lighter. Add the sifted flour mixture in 3 parts to meringue mixture, folding it at each phase. Fold the mixture until, as some bloggers say it flows like “lava” . Since I’ve never being close to a volcano eruption or do i want to, I say until the batter is firm and not runny. Attach the pastry tip to you pastry bag and fill your pastry bag with the macaron batter.
Pipe your batter into the round you drew on the parchment lined baking sheet. Your batter should just settle slowly and leave an even flat surface. Rap the bottom of the baking sheet lightly on a flat surface. Let the macaron batter rest/ dry out at room temperature uncovered for at least 20 minutes. I left mine out for 45 minutes. This allows the macaron to develop a skin that leads to the slight crust giving way to the soft meringue center.Sprinkle a little of the strawberry powder on each unbaked shell, make a quick prayer to the macaron gods for ‘feet’ and bake in the oven for 15- 20 minutes. While the macarons are baking, you can go ahead an make your filling. In this case i chose to use a lemon-lime butter cream.
Lemon lime butter cream ,adapted from I love macarons
2 egg yolks ( You can use the ones, left over from the aged egg whites)
Zest of lime
Zest of lemon
1 tsp of lime juice
1tsp of lemon juice
7 tbsp of butter, room temperature
1/4 cup of sugar
3 1/2 tsp of milk
Warm the milk and zest together in a small saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until it starts to get lighter. Add the milk and zest mixture to the egg yolks and return mixture to the heat. Simmer the mixture until it is think and creamy. Be careful to simmer on medium heat or lower , so it doesn’t not curdle on you. I strained mine to be extra careful. Beat egg-milk base with a hand mixer on medium speed till it cools down for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes heavy. Add the butter in 3 parts to the mixture until it is smooth. Reserve in the fridge till ready to pipe.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Be careful when removing the macaron shells from the parchment as some of them could stick . I put baking sheet in the freezer for a few minutes and I’ve found this does the trick. The macaron shells are now ready for the filling of your choosing.. Set the macarons aside for a couple of hours if you have the patience to allow the flavors to meld together and enjoy with friends.