Yield: 35 sandwich cookies
Making macarons requires only four ingredients: almond meal or flour, confectioners’ sugar, egg whites and granulated sugar. Other items such as cocoa powder, dried raspberries, nut powders and dried teas can be added to change the color and flavor of these delicate cookies.
This recipe calls for the “French-Cold Meringue” technique for making the macarons. Made with room temperature egg whites, sugar is slowly added after egg whites are beaten to the soft peak stage. This mixture is less stable and must be used immediately. It is important to closely follow the preparation and baking instructions to help ensure success.
7 ounces confectioners’ sugar
4 ounces almond flour
4 large (4 ounces) egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 ½ ounces granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325°F and place rack in center. Arrange macaron templates on baking sheets and top with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, pulse confectioners’ sugar, and almond flour until a fine powder is formed. Sift mixture four times. Set aside.
To make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium speed to soft peak stage. Gradually add ¼ of granulated sugar and whisk for 10 seconds. Repeat until all the sugar is added. Add the cream of tartar, scrape down sides of bowl and increase speed to high, whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form. The meringue should have the consistency of shaving cream.
Add food coloring or flavoring at this point, about 1 ½ teaspoons flavor extract and about ¼ teaspoon food coloring.
To complete the macaronnage step: Add one-third of the sifted flour mixture to the meringue and fold with the spatula. Once incorporated, add the remaining flour mixture, smearing the batter along the sides of the bowl and then folding back to the center, being careful not to over mix. Repeat until the batter becomes shiny and reaches the consistency of slow moving lava. To check for the correct consistency, the batter should flow from your spatula like thick lava and hold a ribbon for a couple of seconds, then fall back into itself making a smooth glossy surface. If it falls in clumps and doesn’t flow slowly, continue to fold gently, deflating the batter until the proper consistency is reached.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch plain round tip (#12) and pipe 1⅓-inch rounds on parchment lined baking sheets. When piping the macaron batter, keep the tip of the pastry bag about ½-inch above and in the middle of the circle guide since the batter will spread. Once the cirle is filled, stop squeezing and make a quick upward and sideways motion to detach the batter and move to the next circle. The batter should settle into a smooth and glossy round circle. If desired, sprinkle candy bits or nuts on top of the rounds. Firmly tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air.
The macarons should be dry before baking. Let stand at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes; check for a slight crust to form—they should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.
Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 12 to 15 minutes. If the macarons are still soft inside, lower oven to 300°F, cover with aluminum foil and bake for a few more minutes. If the top of the macarons look crinkled, your oven temperature may be too hot.
Let macarons cool on baking sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling. If macarons stick to the parchment paper after baking, pour a small amount of water underneath the parchment and allow the steam to loosen the macarons.
Yield: 1 cup
4 ounces room temperature unsalted butter, cut in ½ inch cubes
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon flavor extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the softened butter until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioners’ sugar to remove any lumps, then add to the butter and mix until combined. Add the flavor extract, milk and salt and whip until smooth and creamy.