French macarons, not to be confused with coconut macaroons, are light and tasty cookies. With a dainty appearance, these cookies are perfect with a cup of tea. Macarons can be made in different colors, with different flavored fillings and even take on different shapes. But for many inexperienced cookie makers, they can be challenging to make. The recipe below must be precisely followed and a kitchen scale is a must. To make the shell, you will need:
100 grams ground blanched almonds or almond meal/flour (If you used Trader Joes almond meal it is not blanched. You can still use it but you will have pieces of almond skin in it. Not very appealing to look at but they still tastes good)*
170 grams confectioners powdered or icing sugar.
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder, regular unsweetened or Dutch-processed
100 grams “aged” egg whites, at room temperature **See Below
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (This is optional but recommended. Cream of Tartar helps keep the egg whites stabilized)
35 grams superfine or castor white sugar. (I ground up raw sugar and it worked fine)
*Costco now sounds almond flour in bulk which is what I used.
**To age egg whites simply separate the whites from yolk. Cover the whites with plastic wrap or a paper towel and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 5 days. Let egg whites come to room temperature before using. For more infer on aging egg whites see here
Sift together ground almonds, confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa powder to remove any lumps.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat on medium high speed until the meringue holds stiff peaks. When you hold the whisk up, it should look like this. The point should not droop.
Add in 1/3 of the ground almond mixture and fold into the egg whites. When incorporated fold in another 1/3 until incorporated and then the final 1/3. Once the almond mixture is completely folded the batter will fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon it is time to pipe the Macarons.
Fill a pastry bag, fitted with about a 1/2 inch plain tip, with about half the batter. Pipe about 1 1/2 inch rounds onto either a silicone mat or parchment paper. Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter 3 to 6 times to break any air bubbles. If you see any additional bubbles, they can be broken with a toothpick. Let the Macarons sit at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes, depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen or until the tops of the Macarons are no longer tacky when lightly touched.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cookies for about 14-16 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. The macarons are done when they just barely separate from the parchment paper or mat. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before filling.
They can be filled with any thick frosting, filling, or icing. I filled mine with this Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Macarons take some practice and they may not turn out perfect the first couple of times you make them. Here are some tips to help.
1. Make sure you beat egg whites in a grease free bowl without any egg yolks in it. If your egg whites to whip up to stiff peaks that could be the reason why.
2. Do not under mix or over mix the batter. Undermixing with result in a dry lumpy macaron and over mixing will deflate the whites and make the batter too runny which will give you a flat macaron.
3. It’s very important to tap the pan on the counter and remove air bubbles. If there are air bubbles, the tops will crack while baking.