When people think of France, many would think of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées. Many others think of the fine cuisines that grace the French culture.
During my visit to France, I visited the famous Macaroon bakery Ladurée. I was amazed with the variety of colors and the elegant presentations. But once I had one Macaroon, I fell in love. Since I don’t live in France (and it’s not really cheap to visit every year), I decided to learn to make Macaroon by myself. I cannot remember how many videos of Macaroons making I had watched on YouTube. I watched bakers give their tips and guidelines , I read a lot of food blogs until one day, I finally decided that it is time for me to face the challenge and excitement of making Macaroons. And so my Macaroons baking adventure began.
When I made my first Macaroons, I was not that concerned about what flavor to make. All I wanted was to just to be able to try it and play with what I had learned. I made my first Macaroons with cream cheese filling. I was so happy with the outcome, not that bad for a first try, but far from being perfect and a lot of room for improvement. I got so obsessed with making more, this time to be able to try adding flavors to the filling.
On my 2nd try , I made Chocolate Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache Filling. I wanted to establish 1 basic recipe that I can play around with, and so I stuck to the same recipe and I just modified it a little bit and added some cocoa powder to give the chocolate flavor. I have a separate post for the recipe for Chocolate Macaroons, check it out. The proportion is slightly different because of the addition of cocoa powder.
The addition of Cocoa powder to give the Chocolate Flavor affected the consistency and texture. It made the batter a little bit more thick. I was so worried of over-mixing it that I under-mixed it. It still came out well but there is still room for improvement especially with the spread of the cookies.
On my 3rd try, I made Butterscoth. I used a butterscoth pudding and Greek yogurt filling. The texture is smooth, the inside is soft & the outside is crunchy. I love it!
I had only tried it 4 times, but I can say that French Macaroon-making is all about technique. There are numerous number of videos and blogs that you can read to learn how to make them, but there is no better way to learn them than to make them yourself. Just do it, and have fun. When it fails, try again. Do not throw your failed batch, you can still salvage it. I have some tips on how you can do that in my New twist on French Macaroons.
- 75g Almond Flour – Sifted
- 100g icing/confectioners sugar – Sifted
- 24 g granulated white sugar
- 2 large egg whites or approximately 70g egg whites (room temperature)
- Chocolate Ganache
- Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Strawberry Jam
- Raspberry Jam
- Caramel Buttercream Frosting : Use the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting then add 2-3 tbsp of Caramel syrup
- Cookies and Cream Buttercream Frosting
- Pastry Cream
- Preheat oven to 300F degrees.
- Sift confectioners sugar, cocoa powder and almond flour until combined. Do this 2 3- 3 times to get a finer texture. Discard the bigger pieces.
- Whisk egg whites and salt for 30 seconds then add cream of tartar.
- Gradually add granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time. Beat for 2 – 4 minutes in medium speed. I prefer using hand mixer for this step because I can actually monitor the texture. You can use stand mixer just pay close attention and set your timer. The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add flavoring and food coloring, if desired, and beat for 30 seconds more.
- Add dry ingredients in two additions . Fold and press with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 40 to 50 complete strokes. When you scoop it out with a spatula and you turn the spatula down, the batter should fall slowly. This is a very crucial step, over mixing or under mixing the batter can ruin the entire batch. It takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be fine.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Hold you pastry bag straight and push the batter out without moving your tip. Just have it steady in the center and stop when you reach your desired size.
- Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Do it until the batter starts to spread a bit, and the bubbles are released and the top smooth is smooth. If a peak or pointed top remains, wet your finger with water and slightly touch it to flatten it.
- Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (depending on the humidity). This will make the shell dry and a little bit hard to the touch. When you lightly touch it, the batter should not stick to your fingers.
- Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until Macarons are crisp and firm, about 15 minutes. Let Macarons cool on sheets for 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. If the Macarons are still sticking to the parchment paper when you try to remove it, then it needs more time to cool. Do not force it. Once completely cooled, it will be easier to lift it.
- Sandwich 2 same-size Macarons with 1 teaspoon filling of your choice (Chocolate Ganache, Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, Strawberry Jam, Raspberry Jam, Cookies and Cream Buttercream Frosting, Pastry Cream etc.)
- Macarons are at it’s best after 2-3 days. This is because the “aging” process allow the shell of the Macarons to soften and to fully absorb the flavor of the filling. I had tried eating it few hours after I put the filling , and I also ate it after 2-3 days and there is really big difference in taste and texture. The shell is softer and gooey, and the flavor is more intense.
Serving: Makes 20 – 21 (approx.) cookies
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Good to know:
- Macarons are at their best when aged. Normally, they are at their best on the 2nd or 3rd day,depending on the type of filling you are using. For fillings like Jam, Pudding, Custard, or anything that has more liquid, storing it overnight before serving it is enough time for the Macarons to absorb the flavor. For buttercream frosting, or anything that hardens when you put it inside the fridge , 2-3 days is best for the flavor to absorb.
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Recipe Adapted from: Martha Stewart (with my own slight modifications)