I’ve been on a macaron journey for the past year and the journey has had its ups and downs. After baking hundreds of macarons, I think I can finally say that I finally have the hang of it…well, sort of…occasionally, my batches turn out too moist or too crisp. I also recently baked shells that turned out lopsided…ugh!
As many bakers can attest, baking macarons is challenging and macaron batter can be fickle. There are so many factors to consider and I plan to post my “lessons learned” in the coming weeks. Until then, here’s a recipe that I put together for a batch of macarons that I made this past weekend. They were a hit at my friend’s daughter’s birthday party. They’re fun and super yummy for parents and kids alike!
- 3 large egg whites (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tbsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup almond flour (I prefer to pulse the flour to ensure that the granules are finely ground)
- 1 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
- Pink/rose gel food colouring (I prefer using the Wilton brand)
- pinch of salt
- 3 large egg whites (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup butter (room temperature and cut into small cubes)
- Pinch of salt
- Confetti sprinkles
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MACARON SHELLS:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and set the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Beat 3 egg whites, with a whisk attachment, in a mixer at medium speed. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking at medium-high speed until egg whites are fluffy, glossy and hold stiff peaks. Add sugar, a little at a time, while whisking so that the sugar is fully absorbed. Add the pink/rose gel colouring and continue whisking.
In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour (processed in a processing machine to a fine powder), confectioners’ sugar and salt and mix thoroughly. Pass the dry mixture through a sieve and drag any clumps against the mesh with a spatula to separate the clumps. Once well mixed, fold the almond sugar mixture into the egg whites (approximately 30 to 35 folds) being careful not to fold the mixture too many times. Over-folding will deflate the mixture; making the batter too runny. Under-folding the mixture will result in bumpy macaron shells. I’ve heard others describe the ideal consistency of macaron batter as lava-like and I think that’s right. It shouldn’t be as runny as pancake batter and it shouldn’t be so thick such that it’s difficult to pipe. Though it’s likely better to under-fold as opposed to over-fold as the worst that could happen with the latter is that your macaron shells don’t turn out smooth. It takes practice and patience to achieve the right consistency so don’t be surprised if you find your shells don’t necessarily turn out to your liking after the first, second or even third try.
Once you achieve the right consistency, transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip. Pipe rounds of batter, 1 1/4 inch in diameter, onto a parchment paper or a Silpat. Once you have completed your piping, rap the tray firmly against the counter 1 to 2 times to remove any significant air bubbles and let the rounds rest for 30 minutes so that they develop a skin on the surface. The development of the skin is very important; as the skin will allow the macaron shells to develop “feet” during the baking process, without cracking.
When ready, place the tray of piped macaron shells into the oven at 300 degrees Farenheit and bake for 12 minutes. Depending on your oven, it may take up to 15 minutes but you should check the macarons to ensure that they are cooked through. When the macarons have been removed from the oven and cooled, they should be easy to remove by peeling them away from the parchment paper or Silpat sheet.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE FILLING:
Beat 3 egg whites, with a whisk attachment, in a mixer at medium speed. When the egg whites become fluffy and glossy, beat in the sugar, a little at a time, until fully absorbed. Add salt as you continue to whisk the mixture. Set mixing bowl over a large sauce pan of simmering water on the stove and continue whisking until the sugar has melted. Whisk continuously for about 5 minutes until the meringue mixture is warm to the touch.
Place the mixing bowl back onto the mixer and whisk at high speed until the mixture has cooled. Add cubes of butter, a little at a time, until the butter has fully absorbed and add the vanilla extract. The mixture may appear to curdle. However, if you continue to whisk the mixture, it should eventually come together to form a nice cream for your filling.
Transfer the cream into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the flat surface of one of the macaron shells. Gently place a second macaron shell over the cream to form a complete macaron. Ideally, your cream should come just to the inside edge of the macaron. Roll the each macaron on its side in a small bowl of confetti sprinkles.
Voila, you’ve got yourself a batch of confetti macarons!