Macarons

I finally made macarons!! They have been an obsession of mine for months now. A large part of getting my KitchenAid stand mixer was having the ability to make macarons. Amidst the studying and stressing, I purchased half a dozen macarons from a bakery in town. I ate them right away and was greatly disappointed.

Like I said, macarons have become an interest of mine, so naturally, I’ve been doing my research. Macarons are supposed to be delicate, chewy, sweet, and overall AMAZING. The half dozen I consumed that day where anything but. The shells were hollow and crumbled. They were also baked too much.

That fiasco prompted me to do it myself. I’ll post the recipe I used. I have found that the two most difficult tasks involved with making macs is:

  1. WHIPPING THE EGG WHITES: It is far too easy to over-whip egg whites. Then you’re stuck with something you can’t use. You may as well start over. If you put it in your batter, the batter won’t have the consistency required in order to dry.
  2. GETTING THE AIR OUT: If you’re not familiar with macs, the batter is almond flour and confectioners’ sugar carefully folded into meringue. You want the batter to move around without it being too runny. It’s quite finicky. Then once you have the shells piped out, you have to slam the trays against a hard surface to release any excess air. An unsuccessful removal of the air will result in a less-than-appealing appearance, but they’ll still taste great!

With my macarons (pictured), I wasn’t able to get all of the air out. I was worried my neighbors would complain about noise. My friend pointed out that an easy solution would be to lay a towel down under the trays. I also tried to make them light blue, but I didn’t use enough dye. They turned out a little green.

My FIRST EVER macs

RECIPE

Macaron shells:

  • 3/4 cup of super fine almond flour
  • 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 egg whites (large eggs at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp milk or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

FOR THE SHELLS

  1. Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar together into a bowl. Set this aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium until you see soft peaks. This should only take a couple minutes. It would be best if you monitored the progress.
  3. Add the granulated sugar to the egg whites. Mix on medium until the peaks are stiff and glossy. This should take a couple minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla and beat for thirty seconds on high.
  5. CAREFULLY fold the dry mix into the meringue you’ve just made. You want the batter to be runny, but not TOO runny. Think the consistency of lava. If you’re unfamiliar with that: you want to mix the batter until you can remove some, add it back, and the batter recombines on its own.
  6. If you want to add color, do it while you’re folding the batter. Add more than you think you’ll need.
  7. Put the batter into a bag. This can either be a piping bag with a 1/2 in tip OR a regular sandwich bag with the corner cut off. If you use the sandwich bag method, use a freeze bag. It’s stiffer and will give you more control.
  8. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper. Hold the bag vertically and do not swirl as you pipe.
  9. Bang the pans against a counter to release the air bubbles.
  10. Let this sit for about half an hour. This is so that the macarons can form a film. At the end, you want to be able to run your finger across the top without disturbing the shell.
  11. Bake at 325°F for about 7-10 minutes. It doesn’t take long. You’ll want to rotate the pans halfway through.
  12. Let the macarons cool. When they’ve cooled, you should be able to lift them off the parchment paper easily.

FOR THE FILLING (Buttercream)

  1. Beat the butter with the paddle attachment on medium-high until it looks smooth, light and fluffy.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk (or whipping cream), and vanilla.
  3. Beat some more.
  4. Don’t be afraid to taste test. You may need to add a pinch of salt if it’s too sweet.
  5. Pipe this onto a macaron, sandwiching it with another.

It will help to let the macarons rest in the fridge overnight inside an air-tight container. Consume with pleasure!

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