Macarons were first made by in 1791 and since then they have become a quintessential French dessert.
As promised,today I made my first attempt at a very difficult task, and while not trying to sound too pessimistic, this whole operation was doomed from the start. Macaron-making requires some very accurate measuring… and my baking style is a little bit too free willed for that. On top of this, the universe just seemed to be against it; during my extensive research prior to baking I found that a commonly occurring word of advice was to avoid making Macarons if it’s raining- they are quite temperamental biscuits and they don’t like the wet weather. Anyway, it just so happened that today Summer decided not to show up
Anyhow, IF you are game enough to try this stunt at home, here is what you will need:
1 1/4 cups and 1 teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar (or icing sugar…they are the same thing)
1 cup of almond meal or ground almonds (chuck some almonds in a food processor if you can’t find meal at your grocery store)
3 large egg whites
a pinch of salt
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
You can also fund a collection of other recipes online (word of advice: use a French person’s recipe and not an American adaptation).
Step One: turn your oven on. Each oven is different so after several attempts you should be able to figure out the ideal temperature of yours; between 140° and 160° Celsius. I went for 160.
NEXT: whisk the icing sugar and almond meal together until they are combined. In a separate (and slightly larger bowl) combine the egg whites and salt with an electric beater on medium speed until foamy. The people in the know on the World Wide Web say plastic is a no-go, so make sure the bowl is stainless steel. Add the granulated sugar and mix on high until it forms stiff peaks (google it if this sounds completely foreign to you!). You know it’s ready when you can move the bowl without the mixture moving, or for the more adventurous, until you can hold the bowl above your head without wearing it. At this point you can add color if you so desire- powder or gel is best as liquid messes with the consistancy.
Fold the icing sugar mixture in as lightly as possible, it should take about 50 folds- count it if you feel like it!
With a round nozzled piping bag pipe inch wide circles of mixture two inches apart onto a parchment-lined baking tray.
Leave them to sit for 20-40 minutes until a thin film forms on top (this is why they don’t like the rain as ours wouldn’t do this).
Now it’s time to pop them in the oven! Like I said, each oven is different so cooking times will vary- I recommend trying about 10 minutes as we cooked our first batch for 15 and instead of being crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, they were just crunchy. everywhere. When the timer dings take them out and let them cool- now is the perfect time to make your filling. You can use anything, chocolate ganache, jam, cupcake frosting etc. I used pink raspberry flavored buttercream frosting.
When your cookies have cooled, match them up into pairs of the relative same size. Spread about a teaspoon of filling onto the bottom of one of them and sandwich together before refrigerating them to set (an hour-ish).
IF you have cooked them right they should have doubled in height and have a little ‘foot’ around the edges. I would direct you to a photo of ours to see this but that didn’t happen… I blame the rain! But here is our finished product regardless.
All in all I don’t think today was a COMPLETE failure, they were edible and delicious, and not totallyyyyy ugly… But there is definitely room for improvement and I WILL PERFECT THEM!! And besides, even David Lebowitz took seven attempts before he was satisfied!