I have no words for how amazing these are. Full blown explosion of goodness and now a part of my very special desserts! I’d highly recommend reading the recipe all the way through and don’t skimp on the steps!! It will absolutely be worth the trouble.
1-3/4 cup (200 g) powdered sugar
1-1/4 cup (114 g) finely ground almond flour (skin removed)
3-1/2 to 4* large egg whites (114 g or 4 oz), aged** (exact amount is important)
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 tsp cream of tartar
Very small amount of brown food coloring gel
*The easiest way to measure a weird amount of eggs is by scale.
**To age them: the night before making these, separate your egg whites and measure them. Leave them in the fridge, covered with cheesecloth, overnight. Take them out up to two hours before making your macarons and bring to room temperature.
Pulse the almond flour and powdered sugar a dozen times in the food processor and then sift it twice as well. The more thorough you are with this step, the smoother the finish.
French Meringue (tried and true)
Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy and then gradually add the sugar on medium high speed until soft peaks form. The meringue should be soft and shiny.
Add the vanilla and a small drop of brown food coloring. Seriously, just a Tiny Drop. It doesn’t take very much to change the white to a nice cream tint.
Continue to whip on medium speed until the meringue reaches medium stiff peaks. Here’s what you want it to look like:
Transfer the meringue to a medium sized bowl. In three additions, fold in the sugar/flour mixture, just to combine and no more. Turn the bowl as you fold and sweep the batter against the bowl. You don’t need to be quite as gentle with it as you do with a meringue. The goal is to mix it without overmixing (which is devastating to a macaron).
Now it’s time to check that you have the right “macronage,” a french term which means the action of mixing the batter a certain way. Again, it’s important to be delicate but not to overmix.
To know that you’ve mixed it right, lift a spoonful of batter and draw a squiggle with it atop the remaining batter and wait 12-15 seconds. If your squiggle softens around the edges, you know you have it right. Another way to know: if it’s too thick, it won’t fall easily off your spoon. You want it to run but slowly. It will also be a glossy batter.
The easiest way to pipe macarons is to create a template first. You can draw 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 circles on the underside of your parchment paper using a compass. Reusable silicone macaron mats are also available to purchase. I love my silicone mats because they fit on different sheet pan sizes and I can use them for other baking projects.
Transfer the batter into a piping bag with a ½” round tip and pipe them at a 90° angle into the center of your circle. Don’t swirl here; just press on your bag and release the batter until it hits the edge of the circle. To release it, give it a quick flick (you want to try and avoid “wizard hats”). If you do get a wizard hat point, you can flatten them with a slightly damp finger.
Once you have them piped, lift the sheet pans about six inches from the counter and drop them straight down several times to help release any air bubbles. You can use a toothpick to gently fill in any small holes left behind.
While the macarons are still “wet,” sift some cocoa powder over the top (I had fun coming up with different patterns). Or feel free to add a decoration of your own. Once they dry though, they won’t adhere.
The Important Resting Step:
This step is important because it leads to the famous macaron “foot” at the base of the cookie after baking. Let each sheet pan rest for 25-45 minutes until a gentle poke against the side of a macaron comes back clean. It’s important you don’t over rest or under rest. Mine usually go all the way to 45 minutes, and even an hour at times. About halfway through their nap, preheat the oven to 325°F.
When you deem that they are ready to bake, put them in the center rack of your oven near the back. Try to only bake one sheet at a time. If you have an oven that has hot spots, you’ll want to spin them halfway through. Typically, macarons take anywhere from 12-15 minutes. The way you tell they’re done is you pull them out and press lightly on the center of one cookie. If it jiggles even a little, close the oven door and give them another minute or two. If they pass the jiggle test, gently try lifting one with a spatula. If it comes up cleanly, they’re ready.
Once out of the oven, keep them on the mat for a few minutes to set before moving them to a cooling rack. You can pair them up by size by holding them back to back. Let them cool completely before filling.
1/2 cup (113 g) heavy whipping cream
3/8 cup (113 g) couverture* chocolate like Callebaut, Lindt, Guittard, Valrhona or Scharffen Berger, shaved or cut into tiny pieces
1 T (12 g) Kahlua
1 T (20 g) corn syrup
*Couverture chocolate, unlike regular chocolate, contains a greater percentage of cocoa butter relative to the other ingredients. This produces a superior flavor and texture that makes couverture the preferred chocolate for ganaches like this.
Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the shaved couverture chocolate. Let it sit for five minutes. Stir in the Kahlua and corn syrup and let it cool to at least 90 degrees. Put it in a piping bag with a small tip and pipe a dime size quantity into the center of the macarons.
1/4 cup (59 g) cold whipping cream
3/4 cup (170 g) mascarpone
2 tsp (8 g) Kahlua
1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks and then add the other ingredients and whip until it thickens up again. Put it in a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe in a circle around the Kahlua ganache that you’ve piped in the center.
Storing and Serving
Place the top on the macarons and store for at least 24 hours before serving, but 48 hours is better. They store best in an airtight Tupperware container in the fridge or freezer.
Macaron technique by Chef Rachel Cuzzone
Kahlua Ganache inspired by Food52
Mascarpone Buttercream inspired by piesandtacos.com