Parisian macarons are little almond-meringue cookie sandwiches. They can be a little challenging to make, which is part of what makes them so satisfying once you get it right. In this guide I try to dispense with the crazy rituals and voodoo that often accompany macaron recipes and explain what works consistently for me. The base recipe comes from the book I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita, but the procedure is my own because hers doesn't work for me at all. The butter cream recipe is almost verbatim from the same book.
One note: You must add some sort of flavoring component. This guide is really about the technique required to make macarons. If you just make this recipe as it is, you'll end up with pretty little cookies that just taste like sugar. So add some extract to the meringue or fold in some tasty dry ingredient with the flour. The two flavors pictured below are Blueberry:Cherry and Mint:Chocolate.
- Water - 2 Tablespoons
- Granulated Sugar - 5 Tablespoons (65 grams)
- Almond Meal - 2/3 Cup (85 grams)
- Powdered Sugar - 1 1/2 Cups (150 grams)
- Large Egg Whites - 3
- Flavoring Component
- Unsalted Butter - 7 Tablespoons (100 grams)
- Whole Milk - 3 1/2 Tablespoons
- Granulated Sugar - 1 1/4 Cup (40 grams)
- Large Egg Yolks - 2
- Flavoring Component
Cut parchment paper to fit two 12 by 16 inch baking sheets.
Pulse powdered sugar and almond flour together in a food processor for 30 seconds to combine them thoroughly and break up any chunks of almond flour. Then sift the mixture into a large bowl.
Place egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. If you are using powdered food coloring, add it to the eggs at this point. Whip egg whites on high speed until they form a dense foam of equally sized bubbles. The whisk should leave a noticeable trail in the foam. Turn the mixer off.
Bring the water and granulated sugar to a boil over high heat. Once the syrup has come to 240F, turn the mixer on high speed and pour the syrup into the egg whites in a thin stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Be careful not to let the whisk splash the syrup against the side of the bowl. If you're having trouble getting the syrup to fall in the right place, it's better to let it hit the bowl and slide into the eggs whites than to hit the whisk. Continue to whip on high speed until the meringue has soft peaks that flop over when you lift the whisk from the mixture. At the point add any flavoring extracts or food coloring gels you are using. Continue to whip until the mixture has stiff, glossy peaks.
Pour the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture onto the meringue. Fold it gently by running a silicon spatula gently along the bottom of the bowl, bringing it up through the mixture and turning it over. Once the ingredients are just incorporated, check the consistency by scooping a portion up with the spatula. If it falls off slowly and dissolves into the rest of the mixture, it is ready. If it sticks firmly to the spatula, continue to fold gently until you get the desired consistency.
Pipe 1 inch rounds of the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheets leaving at least a 1/2 inch space between each one as they will expand a bit as they settle. Let the piped cookies rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300F.
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time on the center rack. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees and bake for another 5 minutes. For the next 5 minutes you need to be vigilant. Check on your cookies every minute. Very gently wiggle the top of one of the cookies, if it slides around easily on its base, they need more time. If it's somewhat stiff on its base, they are ready to take out of the oven. If you let them cook too long they will brown quickly.
Let the cookies cool before trying to remove them from the parchment. To remove, peel each cookie off of the parchment like stickers. Make sandwiches by piping butter cream between two cookies. They can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for several days.
Butter Cream Procedure
Cut butter into 1/4 inch pieces and heat in the microwave for 5 seconds until soft. Do not melt the butter. Knead the butter until it becomes creamy.
Bring the milk to a boil and remove from heat. Add your flavoring agent to the milk.
Place granulated sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until the mixture lightens in color to a pale yellow.
Whisk the milk into the egg yolk mixture completely and pour mixture back into the pot. Simmer until mixture is thick and creamy.
Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture cools. Once the whisk leaves a trail in the egg yolks, add the butter in three batches, waiting for each batch to become completely incorporated before adding the next one. When the mixture is smooth, you're done.
YouTubes of making the meringue and folding the batter
Sorry about the quality.