The “perfect” french macaron boasts an egg-like shell, a soft, meringue-like texture, and has FEET. The meringue texture is of utmost importance– a few seconds too long in the beating process, and you can kiss your feet goodbye.
I had to call in some additional help… when everything fails in the kitchen, I call my mom. Unlike me, my mom has a zero-percent failure rate, with her macarons turning out perfect every time *shakes fist in envy*. Desperate to learn her secret, I spend an afternoon learning from the master.
The macaron making process, as observed, comes in three parts: soft peaks, folding, and baking (I’ll explain more in detail in the recipe).
I’ve deduced, by watching my mom, that there are two crucial steps in the macaron making process: first, you want to beat the egg whites on no more than a medium speed, stopping the mixer once you achieve a ‘shaving cream’ consistency; second, you can’t be an aggressive ‘folder’.
While I can’t promise you a perfect macaron, the following recipe outlines my experience and notes as given to me by my mom. Any issues, please take them up with her
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup almond flour (basically ground up almonds)
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup fine sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar
Dark Chocolate Buttercream Filling:
- 3.5 oz dark, quality chocolate
- 2 sticks of butter
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
1. This is the part where I usually convince myself that I can’t fail with these simple ingredients. Take a deep breath and relax… they are just cookies. Don’t over think, whip, and fold. Be one with the meringue.
2. In a food processor, pulse confectioners’ sugar and almond flour until combined. Sift
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites on medium-low speed. When the egg whites start to turn foamy (think cappuccino froth), add the fine sugar and cream of tartar. Continue to whisk eggs on medium-low speed until the egg whites have a consistency of shaving cream. Be patient, don’t use the high setting– you’ll risk over beating the eggs, and then its game over before we even get started. If you are going to add food colouring, you’ll want to add it to your egg whites at this point.
4. Fold the flour mixture into the egg whites. My mom uses the whisk attachment from the mixer to ‘fold’ the flour mixture. In about 10 turns, she was done. Tartlette recommends testing out the batter before piping: You can test a daub on a plate, and if a small beak remains, turn the batter a couple times more. If the batter forms a round cap but doesn’t run, it is just right. My mom said that the perfect batter will ooze right out of your piping bag before you are ready. When piped, the macarons hold a peak for about a second or two, and then they gradually find their round shape and flatten off.
5. Transfer your batter to a piping bag, fitted with a plain round tip. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, pipe 1″- 2″ round circles. Let your cookies rest for 30-45 minutes. This step, my mom said was crucial– she swears by the crust that is formed over the macarons during the rest period (In humid conditions, you might need to adjust this time).
6. Pre-heat oven to 375′F. Bake on sheet of cookies at a time. Place cookies in the oven, and reduce temperature to 325′F immediately. Let the cookies bake for about 10-15 minutes. Each oven is different, so you might need to adjust the oven temperature and duration accordingly. The tops of the macaron shouldn’t brown, but they should have developed feet and a defined shell on top. Remove cookies from the oven, allow to cool on sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cookie sheet.
Once cooled, use right away, or transfer to an airtight container for freezing.
After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 2 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
Chocolate butter cream:
1. Melt chocolate on a double boiler. Remove from heat, and allow to cool, stirring often.
2. Whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5-7 minutes, adding the milk half way through.
3. When the chocolate reaches near room-temperature, add it a tablespoon at a time to the whipped butter. Your butter might begin to melt at this point, but don’t worry, because you can always pop it back in the fridge to harden.
4. Add all of the confectioners’ sugar, and whip buttercream on high for 3 minutes, or until combined. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon of chocolate buttercream. Serve immediately.
For the burger:
- Top macarons with sesame seeds or poppy seeds prior to baking to get a burger bun
- To make the burger garnishes, I used food-color to dye marzipan, and I shaped it to resemble lettuce, bacon, and cheese. Use your creativity to play around.
- I made the fries out of sugar cookies– rolled out the dough, and sliced it into small strips to resemble fries.
- Use raspberry jam and lemon marmalade for ketchup and mustard substitutes– yum:)