Categorized | All Recipes, Sweet

Macaron lesson from mom

Posted on 17 June 2010 by Mădălina

Out of the 8 macaron batches that I’ve made over the last few months, only two turned out. With fear of failing, every time I heard, or even saw the word macaron, I would quiver.

How the eff could this french cookie be so difficult to master? The ingredients are so simple, the process is seemingly undemanding, yet, I only have a 25% success rate.

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 :)

Ingredients:
- 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

Directions:
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:)

Comments:

17 Comments For This Post

  1. Nadine Says:

    I also turn to my mom when I need help on things. The one thing I still can't get, souffles. They just don't rise for me and I'm about to give up, but this post has given me hope!

    The hamburger is adorable!

  2. oneordinaryday Says:

    This is so darn cute! I'm terrified of macarons but these make me want to try them. : )

  3. Dot Says:

    So cute! love it…

    And the tips make me less scared. I haven't tried macarons yet :)

  4. Anonymous Says:

    how much cream of tartar????????

  5. Marianna Says:

    super cute, love your macs :) but i have tried making them 5 times and each time is a fail!! i dont know what im doing wrong :(

  6. cookies and cups Says:

    a macaron burger! hilarious! way to bring it to the masses ;) love it!

  7. Ali Says:

    Your little Big Macs are killing me here. Too much cute to take in.

    Great post, btw. I've yet to (gently) tackle these so it's helpful to read Mom's tips.

  8. Jane Ko Says:

    That's amazing! Nice twist of macaroons :)

  9. Anonymous Says:

    how MUCH cream of tartar?

  10. mădălina Says:

    nadine- moms are just the best. i havent tried to make any souffles, but i hear they're tough. i'll probably steer clear for a while

    oneordinaryday- i wasn't terrified at first… but after the first few failures, the fear grew

    dot- tryyyy them! .. everyy baker has to give these a shot

    Anonymous – just a pinch; the amount you can pinch between your forefinger and thumb. It is less than a dash and equivalent to approximately 1/16 teaspoon.

    marianna- i was once there too. so frustrating right? it really helps watching someone who knows how to do them. did you try again with these pointers?

    cookies and cups – i see you get it…"little macs" :)

    ali- thank you:) my mistake was that i was way to aggressive… i over-beaten the egg whites (until i had peaks), and i folded it wayyyy too much. gooddddluck.

    jane- thank you! i checked out your blog, and its awesome.

  11. Mircea Dan Says:

    how come i did not get to try it on father's day?
    it's got chocolate, gooooooooood!
    it's got eggs, goooooooooood!
    it's got sugar, gooooooooooood!

    what's not to like?

  12. Amy B. Says:

    Haha, found this post really funny. I run to my mom too when it comes to cooking! Good job, Im sure you'll perfect making these in time! :-)

  13. Mallory Elise Says:

    ah how insanely cute. novelty macarons; that's the first novelty macaron i've seen! i made brazil enspired ones for the olympics, but this is too cute :)

  14. Idle Wife Says:

    I just made these and I have to say, I really like the method. It was much better than counting turns, and I found that using the whisk to mix it helped to incorporate things faster and smoother. Moms always know best, don't they? My first batch was a complete flop due to oven temperature, though. I adjusted to 300 and the second pan came out perfectly!

  15. Desiree Says:

    Another thing that really helps is if you leave the egg whites out at room temperature overnight. I usually put them in a small dish and cover with plastic wrap. I have never had a successful batch of macarons if I didn’t do this.

  16. Mădălina Says:

    I’ve heard about the room temperature egg whites, but (personally) I’m a little skeptical about this knowing as much as I do about food safety and handling. I wonder what it is about aging the egg whites that helps

  17. Anna Says:

    I’m making a batch right now. So far, so good! I actually made a batch just prior to this one using a different recipe and egg whites that had been left out overnight. They were delicious, but didn’t rise much at all. I made your recipe using egg whites straight from the refrigerator and seem to be having much better luck. For the filling I’m using Joanne Chang’s buttercream which is on Fine Cooking.com

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