Macarons have been in vogue for a few years now, and they have a rep for being very tricky to make. On this occasion I have to admit that this reputation is based on fact because these little french confections have caused me quite a lot of trouble. However, after some trial and a lot of error I have managed to create a couple of recipes that have worked well for me.
I am going to share a recipe that uses the French Meringue* method in this post. This method is the simpler of the two and therefore a good recipe to use if you’re new to Macarons or don’t have a stand mixer or a candy thermometer. The second recipe (which I will post next week) uses the Italian Meringue** method and is therefore slightly more complicated, but does result in a more stable meringue.
Personally, I usually use the French meringue method as I don’t like faffing around with thermometers and hot sugar but I do have to admit that when done right, the Italian Meringue method is slightly more reliable. So I’ll leave it up to you to find your preference.
* French Meringue is made by whipping egg whites to soft peaks and then slowly adding sugar directly to the egg white as it whips. This is the kind of meringue you see all the time in NZ as it is what people usually use to make pavlova
** Italian Meringue is made by whipping egg whites to soft peaks and then slowly pouring in a sugar syrup (made of sugar and water) that has been heated to 118 degrees Celsius. The hot sugar actually cooks the egg white as it is whipped into the mix, and so this meringue is commonly used in applications where the meringue will not be baked, such as on top of pies or in meringue buttercream.
The recipe below is very customisable. An easy way to personalise your macarons is with different colours, flavour essences, and fillings. The macarons pictured in this post are mint chocolate flavoured. Other flavours I’ve tried include chocolate orange, berry, coconut, and vanilla. Please note that it is important to be careful when adding flavours or colours directly to the macaron mixture as it can be temperamental. I recommend using gel food colouring and only small amounts of essence. You can also choose to add your flavours to the fillings and leave the macaron cookies plain.
Okay, enough chit chat, recipe time!
Macaron Recipe – French Meringue
- Almond Meal – 70 grams
- Icing Sugar – 115 grams
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature (approx. 70 grams)
- Caster sugar – 50 grams
- Food colour gel of choice (optional)
- Flavourings of choice (optional)
- Fillings of Choice e.g; buttercream, jam, ganache
Put almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse 10-15 times until fine. Then pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Whisk egg whites using a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Slowly add caster sugar while increasing speed to medium-high and beat for up to 8 minutes.The beaten egg whites should hold stiff peaks when finished. At this point you can also add flavour essences and food colourings and then beat until just combined
Add the almond / sugar mix to the whipped egg white. Fold with a spatula by first going around the sides of the bowl and then pushing the spatula directly through the middle of the mixture. Repeat this folding motion until the batter ribbons off the spatula and you can just draw a figure of 8 with the batter without it breaking off the spatula.
Transfer the macaron batter to a piping bag with a one cm round tip or just cut off the end of the piping bag to create a hole roughly one centimetre in diameter. Dab some of the batter remaining in the bowl onto the corners of two trays and then line with baking paper or use silicone mats if you have them. (The batter in the corners will help the baking paper to stick and lay flat on the trays).
To pipe: hold the piping bag so that it is perpendicular to the tray and the tip is only about a centimetre from the tray. Pipe the batter into rounds of around two centimetres in diameter and then swirl tip off to one side to finish piping the macaron. Repeat, spacing rounds a couple of centimetres apart.
Once you have finished piping, tap the trays firmly against the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. If any bubble rise to the top of the macaron and sit on the surface you can get rid of them by swirling a tooth pick through them.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius
Before baking, rest the macarons until their tops are no longer sticky and the mixture doesn’t attach to your finger when they are lightly dabbed. This can take up to an hour on a humid day but it’s worth the wait because if you put them into the oven too early you risk failure.
Bake the macarons one tray at a time, until risen and just set, this will take around 15 minutes. Once you have removed them from the oven, allow the Macarons to cool completely before removing them from the baking paper as they can stick when they are still warm.
Pipe or spread your filling of choice onto the flat side of half of the cookies and then top with a second half.