Did you know that there is a difference between macarons and macaroons? Me either. As I was doing some research on a great macaroon recipe, I came across something that made me realize I was saying this delicious treat the wrong way. Macaroon has the extra O in the name and is a coconut cookie, almost like a biscuit. Macarons are a delicious sandwich cookie with the smooth top, rough bottom and sweet cream filling in the middle. So for this month’s recipe, we are going to talk about macarons.
Macarons are a very delicate cookie that should be chewy, not hollow. You can create macarons with many different flavors like vanilla, salted caramel, pumpkin, chocolate, and the list goes on. Creating this delicate dessert is very technical and can be difficult, but you can perfect it. So, let’s get started with the basics: Vanilla Buttercream Macarons.
1 ¾ cups of powdered sugar
1 cup of finely ground almond flour
1 teaspoon of salt
3 egg whites at room temperature
¼ cup of granulated sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 drops of gel food coloring (any color you choose)
Vanilla Buttercream Filling
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
Making the Macarons
- You want to start with separating the egg yolks to create your egg whites. You want to let the egg whites come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you get started. That way your egg whites will become more fluffy and airier.
- Grab a food processor if you have one, if not you can use a mixer. Your macarons might be a little lumpy on top because the dry ingredients are not going to be as fine as they should be. Even if you get the finest ground flour and sugar, it still won’t be enough. But that’s ok, we are just learning. Combine the powdered sugar, almond flour, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Start your mixing on a low speed until everything is extra fine. Sift the almond flour mixture through the fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar until fully incorporated. continue beating until stiff peaks form. Tip: tip your bowl upside down. If nothing falls out, then you have mixed everything together perfectly.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add your food coloring of your choice and beat until mixed. Now we are going to add in the dry ingredients. Add ⅓ of the sifted almond flour mix at a time to the egg white mixture. Use a spatula to gently fold until well blended. Tip: to make sure your mixture is well blended, use the figure 8 method. Once you can do a full figure 8 with the batter, you are ready to move on.
- Now we can start piping the macarons. Transfer the macaron batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Place 4 dots of the batter in each corner of the baking sheet, place a piece of parchment paper over it, using the batter to help adhere the parchment paper to the baking sheet. This will help your parchment paper from sliding all around the sheet. Pipe the macarons 1 ½ inch wide circles, spacing at least 1 inch apart. Tip: You can buy a template for piping these, if that helps you get a more accurate size for your macarons.
- DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP: Tap the baking sheet on a flat surface 5 times to release any air bubbles. You’ll want to let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. You can brush your finger across the macaron to make sure it doesn’t indent. If you don’t let them sit before putting them in the oven, you’ll notice that the feet will grow outward instead of rising up like they should.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. Once your oven and macarons are ready, bake the macarons for 17 minutes until the feet are well-risen and the macarons don’t stick to the parchment paper. Let the macarons sit on the parchment paper for 15 to 30 minutes. Transfer the macarons to a wire rack and let them fully dry out and cool before filling.
Making the Filling
- In a large bowl, add room temperature butter and beat with a mixer for 1 minute. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix until fully incorporated. You don’t have to sift, but it does result in a really smooth buttercream. Once everything is well mixed, add the vanilla extract. You can then add 3-4 tablespoons of heavy cream and mix until it’s incorporated. If you need to add more heavy cream, do it a tablespoon at a time until you think it’s the right consistency.
- Now you can add your filling mix into a piping bag with a round tip. Add a dollop of the vanilla buttercream filling to one macaron shell. Make sure it’s a little bit smaller than the cookie. Grab another macaron shell and press both sides together. Now it may be really tempting to eat these delicious cookies right away, but you will want to let them rest together for at least 24 hours. This way the flavors of the cookie will blend and be more flavorful when they are ready to eat.
Once you have mastered the basics of making a macaron, you can get more creative with your flavors. Like we mentioned before you can do a chocolate ganache, lemon, pumpkin, and the list goes on. For more recipes and learn more about our classes, contact Salt Lake Culinary Education today!