French Macarons

French Macarons are the pinnacle of baking confectionery genius. Macarons take cookies to an unimaginable extreme of culinary perfection. Don't confuse Macarons with the coconut cookies called "macaroons." These almond flour cookies are made with a meringue base. When baked correctly, they have a light, crisp sugary coating surrounding a tender, chewy cookie interior.
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Two of these perfect bites of heaven are joined in holy-happiness in a sandwich-style confection by creamy, rich buttercream, truffle chocolate ganache, or tart jam. The flavor is remarkable. Resistance is futile.

Macarons can be tricky to make, and the secret to success is, of course, having a great recipe! This is the recipe our chef used for several years in her bakery and the farmer’s market. The other secret is having a very fine-milled almond flour. The other trick to making consistently incredible macarons is to weigh and measure the ingredients carefully. Whenever possible, we prefer the weight of the ingredients to the volume measurements. It seems that even the slightest variation in ingredients’ weight will not produce a perfect cookie.

French Almond Macarons

120 grams (¾ cup) Panhandle Milling Blanched Almond Flour
230 grams (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
140 grams egg whites (about 4 large) 1/3 cup egg whites
¼ tsp. Salt
70 grams (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract OR 1/4 teaspoon flavored oils
¼ tsp. pure Almond Extract

Directions:

  • Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a separate bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar with almond flour and sift well. This step is pivotal if you want a smooth batter that will bake well and not be “bumpy”.
  • Beat whites with salt in mixer at medium-high speed in a metal bowl mixer until they just hold soft peaks, about 4 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to medium, add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beat, and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks (about 3 minutes).
  • Add flavorings.
  • Fold almond flour mixture in 2 batches into whites until just combined. Transfer meringue to a pastry bag and pipe 16 (1 1/2-inch-wide) mounds 1 inch apart on each lined baking sheet (32 total).
  • Piping the perfect macaron takes a little practice. Treat it as you would a rosette, bringing the pastry tip to the side of the circle rather than forming a peak to finish. Allow the macarons to sit out at room temperate on the baking paper for about 30 minutes before transferring to the oven. This step will help with the smooth finish and the “foot” on the cookie’s bottom, giving it the traditional trademarked look of an authentic macaron.
  • Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking until macarons are puffed and tops appear dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Macarons should be crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
  • Slide parchment with macarons onto racks and cool 10 minutes, then peel macarons from parchment, transferring to a rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes. Yield: 3 dozen medium or 2 dozen large.

Buttercream Frosting

2 lb. powdered sugar
1 cup Butter
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla or Rum extract
3/4 cup boiling Water

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Put on speed 1, with a spill guard installed, or you will get powdered sugar all over the floor. Whip 3-5 minutes until very smooth.
  • Pipe a dot of buttercream between two of the cookies.

 

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