I have for the longest time wanted to make macarons and I researched the web for some good recipes and finally came across a few that sounded good.
My first attempt was bad, really bad. I thought I knew what I was doing since I have been baking and cooking for pretty much all my life. But no, it turns out that I do not know everything 🙁
I made several mistakes which lead to macarons that were hollow at the bottom and tasted more like marenque than macarons and the filling would have to fill up the hollow cookies before they could stick together. Not good at all, so I had to seriously take into consideration that it might be a good idea to follow the recipe step by step to get the result I wanted.
You know what they say: If you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, that is the definition of insanity. So In order for me to get a different result, I had to do something different. By the way, this goes for everything in life, not just macarons 🙂
My first mistake, I found out while going over the recipes again, was that instead of gently folding the almond flour into the whipped egg whites, I mixed them in with the hand mixer, which led to a much more firm batter (you want it to be lighter and more fluffy). The second mistake was that due to my impatience I put the macarons in the oven too soon instead of leaving them to create that magically “thick skin” that will make the macarons as they are supposed to be, with a flat bottom to spread filling on and press together with another macaron. Another great tip that I learned is to “drop” the baking sheet with the unbaked macarons on top onto the table. Don’t flip it over, just lift it about 20cm and let it fall back down onto the table. This will help create the “foot”of the macarons and give them their characteristic look.
Here is the recipe I know you have been waiting for:
Makes about 40 whole macarons
100 grams blanched, ground almonds
110 grams egg whites (about 3 egg whites)
200 grams powdered sugar
4 tablespoons sugar
You can choose to make the almond flour yourself or buy it. It does take a little bit longer to make it yourself but it is worth it.
You start by boiling some water to pour over the almonds and after 5-10 min or so you can pop the skin off. Dry the almonds well before blending or chopping them.
Add the powdered sugar and mix together with the almonds till you have a fine flour. Run the mixture through a strainer to remove any larger lumps and you always have the option of blending the larger pieces again so you don’t waste any ingredients. This is the part that takes the longest if you want to make sure you get all of the almonds blended to a fine flour.
In another bowl whip the egg whites till they start foaming. Then add one tablespoon of sugar at a time and continue whipping till all the sugar is incorporated and the texture is stiff and with a nice shiny surface.
Now is the time to let go of the hand mixer and bring out the spatula and gently fold the almond flour into the egg whites. Make sure that the mixture stays fluffy and as soon as everything is mixed together stop stirring.
Transfer the batter into a ziplock bag and cut a small hole in one corner.
Squeeze your desired size of macarons onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Then let them sit for at least one hour to create the dry skin. You can test this by gently pressing a finger against the surface of one macaron. If it sticks to your finger it is not ready yet but if it bounces back and doesn’t stick, it is ready to be baked.
Heat the oven to 150 C or 300 F and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Let them cool completely before spreading the filling and sandwich them together.
To make chocolate macarons you can substitute 15 grams of powdered sugar with cocoa powder. That is what I did for the ones you see on the pictures.
For the filling I found a butter caramel recipe
100 grams granulated sugar
150 ml whipping cream
85 grams salted butter
Heat the sugar in a saucepan without stirring at medium heat. Once the sugar starts melting and turns light brown, swirl it a few times.
Warm up the cream in another pot.
Make sure all the sugar has melted and if you need to stir it a little, use a wooden spatula and minimize your impact. Remove from heat and add in the diced butter. Be careful when working with warm sugar as it will burn really badly if you get it on your skin.
Stir the butter and sugar gently together and when it comes together place the pan on the heat again and add the heated cream a little at a time. This will bubble and spatter so wear oven mittens and apron while cooking this and stir gently.
Let the caramel boil for about 5 minutes before removing it from the heat and pouring it into a clean airtight jar. Close the jar and let it cool completely before placing it in the fridge.
You can store the caramel in the fridge and take it out an hour or so before use if you find it is too stiff to spread.
You can flavour the caramel with lot’s of different flavours. I used 2 teaspoons of fine salt to make Fleur de Sel Caramel, and you can add chili, cinnamon, chocolate or create your own personal flavour.
Now all you have to do it spread the caramel on one of the macarons and add another on top to make a sandwich and there you have your delicious macaron.
You can sandwich a bunch and keep them for a day or two in an airtight container in the fridge and take them out an hour or two before serving, this will absolutely not make your macarons taste any less than yummy!