Dessert/ Gluten Free

French Macaroons

Darla and Michelle

This is Darla.  She is one of the most amazing people I know.  She is a true Renaissance woman.  She can cook.  She can fix mechanical things.  She can get you the best deal on a car.  She can book your vacation perfectly.  Get kids to sports practice and have dinner on the table by 5 PM.  Ok, 5 PM is a slight exaggeration.  She’s cooking right now while I type this and it’s 8:30 PM.  But you get my point.

While I was on my trip to Southern California she wanted to do a blog post for me.  I gladly and eagerly jumped at that change.  She has a cooking to-make list like I do.  These French macarons or, as we call them here in the States, macaroons (which are often confused with those coconut things), were something she was finally going to check off.  Funny thing is, I’ve never had one.  Ever.  Well I have now, she saved me some and they were heavenly.  I now see what all the fuss is about.  Here’s Darla…

French Macaroons ~ The Complete Savorist

I clearly remember the genesis of my macaroon-o-phobia. I was in a cute, little bakery in Las Vegas. I ordered two macaroons, a green and a blue. I carried my treasures to a tiny table that would be better suited for a doll’s tea party and perched myself on a miniscule, metal chair.  I smiled at the pastel gems, they smiled back and I thought that I should try to bake my own macaroons.“Aren’t those pretty, little mack-roons?” a giant voice came out of a petite, older woman who was perfectly scaled to the tea party tables. “I tried seven times to make a mack-roon! I gave up! Toughest little cookie on the planet! That’s why God made bakeries!” She flashed a smile at me and with a flourish of perfume, and blonde hair, she crossed the threshold and disappeared like a specter into the blazing, Nevada sun.I held up the blue confection. It had perfect feet, an ideal crust, it was sure to be crisp and then chewy ending with the silky buttercream filling. I tried to smile at it again but it had taken an ominous appearance. How could I ever do something that a stranger, who I was certain must be a master baker, could not do?Then, it happened. My book club started reading The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. In the book, one of the characters baked macaroons and they were important to the story.  Important enough, that I felt compelled to take up my whisk and put my rather ordinary baking skills to the test.  My book club friends must have a macaroon at our next meeting.  So, here I am armed with a brand-new sifter, the stand mixer I got for Mother’s Day and an eleven-year-old with mad baking skills. Time to conquer my fear!For two weeks, my daughter and I sifted through vlogs, blogs, recipes and websites to find the perfect recipe. As it turns out, there wasn’t just one that worked for me. This recipe is a compilation of hundreds of thought and ideas. I must admit that it did not instill confidence to know that when the words, “troubleshooting” and  “macaroons” are put together in a search engine, there are more than 22,000 results, but after several attempt and failures, I finally prevailed.

French Macaroons

Author: Michelle De La Cerda
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Ingredients

Cookie

  • 2/3 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 5 T granulated sugar
  • ½  t Salt
  • ½ t cream of tartar
  • Food coloring of your choice

Buttercream Frosting

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food color of your choice

Instructions

  1. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the almond flour and the powdered sugar in the sifter and sift it twice.
  3. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer beat on medium-high.
  4. When the eggs are frothy (3-4 minutes) add salt and cream of tartar.
  5. Gradually add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.
  6. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters (another 3-4 minutes.)
  7. Gently stir in the food coloring. Hint: the color will be light, if you want a darker color, add a touch more than you originally thought you would need.
  8. Be careful to not overbeat the meringue!
  9. Add half of the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar mixture, and gently fold it into the meringue using a silicone spatula.
  10. Lift from the bottom, up and around the sides, and toward the middle, be gentle so that the meringue does not lose air. This step is crucial to the entire process and the demise of 5 consecutive batches. I learned that 15-20 turns is all that you need. Add the first half and stir 10 times. Add the second half and stir 10 more times. You may do slightly more or less turns with your spatula, but if you over stir, they are runny and ruined. If you under stir, they crack on top during baking.
  11. You should be able to scoop the batter into your piping bag, but it should be smooth, not lumpy.
  12. On your prepared baking sheets, pipe out 1-inch rounds.
  13. Holding the baking sheet in both hands, rap each baking sheet firmly on the counter five times.
  14. This releases air, creates smooth tops and helps to make perfect “feet.”
  15. Allow the piped macaroons to dry, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes. T
  16. he macaroons should form a very thin, smooth crust where, if you tap it lightly with your finger, the batter will not stick to your finger.
  17. If after 20 minutes, the batter is still sticky, let it dry longer. If it is humid or rainy weather, this could take up to an hour.
  18. Preheat the oven to 275ºF (on convection bake) or 295ºF (on bake.)
  19. Place one tray on the center rack and back for 17-22 min.
  20. The macaroons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard.
  21. Watch them closely!
  22. Take care to not under bake (insides will still be mushy and will not lift from the parchment paper) or over bake (tops will begin to brown).
  23. Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack.

Buttercream frosting

  1. In a small bowl mash the butter to the consistency of mayonnaise.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk the egg yolks, then add the granulated sugar, and whisk until the mixture lightens to off-white and you can no longer see the granules of sugar.
  3. Add the milk, and whisk to combine. Heat over low heat, whisking frequently to ensure that the mixture does not curdle or scorch.
  4. Cook until the mixture becomes thick and custardy, like pudding.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into a bowl and whisk constantly until it returns to room temperature.
  6. Whisk in the butter in three batches; add the vanilla and the food coloring and stir until smooth and all ingredients are fully combined.
  7. Pipe or spread onto one macaroon half and sandwich between the other.

Recipe Notes

It is better to bake macaroons on a dry day. Humidity can make flat macaroons
Separate your eggs. Keep the yolks for your butter cream and let your whites sit on the counter until they reach room temperature. Lay plastic wrap over the whites pressing in onto the surface of the whites to avoid a skin forming.  Some recipes say to add the food coloring after the almond flour mix is integrated. Don’t do it then. You will most likely over mix. I purchased a fancy piping system and ended up using a large baggie with the end snipped off. I will, however, purchase a baking sheet with the round templates for perfectly sized macaroons. I like the different sizes but I did not like that some of my cookies were not really round. Some people say to put the oven racks on the very top and on the very bottom and turn them halfway others say to put it in the center and leave it there for the entire baking time. I did both and I prefer the latter. I burned them on the separate racks. Macaroons are Divas and prefer to be center stage. In my haste to finish the macaroons before Book Club, I took advantage of the air conditioning by setting the bowl on the air register and whisking while the cold air dropped the temperature very quickly to cool the buttercream.

 

French Macaroons ~ The Complete Savorist

I am pleased to say that the macaroons were a hit at Book Club! It was a wonderful discussion about turn-of-the-century New York City, cultural diversity and a magical creature who bakes! I am also pleased to say that I have finally overcome my fears!
Michelle here.  These really were delicious.  She’s a perfectionist like I am.  She made ten batches in order to get the perfect recipe.  I would have loved to have been a taste-tester for each round.  She truly is an amazing woman.  And I wasn’t kidding about booking you that vacation.  She’s a travel agent.  You can visit her at Blue Breeze Travel. Thanks Darla for a lovely post.  You’re welcome back anytime.
 French Macaroons ~ The Complete Savorist

Thank you for sharing!

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Laurie
    June 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Lovely post! French Macaron are not an easy task to handle! Congratulations Darla! Great job! Michelle you are blessed with a wonderful friend Great Post!

    • Reply
      Michelle
      June 10, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you Laurie…It is not a task I’m up for taking. Glad she did.

  • Reply
    Pure Grace Farms
    June 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Looks lovely Michele! Be sure to come by tonight and share these beautiful macaroons at the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop (Tues. 7pm EST). Blessings, Shari
    https://puregracefarms.com/2014/06/wonderful-wednesday-blog-hop/

    • Reply
      Michelle
      June 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Shari, Thanks for the invite to your blog hop. I didn’t get this quite in time. But I checked out some of the blogs…great stuff.

  • Reply
    Shannon
    June 12, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    These are just lovely. Thank you for sharing these with us.

    • Reply
      Michelle
      June 13, 2014 at 9:59 am

      Shannon, Thank you, but I cannot take credit for their loveliness. I had a guest-poster for this one. My dear friend Darla made them. I did get to eat them though, so I can vouch whole-heartedly for them!

  • Reply
    Terri S
    June 14, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    These look so good! I have always wanted to make these. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • Reply
      Michelle
      June 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Terri, They were really delicious. Hope you get to make them soon. Thanks for stopping by.

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