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.