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Traditional French Macarons

Macarons (french spelling).  When I mention this most people immediately think of the coconut treat they are familiar with,  but one can’t even compare them to this french beauty.  A macaron for me is near perfection.  The crisp outer layer giving way to its luxuriously tender belly is sheer bliss.

I was lucky enough to be shown by a French baker how to make these delicate little sweets.

french macarons on sheet pan

The task at first seemed rather daunting,  but once it’s broken down it really isn’t that bad. Granted this is not something you would do when you’re pressed for time. This is a special treat when you are feeling particularly capable. The absolute most important thing that I can convey with this is to have everything prepped, ingredients measured out and ready to go. The last thing you want to do is hunt for a piece of equipment when you have sugar bubbling away furiously on the stove.

I will apologize in advance for the fact that this is in metric measurements and before I get any scathing comments for putting something so complicated here,  it really isn’t that difficult. You will need a good thermometer, digital is best but if all you have is the conventional one, no worries.

Macarons

The macarons I made were raspberry white chocolate,  but the filling and flavor combinations are literally endless.

For this recipe you will need:
250 grams fresh egg white, divided in half (roughly 9 ounces)
337 grams almond flour (roughly 12 ounces)
337 grams powdered sugar
337 grams granulated sugar
300 grams white chocolate (10.5 ounces)
330 grams heavy cream (11.5 ounces)
50 grams chambord (raspberry liqueur) (almost 2 ounces)
food coloring (I used petal pink, gel color)
food processor
thermometer
piping bag & tip
parchment paper
scale

1. Combine almond flour and powdered sugar in food processor,  when completely mixed, remove from bowl and sift to remove any clumps. (food processor MUST be completely clean and dry)

2. Add food color to half of the egg whites and mix to combine.  You will not need much,  but keep in mind that the color will dissipate when baking so do add enough that it will show up.  The end result will be noticeably lighter than it is before you bake.  Add this to the almond flour/powdered sugar and stir to combine.  The color should be uniform,  not streaked with the dye,  mix until it is completely incorporated.

batter for macarons
 

3. Make a simple syrup with the granulated sugar adding twice the amount of water to sugar, so for the 337 grams of sugar, you’ll need 674 grams of water.  Put this on a high flame and leave it alone until it reaches 118 celsius (244-245F).   This is where a digital thermometer really comes in handy…

4. Put the other half of the egg whites in the food processor and whip to soft peaks.  When the sugar has reached 118,  remove from heat and SLOWLY add to the egg whites while the mixer is running on it’s lowest speed.  When all of the sugar syrup is added,  turn it up and let it rip at full speed until the meringue is glossy and forms soft peaks.  The temperature of the meringue should be about 40-41 celsius (104F) at this point.

5. Fold meringue into the almond flour mixture being very careful not to lose the air in the meringue.  Make sure to completely incorporate everything, scraping the bottom and folding over to the top in one smooth motion.  Again,  the color should be uniform,  but do not overmix.

6. A little trick when when piping the macarons is to make a guide for yourself by drawing little circles on a piece of parchment paper.  Trace around something small like the bottom of a spice bottle or a quarter.  Lay that piece of parchment on the sheet pan and place another on top of it.  That way,  if you’re crazy enough to ever do this again, you’ll have your guide to use over  :o)

7.  Put mixture in piping bag and pipe onto the parchment using the circles underneath as your guide.   When all the circles are piped, lightly tap the bottom of the tray to release any bubbles that may have formed and set the tray in a warm spot for about 10 minutes.  This gives the macarons the chance to dry out a bit before they go in the oven. 

8.  While they are resting, the filling can be made:  Melt the white chocolate in the microwave and let it cool slightly.  Add the the heavy cream and the white chocolate to the food processor and mix to combine.   Pour in the chambord and add a small amount of coloring,  pulse a few times to combine again and filling is done.  Pour into clean piping bag and chill.

9.  Bake macarons for 13 mins at 135 celsius  (275 fahrenheit)

macarons resting on sheet pan

10.  When macarons are cooled,  flip over to pipe filling and finish.  Select halves that are the same size so they will match up nicely.  Pipe a small amount of filling on bottom half, top and eat!  

 

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