I was fortunate to be raised by a chef. My mother has worked in many five-star restaurants in Las Vegas. She was famous for a few things: her cakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, and most importantly, her macarons.
No one could get theirs to come out as perfectly as she could. This is one of the many things she passed on to me. My mom was always very strict, so when she began teaching me how to make macarons, I thought she was just being her usual self. I later learned that was not the case; macarons need to be made with precision.
Stop right now and clear your schedule. This is going to be a journey. You are most likely to fail a dozen times before you reach perfection. But once you reach it, your macarons will come out Instagram-worthy. You will need a food scale, whisk, spatula, sifter, food processor, piping bag, baking sheet and either a hand mixer or KitchenAid mixer with a whisk attachment. Also, three copper bowls, if you don’t have copper bowls any bowls will work. I just have found that copper bowls help keep the consistency of the thick meringue better than any other bowl I’ve used. Meringue is a dessert similar to whipped cream; we will be using this in our macaron mixture. As far as ingredients, you will be needing: eggs, butter, salt, cream of tartar, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar and almond flour. One important step you will need to do before starting this recipe: you will need to set aside 100 g of egg whites, about three eggs, the night before. This is to ensure maximum fluffiness.
In a bowl add 130 g (1 cup) of confectioners’ sugar and 140 g (1 1/8 cups) of almond flour. This needs to be pulverized fine. Don’t trust the almond flour labels when they say “fine” flour. It’s never as fine as they say. Sift this into a copper bowl and don’t try to press the lumps through. Toss those left-over lumps out. You will be tossing out anywhere between five to ten grams of the flour and sugar mix. Then transfer the sifted ingredients into a food processor. Whisk on low for about two to three minutes, then give the food processor a nice shake to gather the top and bottom together. Set the food processor on low for another two to three minutes. Repeat this whole process on final time. This work is very tedious. Almost too tedious. Now set these dry ingredients aside for later.
Have your piping bag set and ready to go. Once your meringue is done you will need to pipe it right away. Add 100 g of room temperature egg whites to your mixer. Start the mixer on low and whisk until frothy. Once they get frothy, you’ll add ¼ teaspoon each of Cream of Tartar and salt. Once those are added you will slowly drizzle in 100 g (2/3 cup) of granulated sugar. The meringue needs to be just past marshmallow fluffy, but still very firm. When it beings to stiffen up, this is when you add a teaspoon of vanilla and any food colorings you desire. When the meringue is collecting in the whisk attachment, then you know it’s about done. This is where most people make their mistakes. The most common mistake is when the meringue is not thick enough and once they transfer the meringue, it becomes runny, and you can’t work with runny meringue. Transfer the meringue into the copper mixing bowl. And whisk by hand for about three minutes. You will know when it is done when you can flip the bowl upside down and the meringue doesn’t come out.
Combining dry and wet ingredients
To your meringue sprinkle in 1/3 cup of the dry mixture and use your spatula to fold it in. The folding technique is very important; you’re going to scoop from the bottom to the top, then through the middle and repeat. Finally add the rest in of the dry ingredients in slowly. Fold them in using the same technique. As you are folding in the dry ingredients your goal is to try to get all the air bubbles out. Once you are able make a figure eight with the mixture flowing off the spatula, it is ready to be piped. You will need a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You will want to pipe perpendicular to the surface and not at an angle. Once they are piped out it you will need to tap the baking sheet on the counter to release all the air bubbles. Tap,tap,tap,tap,tap. Until there are no longer any air bubbles. They will need to rest on a flat surface for about 45 minutes to an hour. This is to form a skin on the outside. When you can touch them without leaving a fingerprint or any marks behind, then they are ready to be baked.
As your macarons are sitting aside, you will need to preheat your oven to 320 degrees. Only bake one sheet at a time; this will help to ensure even cooking. Once they have set and cooled, you can fill them with anything you like, jam, ganache (whipped filling with chocolate and cream) or even a regular buttercream, really anything.
Finally, after they are filled with whatever you desire, then get ready to bless your Instagram followers with amazing pictures of your new accomplishments.