French Macarons. One of the prettiest little sweet treats in the world. And one of the hardest to master. I could lie and say that this was my first time making these amazingly delicious gifts from heaven but I won’t. I’ve tried to make them a few times before but never succeeded. They tasted right but they never formed the so-called “feet”. And since a macaron without the “foot” is not a macaron, I wasn’t happy with them. Each time after trying and failing this was the process in my head: 1. (day one) I’m never making macarons ever again! 2. (one week later after seeing a perfect macaron somewhere): One day, I’ll succeed in making one of these perfect little things! 3. (about a month or so after the failure): I’m ready to give them another try!
It was the same this time. Except this time I did a lot of research. I went through quite a number of YouTube tutorials on how to make macarons and what can go wrong while making them. I also read a few blog posts about typical mistakes and do’s and don’ts. Finally, I bought this perfect little book with 30 recipes for macarons. And most importantly – I went into the process of making macarons completely stress-free. I decided I didn’t care if they turned out perfect or not. I decided to have a relaxed day of baking since it was raining outside. And it worked. They turned out perfectly if you ask me! I’m super proud of myself since it takes even the greatest chefs ages to master these pretty treats.
Before you start making macarons, you should read through these basic rules and tips which should help you succeed in making them:
- Relax! The more you stress about making macarons and them not turning out as they should, the bigger the chance that you will fail. Trust me, I’ve stressed about them every single time and I failed. I made them completely stress-free this time and the results speak for themselves.
- Sift the almond meal a few times and toss any almonds that won’t go through the strainer. Sift them before you weigh them so you actually have the required amount of almond meal. Sift them again after mixing them together with powdered sugar 8and cacao).
- Watch a few YouTube tutorials (I suggest these: The Joy of Baking, Dishin With Di) since they will help you see what your beaten egg whites should look like before you start adding sugar, before you start adding the almond – sugar mixture and when your mixture is done.
- Preheat your oven really well. Even if it takes your oven 15 minutes to heat to 160 degrees Celsius, start preheating it at least 30 minutes before you start baking your macarons. If you have more than one tray of macarons to bake, bake only one tray at a time and allow the oven to heat back before you place in the next tray.
- Be patient and don’t skip the waiting parts. Let the piped macarons rest at least 30 minutes before baking them and let the baked macarons rest for at least 10 minutes before you start removing them from the baking paper onto the cooling rack.
- Check if your macarons are done by gently trying to pull them from the baking paper. If they won’t peel of easily, place them back in the oven for a few minutes. This time, don’t close the oven completely.
- Age the egg whites. Yes, it requires you to plan a little in advance, but the egg whites really need to be aged. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks and place them in a bowl covered with a paper towel. leave them on your countertop for at least 24 hours.
Ingredients (makes 20 macarons):
75 g almond meal
100 g powdered sugar
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
50 g finely ground sugar
2 large egg whites
100 g finely chopped dark chocolate (70%)
150 ml whipping cream
10 g butter
1. Put the almond meal, powdered sugar and raw cacao powder in a food processor and mix for about 15 seconds. Sift into a mixing bowl.
2. Prepare two baking trays with baking paper. I find baking paper better than the silicon mats but you can of course try with the silicon mat as well. If you are using baking paper, draw 3 cm circles on the bottom side of the paper to help you make even sized macarons.
3. In a large bowl (glass or metal; don’t use plastic) beat the egg whites with and electric or stand mixer until foamy. Add one table spoon of ground sugar at a time and mix until incorporated. Once you’ve added all the sugar, beat until glossy and hard peaks form.
4. Add a third of the almond mixture and fold into the egg whites. I suggest watching the above mentioned videos to see how this procedure should look. Once all the dry ingredients are incorporated, add the second third of the almond mixture and repeat. Do the same with the last third of the mixture. The mixture will get quite thick. Continue mixing it until you reach a glossy texture. If you lift your spatula, the mixture should fall back down in a form of a ribbon and disappear in the mixture after about 30 seconds.
5. Place the mixture in a piping bag with a nozzle with 1 cm diameter. Pipe small circles on the prepared baking trays. Lift the tray and either hit it from below with your hand a few times or bang it on the countertop to release any air bubbles in the mixture. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. After 30 minutes, the mixture should have dried to the extent that a crust forms over it and it almost doesn’t stick to your finger if you touch it.
6. In the meantime preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
7. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes (it took me 14 minutes but it depends on your oven and the size of your macarons).
8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the baking tray onto a cooling rack. let cool completely.
9. For the filling, place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream and butter until almost boiling and pour over the chocolate. Mix until all the chocolate melts and you get a smooth mixture. Let cool for about 25 minutes.
10. Combine two baked shells with a filling and refrigerate. I find them to be the most delicious the next day once the filling has softened the shells a little.