I challenged myself with baking French Macarons. From everything I read French Macarons are indeed a challenge with a multitude of things that can go wrong. My first batch were under baked. My second batch had feet that spread (oven temp. too high – adjustments need to be made) and my 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th batch have been perfect! When my first perfect batch came out of the oven it was just myself and my puppy in the kitchen – I did a happy dance and we did a high five!
Macarons are my newest obsession – they are so much fun and can be made in so many different colors and flavors the list goes on and on and on. My co-workers love it – I have Macaron Monday every week and they get to eat my Macarons and I get to try new flavors and colors – it’s a win win.
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1 Cup almond flour
3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 275°F. Prepare 2 cookie pans with parchment paper. Fit a 16 in. decorating bag with tip 1A.
Sift confectioners’ sugar and almond flour together, discarding any bits of almond flour that are too large to pass through the strainer.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on high speed until foamy, then with the mixer running, slowly add the sugar. When the mixture reaches soft peaks, add lemon, vanilla and color.
Continue whipping just until mixture forms stiff peaks.
Gently pour the almond mixture over the whipped egg whites so they don’t deflate. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until the mixture holds a 10 count, meaning when batter falls from the spatula to the bowl it takes about 10 seconds until it fully blends into the rest of the bowl in the batter. This way, the almond mixture is fully hydrated but egg whites still retain some air. The mixture is thick enough to pipe without running everywhere, but the peak at the top of each piped cookie will fall on its own, making a perfectly smooth cookie. This takes about 45 turns, but depending on how aggressively you fold, it can be more or less.
Transfer the batter to the prepared decorating bag.
Pipe 1 inch rounds of batter onto the parchment lined pans, spacing at least 1 inch apart.
Tap the pans hard on the countertop 4-5 times to release trapped air, and then let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes or until the unbaked macaron form a skin and do not stick to your finger when touched. Allowing the macaron to crust over is what leads to their signature “feet,” the holey ring that arises during baking at the base of each cookie.
Bake for 18-22 minutes on a shelf in the center of the oven. If baking 2 pans at a time on different oven racks, rotate the pans from bottom to top midway through baking. There isn’t a great visual on how long to bake macaron. When underbaked, the centers can be wet. When overbaked, they start to brown slightly and become very crunchy instead of crisp on the top with a softer interior.
Cool the macaron completely on a cooling grid before sandwiching with your filling of choice. Flavored buttercreams, jams, and chocolate ganache are all great options.
Makes 36 to 48 sandwiched cookies.
Lemon Lavender Ganache
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon culinary food grade lavender buds
1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
8 oz. white chocolate
Heat heavy cream just until barely boiling and add lavender. Let sit in fridge at least 5 hours to infuse flavor. Strain out the lavender buds, reheat and pour over white chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes and stir to combine with lemon extract and food coloring if desired.