Macaron is a very finicky French pastry and is pretty much 50 percent presentation. Finding a good macaron recipe is not as hard as perfecting the technique. Measurements and precision are key!
Macarons are sensitive to baking variations and humidity. So getting the recipe and process right will take a few times based on your particular environment and tools. If you don’t master it the first time, don’t worry. It will probably take you several attempts before you have good results!
Here are some helpful tips:
- Start by ageing your egg-whites 24-48 hours. Strain them with a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any globby weird bits, resulting in purely liquid egg whites. Yielding smoother, shinier macarons.
- Everything that comes in contact with the egg whites needs to be clean. Trace amounts of oil/grime on your equipment will ruin your meringue. Even the smallest trace of yolk can be a disaster.
- Triple sift your almond flour, discarding any larger pieces. Double sift the almond flour together with the powdered sugar.
- Use gel food colouring instead of liquid. Liquids can alter the consistency of the macarons and ruin results.
- Let macaron shells sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour (depending on humidity levels in your home) to develop a shell before baking.
- Only use parchment paper, never place macarons directly on a silicone baking sheet.
- Bake with a wooden spoon in the oven to keep the door slightly ajar and reduce possible humidity.
Recipe: Basic Macaron Shells with Chocolate Ganache Filling
Prepare your ingredients!
- 300 grams almond meal, sifted
- 300 grams powdered sugar- sifted
- 110 grams egg whites
- 300 grams white sugar
- 75 grams water
- 110 grams egg whites
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), at room temperature and cut into cubes
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sifted almond meal and powdered sugar breaking up any lumps.
- Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in 110 grams of egg whites. Fold them in gently until the mixture is well combined, thick and paste-like.
- Place the other 110 g of egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir together until dissolved. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
- When the syrup reaches 225 F, whisk eggs on high speed. When they reach soft peak stage, turn the speed to low. The egg whites can wait for the syrup, but once the syrup is ready, it cannot wait.
- When the syrup hits 239 F, carefully pour it into the side of the bowl while the mixer is running. Aim to pour it right at the spot where the egg whites meet the side of the bowl.
- Whip on high for one minute then reduce speed to low. Continue beating until the bowl has cooled slightly, and glossy stiff peaks have formed.
- Add 1/2 of the meringue to the almond mixture, gently fold until combined and smooth. Gradually add the rest of the meringue until batter is smooth and almost ribbons off the spoon.
- If you want to divide the batter and add gel colouring, this is the time. Continue to fold it in until the batter is smooth, shiny and totally ribbons off the spoon.
- Fill piping bags with a round tip and preheat oven to 300 F and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Pipe small rounds with the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet.
- Let the piped macarons sit out until a trace of a shell is formed, about 30 minutes. This helps keep their shape while baking.
- Bake for about 12 minutes. To test if done, open the oven and wiggle the top of a shell back and forth. If it’s super “wiggly” they need more time. Perfect macarons will be just a little wiggly, but overall firm.
- When done, remove parchment from the sheet and let cool for 5 minutes on the countertop. Gently peel parchment paper off and cool completely before filling.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.
- Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to boil.
- Stir it into the chocolate without creating bubbles.
- Let sit for 1 minute.
- Add the butter and stir until smooth.
- Chill in the refrigerator until thickened but still spreadable, about 30 minutes.
- Pair macarons of similar size. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator. If you choose to pipe the ganache, transfer it to a resealable plastic bag and snip about a 1/2 inch off a bottom corner. Squeeze or scoop the ganache to about the size of a cherry (about 1 teaspoon) onto the center of a macaron half.
- Top with another half and press gently so that it looks like a mini hamburger. The filling should not ooze out the edges.
- Refrigerate, covered, at least 24 hours before serving.
- Macarons taste best when “ripened” in the fridge for 24-48 hours, but can last in the fridge air-tight for up to one week.
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