French Macaroons

A friend’s birthday was coming up and I wanted to bake her something fun. I remembered that she had gone to Paris with my brother, and he brought me home the most delicious macaroons as a souvenir. So I decided to try them out for the first time!

I had heard people tell me that they were hard to make, and as I was sifting and mixing and whisking, I was thinking, “This is a breeze!” And then I got to the piping and baking and then I was like, “Oh, now I know what people are talking about.” It’s pretty hard to get that perfect circle and a smooth top. I think I mostly figured it out by the third batch. I am buying one of these silicone mats to make it easier for next time.

Ingredients

For the macaroons

  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 sugar

For the filling

  • 3 egg whites
  •  1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter

Add 2/3 cup almond flour and 1 cup powdered sugar to a food processor. Pass the mixture through a sieve. There will be solids left on the sieve as pictured below.

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Put the solids back in the food processor and run through the sieve again until there is less than a tablespoon of solids left.

Whisk egg whites and sugar by hand to combine. Using a KitchenAid stand mixer, beat on medium speed 4 for 2 minutes. Increase to speed 6 for 2 more minutes. Then beat on high speed 8 for 2 more minutes until stiff peaks form.

Add flavoring and food coloring if desired. I made three batches and used Wilton food coloring in teal, rose, and violet.

Add dry ingredients  all at once to the egg mixture. Fold with a spatula from bottom of the bowl upward.

Prepare a pastry bag with a round tip and place in a tall cup. Transfer mixture into the pastry bag. Dab some of the leftover mixture on to the corners of a baking sheet and line with wax paper.

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Pipe batter into a 3/4 inch round swirling the tip off to one side. I had a little bit of trouble with this step and the peak is pretty noticeable after baked. Next time I will make sure to leave a nice smooth top.

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Tap sheets firmly against counter 3 times to release air bubbles.

My first batch gave me 4 perfect cookies. Most of them cracked. After doing some research I learned that before you put them in the oven, you’re supposed to let them rest in the pan for 20 minutes which allows the batter to form a skin. Place in 350 degree oven for 12 minutes, rotating halfway.

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For my second batch, almost all of them cracked. I learned that this was from not mixing it enough. You want to mix the batter so that it is a nice and flowing consistency.

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I was hoping the third batch would be the charm, but I forgot to swirl the tip off to the side leaving small peaks instead of a smooth top. I did mix it more thoroughly which led to less cracking.

Let cool completely before peeling them off of the wax paper. On my first batch I got impatient and tried to peel them right away, but it was too gooey and I ended up breaking some of the shells. Unlike me, have patience!

For the filling, whisk 3 egg whites and 1 cup sugar in stand mixer. Set your mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat mixture, whisking often, until it feels warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Transfer bowl to mixer and whip on high speed until it is stiff and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 2 sticks butter, one piece at a time, and mix until fully incorporated.

Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of the cookies and top with the remaining half.

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So, yes, macaroons are quite a bit of work, but a little trial and error is fun, especially when you can eat the errors. Trust me, they may not look perfect but they still taste amazing! I seriously can’t wait to try again and get them even better. Add some pretty flowers and some twine, and you’re good to go!

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