French macarons are little delicious treats which are to die for. They really are! Honestly, if you haven’t tasted them then you are definitely missing out. French macarons are cookies made from almond flour, sugar and egg whites. These cookie shells can be filled with buttercream, ganache, nutella or even a simple fruit jam. While these sandwich cookies are delicious to taste, they are quite tricky to bake.
I am not an expert in making french macarons but there are few things that I have learned over time. Each step is critical in making perfect french macarons and your whole recipe can go for a toss if you miss out on any one of these.
So here are few basic points which will help you in baking perfect french macarons.
1. Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar together and don’t sift it once, do it thrice. Yes, you read it right sift it thrice. There’s no way you can get smooth top for these cookies until and unless you sift these two together. As much as I hate sifting, it is essential in this recipe.
2. Eggs should be at room temperature. The recipe won’t work if that’s not the case. In case you forgot to take the eggs out of your fridge, just put them in warm water for 5-10 minutes. They will come down to room temperature. It’s also a good idea to separate eggs when they are cold and then let the egg whites sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours or even more before you start working on them.
3. Wash your hands and your mixing bowl before working with the egg whites. There should be no grease on your hands. The whites won’t beat to foamy froth if there’s any fat on the machine or on your hands. To make sure that the mixer bowl is completely free from any grease, you can wipe it with lemon juice or vinegar.
4. The color of the macaron fade out when it’s baked so add more color to your mixture, a shade darker than what you want the macarons to look like finally.
5. The most important thing is to not under-mix or over-mix the egg whites with the almond-sugar mix. You have to mix until they are well combined. The final mixture should be thick but if you drop it from a spatula it should fall down on it’s own. Be very careful here as under-mixing will result in cracked top and if you over-mix you won’t be able to get those ridges on the macarons. I think somewhere between 55-65 strokes when you are folding the egg white with the almond meal are sufficient. But then again this can vary and is not a fixed number. If you batter is too runny, you have over-mixed.
6. Do not add the entire almond-flour mixture into the egg whites at once. Do it in three parts.
7. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. This is important to ensure that the meringue doesn’t come in contact with any fat/grease.
8. Bang the cookie sheets on your kitchen countertop once you have pipped the batter. Do this twice or thrice to make sure all the air’s out.
9. Once all cookies are pipped on the baking sheet, let them sit out for 30-45 minutes. Do not put the macarons in the oven immediately. If you don’t do this then the macarons will spread in the oven and will not form the ridges which define them.
10. Let the macarons cool completely before you fill them with buttercream or any other filling.
And most importantly, don’t give up if you don’t get them right the first time. They are little tricky and take some practice! : )
* Eggs separate best when cold, so separate the egg whites when you take the eggs out of the fridge and then let them come down to room temperature.
* You can buy one of these macaron baking mats which will make sure that all macaron shells are equal in size.
* Using cream of tartar is optional, it stabilizes the egg whites. If you don’t add it, the recipe would still work, only the egg whites would take little more time to form stiff peaks.
French Macaron: The Basics
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 F degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl, sift together the almond flour and confectioners sugar. Sift the mixture thrice. Set aside.
- Separate eggs and beat egg whites using wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer until foamy. Add salt, granulated sugar and cream of tartar and beat till it forms stiff peaks.This will take around 10 minutes.
- Add the food coloring of your choice to the egg whites.
- Fold the almond flour-sugar mixture into the egg whites. Mix till well combined. Make sure to not over-mix or under-mix the batter. [Read tips above]
- Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with 1/2 inch round tip.
- Pipe the batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pipe 1 inch small blobs.
- Bang the cookie sheet on countertop to release trapped air.
- Let the cookie sheet sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
- Bake at 300 F degrees for around 20 minutes.
- Let the macarons cool completely before filling them with buttercream/ganache
French Macarons – The Basics