Macarons – the real, French kind – have been on my to-bake list for a long time. I imagined it would be an all-day process, and I just kept putting it off.
Until I got a dinner invitation, and I offered to bring dessert, and nothing in my recipes looked good. I did have all day to work on them, so I pulled up the Definitive Macaron Guide and got started.
This will all make sense if you follow along in the guide.
I started by marking circles on parchment to pipe them into. I didn’t have a 1.5 inch cookie cutter, and the closest round thing I did have was a give-away champagne glass that lurks in the pack of my cupboard. So I used it. The important note here is that you must remember to flip the paper over before you start piping onto and, and also that blue sharpie is a pain to get off your good cookie sheets. A pen would have been a better choice.
Next, the measuring: 4 ounces of almond flour and 8 ounces of powdered sugar. I actually had almond flour in the fridge from an almond cake recipe I made earlier this year, so that made this part simple.
Then the eggs. I really did weigh the eggs. It came out to about 5 eggs for me, but I get farm-type eggs which cannot be restricted by labels like "large" or "extra-large". I followed her instructions exactly – 3 minutes on medium, 3 minutes on medium-high, and 3 minutes on high. And they looked perfectly meringue-y to me:
Then the folding. All the dry ingredients get folded into the egg whites. This is where I deviated, and I should not have. She said about 40 strokes was right – I stopped at 30, because I was afraid they were getting too runny. The result was that I had an awful lot of big bubbles in my shells, instead of many more little bubbles. I won’t make that mistake again!
Next, piping. I should have knocked down those little points on top before I baked them, because with the points, they don’t lay flat on the table so you can fill them.
Then, off to the oven for 18 minutes. Mine took closer to 20 minutes, but I suspect my oven thermostat is drifting. Perhaps the next time I buy an oven thermometer, I’ll actually remember to remove it before I run the self-cleaning cycle? No, probably not.
I was genuinely impressed. They weren’t perfect, but they were very close, especially for a first try. While they cooled, I whipped up a batch of vanilla buttercream to fill them with. I piped in the buttercream…
…and then we went out to dinner. Everyone loved them, even if they could have been a bit flatter and less airy. My impression was that they weren’t nearly as hard as everyone says they are, and they were well worth the trouble. I can see myself making a huge batch, with different colors and fillings, for a party. I’m thinking cherry shells with a chocolate ganache, to start with…