Monday, February 11, 2013

Mad for Macarons!

I'm a little giddy.
 OK...a lot giddy.

Macarons have been on my "must try someday" list for ages now.  I first saw them in Martha's Baking Handbook and just could not get over how darn CUTE they are.


Then, I read about their reputation for being difficult...how they don't react well to humidity...how they're so easily overmixed...how if you look at them funny, they'll develop hollows.  Etcetera, etcetera. 

I went back to regular ol' cookies.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my gorgeous, adorable friend Lupita invited me over to...make macarons!!! Lupita, who makes the prettiest decorated cookies, had been to a macaron class and volunteered to teach me to make them.  We (she) made these little chickies:
I'm totally making these for Easter!

The other person who helped me jump on the macaron bandwagon: Stella from Brave Tart.  Stella is, well, amazing. Her posts on macaron making are down-to-earth and really take the scary out of the equation.  Check out: macaron mythbusters, all about hollows, 10 commandments, and macarons are for eating.

Psst...you don't even need to age your egg whites!  (...if you've never heard of aging egg whites just pretend you never read that sentence.)


Thanks to Stella's wisdom, I know WHY my heart macarons are "broken heart" macs (most likely, a rogue streak of meringue).  But, hey, for Valentine's Day...I'm going to pretend I made them that way on purpose.  Who hasn't had a broken-hearted Valentine's Day before?

(And because of these, I can't get the Bee Gees singing, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" out of my head.)

OH!  And here's the best thing about macarons...I mean, besides eating them...they really don't take long to make at all!  Compared to baking batches of cut-out cookies, tinting and thinning royal icing, piping and flooding cookies, macarons feel like they take about a nanosecond.
First batch doesn't work?  Make another!  


I wanted to go simple, simple, simple...and was still a little worried they wouldn't turn out, so I didn't even make a filling.  I went to my go-to, spread on everything...Nutella.




Simple Macarons
{makes about 40-ish shells for 20 cookies}

3/4 cup ground almond flour/meal
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg whites
3 & 1/2 TBSP granulated sugar
food color (optional)
buttercream, ganache, or Nutella for filling

Stack 2 cookie sheets, one top of the other, unless you are starting with very thick, insulated sheets.  Use a 1 & 1/2" cookie cutter to trace guidelines for piping the macarons on a piece of parchment.  Leave about 1 inch between each circle. Flip the parchment over, and place on the top cookie sheet. 


Combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor.  Process for about 30-seconds to 1 minutes, until combined.  Sift the mixture or shake through a fine sieve into a bowl.  (About 2 tablespoons of larger pieces are ok, just stir them into the rest.)  Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium-low, until frothy.  Increase the speed to medium, and continue whisking until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.  With the mixer running, gradually add in the granulated sugar.  Scrape down the side of the bowl if needed.

Increase the speed to medium-high, beating until the eggs are glossy and come to a stiff peak.  Add food coloring, if using, note that more food coloring may affect the baking time. (I used just a bit of AmeriColor Deep Pink.) Beat until the egg whites form a clump in the whisk attachment and are stiff.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and sift about half of the almond flour mixture over the meringue.  Use a silicone spatula to fold into the meringue, using about 10 strokes; don't expect it to come together completely.  Sift the remaining almond flour mixture into the bowl, (it's ok to add in the 2 TBSP or so of larger pieces that won't go through the sifter), and continue to fold into the meringue.

Don't worry about being gentle; you want to deflate the egg whites.  Fold until the mixture comes together, but avoid overmixing.  Be sure to scrape the bowl to avoid stray bits of meringue remaining unincorporated.  The batter will loosen and start to fall in the "ribbon" off of the spatula.  A ribbon or dollop of batter dropped back into the bowl, should reincorporate into the rest of the batter in 20-30 seconds.  This should take no more than 50 strokes total.

{Warning to you cookie decorators out there....I found it very easy to overmix the batter since I'm so used to thinning royal icing for flooding.}

Spoon the 1/2 the batter into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2" tip (I found that just using the coupler without a tip worked great for this).   Pipe the batter onto the parchment, using the circles as a guide, staying just inside the lines (the batter will spread a bit).  Repeat with the remaining batter.

Let the piped batter to dry for about 15 minutes-30 minutes while the oven preheats to 350. 

Bake for 11-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.  The tops should be firm and glossy and the bottoms of the shells should have formed "feet" or frills at the bottom.  When done, the cookies will lift fairly easily from the parchment.
 Remove from the oven, place the cookie sheets on a wire rack and let cool completely on the sheet.



Once cool, remove the cookies from the parchment and fill.  Lightly press the cookies together.

Macarons taste best after 24 hours, so place in a container between layers of wax paper and be patient. :)  After 24 hours, remove from the refrigerator and let the cookies come to room temperature, or close to it, before serving.


See? Not so scary!  The most difficult part?  Deciding how many to eat in one sitting.  
I settled on a serving size of seven.  Sounds about right.



Sur La Table 120x600 11.27.07

90 comments:

  1. Yum! I've not had the courage to attempt them yet and am so proud you did! {And now I can't get the Bee Gees out of my head either}

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  2. man why didn't I think of using Nutella? I so have to now.

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  3. Awesome! A recipe in cups and spoons measurements. Why do we need to layer the baking sheets though? Is it something about the thermal conduction?

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  4. I am so skeered to make macarons!
    I think I totally need to get over it and try!

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  5. I've read a gazillion blog posts on macarons and even took a macaron cooking class at H&H but mine are still an epic fail. These are beautiful. I can't wait to try your recipe *fingers crossed*

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  6. Those are precious!!! And that's it...you've just given me the confidence to give them a try!! Mwah!

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  7. I want to try so badly, maybe I'll get the courage soon. These look awesome and Nutella is a great idea.

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  8. Congrats! These look delightful! I made macs for the first time last year and was beside myself when they turned out - my first try was an epic failure, so it was like winning the lottery to get a perfect batch. :)

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  9. Lovely - the hearts are darling!

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  10. These look incredible!! And I'm loving the broken hearts too ;)

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  11. I cannot get over how stunning these are Bridget!! Seriously, I feel like I am looking at a Martha Stewart magazine. You ROCK!! I have never attempted a macaron. You have inspired me!

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  12. I bought the almond flour last month (and caster sugar bc I read that in another recipe, but I like the idea and ease of powdered sugar better!). Yet...I still haven't taken the plunge! I love the heart shaped ones...they are so cute! I need to just do it. Even if they fail, there is still Nutella. :)

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  13. Bridget, love all this macaroon wisedom! I've never made them, but am now thinking (just maybe) I will. :)

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  14. Great job! Glad to hear you don't need to age the egg whites. That was really turning me off from making macarons.

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  15. Nice job on these macs, love the hearts! I've made a few bad batches of macarons, but once I found a recipe I really liked, magic ever since! I'm totally on board with simple shells filled with nutella, yums.

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  16. Macarons must be on the minds of food bloggers lately! I have mine in the oven this very minute. I am not sure they will work, though, as I started with almonds and tried to pulse them into almond flour but they were not quite fine enough. Yours are beautiful!! And those chicks simply adorable. Happy macaron eating!

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  17. They look beautiful! My first attempt at macarons went fairly well, but the next couple of attempts have been disasters. Time to get back in the kitchen, I suppose! Great job on the Easter ones :-)

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  18. Lovely macarons. It took me a couple of attempts before I got the hang of it. The recipes and tips from Tartlette were really helpful. I love sandwiching almost any flavor macaron with some chocolate ganache. : )

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  19. Love this! Thank-you so much for sharing! I've only made macarons once and the recipe stated superfine sugar...no exceptions. So I didn't want to have to order special sugar from the inter web and just put some sugar in my food processor. My macarons turned out like blobs with berets...THESE look great and the recipe seems much easier! Can't wait to try it again!

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  20. oo Bridget, they are just beautiful!

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  21. I've always been too scared to make macarons.... maybe I should give it a try. Yours look positively beautiful!

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  22. Your macarons are so pretty! I still haven't jumped on that train yet, but you make them sound so easy that I think I need to!

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  23. Go Bridget!!! Of course you can master macarons!

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  24. Congratulations Bridget. Your macs look lovely and the interior of them look perfect!

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  25. They're gorgeous! And now on my baking bucket list...

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  26. LOVE these!! Stella's genius. And now I feel like I can go back to macarons (my first attempt was, um, well, see your post before this one).

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  27. AWE! Hi Lupita!!!!!!! Macarons scare me. The last one I had was actually an H&H purchase right before I left and I ate so many I got a stomach ache, because I knew it would be a long long time. You make this look SOOOOOOOOOOOOO not scary, LOL!

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  28. Alright that's it! I'm going to try macarons! You made these look completely possible and much less scary!

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  29. Yum! I've always wanted to try to make macarons...I think this year will be my year!

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  30. These look awesome! I have to ask, do you use store bought almond flour or make your own? I make my own sometimes, but I am not sure I can get it fine enough to make these successfully! :)

    Diana @ http://bakingupyum.blogspot.com/

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  31. I really have been wanting to try these for a while. I asked for and received a kitchen scale at Christmas. Thanks for the tips and photos. My goal is to try in the next few weeks! Want to get good to give them out to some friends at Easter.

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  32. These are gorgeous! I, too, have had macarons on the brain since a recent trip to Paris. I stuffed myself silly with macarons...and blogged about it of course. :) I had taken a class back in 2011, made them perfectly at home *once*, and could never replicate that batch ever again... I took a break and just took a "refresher" class yesterday, which was a mess-- I couldn't believe the poor technique that we were taught, and even the instructor's batch looked awful. I just learned more from your blog post than I did in class-- I think it's time to try again! Thank you so much posting this. :)

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  33. Yummy! I always forget how much I love these. Cute pic of you two, too! xo

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  34. I know it's Valentine's Day, but those little chickie macarons are just about the cutest ones I've ever seen! :)

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  35. OMG!!! A macaroon recipe that is in cups and spoons! cant wait to try this out!! Finally have to courage to think about making macaroons!! Will be keeping you posted on how it goes :)

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  36. The heart macaron idea is so adorable!

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  37. How cute are these?! I love macarons and nutella is awesome so how could you possibly go wrong. It never occurred to me that they could be made into adorable little chicks.

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  38. Well done! They look great.
    Like the new pinterest pin things on the pictures!

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  39. I just made macarons this weekend and get this, the EXACT SAME COLOR...ALONG WITH HEART-SHAPED ONES! I did follow Jill's recipe from the book, "Mad About Macarons". I even e mailed her for questions and she not only answered but was so encouraging. I feel like I am on top of the world because pretty, little pieds were tip-toeing in my oven. I did have some cracked hearts, also. I thought it was because I let them sit on the counter too long. Sigh, your cookies and photos are beautiful. FYI folks, these aren't those coconut macaroons. These are macarons. Totally different. I'm going to try nutella next. I made ganache with kahlua, which was great, but the nutella would have been awesome! Thanks for posting this! I am going to try your recipe that you posted. Resting the whites for days was discouraging. If you are ever wondering whether to try these...DO IT. Your friends will think you are a baking princess!

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  40. So perfectly crisp and chewy. I love them!

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  41. Central Market had a great macaron class last year. I love your choice of papersource pink flower paper! I used the same for Valentines gifts this year! Thank you for all of the great posts!

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  42. if you can get farm fresh/free range eggs at your farmers market (I buy mine at the one on richmand ave in houston for those in the area when its open!) they make a world of difference in macarons, (and all baking really) I made side by side batches one with market eggs and one with grocery store, and they were above and beyond in flavor and texture. you can age them, but i think that using the farmers market eggs will give you results without. good luck!

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  43. Congrats on your macaron success! I've actually never had one, but I keep seeing them everywhere so I probably should right???
    Trish

    www.jellybonesblog.blogspot.com

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  44. Lovely macarons! The first time I made them, a perfect success, since then, no such luck. Your success is inspirational!

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  45. Once again (still) you've inspired me to try something I've been wanting to try but have been avoiding (for fear of failure!) for so long!

    Your macarons are gorgeous!!

    xo

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  46. Awwwww these are so pretty! I've gotta try my hand at macarons one day soon.

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  47. I have tried macarons a few times, but they always look more like little whoopie pies, and the feet are very temperamental, but after your pep talk I'm ready to try again:) Your macarons are perfect, and I love those chicks!

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  48. These are gorgeous! Can you believe I've never eaten a macaron? I hope I don't get kicked out of the food blogging club for admitting that. ;)

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  49. Oh, I've been wanting to make macarons for a while now too, but I'm afraid. I don't know why, I mean it's just a little cookie. But one of these days I will make some.

    Yours look absolutely positively adorable!

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  50. These look and sound much simpler than I imagined. Maybe macarons will be on my to do list soon. :-)

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  51. I've tried macarons 10 times and I still can't get it right. I think it has something to do with "The Power of Positive Thinking!" (sigh)

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  52. These look incredible & gorgeous, great job!

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  53. Your macarons look great - gorgeous photos!

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  54. I've been nervous to try macarons too... maybe I'll muster up the courage this week!

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  55. Your beautiful macarons have inspired me to give them another go! I tried twice using 2 different recipes/methods however both required the egg whites to be aged which puts me off too much - especially since after ageing them for days they didn't even turn out!! I'll definitely try this way. Beautiful!

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  56. OMG Bridget!!! You are the best!!! I just finished baking these and they're perfect! I've made macarons before and the recipe was so intimidating. First, you weighed your ingredients, including the egg whites. Then when it was time to bake, the recipe said to preheat the oven to a higher temp, then turn it down during baking while the oven door is propped open with a wooden spoon or something like that. My macs turned out but after trying your recipe, that old one is going bye bye! Thank you for a simple yet foolproof macaron recipe!

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  57. I tried these! This recipe is fabulous! Thank you so much it was so easy to follow:) I would love if you checked out how mine turned out:) http://simplyfour.blogspot.com/

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  58. I love how you simplified macaron-making! I cannot for the life of me get these right. I'll be trying them out real soon now. Bookmarked this page :)

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  59. I tried your macaron recipe and the shells came out beautifully, with feet and everything! No cracks and no hollow shells! But I felt that the shells were a bit too sweet for my liking. If I were to cut down on the amount of sugar, should I decrease on the amount of powdered sugar that gets mixed with the almond flour or the sugar that goes into making the meringue? Or does it not matter?
    Over all, thank you for a wonderful, easy-to-follow recipe (:

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    1. Hi there! I wouldn't mess with the ratio of sugar to eggs to almond flour, but you're always welcome to play around and see if it works. Good luck! :)

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  60. Macarons are so versatile and are great make-ahead cookies! I love your pics!

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  61. oooh – my husband it going to be tHRILLED about this. He has been wanting to try to make macaroons for some time. thank you!

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  64. I don't think my first comment went through but I'm hoping someone can help me. I've tried 3 diff recipes but this one seems to work best. theyve gotten better but I can't seem to get the look described or shown in the pictures, the batter always seems too thick or stiff when I put it on the pan n doesn't fall. it seems impossible to 'over mix' because of the consistency when I add the dry stuff after I folded n folded. the tops never gloss n I don't get feet. gelp please!! :)

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  65. Great recipe! Baking them as I type! Thanks for sharing, I hope they'll be as nice as yours...

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  66. Hi!
    Should I bake the macaron with top and bottom heat or with only bottom heat?
    Also, how long do you take to beat the egg white at the final step on medium high speed?
    Thank you!

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  67. I can't wait to try these. I've been looking for a good recipe. These are so expensive in the high end grocery stories so I hope I can master these.

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  68. spare room, Someone who is looking to visit your country, state or town and would love a room to stay. You might want to charge them for the room or even better trade it for some help around the house.

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  69. SWEET!AND AMAZING!The broken heart are really impressed. I wonder if I could use the blueberry jam instead of the Nutella. All in all, A great recipe! Thanks for sharing! I had featured u in the article of Top 7 Best Biscuits from Scratch on AllFreshRecipes. Looking forward to ur newly EATS!

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  70. Amazing... I think I made macaroons around 8 times and every time a different problem comes out

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  71. Hi,

    My name is Stevie

    I just tried these and they didn't come out right. They weren't glossy on the tops, nor did they have the little feet. I'm wondering if anyone has any helpful suggestions. Maybe my batter was too runny or too thin? Did I over mix? They are just little flat discs at the moment. The taste is great, I just need a little tlc on the method I think. . . I'm soooo close!

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  72. Macarons are definitely tricky...Ive only tried making them once but it was fun !!

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  73. Hey, I'm a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. Baking and Pastisserie diploma over here. Several years of experience. I SUCK at macaroons. Like, I can make perfect choux pasties, no sweat. But I cannot, for the life of me, make macaroons. I've even got Patrick Casula's (Pastry World Champion) formula. I think I shall give it another go and be more patient with it. My macaroons always have a "gangster lean" to them and are not very good for show. They taste good, though!

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  74. I am sure that I could not do such cookies by myself, but I really want to try them.

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  75. Quick tip: If you don't have a 1 1/2" cookie cutter, the top of a shot glass works well :)

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  76. Wow!!! I was really intimidated by macarons until I found your blog - your recipe just spoke to me so I dared to try and followed your instructions to a T and everything came out beautifully!! I was so thrilled with the outcome I made a second batch that same day even though I had already washed and put everything away LOL. The second batch I filled with some locally made raspberry jam. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  77. This totally makes macaron making a lot less scary. I and totally going to try this. Thanks

    Aisha
    http://domseticadventures.blogspot.com

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  78. Most macaron recipes are in grams, but yours is in cups?

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  79. mine are browned and only cooked half the time :(

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    1. Sounds like you may need to check your oven temp, or maybe use a different cookie sheet. :) I'm sorry that happened.

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  80. This is such an inspirational post! I wish more people would realize that macarons are not all that hard and are so delicious and worth it. I'm hosting a link party for macarons and would be delighted if you could join.

    http://www.triedandtwisted.blogspot.com/2014/03/march-of-macaron-linky-party.html
    Toodles,
    Sara

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  81. Thank you so much for this post... they look amazing!! I can't wait to make these!! I have been doing my macaron research and I think I am finally ready.

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  82. Thank you thank you thank you!! I had previously failed horribly at macaroons - your recipe and directions were my very first success!! I can't wait to make more this weekend :)

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  83. thank's for post..
    So perfectly crisp and chewy, i like it ;)
    your post is good (y)

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  84. Really good. They look good in hearts.

    the-renaissance-of-inner-fashion.blogspot.co.uk

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