Hello there! Lately I’ve often started my posts apologizing to my readers for not being persistent in posting, and this week (beside the first apology) I also have to apologize for posting about a dessert which is not Italian at all, but that recently got so popular (and so delicious) that I couldn’t help but learn how to prepare it. Actually this is not the first time I share an “International recipe”.. do you remember the “Lapponian salad“? or the “Jalapenos popper deep“? and my “cheesecake“? and the “cornflakes and raisins cookies“?
Anyway, I’ve learnt making macarons by experimenting recipes I found online, and the best one, and simplest and most effective is the one shared by Simona Mirto in the Italian website tavolartegusto.it : if you fluently speak Italian I warmly suggest you to follow her recipe, which is very detailed and well explained.. for the English version keep reading and be ready to feel like a French chef!
Just before starting, I have a few ESSENTIAL suggestions:
- Macarons require patient, calmness and precision. If you are mostly for quick result with minor effort, it may be not the most appropriate recipe to try;
- Macarons are about exact proportions between ingredients, so this time I cannot convert the ingredients in cups and teaspoons because they are too much approximate: get a kitchen scale before starting!
- Even if this recipe works (I promise), it may take you a few attempts before getting the right result because you will need to figure out which is the best time and temperature to bake the macarons in your own oven.
- Sorry if I am not posting the pictures step by step, but if you need a “visual” guide for the method, just visit www.tavolartegusto.it/ricetta/macarons-ricetta-e-guida-passo-passo/ and you will find a question to all your answers!
- The egg whites should be a few days “old” and must be at room temperature for at least a couple of hours before starting;
- Even though most macarons recipes use cream of tartar as main ingredient to make the batter a little more stable, I don’t use it because in my opinion it slightly alters the consistency of the macarons’ shells.
- Macarons could be made in different colors and different fillings. My family likes any colors but is particularly picky about the filling: the only one allowed is the white chocolate ganache, and this is the filling type I would prepare if I’d be you!
- Macarons don’t require a lot of time to be prepared but, especially on humid day, the “croutage” may take up to an hour or so and as I previous said (see #1), when you prepare macarons pick a day you’ll have enough time for your cooking project !
INGREDIENTS FOR ABOUT 30 COMPLETED MACARONS
100 gr. eggs white
150 gr. finely grounded almond flour
200 gr. powdered sugar
25 gr. granulated sugar
food coloring (optional)
FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
150 gr. good quality white chocolate
100 gr. whipping cream
Before starting: using a food processor, grind the almond flour and the powdered sugar together. The secret is activating the food processor just for few seconds, to mix evenly the two ingredients and make the flour even thinner than before. Just few seconds are enough. If you mix the flour too much it may “sweat” and later, it may ruin the consistency of the batter. I CONFESS: the first time I tried making macarons I skipped this step. Result: the batter was too thick and crumbly and it didn’t rise while cooking! And HOLD ON!!!! You are not done yet with the “preparing phase“: it’s now time to sift the flour and sugar with a thin strainer, making sure to get rid off any possible little crumble or lump.
Preparing the macarons batter: At this point you can start whipping the egg whites in a standing mixer, adding the granulated sugar a little bit a time, let’s say in at least three rounds. Once the whites are firm, stiff and fluffy, sift half of the sugar/flour into the whites and start stirring with a spatula, very gently, from the bottom to the top. Once the dry ingredients are well incorporated it is time to add the food coloring (PS. you can also make white macarons and avoid any food coloring). The food coloring that worked the best for me is the powdered ones, but also the gel ones are fine. Avoid those liquid because they would alter the consistency of the batter. Stir always gently from the bottom to the top to avoid the batter becoming too watery. Now you can add the remaining flour/sugar mix (always sifting) and keep mixing until you get a perfect and even batter. Just so you can understand when to stop stirring, the batter should be soft enough to fall from the spatula like a satin tape. If it takes too much for the batter to fall from the spatula it means it is too thick and you have to keep stirring. When the batter looks ready, keep it aside for a few minutes. It’s time to prepare your baking dish!
I know on the market they sell silicon baking sheets that are already marked with the macarons’ shape. I don’t own one, so with a pencil I draw 4 cm (1.5″) sized circles making sure each one diverts from another for about 2 cm (0.8″) . Once done, I flip the parchment upside down (so the grey of the pencil doesn’t stain the macarons’ shells) and line my baking sheets.
Now that the baking sheets are ready, move the batter into a Sac a’ Poche with a 1 cm round decorating tip. Fill each circle of your baking sheet with the batter making sure to stay a little far from the edges because the batter will loose up a bit. Keep doing it until all the batter is gone.
THIS IS THE PART WHERE YOU NEED TO BE PATIENT: the macaroons need to “dry” enough so when you touch them your finger doesn’t stick to it (c.d. croutage). In a dry sunny day the “croutage” would take about 30 minutes. During humid days it may take even an hour or more. But do not worry, your macarons will not get ruined if you wait too much to bake them, but they for sure not turn out if you don’t wait enough time! So take your time and wait before starting baking!
FINALLY! IT”S TIME FOR BAKING!
After the “drying time” (or coutage) the surface of your macarons should be hard enough that if you touch them, your fingers don’t stick to them… Pre-Heat your oven at 290 F. and let your macarons bake around 14 minutes. Beware: cooking time changes from recipe to recipe and sometimes it depends on the “color” you pick. Avoiding the cream of tartar extends the baking time so – with my oven, and my recipe – the macarons starts forming their famous “collar” around minute #8th and are ready to be taken out of the oven at minute #14th.
Once baked let your macarons cooling off before taking it away from the baking sheet and remember to use a knife blade to help you during the process. Be careful: the macarons are very delicate and if you don’t use gentleness you may crush the macarons’ shells.
While your Macarons cool off, you can prepare the white chocolate ganache (which will be one of my next posts). For the best result put your ganache in a cake decorator or a sack a posh, fill half of your macarons shells (handling those with gentleness) and cover those with the other halves. YOU ARE DONE!!!
I Know, it sounds (and it probably is) a time consuming job, but when you’ll see your macarons’ shells forming their famous “collar” while cooking you will feel the power of the success!!! And when you’ll enjoy these little bites of deliciousness, you could not ever live without 😉
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
Curiosities: – Macaroon and Macaron are two completely diffent kids of French cookies. Both are delicious but are entirely different from each other: a macaroon is coconut based whereas macaron is meringue based. Macarons range in color and flavors while macaroons are limited in variety. SO when you talk about Macaron, watch out for your spelling!!!
– Macarons are gluten free gourmet cookies so they can come very handy whenever you have guests that are on a gluten free regimen but still like to enjoy delicious treats!
Have you ever made Macarons? What’s your favorite recipe? Did you find any of my suggestions helpful? Do you have any secret tricks to prepare perfect Macarons? What’s your favorite Macarons filling?
Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment! I love exchanging recipes and tips with you!
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