Ah, the elusive macaron. I have longed to make macarons for years now, but could never quite work up the courage. They are notoriously finicky, and I hate wasting ingredients, not to mention it's a blow to the old self esteem to fail at a recipe. Over the holidays, I had finally had enough looking at other bloggers' beautiful little cookies, and I set out to make them myself. I spent a good amount of time reading tutorials and tips from others, then I gathered my ingredients, weighed everything out, and set to work.
And you know what? They aren't terribly difficult! I was super careful with each step, working slowly, and being as anal-retentive as I possibly could. After I finally put them in the oven, I promptly sat myself down on the floor and watched them cook through the oven door. And when I saw the little feet forming, I may or may not have gotten up and done a little dance (which both Caroline and Joey thought was quite hilarious).
They weren't perfect, and there are a few things I would do differently next time, but I was super excited to share them with my family at our big holiday gathering. I kept it simple with the filling and went with chocolate ganache, but I'm already dreaming up all the possibilities for future batches.
Here are a few of the resources I used:
Confections of a Foodie Bride
One Year Ago: Green Bean Bundles
Vanilla Bean Macarons
Use Real Butter, originally from Tartelette
- 110 g blanched almonds
- 200 g powdered sugar
- seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
- 50 g sugar
- 100 g egg whites (about 3 egg whites), aged a day at room temperature
Pulse almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and pulse a few times to combine.
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds out using a paring knife. Add the seeds to the granulated sugar and whisk to combine.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy, then gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to whip until a shiny, glossy meringue forms (but not dry).
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and add the almond mixture. Using a rubber spatula, briskly and quickly fold the almond meal into the egg whites. After a few brisk strokes, slow down and then gently incorporate the rest into the batter.You want a batter that flows and "ribbons" for at least 5 seconds.
Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe the batter into 1 1/2-inch rounds, spacing them about 1-inch apart.
Whack the bakign sheets on the counter a few times, then allow to sit at room temperature 45 minutes-1 hour, or until a hard shell forms.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake the macarons 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Allow to cool completely on the pan before using a small spatula to remove them. Match the cookies according to size and pipe filling on half, using the other half to form a sandwich.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
adapted from The Pastry Queen
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- pinch salt
- 1-2 Tbs Jack Daniel's whiskey (optional)
Remove from heat and stir in the whiskey. Whisking often, allow to cool to a pipe-able consistency. Can also be refrigerated overnight to achieve the desired consistency.