The French Macaron

L’æuvre d’art, c’est une idée qu’on exagére. -André Gide

“A work of art is an idea that someone exaggerates.”

Le Macaron Français. I have admired through the windows of bakeries and Pâtisseries these sweet petite desserts that are as delicious as they are delicate. Nervous but anxious to try my hand at them I did some research. I read books and articles online and they all have different ratios of sugars to almond flour, different bake temps and times, and different tips and tricks. After over baking, under baking and cracking these cookies I think I might have it. Even though, for every few trays I make I inevitably still end up pitching one. These temperamental little things have given me as much grief as they have joy.

So here is my best attempt and added tips to make the famous French Macaron. This first recipe is for a lemon cookie with a lemon buttercream filling. I will give other filling and flavor/color combinations to follow. For instance, if you want a basic colored macaron with a flavored filling just omit the lemon zest and after they are baked add any flavor filling you desire. Bon appétit!

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Lemon French Macarons

Special Equipment

Macaron Silicone Mat x 2 (I like parchment paper)

Piping Bag with a round tip

Ingredients

3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

3/4 Cup Ground Almonds

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 Large Egg Whites room temperature (Cold eggs or very fresh eggs will not get great peaks needed for perfect macarons. They will turn out flat)

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

Yellow Food coloring gel (No matter what color ALWAYS use gel, not liquid)

For the Filling

3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1/4 Cup Butter Softened

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Either Line 2 small baking sheets with the silicone mats OR with parchment paper. If using parchment paper, trace a shot glass with a pencil to make guides for piping the macarons. Turn the wax paper over (so the pencil marks are on the back) and use it to line the baking sheets. Set aside. (This really does help, I marked two separate pieces of wax paper and when I’m ready to pipe I place them under a fresh piece of wax paper or my mats and after finished piping I pull out the originals from under the fresh paper and reuse them over and over.)
  2. Mix together the ground almonds, powdered sugar and zest in a medium bowl. Whisk together until smooth and set aside. (make sure to sift it to remove all possible lumps. I like my macarons perrrrty)
  3. With a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites in a large metal bowl until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar and food coloring and whisk until well incorporated, being careful not to over-whisk.  (I have learned from trial and error that it is much easier and faster to use a hand mixer and plastic bowl to mix the egg whites until they form peaks. The kitchen aide is to big to whip 2 little egg whites. Then continue mixing while adding in the sugar vhery little by little. Or else it flattens out the light egg whites.)

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  1. Fold in the almond mixture with a flexible spatula by repeatedly scraping around the bowl and moving towards the middle. Be careful not to overmix. The batter is just right when it runs off your spatula slowly but consistently. If it gets as thin as pancake batter, you have mixed it way too much. (I count to 35 folds, it isn’t runny but looks like lava)
  2. Transfer the batter to your piping bag, and holding the bag vertically, pipe the batter into the center of each circle. (I use a wide tip)  hahaha… wide tip. Lol. Sorry.
  3. (After you fill the tray with batter smack the tray on the countertop a few times on each end to get all air bubbles out or the macarons will crack)
  4. Rest your macaron shells, uncovered, in a dry, cool place for 30- 40 minutes. The batter will become dull as the shells form a “skin”. Do not skip this step!  (the warmer the kitchen the longer you should let them rest. One hr is best to ensure no cracks)
  5. Heat your oven to 275 degrees F*. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes or until the shells have formed “feet” and the tops have set. Allow to cool on sheet for 15-20 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (If you increase the temp to 300 then 13-15 minutes. If when pulled from oven the top of the macaron separated from the feet it is not ready.)
  6. For the filling, cream the butter then whisk in the powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract until smooth.
  7. Transfer into a piping bag and pipe frosting onto the flat side of one of the macarons and sandwich with another.

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original recipe credit to frugalmomeh.com

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