The secrets of Macarons

I always loved French macarons (not to be confused with coconut laden macaroons). I had a discussion with my friend Muriel and she asked me if I ever tried to make any…That’s where the idea of making some stemmed from.

As I looked for recipes, I realized there was many tricks to it and also that it would take me several days…

Secret #1 :

The egg whites needs to be “aged”…YES “aged ! I had never heard of such things but basically you need to separate whites from yolks 2 or 3 days before baking, loosely covered in the refrigerator (but watch out – they need to be taken out 2 hours before starting to make teh recipe so they end up at room temperature). Also depending of the humidity you may need to add powdered egg whites to them when you make your recipe. If you are not yet scared of the process, continue to secret #2…

Secret #2 :

Choose superfine sugar because it’s the easiest to incorporate.

Secret #3 :

The almond flour needs to be fresh and slightly dried in the oven before use and it also needs to be superfine !

Secret #4 :

I was shocked to find out that the color of the shell came from food coloring….Yes I must be living in La-La land.

Now the shell recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 2 3/4 cups almond flour
  • 2 3/4 powdered sugar
  • 1 cup aged egg whites at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. powdered egg whites
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • gel paste food coloring (liquid would be compromise the shells)

Mix almond flour and powdered sugar (if you feel brave : blend and then sift together – i didn’t). Beat egg whites + egg white powder and salt and when they start to rise, add sugar and food coloring. Then incorporate almond mixture with egg whites mixture by hand until the batter falls in a wide ribbon when you raise the spatula. Then you are ready to start piping (tip#8) 2 1/2 inch shells separated by 1 inch on a parchment lined baking sheet.

And then let it sit for 15 minutes (that’s the secret to make them develop “feet”) then bake in a convection oven at 300 degrees – bake for 14 minutes exactly (after the first 5 minutes, open the door briefly to let the steam out – yet another secret).

Let the shells cool completely before taking them off the parchment paper.

Now for the filling : possibilities are endless, i decided to go with a chocolate ganache :

  • 7 ounces dark chocolate (65% to 70% cocoa content)
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (preferable european style – Yes I’m that much of a snob)

In a saucepan over low heat, stir chocolate, cream and honey until melted. Remove from heat and stir in teh butter.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes, until thick enouh to spread or pipe.

Fill the macarons and cover in airtight container, in the fridge for 12 hours to let the aroma of the filling develop into the shells – I warned you – several day process).

So good !!!

Those macarons were AMAZING, it was a great way to end our Holiday meals. And now I understand why people charge up to 3$ a piece for those puppies….They are indeed very labor intensive.

  1. MIL says:

    I can testify for their melt-in-your-mouth texture and heavenly flavor!

  2. charong says:

    I love macaroons, especially from Laduree, and you make it sound easy. Will definitely try this recipe.

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