Macarons

Macarons are a delicate, commonly known treat to everyone around the world—a meringue that is filled with unique flavors. They are mainly made up of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. The macaron was first born in Italy in the 1500’s, the word macaron comes from the Italian word macaroni meaning a fine dough. There are two types of macaron cookies. The first is the coconut macaron, which is made up of dried coconut, egg whites, and sugar, the second is the classic macaron of which there are three types:

  • French
  • Italian
  • Swiss

Here are some methods for choosing the one that best suits you.

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French

A French meringue is the most commonly used as it is the easiest way to achieve the right texture and taste. To create meringue:

  1. Room temperature egg whites must be whipped to a foamy stage (cream of tar-tar can be added as an acid base to help stabilize the egg whites).
  2. Next, slowly add in sugar (do not add it in all at once, you want to add in gradually for even distribution).
  3. When all of the sugar added, the whites should be at a stiff, shiny peak.
  4. Once you have achieved this, fold in the sifted ground almonds and sugar, being careful not to over or under mix (you are looking for a smooth batter).
  5. Now, put your batter into a piping bag and pipe out on to a baking sheet with parchment paper so your product doesn’t stick.

You can pipe your macarons in any shape you desire (the most common shape is the circle). When piping, make sure you have an even amount for the top and bottom cookies.

  1. When the pan is full, tap the baking sheet to let out any air bubbles.
  2. Once you are done piping, you want to let the macarons rest before putting them into an oven, this allows them to hold their shape.
  3. During the resting process, the macaron will form a shell, which will hold in place while baking and help retain moisture.
  4. Once the macarons have rested, dry them out for about one-half hour to one hour before baking (test to see if they are done by touching the top of the macaron, or watching for the shell to form on the top).
  5. Once rested, pop the macarons into the oven set somewhere between 300° F (150° C) or 325° F (160° C).

Everyone’s ovens are a little different so it can be hard to judge what your oven temperature should be. However, somewhere within this range of temperatures should work. The cooking temperature and length of baking time also depend on the size of your macaron.

  1. Bake for about 10-14 minutes—make sure to check at 10 minutes and then every minute after that, as your oven may be better than others.
  2. If the macaron is properly baked, you will notice a foot along the base of the cookie. Lift them off the parchment slightly to see if they stick. If not, they are ready to come out.
  3. Once the macarons are cooled, you can fill them with any filling you choose. Some of the most common fillings are buttercream, ganache, caramel, and jam

Enjoy creating your own different and fun flavors! Here’s a link to show you step-by-step how to make the French meringue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdeGVLXYkCU

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Italian

The Italian method for making macarons is slightly more complicated than the French, as it consists of boiling sugar and streaming it in to the egg whites as you whip them up. To avoid juggling too many tasks at once, have all your ingredients weighed out before you start to make your macarons. Double scale the egg whites and sugar as they are added in at different times of the macaron process.

  1. To create the Italian meringue, bring you sugar and water to a boil at soft ball stage, which is around 233° F (112° C) to 240° F (116° C).
  2. Next, add the egg whites to the mixer and start to whip until they reach a soft peak.
  3. Once you’re at a soft peak with your whites, turn the mixer down and slowly stream in the boiling sugar.
  4. Now that the boiling sugar is added, turn up the mixer until the whites reach a stiff peak.

 In a separate bowl, sift ground almonds with icing sugar and add in the second addition of egg whites.

  1. Mix together until forming a paste.
  2. Once the paste forms add in your meringue and gently fold in together until it is all incorporated and smooth.
  3. Now, put the batter into a piping bag and pipe out on to a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have silicone mats those will work too).
  4. When the pan is full, tap the baking sheet to let out any air bubbles.

All macarons need to be rested before baking to achieve the proper texture. See the French Meringue method above (steps 7-13) for the resting, baking, and filling processes.

The link below demonstrates the steps in making an Italian meringue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJpGE_PpGqw 

 

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Swiss

Last is the Swiss method. This it is not commonly used but is another way to go about making a macaron. Again, ensure that all of your ingredients are measured out before you start.

  1. Begin with having egg whites and sugar whisked together and on a double boiler.
  2. Continue to whisk until it reaches 122° F (50° C)—you do not want your mixture to be grainy, it should be smooth.
  3. Once it has reached temperature, add the egg and sugar to the mixer with a whisk attachment.

Don’t forget to mix on low speed at first so you don’t end up wearing your mixture!

  1. As your mixture thickens, slowly start to turn your mixer up to its highest speed and mix until fully cooled—you cannot work with the mixture if it is too hot.
  2. Now, whisk the meringue until it forms a stiff peak.
  3. Next, fold in your sifted ground almonds and sugar.
  4. Lastly, put the batter into a piping bag and pan out onto a baking sheet with parchment (silicone mats are okay too!)
  5. Tap the baking sheet to let out any air bubbles.

See the French Meringue method and repeat steps 7-13 for resting, baking, and filling.

Making macarons is a tricky process but once you practice them enough you will become a master! They are a fun treat for everyone to enjoy and you can create many different flavors and varieties to suit any occasion.

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Justine Kshyk

 

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