A couple of years ago I was introduced to French Macarons. I'm not a huge sweets eater, but these were phenomenal! A lot of people get them mixed up with a macaroon, so below I am sharing the differences.
A macaron (/ˌmɑːkəˈrɒn/ mah-kə-ROHN; French pronunciation: [makaʁɔ̃]) is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring. The macaron commonly consists of a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccarone or maccherone, the meringue.
The confection is characterized by a smooth squared top, a ruffled circumference (referred to as the "foot" or "pied"), and a flat base. It is mildly moist and easily melts in the mouth. Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new (foie gras, matcha). They are often said to be difficult to make. -Wikipedia
Macaroon is the American word for a dense, chewy, flourless cookie, usually made with coconut. It can also include nuts or nut paste. Also made with egg whites, macaroons are often served for dessert at Passover celebrations because they usually don’t contain flour or leavening agents.
The French Macaron is one tricky cookie to make. The first time around it took me three times to finally master getting feet on my cookie. These aren't 30 minute cookies, it takes approx 2-2.5 hours to make, bake and put together. I was working with a 1970's oven at first, so I was cooking mine at 325 because the temp always fluctuated. About three weeks ago we finally upgraded our oven and I decided that I was going to make some macs for my baby shower last weekend. I broke out my favorite recipe and followed along the actual recipe, which said to bake at 300 degrees. Well, that was a major flop. My feet were a hot mess because the temp was now too high, crazy! I had one more batch left, so I turned it down about 10 degrees and ended up having the same issue. Side note: Don't throw away your bad cookies, you can get creative like my husband and let them dry out and crumble them over your vanilla ice cream!
I made another batch and decided to put my oven down to 270 and that was the golden number! I was impressed with them for being my second time making them with our new oven. There was still some perfecting to do, but they were definitely good enough to serve to my friends. While they were baking I decided to make mint chocolate ganache as my filling. It was good, but I think next time I am only going to add a 1/2 tsp of mint extract.
Before you get started, I would suggest hoping over to Amazon and grab a macaron silpat
this will help you have even circles and learn how to pipe them evenly as well. You need a good mixer as well. I love my KitchenAid mixer, but a handheld will work too, it just may take a little longer to get your soft peaks at the beginning. The next thing you'll need is a rubber mixing spatula to fold your mixture gently and to put it into a piping bag. You can get Wilton Decorating Bags from Joann - Be sure to download their app or sign up for their emails because they are always sending out awesome discount codes to use. You'll need Wilton tip 10 and decorating couplers to hold your tip in place while piping your mixture, then your filling. You don't want mixture all over the place, trust me! ha
Next thing you'll need is a FOOLPROOF recipe! I have tried about 5-6 different recipes and I always end up coming back to this one: CLICK HERE - Beth has a video on there to watch, plus an easy to read recipe (side note: when you're folding your mixture, you want it to become shiny and flow like lava off your spatula). I have had friends send me pictures asking me ''what did I do wrong''. I asked them if they followed EVERY-SINGLE-DIRECTION, and they usually said ''well, I didn't fold as many times as she said'' or ''I thought I would try to do this to see if it would go faster''. Friends, you cannot skip over anything, you have to be incredibly PATIENT. If you have no patience for baking, just click out of this post now because you will get frustrated. It may take you a few times to get it right, but YOU CAN DO IT!
Now it's time for you to head over to Beth's page and give these delicious French Macarons a shot. Please tag me in your pictures #MomRamblesBlog - I would LOVE to see what flavors you try! Check out my Pinterest board for some ideas too: CLICK HERE
**I used to buy my almond flour from Costco, but I found the same amount of almond flour at Wal-Mart for 1/2 the cost**