Macarons (the original French macaroons)

Step by step recipe:

  1. 3 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #1
    Sieve 80 g ground almonds into a bowl, and discard any bits of almonds or skin which remain in the sieve.

    You can use "white" ground almonds (without skin) or "grey" (with skin), it's a question of taste and appearence of the finished macarons. In my opinion, "grey" almond macarons have more flavour, but less clear colour (natural, green, yellow, pink, etc...).
  2. 3 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #2
    Sieve 150 g icing sugar into the same bowl.

    These siftings (and that which follows) are to obtain a fine mixture of ground almonds and icing sugar, without any small lumps.
  3. 1 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #3
    Then mix almonds and icing sugar with a whisk, to avoid lumps reforming.
  4. 10 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #4
    Put 2 egg whites, a few drops of lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a mixer bowl.

    Note: If you have several egg-whites in a bowl, and don't know how many, remember that one white egg is about 35 g.

    Beat on high speed until stiff adding the tablespoon of sugar halfway through.
  5. Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #5
    Add 10 drops food colouring, and beat a few seconds more to mix thoroughly.
  6. 1 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #6
    We do this, instead of adding colouring before beating, to keep the colour stronger.
  7. 2 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #7
    Sieve the icing sugar and almonds mixture onto the egg-whites.
  8. Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #8
    Tip the bowl slightly and, with a maryse or a spatula (a maryse is much better), mix gently, turning over from top to bottom rather than round.
  9. Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #9
    This is the first tricky stage: you should work the mixture, the aim is not to obtain a light mixture (as for a mousse for example)...
  10. 15 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #10
    ...but something slighly runny and shiny.

    This process is called "macaroner" in French(to macaron, perhaps?).
  11. 20 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #11
    With a forcing bag (or a teaspoon, but it's much more difficult), form small heaps of mixture on cooking parchment or silicon paper on a baking sheet about the size of a 2 euro coin (1").

    Leave a reasonable space between heaps, because they will spread out a little.
  12. 1 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #12
    Tap the baking sheet gently on the work surface to spread out the heaps, and to round them (to remove the small point left by raising the forcing bag).
  13. Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #13
    See the photos for what happens after tapping the baking sheet.
  14. 30 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #14
    Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour, for the heaps to "form a crust".

    This is the 2nd tricky stage: this time of "forming crust" is important for macarons which are well rounded, and do not split during cooking.
  15. Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #15
    To test if your macarons are sufficiently "crusted", touch a top lightly with your finger: if the dough does not stick to your finger, the macarons are ready.
  16. 15 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #16
    Then preheat the oven to 160C or 320F, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

    For some mysterious reason I have found that macarons rise best if they are on two baking sheets (one on top of the other) instead of a single one.

    Turn the baking sheets (front to back) after 6 minutes for even cooking.
  17. 20 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #17
    Leave to cool completely before removing the macarons, and place on a wire rack to await filling.

    This is the 3rd tricky stage: You should not overcook the macarons, which should stay moist in the middle. Watch the coloration: if you have used food colouring, they should stay that colour and not become brown.
  18. 5 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #18
    Pair-up the macarons, i.e. by putting together a "top" and a "bottom" of about the same diameter.

    Then place "top" and "bottom" beside each other.
  19. 2 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #19

    The filling

    Example: Raspberry macarons

    Mix 70 g jam sugar with 100 g Fruit coulis (fruit pure) in a small pan.
  20. 5 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #20
    Bring to the boil on high heat, and boil for 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
  21. 5 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #21
    Leave to cool, and begin the assembly when the filling starts to thicken.
  22. Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #22
    Spread a teaspoonful of filling on "bottoms".
  23. 20 min.Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #23
    Then place a "top" on each one, and press together lightly so that filling is squeezed just a little beyond the edge.
  24. Macarons (the original French macaroons)  : Photo of step #24
    The macarons are ready. Keep in the refrigerator.

Remarks:

Recipe is for 20 macaroons, that's 40 half shells.

For more precise calculations, according to the number of egg-whites you have: please note that for 1 egg white (35 g) you should use 75 g icing sugar and 40 g ground almonds. Allow me to insist on using precise measures for the ingredients in this recipe. I suggest you really weigh everything rather than using volumes, even if you are unused to doing this.

Macarons are always better (smoother) after a night sealed in a box in the fridge.

This recipe can be varied ad infinitum with different fillings and/or colours. For fruit for example, following the basic principles of the recipe you can try: apricot, lime, blackcurrant (mmm!), strawberry, etc... On this page you will find some ideas. I have noticed that to get the full "macaron effect", you need to serve several colours and flavours at the same time. Your guests (and you) will be delighted.



I think nevertheless that macarons are improved when their filling is a little tangy, fruity, to contrast strongly with their very sweet taste.

If you encounter problems, here are some mistakes which all beginners make (and me most of all):
  • Not sieving ground almonds and icing sugar => macarons with blisters, lumps of almonds or sugar.
  • Poor mixing of egg-whites and dry ingredients => uneven macarons, almond cakes rather than macarons
  • Not waiting the 30 minutes to "form crust" => macarons cracked, insufficiently risen or rounded
  • Undercooking => macarons too soft, impossible to remove from baking sheet
  • Overcooking => dry macarons
  • Trying to remove macarons from baking sheet before completely cooled => macarons break up or split in two
  • My macarons are brown despite my green (or other) food colouring => overcooking

Source:

Home made

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