Almond Macarons Recipe & Video Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2018-2019

Almond is a classic flavor and the filling also contains almond flour. Using a high quality almond extract will make the flavor even richer. These lovely almond macarons will brighten any occasion!

This recipe is from my book Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method.

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INGREDIENTS:

160 grams powdered sugar, sift with almond flour
160 grams almond flour, sift with powdered sugar
150 grams egg whites
180 grams confectioners’ sugar, sieved
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
Blue food color gel

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300°F.
Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Stir in the arrowroot powder and set aside.
Put a template on a baking sheet and place a silicone mat or parchment paper over it. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg whites and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until well combined.
Place bowl over steaming pot with just enough water, as you don’t want the water touching the bowl. Heat on medium heat until it steams. Test to make sure it’s hot enough by sticking your clean finger in the meringue near the center of the bowl. If using a candy thermometer the temperature should be about 130 F.
Remove from heat and place bowl back onto stand mixer. Add the cream of tartar.
Whisk on medium to high speed until firm peaks form. Egg whites should be glossy and if you flip the bowl upside down, nothing will come out.
Add food coloring and whisk until the color is incorporated.
Remove the whisk and add the paddle attachment [if using one].
Add the presifted almond flour and confectioners’ sugar mixture and food coloring.
Turn mixer to low or medium speed and mix for up to 10 seconds. If that doesn’t mix the batter thoroughly, mix for another 10 seconds. Turn off mixer and with your spatula, run it around the sides and bottom of bowl to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Test for the ribbon stage. When you lift your spatula above the bowl, the batter should fall back to the bowl as one continuous stream and create a ribbon pattern.
Pour batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.
Pipe onto the silicone or parchment covered baking sheets.
When finished with each sheet, bang baking sheet on counter to remove air bubbles. If you see any air bubbles, pop them with a toothpick.
Let shells rest on a flat surface in a cool, dry area for about 30 minutes. The surface will change from glossy to matte. To make sure they’re done, gently touch the edge of one with your finger. There should be no trace of batter on your finger.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven. Carefully monitor the baking process and check your oven thermometer. After 8 minutes, rotate the tray to ensure even baking.
Macarons are done when you peel back the mat or parchment paper and the shells don’t stick.
Remove from oven and slide the parchment or silicone mat onto a cooling rack.
Place macaron shells on a wax paper covered baking sheet or tray for filling.
Using an edible brown food color gel pen, carefully draw spirals on each shell.
When the shells are dry, match similar sized shells together. Pipe the filling on the flat side of one shell and gently place the second shell on top.

Almond Macaron Filling

This is a European type of filling as it contains almond flour for a thickener and for the taste and texture. For more texture, you can use unblanched almond flour.

INGREDIENTS:

125 grams [4 ounces] butter, room temperature
86 grams [3 ounces] almond flour [sifting isn’t necessary]
86 grams [3 ounces] confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon almond extract

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
Add the powdered sugar, starting at low speed and gradually changing to medium speed. When thoroughly mixed add the almond flour and whisk until the filling is smooth and creamy.
Add the vanilla bean paste and almond extract.
Scoop into a piping bag, the use of a tip is optional.

Amazon link: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
All other bookstores: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method

Table top with background

VIDEO TUTORIAL

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Orange Macarons Recipe & Video Tutorial

By Lisa Maliga copyright 2018

Orange curd, like lemon and lime curd, isn’t difficult to find in many grocery, health food or even discount stores. I was in TJ Maxx checking out the jams and jellies section, which is nicely stocked throughout the year, when I saw a jar of orange curd and thought it, might make a nice macaron filling. The taste wasn’t as tangy as I thought it would be so adding orange extract was necessary to get a brighter and tangier orange flavor. But it depends on your preference and the brand you buy—or if you make it yourself.

This was also the first time I used egg whites from a carton. I let them get to room temperature, but that’s not even necessary. I’d read that it takes longer to whip them up and it took me more than double the amount of time. Instead of separating the egg whites by hand, and not having to waste any eggs or remove any shells, the time saved was negligible.

While this recipe isn’t included in my book Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method, it follows the same formula as the other recipes and is detailed enough for most home bakers.

orangecurdmacarons2

INGREDIENTS:

160 grams confectioners’ sugar, sift with almond flour
160 grams almond flour, sift with confectioners’ sugar
150 grams egg whites
180 grams confectioners’ sugar, sieved
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
Orange food color gel

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300°F.
Sift the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Stir in the arrowroot powder and set aside.
Put a template on a baking sheet and place a silicone mat or parchment paper over it. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg whites and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until well combined.
Place bowl over steaming pot with just enough water, as you don’t want the water touching the bowl. Heat on medium heat until it steams. Test to make sure it’s hot enough by sticking your clean finger in the meringue near the center of the bowl. If using a candy thermometer the temperature should be about 130 F.
Remove from heat and place bowl back onto stand mixer. Add the cream of tartar.
Whisk on medium to high speed until firm peaks form. Egg whites should be glossy and if you flip the bowl upside down, nothing will come out.
Add food coloring and whisk until the color is incorporated.
Remove the whisk and add the paddle attachment [if using one].
Add the presifted almond flour and confectioners’ sugar mixture and food coloring.
Turn mixer to low or medium speed and mix for up to 10 seconds. If that doesn’t mix the batter thoroughly, mix for another 10 seconds. Turn off mixer and with your spatula, run it around the sides and bottom of bowl to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Test for the ribbon stage. When you lift your spatula above the bowl, the batter should fall back to the bowl as one continuous stream and create a ribbon pattern.
Pour batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.
Pipe onto the silicone or parchment covered baking sheets.
When finished with each sheet, bang baking sheet on counter to remove air bubbles. If you see any air bubbles, pop them with a toothpick.
Let shells rest on a flat surface in a cool, dry area for about 30 minutes. The surface will change from glossy to matte. To make sure they’re done, gently touch the edge of one with your finger. There should be no trace of batter on your finger.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven. Carefully monitor the baking process and check your oven thermometer. After 8 minutes, rotate the tray to ensure even baking.
Macarons are done when you peel back the mat or parchment paper and the shells don’t stick.
Remove from oven and slide the parchment or silicone mat onto a cooling rack.
Place macaron shells on a wax paper covered baking sheet or tray for filling.
Using an edible brown food color gel pen, carefully draw spirals on each shell.
When the shells are dry, match similar sized shells together. Pipe the filling on the flat side of one shell and gently place the second shell on top.

Orange Curd Macaron Filling

INGREDIENTS:

125 grams [4 ounces] unsalted butter, room temperature
125 grams [4 ounces ]mascarpone cheese, room temperature
40 grams [1/3 heaping cup] confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste
2-3 Tablespoons orange curd
1/2 – 1 teaspoon orange extract [optional]
Orange food color gel

INSTRUCTIONS:

Beat the butter and mascarpone cheese until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, followed by the orange curd. Then, add the vanilla while continuing to beat. Mix for about 5-7 minutes. Add extract. Spoon into a piping bag. You can use a French piping tip if you prefer fancy edges. I used an Ateco #863 for this recipe.

VIDEO TUTORIAL:

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Amazon link: Baking Macarons: The Swiss Meringue Method
All other bookstores: https://lisamaliga.com/bakingmacaronsswiss.htm

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 17: Macaroons vs. Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2017

macaronmacaroon

Before I decided on the title of my macaron baking book, I posted a couple of working titles on a writers’ group to get some input. In both examples, I used the word macaron. An English romance author informed me that the word was misspelled.  Other authors came to my defense and said that the topic I was writing about was indeed spelled with one o, not two.

Macaron is spelled correctly. Also, as it’s French, it’s pronounced mah-kah-ron. Whenever I see it with a double o, I think of the coconut cookies. I like coconut macaroons, but they’re a completely different cookie.

How? Here are some differences:

Coconut macaroons contain shredded coconut as a main ingredient.

Macarons are usually made with finely ground nuts, almond being the most commonly used.

Coconut macaroons can be plopped, scooped, or shaped with one’s hands.

Macarons require piping so they’re nice and round and the same size.

Egg whites for coconut macarons are only required to be room temperature.

Egg whites should be “aged” for about two days for French macarons as this helps get rid of moisture and makes them easier to whip.

Coconut macaroons don’t require almond flour or any type of sifting.

Almond flour should be sifted at least 3 times for smooth, shiny macaron shells.

Egg whites for coconut macaroons are only whipped to soft peak—this takes about 3 or 4 minutes.

Macarons require egg whites to reach stiff peaks—a process that takes about 10 minutes.

Coconut macaroons can go right into the oven as soon as they’re put on a cookie sheet.

Macarons need to rest after being piped. This takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

Coconut macaroons can be eaten right out of the oven.

Macarons taste better the next day after the filling has melded with the shells.

Coconut macaroons cost about $3 per dozen.

Macarons can cost up to $3 each.

Coconut macaroons come in only a few flavors and colors.

Macarons come in an array of flavors and colors.

mangomacarons2
Mango Macarons
acaimacaronsgroup
Acai Macarons

Want to learn how to bake macarons? Read my book Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s GuideAvailable in eBook [free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription] and paperback formats.

Baking_French_Macarons_A_Beginners_Guide_3da

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 12: Blueberry Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

 

blueberrymacaron
Blueberry macaron with homemade blueberry preserves

I baked two batches of blueberry macarons last month and achieved different results. This was the first time I used a natural powdered colorant. With this type of color, you’ll need to use a bit more of it if you want a vibrant color.

 

The powdered colorant can be added during the meringue process or can be blended in advance with the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture.

Recipe #1 contained blueberry ganache filling. Even adding more cooked blueberries didn’t help as it still tasted like white chocolate. The color was a medium shade of blue.

Another change was the oven. I baked the macarons in a smaller counter top model. The oven reached the temperature in a short time, and it was properly calibrated. The problem was there were only 2 racks and 2 levels. That meant the tray levels were either too close to the top or lower heating elements. I put my first tray on the bottom level and shielded it with an empty cookie sheet to prevent further browning. Also, all shells were baked on parchment paper covered trays.

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Light blue blueberry macaron shells just out of the oven

The results of blueberry batch #1 featured browner than blue shells. The color of the blueberry ganache was lovely but only adding a fresh blueberry in the center gave the macaron any real blueberry flavor.

blueberrymacrons1filling
Blueberry ganache filling with a ripe blueberry

For batch #2, I used the quick ‘n’ easy method for making preserves. I pulverized 8 ounces of fresh blueberries with a potato masher as I didn’t want to get the food processer dirty and have to wash it. Then I added more than a cup of granulated sugar, stirred at a rolling boil and preserved it with liquid pectin. I followed a recipe in a book for baking cupcakes and the amount of pectin was far too much. I’ll be making this batch again with less pectin and see how it works. Too much pectin makes it more difficult to pipe.

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Resting macaron shells on a silpat–darker blue than batch #1

More of the powdered blue colorant was used and I mixed it into the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture. The standard oven was used so the results were slightly better because I used the middle rack. However, I shielded each batch by putting an empty a cookie sheet in the rack above it. That meant the temperature never reached 350—instead it averaged 335. So, while the macarons have feet and aren’t burned, they are as hollow as most of my other batches.

blueberrymacarons2after
Out of the oven and bluer than the first blueberry batch

I also used only silicone mats to see if there was any difference. I prefer them because it’s usually easier to remove the macaron shells.

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Homemade blueberry preserves for the filling

The second batch tasted better, more like a true blueberry macaron.

 

 

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A box of blueberry macarons
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Tea and macarons!

Stay tuned for another macaron baking adventure soon!

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 8: Lemon Macaron Recipe

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

lemonmacarons1
Lovely Lemon Macarons — 3rd attempt

I didn’t think it would take 3 tries to bake lemon macarons but it did, thanks to some brain blips! If you’re trying to make lemon, orange, lime or any other type of citrus macaron which calls for zest, please carefully read this blog and avoid my mistakes!

 

The first try had nothing to do with the flavor and everything to do with thinking I could add more confectioners’ sugar for a higher yield. Nope, I just ended up tossing the batter in the compost heap.

Attempt #2 failed because I added a heaping tablespoon of lemon zest to the mixture. I’d grated a couple of lemons the day before and put the zest in a glass bowl to dry. The problem was twofold: too much lemon zest and it wasn’t 100% dry. It should have gone in the oven for a few minutes. The zest was pulverized in a food processor but I neglected to sift it as I thought it wasn’t fine enough. Another brain blip!

I added a lot of gel food coloring [in dropper bottle] and still only got a pale yellow color rather than the daffodil yellow I was hoping to achieve. The macaronage went well and I was able to pipe 68 shells on 3 different trays. At 12:40 I’d piped the first two parchment-lined trays. I wasn’t able to put one in the oven until 2:28—and the day was warm and sunny with average humidity. 90 minutes of drying time was highly unusual. The problem became apparent when the first tray emerged from the oven with yellow-brown macarons with NO feet. Ugh! I shouldn’t have used the center rack, either.

lemonmacsbadflat
Flat & footless macarons 

While I managed to put together 34 macarons, none of them looked good, especially the last tray with the freehand piped macs on the silpat. They were as flat as Oreo cookies and the next day when I bit into one, the filling spewed out onto the plate. Compost heap for those macs.

 

lemonmacsgood1
Freehand piping’s not perfect but is improving

My third batch of lemon macarons behaved nicely! Drying time took 30 minutes, I didn’t add any lemon zest and when I peeked into the oven after 9 minutes I saw pretty yellow shells with feet!

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Lovely Lemon Macarons just out of the oven

78 shells, none cracked, all with feet, and even the silpat freehanded macs had smooth undersides—no visible hollows. Easily plucking them off the mat was the highlight to a successful macaron baking afternoon.

TIME SAVING TIP! Mix the almond flour and the confectioners’ sugar together the night before. This should be the fourth time you sift the almond flour but only the first time for the powdered sugar. They should be sifted into a large bowl so that it’s easy to combine them with either a whisk or a fork. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and when you make the macarons the next day, that step is already taken care of. I discovered this time saving method when I was separating the egg whites. I tend to age the eggs overnight rather than for several days. My theory is that as long as the eggs are at room temperature the meringue will turn out fine.

The following recipe is in grams as weighing ingredients is more precise. While similar to my pink lemonade macarons, the main differences are weighing the amounts and using 3 egg whites. For the filling, weighing isn’t necessary, but an increased amount of lemon curd gives it a tangy taste. I also recommend vanilla bean paste in the filling for its rich flavor.

Lemon Macaron Shells

100 grams almond flour

200 grams powdered sugar

3 large egg whites [room temperature]

50 grams granulated sugar

Yellow gel food coloring

Pinch of salt

Oven Temperature: 300 degrees

Time: Approximately 16 minutes

* Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. If the sheets are thin, double them up. You’ll also need a pastry/piping bag with a large round tip ready before you begin.

* Sift powdered sugar with the almond flour. Large grains that don’t make it through can be thrown away or used as a skin exfoliator.

* Whisk the sugar and flour to make sure it’s fully blended.

* In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy like a bubble bath before adding the salt. Then add granulated sugar in 3 batches. Start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed. When finished, the mixture should have stiff peaks. Add color last, but only whip for the briefest amount of time to mix in the color.

* Add dry ingredients to the meringue in 2 batches using a spatula. Fold until the mixture comes together, scraping the sides and flip batter over. When the sugar/flour mixture is blended, the batter will be easier to mix and will look shiny. Lift the spatula and see how quickly batter falls in “ribbons” from the spatula. A ribbon of batter dropped into the bowl should merge with the rest of the batter in 20-30 seconds. Another test is to “write” the number 8 with the batter.

* Add tip to piping bag and then twist near the bottom to prevent any mixture from escaping. The tip should face upwards and that also helps keep the mixture in the piping bag as you place it in a cup and form a cuff over the rim so it’s easy to add the batter.

* Pour batter into piping bag. Twist the top of the bag and untwist the bottom, gently pushing the just-poured batter toward the bottom. You’ll remove any excess air that way.

* Pipe the batter onto the parchment or silicone mat. With parchment, you can use a template.  

* Pipe batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.5-inch circles. Keep the batter inside circles if using a template.

* Rap baking sheet several times on the counter. This will further flatten the macarons, and remove air bubbles. Place a towel on the counter to lessen the noise!

* Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

* Allow macarons to sit for 30-60 minutes until a film forms. Lightly touch a macaron and if no batter clings to your finger then it’s dry and ready to be baked.

* Bake for approximately 16 minutes. Use either the center rack or the one just below it. The tops should be firm and glossy and the bottoms of the shells should have formed “feet” or frills at the bottom. The risen macarons should be firm with the slightest amount of give. When done, the cookies can easily be removed from the parchment or silpat.

* Remove from oven, place cookie sheet on a wire rack or flat surface and let cool completely.

Lemon Curd Buttercream Filling

1/4 cup butter, softened [President, Plugra and Kerrygold are all excellent brands]

1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons heavy cream

4 tablespoons lemon curd

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Instructions:

Blend the softened butter with half of the powdered sugar. Add the cream, lemon curd and vanilla. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar until the filling is the desired consistency. The filling should be stiff enough to remain on the cookie but not so hard as to crush the shells. Spoon or pipe the filling onto the row of macaron bottoms and cover with a top.

lemonmacsgroup
Lovely Lemon Macarons — 3rd attempt

New! Get this recipe and many more in my new book, BAKING FRENCH MACARONS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE. Available in eBook and paperback formats!

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 7: Pistachios & Vanilla

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

 

pistachios1
Pistachios just before grinding

I had a bag of organic California pistachios and decided to make macarons with freshly ground pistachio flour. So, I read how the flour was made and spent several hours going through the steps. The pistachio nuts were removed from the shells, boiled in hot water to remove the jackets, dried out in the oven, and then ground and sifted. Adding some powdered sugar to the food processor [or spice grinder], prevented the pistachios from turning into pistachio butter. This was the same process for making almond flour out of whole or sliced [preferably blanched] almonds. And this was why I’ll pay about $12 per pound for finely sifted almond flour; which I still have to sift four more times!

 

 

pistachios3
Pistachio flour

After all that sifting, the baker encountered whipping the meringue, the exacting macaronage process, piping round discs of macaron batter, and then getting those delicate little cookie shells in and out of the oven.

Making the buttercream filling is the easy part.

I thought I’d spend part of my Saturday afternoon baking macarons with aged egg whites that were weighed out the night before. The recipe called for 100 grams of egg whites. The scale read 189 grams. I double checked it, subtracting the weight of the small glass bowl yet again. Still over 178 grams. So I subtracted more than half the egg whites until the scale read 109 grams. Okay, that was close enough.

pistachiovanillamacsingred
The ingredients for the shells & most of the equipment

But something didn’t seem right when I mixed the egg whites and added the sugar. The whites weren’t getting glossy. Peaks weren’t forming. Almost 18 minutes later, I had something that seemed like meringue but as soon as I added half the flour/sugar mixture and worked up a sweat trying to incorporate the ingredients, I knew I had a failed batch. The batter would be dumped in the compost heap instead of poured into a piping bag.

My first failure that never made it into the oven. I’d read of that happening and wondered what had gone wrong. Now I knew.

I’d left 3 eggs on the counter, along with the butter I’d use for the filling; some foresight in case I needed more egg whites. I thought I’d try the empty plastic bottle egg separation method I’d seen on a couple of YouTube videos. It looked so easy, but I accidentally jammed the top of the bottle into the yolk and there went that egg. I’d be having an omelette for supper that night! I had two eggs left and fortunately another dozen in the fridge. I used the warm water soak method to get them to room temperature. That took about 10 minutes.

 

pistachiomacsresting
Pistachio shells resting

I colored the batch green because of the pistachio flour. It also contained that marvelous vanilla bean paste which gave it more intense flavor and added interest to the shells. The shells came out flat but with feet. The surface was incredibly smooth and shiny, even with the added spots resulting from the two types of nut flour and the vanilla bean specks.

My day of macaron baking began at  noon and I finished cleaning up just before 7:00 PM. However, I had 35 completed macarons with light brown vanilla bean filling that tasted very rich  and scrumptious.

Want the recipe for vanilla bean shells? The amounts are the same except you can use 55 grams of almond flour and 55 grams of pistachio flour, which is what I did. You won’t taste the difference but you’ll get a more speckled effect with pistachio flour.

pistachiomacsdone
Pistachio shells just out of the oven
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Close-up of shell — very smooth & shiny

 

pistachiomacsgroup2
Pistachio Vanilla macarons ready to eat!

NEXT WEEK: Let’s talk about lemon macarons!

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French Macaron Baking Adventures, Part 6: Vanilla Bean Macarons

By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016

frenchvanillamacs8
French Vanilla Bean Macarons

Time to try the metric system! I used my trusty little digital scale that I bought for soap crafting. It only measures up to six pounds but does grams and ounces.

I’m a fan of vanilla as I don’t think it’s plain. Vanilla’s a spice, it comes from an orchid and grows in the tropics. It’s not white, it’s black. And I finally tried vanilla bean paste. I highly recommend it. I used Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste because I wanted the tiny seeds and didn’t have to scrape them out of a vanilla pod. I was also curious to try the paste, as I’d read several online reviews from bakers of all levels of expertise citing it was very flavorful. According to the Neilsen-Massey website: “Due to its thick consistency, similar to molasses, this culinary paste enables you to add more delicious vanilla flavor without thinning out your batters or sauces. It’s also ideal for recipes, such as crème brûlée and ice cream, in which you want to add the enticing visual flair of vanilla seeds.” As macaron batter can be finicky, I didn’t want to take a chance in adding vanilla extract and I wanted the vanilla seeds. Win win!

Now, I was supposed to precisely weigh the ingredients but the three eggs didn’t weigh 110 grams but 88 grams. I figured I’d take a chance and I’m glad I did because this batch turned out fine. In fact, by using three rather than two eggs, I ended up with 53 shells. Since I had so much batter, I used a silicone mat on top of two warped cookie sheets. I’d read not to use warped cookie sheets but it didn’t make a difference—the shells came out just fine. So fine that they were effortlessly removed from both parchment and silicone surfaces! That was another first. What’s as good as a macaron with feet? Shells that don’t have to be scraped off with a spatula!

frenchvanillamacs2
The mint color is seen in the back

When I added the vanilla bean paste right after the blue gel colorant, the black seeds were apparent and the blue changed to mint green. After sitting in the fridge overnight, the shells returned to robin’s egg blue again!

I used up the rest of the strawberry buttercream filling and also used more of the lemon curd buttercream which had been double bagged and stored in the freezer. NOTE: Click links for recipes!

frenchvanillamacs4
Vanilla bean macaron with strawberry buttercream filling

TIPS: Sift the almond flour three [3] times before you make the macarons. The fourth time is when you blend it with the confectioners’ sugar. This is why macarons average $2.00 each – they are labor intensive. Patience is needed for crafting these fancy French cookies. 

Sifting almond flour isn’t tons of fun but the more you sift, the smoother and shinier your finished macarons will be. [Check out the one to your left].

French Vanilla Bean Macarons

110 grams ground almond flour

frenchvanillamacs6
Front to back: almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, blue gel & vanilla bean paste

200 grams confectioners’ sugar

100 grams egg whites (3 eggs)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste [or extract]

50 grams granulated sugar

3 drops blue gel colorant

Pinch of salt

Oven temperature: 300

Instructions:

* Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. If the sheets are thin, double them up. Macarons are sensitive to heat so they need to be baked on a durable tray that has lots of insulation. You’ll also need a pastry/piping bag with a large round tip ready before you begin.

* Sift powdered sugar with the almond flour. Large grains that don’t make it through can be thrown away or used as a skin exfoliator. I discovered this when I washed the equipment by hand the first time!

* Whisk the sugar and flour to make sure it’s fully blended.

* In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy like a bubble bath before adding the salt. Then add granulated sugar in 3 batches. Start at a low speed and gradually increase the speed. When finished, the mixture should have stiff peaks. Add color last, but only whip for the briefest amount of time to mix in the color.

* Add dry ingredients to the meringue in 2 batches using a spatula. Fold until the mixture comes together, scraping the sides and flip batter over. When the sugar/flour mixture is blended, the batter will be easier to mix and will look shiny. Lift the spatula and see how quickly batter falls in “ribbons” from the spatula. A ribbon of batter dropped into the bowl should merge with the rest of the batter in 20-30 seconds. Another test is to “write” the number 8 with the batter.

* Add tip to piping bag and then twist near the bottom to prevent any mixture from escaping. The tip should face upwards and that also helps keep the mixture in the piping bag as you place it in a cup and form a cuff over the rim so it’s easy to add the batter.

* Spoon batter into piping bag. Twist the top of the bag and untwist the bottom, gently pushing the just-poured batter toward the bottom. You’ll remove any excess air that way.

* Pipe the batter onto the parchment or silicone mat. With parchment, you can use a template.  

* Pipe batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.5-inch circles. Keep the batter inside circles if using a template.

* Rap baking sheet several times on the counter. This will further flatten the macarons, and remove air bubbles.

* Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

* Allow macarons to sit for 30-60 minutes until a film forms. Lightly touch a macaron and if no batter clings to your finger then it’s dry and ready to be baked.

* Bake for 12 minutes. The tops should be firm and glossy and the bottoms of the shells should have formed “feet” or frills at the bottom. The risen macarons should be firm with the slightest amount of give. If it wobbles, they require another minute or so. When done, the cookies can easily be removed from the parchment.

* Remove from oven, place cookie sheet on a wire rack or flat surface and let cool completely.

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Shells on silpat minutes out of the oven

Learn to bake macarons! Baking French Macarons: A Beginner’s Guide is available in eBook and paperback editions!

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