French macarons may look intimidating, but if you know your way around a stand mixer and a piping bag , they're really no big deal to make. And the huge payoff in fancy-factor is so satisfying!
- Piping bag
- Plain round piping tip with a ⅜" opening
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond meal
- 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 egg whites
- a pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Gel color
- 2 or 3 drops vanilla extract
1. Prep and Pulse
Line two or three heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar and almond meal until the mixture looks like fine powder. Set aside.
2. Whip the Egg Whites
Perfect macaron texture is all in the timing and technique for whipping the egg whites . In In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the whites and pinch of cream tartar on medium speed. Stop when the egg whites looks like foam and are no longer liquidy.
3. Add the Sugar
With the mixer still whisking, slowly pour in the granulated sugar. Turn the speed up to medium-high and continue to whip until the mixture looks like marshmallow creme.
With the mixer still on medium-high speed, add the gel color and vanilla. Whip until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Stop when the mixture holds firm peaks.
Transfer the whites to a medium bowl and fold in the almond meal mixture in three additions.
4. Pipe and Slam (Yes, Slam)
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ⅜-inch tip and pipe onto the prepared baking sheets. Hold the tip just above the parchment paper as you pipe each little circle .
Now, we've got to make sure we knock out all the air pockets that can damage our macarons. To do this, slam each baking sheet hard four to six times on the counter, then fist bump each end of the sheet’s underside twice. Then fist bump yourself, because these are going to be awesome.
5. Give Them a Rest
Let the unbaked macarons rest until they look dull, but not overly dry. (This step is key to the amazing science that makes your macarons rise in the oven! ) Drying time really depends on humidity — in a dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it might take 35 to 40 minutes. In any case, don't let them dry for more than an hour.
While the macarons are drying, preheat the oven to 330 F.
6. Bake 'Em
Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check for doneness after 11 minutes; they should release easily from the parchment with no sticking. If they're still sticky, give them a couple more minutes.
Let the baked macarons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan, then cool thoroughly on a rack. Now pipe on some buttercream filling and stick 'em together. Voila — you're basically a French chef.