- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup almond meal
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp malted drink mix
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 egg whites, must be at room temperature
- For filling/ ganache:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 stick butter
- 6 ounces- dark chocolate chips
French Macarons. Where to begin? I blame Pinterest. Since I dove into the wish list world of Pinterest, I have been fascinated by the elegant beauty of “le Macaron français”. It’s colors, it’s shape, it’s frenchness has made me dream of afternoons wondering the streets of Paris with my béret in one hand and my tiny sweet cake in the other.
I recently decided to spend some time investigating the do’s and don’ts of this cookie. If you google french macaron, you’ll find dozens of articles and photos dedicated to the art of baking this delicate meringue treat. What this cookie isn’t, is easy. It’s a process and must be followed to the letter if you want perfection. If you take the time to follow this recipe you’ll have created a work of art (seriously). Totally. Worth. It.
Late one night, armed with a dozen room temperature eggs, music and 64 ounces of soda, I could wait no longer. I set out on a quest to create this work of scrumptious. I went into this baking endeavor wanting to bake a macaron that was one part tradition and one part my own crafty work. Sometime around 3:30 am, I think I nailed it. I have to tell you, once you’ve mastered it, you will indeed feel like you’ve created a work of art.
First thing you’ll want to do is line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set them aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, powdered malted drink mix and the salt. Most recipes call for you to take these dry ingredients and pulse them in a food processor until you have a very fine mix, about 30-45 seconds. I found using a mortar and pestle worked well too. After you’ve mixed the dry ingredients, use a flour sifter to sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside. You want to use a flour sifter to make sure you’ve removed any chunky bits or almond slivers from the mix.
In a second bowl, add the room temperature egg whites and using an electric mixer beat on medium until it becomes foamy.
Continue to blend with the electric mixer on medium high and add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until your mixture is beginning to stiff, is forming peaks and looks glossy. Take care not to over whip, this process should take about 60 seconds and look like this:
The next step will be adding the meringue to the dry ingredients. You want to fold the ingredients together with a spoon or spatula. You don’t want to whisk or use an electric mixer for this step. As you fold the batter, you’ll notice the meringue deflating, this is supposed to happen. Continue mixing until combined. It will resemble a gooey cake batter.
Once blended, add the batter to an icing or piping bag. Some people suggest using a pastry tip. I found cutting the tip off a icing bag works well too. I personally try to fill the piping bag with all of the batter the first time. Trying to refill the bags can turn into a huge sticky mess.
Slowly squeeze the batter onto your baking trays or silicone mats. After much practice I’ve decided squeezing the batter out in a spiral motion made for a nice round shape. I’ve also found making the cookies 1 1/2 – to 2 inches is a great size and easy to work with. Try to remember to space them a few inches apart. It should look something like this:
When you’re finished piping the batter, drop the tray a few times on a hard surface (like the table top) to remove any air pockets and this creates a foot for the macarons. Let the trays sit for 30 minutes or so to allow the batter to dry. The macarons will develop a skim and this will allow the cookie to evenly bake. During this wait time preheat your oven to 350°F.
While you wait go ahead and prepare the ganache. Place the butter, chocolate chips and heavy cream into a sauce pan and melt over medium heat. Remember to stir this constantly to prevent mixture from scorching. When the yummy chocolate ganache is fully melted and well blended, pour the creamy goodness into a bowl and set it in the refrigerator. It will need about 30 minutes to firm up and become spreadable.
Once the cookie batter has skimmed, place in the oven and bake for 7 minutes. At the 7 minute mark, rotate the tray and bake another 7 minutes. You want your cookies to bake but not brown. Remove the cookies after 14 minutes and transfer the entire sheet to a cooling rack. Allow these beauties to fully cool. This is a must do.
If you try to remove them right away the cookie will totally crumple. If you try to remove them half cooled they will stick to the sheets and you lose half the cookie. When fully cooled gently peel the cookie from the sheet and place on the cooling rack. You want the bottom of the macarons to have a nice flat base or “foot” They should look something like this:
Once the ganache has chilled and the french macarons have fully cooled. Match the macarons by size, then add one teaspoon of ganache to the bottom of one of the cookies and place the second cookie to create a sandwich. It should look something like this:
Be sure not to press your macarons together too tightly as you don’t want ganuache to be oozy and the delicate cookie tops will dent. Lastly, you want to pop the finished cookies into the refrigerator and it’s suggested to let them to chill 24 hours before serving.
If you’ve never had a french macaron, the outside of the cookie should be thin and shell-like. However, when you bite into it , the cookie should be soft and chewy. I liked the idea of adding a malted drink mix, like Ovaltine to give it a light chocolate malt flavor. If you want to create an all chocolate macaron just adjust the recipe to 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and omit the malt mix.
It looks like a lot of work but I think it’s really worth the task. Enjoy!