French macarons are wonderful, and allow me to let you in on a little secret: It is not as hard to make them as it looks. I felt super intimidated the first time, and was super surprised as to how easy it actually was. I’m not saying that it’s easy to make them look perfect, or make every single one in the same size, but they taste amazing no matter how ugly they might end up looking the first couple of times you make them.
To make 20 macarons you’ll need
105g almond flour
155g powder sugar
75g egg whites
Start by sifting your almond flower and powder sugar into a bowl, and carefully combine them. Pour your egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whip them till they’re almost stiff. Then add a little sugar at a time, while constantly whipping. Continue till the mixture starts forming stiff, shiny peaks (test it by holding it upside down, it should preferably stay in the bowl). Don’t freak out if you don’t have an electrical device to help you with this, I do it by hand because I don’t and it works perfectly.
Continue by adding the dry ingredients a little at a time, while softly folding it into the egg whites. Folding is the key word here, don’t ever stir it, because it will kill at the wonderful air you worked so hard to get into the egg whites. Keep adding almond flour and powder sugar till you get a soft, and slightly firm consistency (you might not need it all).
Line the baking trays with paper, and put the mixture in piping bags if you are fancy, or regular plastic bags if you like me, don’t have any real pastry equipment. Now to the hard part: try to make 40 portions of the mixture, same size, same shape (I like to make some tiny ones to go with my morning coffee). With a regular plastic bag this is almost impossible, but fear not. I have two different approaches that both works sort of well.
Try to draw a spiral, ending in the middle
Keep the piping bag in the middle of where you want your macaron to be and pipe while gently pushing down, this will create a more round shape
If you leave them for 10 minutes, you can correct them a little by dipping your hands in cold water, and shaping them a little. But be super careful so you don’t ruin their fluffiness.
Leave your macarons to dry for at least 30 minutes, this increases the chance of getting a smooth, shiny finish and make them hold their shape, and get the little characteristic macaron ‘foot’ when going into the oven.
Once they’re done resting, bake the macarons at 160’C for 10-12 minutes. Leave them on the tray for a couple of minutes so they can set a little before moving them over to a cooling rack. The bottom should be smooth, and the little foot looks something like this:
To make the filling you’ll need
50g soft unsalted butter
200g powder sugar
1 tablespoon raw liquorice powder
Beat your butter soft, add the powder sugar and mix until you get a soft, smooth consistency. Sprinkle the raw liquorice powder in your bowl, and carefully stir it in. You can add a little milk if the mixture is too dry. Pair up the macarons according to size and shape, and put about a teaspoon of filling on one half, and put the other on top of it. And voila, you have your first macaron! Continue until they have all been filled with gorgeous liquorice buttercream. You could use a piping bag for this as well. I bet I would if I had one.
Now, there are many opinions on this, but there is some truth in the statement that macarons should get some time to mature before eating them. They taste really good straight away, but they will develop more depth to the flavours and the texture gets better if they are left for a few days (48h is good!).
This little project is perfect for a grey Saturday like this, and in my opinion they only need a few hours in the fridge to be ready. Just take them out and leave them for a good ten minutes before eating them. I made these beauties on Thursday, and I’m bringing them to a coffee date with friends today. Happy baking!!