Ever since my best friend brought me back a box of these from Zurich, Switzerland, I’ve been in love.
When my other friend taught me how to bake them and I realized it wasn’t so hard, I’ve since baked more than 12 dozen batches. Sure, sometimes a batch turns out lumpy and deformed. But it doesn’t happen that often.
The recipe we both use is a basic one from Martha Stewart’s website http://www.marthastewart.com.
My macaron wisdom gained through several failed attempts:
1) I never have enough foresight to age my egg whites for 24 hours so I just nuke them for 15 seconds (a tip from another baker’s blog).
2) Every oven is different so after my first batch rose too quickly and collapsed on itself, I learned that my oven temperature has to be set at only 300 degrees.
3) Everyone warns to not over mix the batter when you fold in the flour and sugar. But after a couple lumpy batches, I realized I was being too cautious and you had to fold the batter until the consistency was smooth and batter appeared shiny. People referred to this consistency as “molten lava” which was no help to me as I have never seen molten lava up close. Don’t be scared to bang the crap out of your cookie tray to smooth out the macarons and remove any air bubbles…it’s rather therapeutic. If the tips are still pointy, wet your finger and smooth them down.
4) Really try to be patient and let the macarons sit for at least 15 if not 30 min. They will develop a matte filmy shell on the surface which tells you they are ready for baking.
5) Don’t worry too much about crowding them on the cookie tray. The batter doesn’t spread like cookie dough.
6) Don’t draw your circle guide lines on the same side of your parchment paper as the side you will pipe the batter on. After baking, your macarons will absorb the ink. LOL I was so upset with myself that night. Turn your parchment paper over!
7) Swap out some of the almond flour for ground pistachio powder or cocoa powder for different flavor variations.
8) Add the food gel coloring to the beaten egg whites, before folding in the flour and sugar. But make it a little darker than what you want since the color does fade after you mix in the batter and bake the macarons.
9) Macarons really do taste better after 2-3 days sitting covered in the fridge. The shell become more chewy as it integrates with the filling.
10) They freeze and defrost perfectly fine. For friends’ showers, I’ve made them 3-4 weeks in advance. Only takes 30 minutes to defrost.