The Perfect Macarons Recipe
Macarons are well known for their unique texture: crispy, chewy and creamy. All in one bite. Once you tried it, you cannot stop yourself from wanting more. However, if you want to buy one from the store, the price often make you think twice. In rumor, macarons are complicated to make, thus the price is high. Well, worry not! You can make your own macarons at home, and they are actually easy to make.
Making perfect macarons isn't that difficult as you think. There are few components you have to look out for. On the website that I found, Oh Sweet Day! - My Perfect Macarons (blog), the author has listed few components that you ought to follow if you want to make perfect macarons. Through my experience, I also add some tips of my own.
1. Weather/Humidity - Macarons need to be set dry before baking. The waiting time may vary depends on the humidity of the room. It is best to pick a sunny day with low humidity to make macarons. Otherwise, let macarons dry at least an hour longer before baking, especially on raining or very humid day.
2. Silicon Mat v.s. Parchment Paper - Silicon mat seems to stick to the macarons shells more easily, which can ruined the shells at the end when taking off from the mat.
3. Egg Whites - There are many recipes require egg whites to be room temperature. But the batter actually turn out fine if you use egg whites straight from refrigerator.
4. Cream of Tartar - This is one of ingredient that some other macarons recipes may require. As cream of tartar is often use in egg whites to increase their stability and volume, it makes beating egg whites more easily and less likely to deflate. For me, I would skip this ingredient because egg whites without cream of tartar can still make good macarons. Sometimes I would replace cream of tartar with a pinch of salt, which has the same effect on the egg whites.
5. Almond Flour - Almond flour is kept in the freezer. Same as egg whites. One thing about almond flour is that it has to be fine grind. If almond flour is not fine enough, make sure to grind it in a food processor until all of flour is siftable in the sifting process.
6. Granulated Sugar - You could use extra fine sugar to make the meringue, or grind the regular granulated sugar in a food processor to make it finer. However, you may not find a huge difference. If you happened to have a jar of vanilla-scented sugar (put a used vanilla bean into the sugar), do not use that. The oil from vanilla bean will deflate the egg whites.
8. Color - Color gel is best use for the macaron shells because it won't loosen the egg whites batter. Only a drop or two would do the trick. Add color when everything is mixed, and not at the meringue stage. The advantage of this step is you can divide the batter into 2 or 3 batches and create different colors for each batch.
9. Pointy Shell - When piping the macarons, if they end up with a point, you can use a wet finger to smooth them down. If you ignore the pointy part, they may burn when you bake. Make sure the top is even and smooth.
10. Resting - The shell must rest enough to a point where they are dry to touch before baking. The best way to test it is to slide your finger across the surface of the shell. If its not sticky, its good to go.
11. Sandwich the filling - Because the shells are very dedicate and crispy, it's easy to crush them while sandwich the filling. Don't press the two shell together. Instead, hold the edge of the shells and "mush" them together.
12. Filling - Normally, buttercream is used for the filling because it's consistency is a little bit more solid than regular pastry cream. It can hold up the shells. However, if you wish to use other kinds of filling other than buttercream, make sure the fillings are able to hold up the shells. Otherwise, it may collapse and it won't look as good. The only solution is to consume immediately. Or make sure to fridge the macarons and wait till the fillings are solid enough before serve.
Time: prepare 30 min, baking 10 min
Ingredient: (20 1in macarons)
1 cup sugar powder
3/4 cup fine almond flour
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon matcha/coco powder
or a drop of gel food coloring of your choice
1/2 cup filling of your choice
1. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Note: in order to have equal size of macaron, it is best to draw a circle template to measure out the sizes. Also, it is best to use parchment paper rather than silicon mat; because macaron shells seems to stick to silicon mat more easily.
2. Mix powder sugar, almond flour, sift them thoroughly and set them aside. If you are making green tea macarons, add green tea powder at this stage.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a whisk at medium speed until frothy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to high and beat until very stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. If you want to add color to your paste, this is the stage where you add your gel food coloring during the process.
4. Add earlier sifted dry mixture into the beaten egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the ingredients until the mixture has loosened and falls like ribbon from the spatula. As many may describe this consistency as molten lava.
5. Fill the pastry bag with the batter. Using the template as a guide, piped circles onto the parchment papers.
6. Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release trapped air bubbles. Let the cookies stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This allows cookies to develop their crusts. Note: the shell must rest enough to a point where they are dry to touch before baking. The best way to test it is to touch the surface of the shell with your finger. If it's not too sticky, and you are able to glide your finger on it, it's good to go.
7. Preheat oven 325 F. Bake the macaroons for 10 minutes, until set but not browned.
8. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the macarons cool completely on the pans. Once cooled, gently lift half of the cookies from parchment paper and turn them upside down.
9. Spoon or pipe a teaspoon of filling onto each of the upside-down cookies. Top with the remaining cookies. Note: Because the shells are very delicate and crispy, it's easy to crush them while sandwiching the filling. Don't press the shell together. Instead, "mush" the shell together. Once filling is added, eat immediately or store in the fridge up to three days.
What I like about macarons is that you can be creative on the colors and the flavor of the fillings. There are so many option for you to try.
Since I have a lot of green tea powder on hand, I've decided to make green tea flavor of macarons. Not only does the green tea has natural green color, but also it add a little flavor to the shells. And as for the filling, there is nothing more perfect than the combination of the green tea and red beans. So I added some prepared red beans in the middle to increase both the flavor and the texture.
Normally, I see a lot of recipes use buttercream as the filling. In this case, I decided to use pastry cream because it also has the density to hold the shell up, and won't be too watery when stand in the room temperature for too long.
1 cup pastry cream
1 teaspoon green tea powder
1 can of prepared red beans
1. Mix pastry cream with green tea powder, whisk until thoroughly combined.
2. Fill pastry bag with the pastry cream, pipe open circle onto flipped up shells.
3. Use two teaspoons as an aid to place prepared red beans in the middle.
4. Pipe another layer of open circle onto red beans, so later when sandwich, shells will not fell off from the uneven surface created by red beans.