Macarons are a particular kind of special treat, perhaps because they are so delicate- yet so flavorful, have both a crunch and a chew, come in so many colors, and can be filled in innumerable ways, or maybe it's just because they can be tricky to master and make at home.
We've certainly had our share of 'feetless' flops in the Allen & Petersen test kitchen, but with these tips, our own Beth Brown, Kitchen Store Specialist, gets closer to 'Macaroner' with every beautiful batch!
Our favorite recipe is for French Meringue Macarons (pg 26) from the Macarons Cookbook by Cecile Cannone.
Beth’s tips for Macaron Making Success:
• Dry out your almond flour in a low temperature oven, for about 5 minutes, to eliminate excess moisture.
• Combine flour and powdered sugar and pulse in the food processor, then sift twice for an extra smooth texture. Discard large bits.
• Measure out your egg whites rather than just assuming your eggs are the right size to provide the necessary amount called for in your recipe.
• Use gel food coloring! The liquid variety will add too much moisture to your macarons.
• Don't over-mix your batter when combining meringue and almond flour, and always do this step by hand! Using an electric mixer will deflate your batter.
• To fill your pastry bag, and in between batches, set your pastry bag in a tall glass cup with the tip touching the bottom to keep batter from spilling out.
• If using the Mastrad Macaron mat, leave some spaces empty, or there may be too much steam in the oven. If you do fill it all the way, open the oven more than once
to release steam- once at 5 minutes, and again at 7 minutes.
• Let your macarons rest!! 15-30 minutes after piping and before you put them in the oven. This step is crucial for developing the "feet" on the macarons.
• Allow the macarons to cool completely before taking them off the mat. Press your finger into the back of one of the cooled shells, it should be soft. If it’s crisp or hard, reduce baking time on the next batch.
• Don't overfill your macaron shells, especially with a strong flavored filling as it can overwhelm the flavor of the macarons. Use just enough to hold the two together.
• Because ganache can be made with white, milk or dark chocolate and can be easily flavored with a cream infusion, it makes a lovely filling for macarons- just be sure it has cooled and is firm enough to not compromise the texture of your cookies.
Chocolate wafers also make a delightful companion to a macaron, especially with decorative transfers!