These French macarons are crisp almond shells filled with jam and Swiss meringue buttercream. They make perfect tea time treats as well as impressive gifts to family and friends during the holiday season. Using my no-fail recipe this is one you are going to love.
Place almond meal and powdered sugar in a food processor. Sift it and discard any big or remains that does not go thru. However, if you have a lot in the sifter - pulse some more and strain again. Tip - pulsing and staining will ensure you have a flour consistency. So do not skip this step.
Whip egg whites - Place the egg whites with cream of tartar in a grease-free bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Start whisking on medium speed. (in the video I am using a hand mixer so you can see better but a stand mixer is ) Tip - the cream of tartar helps stabilize the egg whites. You can omit but it is especially helpful when making macarons in warm weather or humid places.
After a minute start adding the granulated sugar one spoon at a time.Tip - adding the sugar one spoon at a time will prevent the protein in the egg whites from breaking down.
Once all the sugar has been added - turn to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks. Add extract and food color - mix the color well.
Fold in - Next, fold the almond mixture into the whipped egg whites in three batches.
Macronage - once the almond mixture has been incorporated, we need to bring it to the right consistency. See video on how I do this. Use a spatula and spread the mixture around in the bowl - then bring it back to the center. Do it again and again until you have the right consistency. I usually have to do this about 4 to 5 times with each batch.
Consistency - you need, what is called a dropping consistency or a thick 'lava-like' or 'cake batter' consistency. This means when you hold a little batter on the spatula and it drops down like a ribbon that blends back into itself.Tip - getting the right consistency sometimes takes time. So, watch that part of a video carefully.
Pipe - Transfer batter into a piping bag with a large round tip (No.12). Pipe similar size macarons onto a parchment-lined baking tray using a template.Tip- templates ensure all shells are similar in size. This is helpful when we make the finished macarons. You can print free templates found on google or make your own with a cookie cutter.
Piping technique - The best way to pipe the macarons, hold the piping bag at 90%. Squeeze until you have a good mound then swirl the tip to one side. But don't worry if you have a point. When you tap the pan these usually settle down.
Tap baking pan - Tap the baking tray on the counter several times.Tip - Tapping helps so all the air pockets will rise to the top and release. That way you won't have big holes in your macarons. I do three taps on each side as shown in the video.
Rest - Let the macarons sit in a cool dry place for about 30 to 50 minutes until it forms a skin on the top. If you touch the shell it should not stick to your finger. Tip - In places, with high humidity, this can take up to 60 minutes. As long as it does not stick to your finger when you touch it - you are good to go.
While the macarons are drying - preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F. Tip - I usually start my oven at about 20 minutes because that's how long it takes in my home.
Bake the macarons for 12 to 15 minutes depending on your oven. (some ovens can take up to 18 minutes) The tops will look set but the bottom should not be wet. The top shell should be shiny and the bottom crusty (also called macaron feet).Tip - do not open the oven door for the first 10 minutes of baking. When you shake the pan they must look set. Remember they continue to bake with the residue heat on the baking tray.
Cool on the baking tray for at least 10 minutes before you remove and transfer them to a cooling rack. Tip - trying to remove the macarons from the hot tray can cause the tops to separate from the bottom feet. Once you let them cool they will come off easily. So, be patient.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the eggs whites, salt, cream of tartar, and sugar. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk the egg whites over the simmering water until all the sugar has melted.
Place the mixer bowl on the stand and start at medium to low speed with a whisk attachment increasing the speed gradually. Whisk to firm peaks, shiny meringue.
Touch the mixer bowl. If it’s still warm wait, run the mixer on low until it cools. Once the bowl feels warm to the touch, start adding the butter one cube at a time. Then, add the vanilla extract and whip on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until you have a light and fluffy buttercream.
On a baking tray pair similar size macarons shells so you have similar size macarons