I can make a good macaron, but I am on the quest to make the best macaron. My first introduction to macarons was last summer when I took a class at Sur La Table. Then during the first month of school, we learned how to make a Parisian Macaron. Both of these methods went together using a French meringue, which is room temperature egg whites and sugar.
Recently at work I was introduced to a new macaron method that uses an Italian meringue. The recipe requires a bit of planning because the first thing you do is scale out your egg whites and then allow them to sit at room temperature for a few hours. When you are ready to make the macarons, you cook granulated sugar and water up to 244°, slightly above softball stage. Once the sugar nears this temperature, you start whisking your egg whites to soft peak. When your sugar reaches the right temperature, you quickly pour it into the whipping whites and allow them to continue whisking until the bowl is cool to the touch. Now that you have your Italian meringue, you fold it in a couple additions into your dry ingredients and pipe right away. Once the cookies have been piped it is important to bang the tray on the table a few times to get the air bubbles out (and some aggression) and then allow the macarons to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes until they develop a skin on top.
The baking part is what I am still working on perfecting. The first time I cooked the macarons at 290° for ten minutes, rotating part way; however, the cookies took on a little color, which they are not supposed to do. They were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, but not as soft as they should have been. Also, they did not develop the large foot that they are supposed to develop during baking. Next up, I tried baking them in a 200° oven. After ten minutes they were not done baking, so I put them in a 300° oven for a few minutes to finish the bake. This seemed to work well as the cookies took on no color and were extremely soft but still had a slight crunch on the outside shell. I have not tried it yet, but probably the ideal baking option is to start the cookies in the 290° oven for a few minutes so they rise up quickly and develop the foot that they are supposed to have and then put them in the lower 200° oven to finish the bake so they do not take on any color and will remain soft. I am going to keep working until I’ve achieved the best macaron; plus, I don’t mind sampling all of the test batches!
- almond flour - 300 grams
- powdered sugar - 300 grams
- egg whites - 110 grams
- granulated sugar - 300 grams
- water - 75 grams
- egg whites - 110 grams
Scale both portions of egg whites and allow to sit at room temperature for a few hours.
Sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar.
Pour one portion of the egg whites on top of the almond flour and allow to sit - do not stir.
In a pot, moisten the sugar with the water and cook to 244 degrees.
When the sugar approaches 244 degrees, begin whipping the other portion of egg whites to a soft peak.
To make the meringue, quickly pour the hot sugar into the egg whites that are whipping and allow them to whip until the bowl is cool to the touch.
Fold together the almond flour and initial egg whites.
Fold in half of the meringue.
Fold in the second half of the meringue.
Pipe macarons into desired size using a round tip.
Allow macarons to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes until they develop and skin on the top.
Bake at 290 for 4 minutes, then rotate and bake at 200 for approximately 10 minutes, watching closely. The macarons should not take color. *See note above on other baking options.
Sandwich together with desired filling, e.g. buttercream, ganache, etc.