I remember walking into a little cafe many years ago and longingly staring at all of their flaky, colorful baked goods. When the girl at the counter asked what I wanted, I told her – in a near-wail of self pity – that I was allergic to everything in the glass case. Puzzled, she asked what I couldn’t eat.
“I’m allergic to gluten.”
“The stuff in flour that makes everything stretchy and yummy.” *cue sad clown face*
“Oh! Then you should try a macaron. They’re only sugar, almond flour and egg whites.”
I stood there for a second, awe-struck. “Really?” I gasped. “All this time I could have been eating these little things and I didn’t know it???”
Um, dietary restriction FAIL.
Now I’ve got a little obsession with these things, which is pretty clear if you think about the fact that I’m dedicating an entire week to them. I’ve got even bigger macaron plans coming up, but they’re super hush-hush and if I told you what about them, I’d have to kill you.
Not really, because I love you. But you get the idea.
This recipe was adapted from this one over at Gourmeted. You’ll notice that the recipe calls for you to use weighted measurements when making the cookies, and this is because you need to make sure that your measurements are accurate. Cups just allow for too high a margin of error, so get out that kitchen scale that’s been collecting dust on the shelf and put it to good use!
- For the shells:
- 100 grams egg whites, divided – about three large eggs
- 100 grams almond flour, as finely ground as possible!
- 100 grams powdered sugar
- 180 grams granulated sugar
- 50 grams water
- 40 grams rosewater
- 1 drops red food coloring, preferably organic/all natural
- For the buttercream:
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, or the tiny, inner beans from 1/2 a vanilla bean
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Prepare the macarons: Place one baking sheet on top of the other to insulate the cookies, and place a silicon baking sheet or parchment paper on the top baking sheet.
- Mix almond flour and powdered sugar together in a food processor for 3 minutes, until you get a nice, powdery texture. Sift mixture into a large bowl.
- Stir one egg white into the ground almond mixture using a flat, rubber spatula. Mix until you get a paste that is consistent in texture. Set aside.
- Whisk the remaining two egg whites on high speed in a large mixing bowl until you achieve soft peaks. Set aside.
- Pour water, rosewater and granulated sugar into a small pan and place on your stove on high heat with the candy thermometer dipped into the mixture. Allow to boil until it reaches 230°F (110°C), stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Resume whisking the egg whites on med-high speed and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the bowl. Beat for about 10 minutes, or until you end up with a puffy and shiny meringue.
- Quickly fold meringue mixture into the almond paste for 30 seconds, then slowly to check the consistency.The resulting mixture would be thick, fluffy and viscous. It will not be watery. It will almost feel and look like marshmallow fluff. DO NOT OVERMIX!
- Transfer meringue mixture into a pastry bag.
- Pipe mixture onto your lined baking sheet. Create small domes about 1 1/2 inch in diameter, 2 inches apart from each other to allow for spreading while baking.
- Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter, making sure to do it in one swift movement. This helps form the “feet,” or little fluffy edge to the cookies.
- Place your oven rack in the top part of your oven and preheat to 300°F (149°C). Allow to preheat for at least half an hour, ideally for the duration of the next step.
- Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 25 minutes. The circles should not stick to your finger when you touch them. If they do, let them dry a little longer.
- Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 12 minutes.
- The cookies should be easy to peel off the pan. If not, put return the baking sheet into the oven for 2 more minutes.
- The baked cookies have a smooth top, a soft center and a cute little “foot.”
- Prepare the buttercream: Mix butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and eat for a few seconds with a hand mixer.
- Pour in rose water and lemon juice, then mix gently with a spatula. Beat with a hand mixer until evenly colored, about 30 seconds.
- Assemble the macarons: Lay down half of the cookies, face up, on a piece of parchment. Spread buttercream on the flat side of the cookies and top with the flat side of another cookie to form a sandwich. Press lightly to create a nice thing layer of frosting.