Macarons and I have had a tumultuous past. In that one time a few years ago I tried to make them and it was a miserable failure. I believe it was during Snowmaggedon here in DC and I was housebound for a few days. I always thought macarons were so beautiful, (at that point, I don’t think I had ever even tasted one) so I figured it was a worthy project for a snowday.
Well, macarons are a bit finicky. As it turns out, if you don’t have the right ingredients (i.e. almond flour) and no food processor (to make said almond flour), and trying to make homemade almond flour in a blender (hint: it doesn’t work very well), that things might not go your way.
Also, parchment paper and silpat mats are made for a reason. This is one of those reasons. Use them.
So a few weeks ago, I had a free afternoon so I decided to make another go of it. I’m older, and possibly a little bit wiser, so I figured I give them another shot. Plus, they’re so darn pretty!
Let’s be honest, this is a pretty involved process. Macarons take a while. But once you figure it out, the payoff is totally worth it.
A few notes:
I used almond flour from Trader Joe’s. It includes the dark brown shells from the almonds. This resulted to my macarons having a slightly flecked appearance.
I filled these with buttercream because it was convenient, which led the macarons to being a bit on the sweet side. Next time I make them, I’m going to try a chocolate ganache to tone it down a bit.
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- food coloring
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or a silpat mat. This is important!
- Sift almond flour and powdered sugar together 2-3 times. Set aside.
- Whisk egg whites with a hand mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and gradually add the sugar. Increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Sift flour mixture over whites and fold the mixture together with a rubber spatula gently, until just combined.
- The batter will be very stiff. If you wish to color them, divide the batter into separate bowls and place a small amount of food coloring in each bowl. I used gel food coloring which worked well. Liquid food coloring is not recommended.
- Fold each batter until it loosens. When batter is ready, it should fall from the spatula in a thick ribbon.
- Transfer each color of the mixture to a piping bag. Pipe 1" or 1 1/2" rounds on the parchment-lined baking sheets. and let piped macarons stand uncovered for 15 minutes to form a crust.
- Decrease temperature to 325° just before placing the baking sheet in the oven. Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through. If you are baking a second batch, make sure to increase the temperature of the oven back to 375° and then decrease it back down to 325° before putting the second batch in.
- Let cool before removing from pan.
- Cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
- Beat on a high speed until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add a little bit of water if the icing is very stiff.
- Transfer icing to a piping bag and pipe onto the macaron shells. Top with a second shell to make a sandwich.
- Store in an airtight container.