FRENCH MACARONS

Making french macarons can seem very intimidating and don’t get me wrong, they can be tricky to get right, but they really don’t have to be so scary to attempt. I think I can speak for anyone who has ever made macarons and say that we probably all failed on our first attempt, if not the second and third too, but we all start at the same place. The other thing with macarons is that you can be really great at making them, but then one day you make a batch and they just flop! It will happen to even the best of the best!!

I remember my first time making these…I was so nervous that I looked like a headless chicken running around the kitchen! Where’s the almond flour, has the meringue started, when do I need to mix the eggs in, how do I know the batter is not over mixed or under mixed, Oh no I lost count of how many times I’ve stirred the batter!! (just kidding, I’ve never counted how many times to mix the batter, to me that’s just plain old crazy!)

But, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get these delicious little shells done right the first time, but like many things in life, it takes time, patience, practice and lots of PATIENCE!

Firstly, there are 2 methods to making macarons. One option is to use a simple french meringue and the other is to use a more complicated, but achievable, italian meringue.

I will give you the recipes and methods for both, but for this post, I’m going to show you how to make macarons easily, using the french meringue method. So let’s get to it!!

French Macarons using French Meringue Method

Essentials you will need:

  • A stand mixer is really helpful to have, but a hand mixer will work too
  • A scale is preferable as precise measurements are better, but you can achieve great macarons without one and using your cup measurements
  • Sieve
  • Spatulas
  • 2 Bowls to separate the eggs (keep the egg yolks to use in another great dessert)
  • 2 bowls for the dry ingredients
  • 1 large mixing bowl for the french meringue

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g (1½ cups) Almond Flour
  • 130g (1 cup) Icing/Powdered Sugar
  • 100g Egg Whites (3 medium sized eggs)
  • 90g (½ cup) White Sugar
  • Food Coloring (optional, use gel or powder coloring for best results)

HOW TO MAKE FRENCH MACARONS USING FRENCH MERINGUE:

  1. Prepare 2 baking trays with baking paper or a silicone mat (your preference), I like using baking (parchment) paper. You can print out a template from the internet to place under your baking paper and this will give you a guide when piping your macarons.
  2. Measure out all your ingredients before you start mixing anything.
  3. Start by sifting the almond flour and icing sugar at least 3 times. You are looking to get rid of any big pieces of almonds and don’t push them through the sieve, throw them away rather. Your macaron shells will be nice and smooth if you don’t have big pieces of almond in your batter.
  4. Once you have sifted your dry ingredients, set them aside and start whisking the meringue.
  5. Whisk the meringue until soft peaks form and then add the white sugar to the meringue a tablespoon at a time. You will hear and feel when the sugar dissolves and that is when you add the next spoonful of sugar. You want stiff peaks so that your meringue is stable and ready for mixing. Here is a video from Martha Stewart that shows you the different stages of meringue.
  6. You can add food coloring to your meringue. Ii would advise adding it once you have added all your sugar, just before your meringue is ready.
  7. Now comes the mixing part. Add half of your dry ingredients into the meringue and combine well. At first it seems as though it doesn’t want to incorporate, but keep mixing, being gentle. You can watch how I fold the dry ingredients into the meringue here on my video.
  8. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and fold in. You want to push some of the air out of the meringue, by pressing the batter around the sides of the bowl and alternating this with folding and scraping. You will get the hang of it after some practice. Keep checking for readiness while after a few mixes.
  9. How do you know when your batter is ready? Again, check out my video to see a visual of this, but when the batter can form a figure of 8 without breaking and the batter ‘ribbons’ off the spatula. It shouldn’t be runny as then you’ve over mixed and shouldn’t be too stiff as then you’ve under mixed. I assure you, this all comes with time and practice. After a few times of making these, you will know exactly when it’s ready.
  10. Now you can pour your batter into a piping bag with a round piping tip and pipe your macaron shells onto your baking trays.
  11. The final step before baking is to tap the trays on a flat surface to release any air bubbles, (see video) you can pop them if they are quite large with a toothpick and leave them to rest until they form a skin. You should be able to run your finger across the macaron shell without it being sticky at all. After about 20 minutes of them resting, preheat your oven to 150°C/300°F.
  12. Finally, you can bake your macarons for 12 to 15 minutes. This time all depends on your oven, so you will know when they are ready when they release easily from the paper or mat. If it feels like they want to stick and are not coming off clean, then continue baking a minute at a time until they come off easily.
  13. When they are done baking, take them off the trays, leaving them on the paper or mat and let them cool completely.

Match your shells up so that they are the same size and fit onto each other well (you don’t want one big shell on the bottom and a small one on top). You can now add any filling you like and there are many, many options. My favorite macaron fillings are american buttercream (vanilla, chocolate, rainbow colored), ganache (white, milk or dark chocolate) or a zingy homemade lemon curd.

If you make these macarons, please let me know how they turn out and you can even tag me in your Instagram posts or stories and you can follow me on Facebook too!

If you want to see how French Macarons are made using the Italian meringue method, then be sure to watch my video! Happy Baking!!

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