I never saw myself as a baker. The most interested I’ve ever been in baking was pouring a pre-made brownie mix or spoonfuls of ready made cookie dough onto a pan. However, I found myself with free time and trying to come up with special treats for my godson’s baptism. French macarons came to mind!
This was quite the jump from a box of brownie mix to home made French macarons, but in order for me to want to put the time into making something, I have to be highly interested in it. French macarons happen to be one of the few sweets that intrigued me. I have always loved the look of a French macaron, and the variety of flavors and colors they come in.
What’s great, is that there aren’t a lot of steps and they are all easy. What’s not so great, is that doing any of theses steps slightly off, will mess up your chances of making the perfect macaron.
I found a great youtube video on making French macarons, and then tweaked a few things to get my successful batches of macarons.
The video is Beth’s Foolproof French Macaron Recipe –
3 Egg Whites
¼ cup white sugar (50 g)
2 cups confectioners sugar (200 g)
1 cup almond flour (120 g) (SEE NOTE BELOW)
pinch of salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar (2 ml) * You can omit if needed, just may take a bit longer to reach stiff peaks but the recipe will still work)
NOTE: If you cannot find almond flour where you live, check out this great video from my new friend Dzung at Honeysuckle Catering and she’ll show you a great easy way to make it yourself!
RASPBERRY BUTTER CREAM (I DID STRAWBERRY! SEE BELOW)
1/4 cup salted butter (60g)
3/4 cup powdered sugar (75 g)
1 cup (150 g) fresh raspberries, worked through a sieve to extract 3 tbsp of juice
For my fist attempt, I did a light blue coloring on my shells and buttercream since blue was the color theme for the party, with earl grey tea powder as the flavoring in the shells.
1st Batch- I followed the steps to the best of my ability, and the two problems I encountered were very hollow and tall shells, and then the shells stuck to the pan after the suggested time. I began to look at the comments below the video for people who had complained about similar outcomes and did what Ms. Beth suggested.
2nd Batch- Beth said a hollow shell means the temperature is too hot, so I lowered my oven temperature. BETTER SHELLS! STILL STICKY BOTTOMS!
3rd Batch- I then read to place the pan on a lower rack…still sticky. I had to spray water underneath the parchment paper to get the macarons to peel off the sheet.
4th Batch- I left the macarons in the oven longer so the bottoms can cook more…yellowish burnt tops.
5th Batch-I raised the temperature back up and baked for less time…sticky bottoms.
5th Batch- I heard to prop the oven door open so the tops won’t brown as you extend the baking time for the bottoms to cook more…still sticky and my kitchen was uncomfortably hot.
A few weeks later, the baptism was two days away and it was time to try again.
1st Batch- I heard about leaving the macarons out longer before popping them into the oven. I waited an hour. Success!! However, the tops didn’t smooth out, and I realized I under mixed my batter. If the tops don’t smooth out within 10 seconds of piping, it needs a few more folds.
2nd Batch- I DON’T KNOW WHAT IN GOD’S NAME I DID WRONG. After piping, they never felt like they were drying, even after an hour! Usually, the tops start to dry out after 20 minutes. I popped them in anyway and they just came out like cookies. No “feet,” no smooth tops, no sense of accomplishment.
3rd Batch- Did everything the same and they came out like the first batch. There were still a bit of a swirly top on the macarons, but decent.
People were actually really pleased with them and they were gone by the end of the night. My cousin was left wanting more, so I told him I would make more later on in the week. Tired of making blue macarons, I wanted to do a completely different color and flavor. I had leftover strawberries from the baptism party, and I thought I could replace the raspberry in Beth’s recipe with strawberry juice. Now, I don’t know if it’s the practice or lack of pressure, but WOW!!
This is what I did…
From 3 room temperature eggs, I separated the egg whites, and mixed until they were foamy.
Added my cream of tartar, salt, and sugar
While the my egg whites were mixing, I sifted my almond meal into my powdered sugar.
When my egg whites were starting to thicken, I added my food coloring (4 drops of red for the strawberry theme)
Mixed until the peak of my egg whites stood up
Folded until the “lava flow”
Placed the mix into a pastry bag…
Piped out the desired shape of the French macarons and banged the pan 4 good times to let the air bubbles out.
I left them to dry out for 45 minutes, when the tops felt completely dry.
Popped them into the oven at 285 degrees for 15 minutes on the lower rack
These shells easily popped off the sheet…
You could see that the bottoms fully cooked 🙂 However, browning was starting to occur, so I will bake it for 12 minutes next time.
While I let these macarons cool and placed my second pan of macarons in the oven, I began the buttercream.
I mixed up the butter until it was pale and fluffy. Then came the strawberries!
I took my sieve and pressed out the juice of strawberries with a spoon. I am guessing I made about 3 tablespoons of juice. Then I mixed again!
Placed it in a pastry bag and started filling the macaron shells. To achieve a smoother look, I’m going to mix longer and with fewer juice next time.
However, the strawberry buttercream tastes amazing! Lots of strawberry flavor meshed with the sweetness of the sugar and creaminess of butter.