French macarons seem to be the ultimate goal for bakers these days. Golfers have the hole-in-one, figure skaters have the axel jump (which I am happy to say that I accomplished when I turned 30!), and bakers have the French macaron. These are not macaroons, which are coconut cookies, but rather macarons. These little bites of perfection are quite the task to make – you have to age the egg whites, rest the mixed batter, do a special jig… Ok, just kidding on the last part. But either way, these cookies are more high maintenance than your typical chocolate chip cookie.
A true macaron has pied, or feet, which are the little split seams that you see on each half of the cookie above. To achieve the feet, you must use old egg whites (which must sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours) and then rest the batter for 15-30 minutes before baking. Got all that? Ok, good.
I was seriously intimidated by these treats originally but knew that my baking skills would be able to hold up. I’ve read just about everywhere that you have to use a kitchen scale, but I don’t own one, and things worked out just fine. My in-laws and husband were my taste-testers for these and they all agreed that they were delicious. Next time I make these, I will do a better job piping out the macarons and add more filling to them.
If you own a kitchen scale, I’d recommend using it, but if you are confident in your baking skills and want to go without it, be my guest!
My macarons have feet!
- 1 cup (100 grams) almond flour (I used Trader Joe's almond meal and put it in the blender to chop it finer)
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 and 1/2 cups (210 grams) confectioners' sugar
- 4 egg whites 120 grams, at room temperature and at least a day old (I used 1/2 cup of egg whites, which were at least 5 days old; they sat out at room temperature for at least 12 hours)
- 4 Tablespoons (50 grams) sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
- 4 ounces bitter sweet chocolate finely chopped (I used a blend of high quality dark chocolate, bittersweet and semisweet chocolate)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Make the macarons
- Line a clean, flat cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper, and set it aside.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place rack in middle of oven.
- Sift together almond flour (or ground up almond meal like I did), cocoa powder, and confectioners' sugar and set aside. Make sure the mixture is well-sifted!
- In a spotlessly clean stand mixer bowl, whip the aged, room temperature egg whites on medium speed until they are foamy and you can start to see the tines of the whip leaving a trail in the whites, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar, and continue to whip for about 30 to 45 seconds. Add another tablespoon of sugar, and whip again for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat with the third and fourth tablespoons of sugar.
- When all of the sugar is mixed in, whip the whites for about another minute or two until they become glossy and shiny. Remove from mixer.
- Fold in about half of the almond flour/confectioners' sugar mix; when most of it is folded in, add the rest of the dry mix. Fold until mixture is smooth and a little stiff -- it should drop smoothly off of the spatula.
- Using a piping bag and a small round tip, pipe out small rounds of macaron batter about 1 inch in diameter. Try to pipe straight down and quickly pull away when you are done to minimize peaks. Pipe until you’ve used up all the batter.
- Rap the cookie sheet several times to flatten out the mounds and to pop any bubbles that might be in the batter.
- Let cookies rest for about 15 to 30 minutes, until they are no longer tacky to the touch.
- Place in oven, and immediately turn oven down to 300 degrees. After 8 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet. Depending upon your oven, cookies take from 15 to 20 minutes (mine took 15 minutes). Remove from oven, and let cool.
- Remove the meringues from the parchment and pair them by size.
Make the ganache
- Bring cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a medium sized pot over medium heat. When simmering, remove from heat and add chocolate. Mix cream and chocolate together with a spatula until smooth. Stir in butter. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Transfer chilled ganache to a disposable piping bag and pipe a scant tablespoon onto half the shells. Cover the piped shells with plain shells for sandwich cookies.