Shh… don’t tell anyone, but Mr. Misty loves watching the Food Network. And I love watching with him because I don’t have to feel guilty for my own love of cooking shows.
One of our favorites is the the Kid’s Baking Championship.
If you’ve not seen the show, 12 pint-size, precocious bakers compete to win $25,000. The show is hosted (and judged) by Baltimore-based, Charm City Cakes Shop owner, Duff Goldman and TV sitcom darling, Valerie Bertinelli.
Though hard to watch when these tiny bakers meltdown during a baking disaster or when overwhelmed by the immensity of the task at hand, these kids are AMAZING bakers! They skillfully attempt a multitude of desserts that even seasoned bakers have difficulty with.
One of these desserts is the Macarons (pronounced mack-a-ROHN). Macarons (not to be confused with Macaroons (pronounced mack-a-ROON)). They are are a delicate, meringue-based sandwich cookie made with egg whites, powdered and grandulated sugars, and almond flour, which are slightly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside and have cute ruffled “feet”.Jump to Recipe
To purchase them, you almost need to sell a kidney – they cost anywhere from $2-4 each in a bakery and you can’t just eat one! Those who know me well, know If I can make it myself, I will. But, most Macaron recipes are prefaced with a warning about how hard they are to make. That coupled with the fact almond flour is a rare commodity out here in the sticks, I’ve been hesitant to make them – that is until I ran across “Cupcake Jemma” and her Macaron Master Class on YouTube.
WOW! With her simple instructions, even I was able to successfully make Macarons. Though a bit time consuming, they were fun and realatively easy to make.
Cupcake Jemma is from the UK, and like most of the world (outside the US), she uses the metric system of units — liters (L) and milliliters (mL), grams (g) and kilograms (kg), and degrees Celsius (°C) in her recipes.
This fact wasn’t a big deal since I use this digital scale. However, when I was making the sugar syrup, I had a moment when I almost freaked out – Jemma’s video showed they heated the sugar syrup to 180º and showed it boiling at that temperature.
When I brought my sugar water to 180º, it wasn’t even melting!! Ooops! Even though I had weighed out everything in grams and milliliters — even the sugar and water — when it came to the temperature, I was still thinking in Fahrenheit. When she said 180º she meant 180º CELCIUS! Once I realized my error, it was smooth sailing.Jump to Recipe
You can flavor and color your Macarons in many different ways. I made these for our church’s weekly men’s prayer group and since it happened to fall on Fat Tuesday, I used white food coloring paste so the Mardi Gras colored sprinkles would pop a bit more; and I filled the baked cookies with a chocolate espresso buttercream.
Personally, I think buttercream is a bit too sweet for this cookie, so if you’re going to make them, I encourage you to explore some different fillings. Indulge with Mimi has an excellent list of macaron flavor ideas.
Below you will find the printable Macaron recipe in detail, which I created from Cupcake Jemma’s video. I’ve also added Cupcake Jemma’s Macaron Video at the end of this post. My advice – watch the video before you attempt making them and then print out this recipe to follow.
Seriously, if I can do it – you can too!
Macarons (Italian Meringue Method)
For the Paste
- 205 g Powder Sugar
- 190 g Almond Flour
- 72 g Egg Whites
- Food Color Paste (optional)
For the Meringue
- 190 g Granulated Sugar
- 60 mL Water
- 72 g Egg Whites
- 1 Tsp Vanilla extract
Make the Paste
- Place the almond flour and powdered sugar into food processor and pulse 15 times.
- Sift the mixture to remove any large pieces which could cause the top of the cookie to appear lumpy.
- Mix egg whites into to the dry ingredients and mix into a paste. You can add food coloring at this time. Colors will look quite dark at this point and will lighten when the meringue mixture is added.
- Cover so it doesn’t dry out and set aside.
Make the Meringue
- Add the sugar and water to a pan and cook until 110ºC. (220ºF)
- Once the sugar syrup reaches 110ºC, add remaining egg whites to the mixer and mix until frothy. Add the vanilla extract.
- When the sugar syrup reaches 118ºC, remove from heat and slowly pour into the whipping egg whites. This creates a glossy and stable egg white. Continue whipping until the mixture reaches room temperature (5-6 min.)
- Add a bit of the meringue into the paste to loosen it up a bit. Mix it well.
- Once the paste has loosened up a bit, you can gently fold in the rest of the meringue. This is called Macaronage. Scrape around the sides of the bowl, gather it to the middle and then cut through the center with your rubber spatula. Do this until it is well mixed and the batter begins to ribbon off the spatula and doesn’t immediately melt into the rest of the batter.
- Fill your piping bag with the batter. Using a piping bag, you can use a large round tip or cut the tip off of a disposable piping bag.
- Using either parchment paper with a Macaron template underneath or a special Macaron Silpat, hold your piping bag straight up and down, about 1/4” from the parchent or silpat, and squeeze until you have almost filled the circle (about an inch if you don’t have a template) and lift the bag straight up as you release the pressure.
- Lift your tray 4-5 inches and drop on the counter to release air bubbles.
- Allow to sit at room temperature until each cookie has developed a skin (15-60min). You should be able to touch the cookies without them feeling tacky.
- Bake at 162ºC (325ºF) for about 10 minutes. They should come off the sheet easily, the tops should be slightly crunchy and not separate from the feet and the bottoms should have formed the signature ruffled “feet”. Allow to cool on the baking sheet before filling.
Have you made macarons before? What is your favorite flavor & filling? Leave us a comment below, we love hearing from you!
Interested in making Macarons? Be sure to check out Cupcake Jemma’s Master Class.
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