It’s no big realization that, when it comes to cooking, the French really know what’s what – obviously the same can be said of their baking. “Macaron” cookies are one of the most delightful treats we’ve had the pleasure of tasting and we finally figured out how to tackle them at home! They have a dual-edged-sword of a reputation, in that they taste like bites of paradise, but they’re notoriously difficult to makebut we found out that’s not necessarily true!
The thing about macarons is that you have to be very precise and attentive as you follow the directions: set up a timer while you mix the cookie batter; keep a general count of how many strokes you’ve taken to fold in the dry ingredients. It’s these tedious things that will give you the perfect, Pinterest-worthy goodies you so desire. While this recipe does call for your undivided attention, it’s all worth it in the end when you’ve got an amazing dessert, worthy of a Parisienne, that you made, yourself!
Yields 3 dozen cookies
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup almond flour
- 3 egg whites
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300º F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick mats.
Optional: use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter dipped in flour to mark you cookie outlines.
- In a medium bowl, sift together your powdered sugar and almond flour. Repeat and set aside.
- In a large bowl or mixer, beat together your egg whites, sugar and salt on medium, for 3 minutes.
- Turn speed up to medium-high and beat mixture for another 3 minutes, before turning speed up to high and beating for another 3.
- Pour in vanilla extract and beat mixture on the highest speed for 1 minute. (You should be beyond stiff peaks now, as mixture should be a dry meringue that sticks in the center of the mixer.)
- Pour dry ingredients into the meringue all at once and use a rubber spatula to fold it in.
Note: Incorporating the two together should take 35-40 strokes and you’ll want to deflate the egg whites as you do it. Just don’t over mix and make the mixture runny. Test by taking a spoonful of batter and dripping it back into the rest; after 15-20 seconds it should be reincorporated.
- Take the bowl and hit it hard against the counter to release air bubbles in the batter.
- Transfer mixture to a piping bag and, keeping the tip of the bag on the baking sheet, pipe the batter into the marked circles. Leave a border, as they will expand.
- Firmly tap the baking trays on the counter 2-3 times to release any remaining air bubbles.
- Place trays in oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating trays in the middle. Cookies should easily come away from parchment paper.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- For the frosting: cream together the butter and powdered sugar for 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy and smooth.
- Beat in heavy cream, vanilla extract and almond extract. Continue mixing until desired consistency is reached.
- Using a piping bag or a knife, spread a quarter-sized amount of frosting on the flat side of half the macarons, then top with the remaining of cookies, keeping the flat sides together.
- Refrigerate 20 minutes before serving, or store in an air-tight container, refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from Brave Tart