Oh my, Macarons are dope! How many adjectives can one use for these delightful pastries? Multitudes! The most interesting I found, while researching, is that there is both a French and Italian approach to the creation of these colorful, light, delicious, singular Macarons!
The magic, thus the difference, lies within the whipping of the meringue, and how one handles the addition of ingredients thereof. The French approach requires one to whip the egg whites and sugar to glossy peaks, then add the remaining ingredients until the batter creates a ribbon effect when folded. The Italian approach tasks one with creating a thicker meringue by whipping hot sugar syrup and egg whites to form the peaks. Then add the remaining ingredients to create a paste for the dough. Working with the sugar syrup and egg white is tricky work, but not nearly as impossible as one would think.
One talented young baker is Caroline McKeon, of Yardley. During a socially distant meeting, our families were discussing what we can and can not find at the grocery store during this interesting, yet challenging, time of Covid 19. A particular ingredient mentioned was almond flour. Now, one can not say things like this without catching my ear. The truth is that the quarantine has reintroduced many to their inner baker. Having the time to bake has become something of a luxury to many of us. During required time at home, people bake.
During one trip to the store, I found almond flour for Caroline and my husband dropped it off at the McKeon household. Low, and behold, two days later, viola, Macarons appeared. They were a lovely light blue color, and Caroline explained that they become crispier with about five day’s time. Of course, I had to hide them to ensure that I would get the chance for the, “5 day’s time.”
Caroline has a real talent for Macaron making. My family described these tasty morsels as life-changing. It was so kind of Caroline to share her talent with us. To take it a step further, I share the recipe she adapted from tasty.com.
This recipe makes about 34 macarons
1 ¾ c. of powdered sugar
1 c. almond flour, finely ground
1 tsp. Salt, divided
3 egg whites, room temperature ( longer is better)
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 drops gel food coloring (your choice, of course)
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar
3 tbsp. Heavy cream
In a food processing bowl, mix almond flour, ½ tsp of salt.Set this aside.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs along with the remaining ½ tsp. Of salt, until soft peaks form. Now, as you mix add granulated sugar a bit at a time . Continue after adding sugar to reform peaks. Peaks are formed enough when you wiggle the bowl, and the peaks remain still.
Now, add vanilla, and food coloring to mix.
Fold in with a spatula, the almond flour about ⅓ at a time, until complete. If you can use the spatula to make your first name initial in the batter, then it disappears, you are ready.
Transfer Macaron batter to a piping bag or a large, plastic, food, storage bag, To pipe batter from plastic bag, cut a small corner off to pipe out batter. * Make one little dot of batter in each corner of the baking sheet, then set a sheet of parchment on top. The dots in the corner help keep the parchment in place.
Pipe the batter onto the parchment lined cookie sheet 1.5”circles, and 1 “ apart.
Tap the prepared cookie sheet several times to remove air bubbles, preheat the oven to 300 degrees,and then bake for 17 minutes, or the dry edge forms. This is often called the “feet” of the cookie.
Remove these from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare buttercream filling; In a large bowl, add butter and whip for about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and beat until fully mixed . Transfer filling to piping bag or plastic food bag.
Flip over half of the cookies to expose the underside of the cookie.
Pipe a dollop of filling onto the flipped cookie and place a right side up cookie on top to complete the assembly process. The macaron is complete. It is best to make these a day ahead to allow them to become more sturdy.
Store and enjoy!!!