You know what’s scary? French pastries. They are all complicated, fickle, and require a good deal of patience. I have conquered croissants, and similarly, pain au chocolate, (So good. Will blog in the near future.) but I keep seeing pictures of macaroons, as they seem to be trendy at the moment, and they are gorgeous. So, I wanted to make them. Hah. No one seems to preface their recipe posts with what a pain in the ass they are. Fair warning: MACAROONS ARE A MASSIVE PAIN IN THE ASS AND PROBABLY NOT WORTH ALL THE TROUBLE. That said, I was terribly pleased with myself when a few of them actually came out looking like they were supposed to. They are, in fact, very tasty as well, even the ugly ones.
I was flabbergasted when I actually found almond flour at our local grocery store. As previously stated, we live in something of a cultural wasteland and food desert, and our grocery store tends to be lacking on the more obscure items; however, it was recently updated and made much larger, so maybe I will no longer have to drive two hours, or order food online.
Macaroons are, by most recipes, supposed to be about the size of a quarter. This is tedious, as you have to pipe them out into little circles that size, without a peak… I run screaming from almost anything that calls for piping as I just don’t have the patience. I actually took a cake decorating class, and was terrible at it because there’s just not enough control, and it’s boring. But I’m a certified cake decorator! I more realistically view it as a certification to sit around and eat frosting while occasionally squirting it on a cake.
The picture of the pink ones piped out is about the right size… But they ended up all wonky shaped and not good. The green picture are too big, but more like what you want them to look like. The green were from an earlier trial run that failed.
These blue guys are mostly what you actually want them to look like when they are done, with the exception of the ones that are lopsided or touching. Seriously, so hard to get exactly right.
Some of them came turned out looking nice. Sadly, most of them did not. Mostly, this was an exercise in frustration. Happy Fourth of July! Learn from my mistakes, don’t make macaroons.
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 large egg whites (I used AllWhites as I was not making a recipe that calls for a bunch of yolks.)
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pulse confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Whip whites with a mixer on high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until more foamy. Add sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until well combined.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks.Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. As soon as you put them in the oven, reduce temperature to 325 F. Bake 1 sheet at a time until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
- Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
- Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 1/2 cup egg whites, room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup butter, room temperature