Let me start by saying these buggers have been taking up way too much of my time. But being slightly inclined towards obsessive behavior, I’ve been turning out one bake sheet after another tweaking and shortcutting techniques to see the results.
So what does this self-taught baker know about making a macaron? Um, I’m still asking myself that. Until I have that all sorted out, I’ll share what I have learned after trying several recipes and then developing and testing my own.
Whatever sound recipe you go with, it really comes down to one thing—it’s all in the macronage. That’s the process by which the dry ingredients are folded into the meringue.
Under fold and you will have uneven cracked macarons or macarons that may they look good on the outside but have a noticeable pocket of air from the middle to the top. Over fold and you will have feetless macarons that resemble cookies instead.
Here’s my advice: be patient. These cookies don’t require or warrant some of the fuss you may have read about. What they do require is some practice. If you aren’t one of the lucky few that nails it on the first run, you’ll get it—baking fails are great way to learn, so keep going. Along with that I approached my recipe with some fuss-free ingredients that you can easily find in a grocery store and I tried to provide enough visual cues for the key indications of step-by-step readiness.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m working my way up to writing a post with detailed pictures. Until then check out these well written posts on macaron basics before you get started: BraveTart, Macaron; Not So Humble Pie, Macaron 101: French Meringue; Sweet Tartlette, Demystifying Macarons
Yield: Makes approximately 70 shells
- 135g egg whites
- 45g granulated sugar
- 215g powdered sugar
- 115g almond meal
- 25g cocoa powder
- 3 Snickers bars, regular size
Salted caramel filling (click here for recipe)
Heat oven to 330 degrees. Line bake sheet with parchment.
- Trace out 1 inch circles on parchment and set this aside as a "master copy". Reserve two extra sheets of parchment and set aside.
- Place egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and fit mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium low speed until egg whites start to form loose translucent bubbles. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until meringue turns foamy and white and starts to resemble well lathered shampoo, about 2 minutes. Increase mixer to high and beat until meringue holds glossy stiff peaks, about another 2-3 minutes. Turn off mixer.
- Place all dry ingredients in a food processor and process for two minutes and then push it through a fine mesh sieve. Return any large almond granules to food processor and process until fine. Add dry ingredients to meringue.
- Add dry ingredients to meringue. Using a sturdy spatula fold and smash dry mixture into meringue against the bowl for about 20-25 folds. Don’t worry about being gentle the idea is to knock the air out of it. The batter should hold its shape when spooned on itself and start to slowly flatten out after about 15-20 seconds. Start checking the batter after 20 folds for readiness. Transfer batter to pastry bag and let rest for 20 minutes before piping.
- Place master copy of drawn circles on a bake sheet and then place a second sheet of parchment on top. Fill a pastry bag with batter and pipe until batter reaches edge of circle. Remove master copy from underneath piped layer and place on second bake sheet and pipe remaining batter (remove master copy and save for future use).Take hold of each pan and give it quick hard tap against the counter, turn the pan 90 degrees and give it another quick hard tap. This will deflate any bubbles and prevent cracked shells.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Leave shells to cool completely in pan. Shells should cleanly peel away from parchment.
- Slice Snickers into 1/8inch slices and then quarter each slice. Place quartered slices around perimeter onthe bottom of one shell. Pipe filling in the middle and place a second shell on top with bottom side down to create a sandwich effect
A few notes on the ingredients I used:
- Almond meal: I used Trader Joe's Almond Meal instead of making my own by processing fresh almonds.
- Cocoa powder: I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder.
- Eggs: I didn't age them. Which means I didn't separate my eggs and leave them on the counter for a few days. Mine went from refrigerator to bowl-cracked, separated and ready to go.
- Granulated Sugar: I used the most widely available sugar for where I am - C&H . I skipped using expensive bakers sugar which happens to be nothing more than ultra fine sugar that you can easily make by processing regular (by regular I mean widely available and not so expensive) granulated sugar in a food processor to make it finer. I skipped processing my sugar to a fine grain.
- Powdered Sugar: Again, I used the most widely available - C&H brand.
A few general notes:
- Most of my recipes are written with measured volume, but for this recipe I weighed everything, so yes, you will need a scale for this one.
- I took Brave Tart's suggestion and traced out circles so I could quickly pipe my shells to avoid worrying about uniformity, but instead of doing so on each sheet I created a master copy, since I'm impatient and drawings out a bunch of circles for each sheet is a pain.