Macarons! Have you had them? You should. They are fabulous.
As of just a couple of weeks ago, I had never had these little French cookies. Then, something wonderful happened. My SIL gave me a fabulous birthday present.
Well, gave really isn’t the right word. It’s more like she “shared” with me. But who could blame her? I mean, if you have the chance to have these fabulous little cookies, would you just give them away?
But, it’s not what you think. She didn’t just show up with a box of cookies. Ooooooooooooohhhhhhhh, no! She gave me a class on how to bake these little beauties.
You see. Now, if I ever want to, I can make these scrumptious delicacies myself. They have a reputation for being extremely difficult, but, really, once you learn a few tricks, they are easy. At least, they were when we had our teacher with us.
(Now, I don’t like to just publish recipes without permission, so I am going to link to a Martha Stewart Macaron Recipe that is quite similar to one of the ones that we used.)
Our teacher normally teaches at Sur La Table, but since my SIL knows her personally, she was gracious enough to open her house to us. And, what a beautiful house it is. Sorry I don’t have pictures, because it is gorgeous.
Anyway, on to the cookies. And, tips.
- Plan ahead. You need to have all ingredients out and ready to go when you make macaron cookies. Plus, egg whites need to be room temperature, so they need to be out for a day ahead of time.
- Open the Martha Stewart Macaron Recipe so you have something to follow along with.
- Print out this lovely macaron cookie template I found online.
- Make sure it is not the rainy season where ever you are. You need humidity to be low when you make these cookies, or they won’t dry out properly.
- (Directions #1) If you want different flavors for your cookies (e.g. not just the filling) add a little dry flavor to the almond flour/confectioner’s sugar before you sift. Such as, a 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Or… nah, chocolate is good.
- We only sifted our mixture once. But, it is up to you.
- (#2) We didn’t use cream of tartar. Once again, up to you. It supposedly makes the whites more stable.
- We added the egg whites to the flour/sugar mixture. Our teacher said it would break down the eggs less that way.
- FOLD the egg whites in. Very important. Just cut with a spatula and lightly get the flour mixture in with the egg whites. You just want to do this until there is no more dry mixture. Then stop. More will break down the egg whites too much.
- (#3) Use parchment paper on your cookie sheets. Place the macaron templates under the parchment paper. Then you can pipe into each circle. (Our teacher had, and gave us, re-usable parchment paper. Had no idea it even existed. It you use parchment paper a lot, like I do, get this. Way, way cheaper in the long run.)
- Have a friend help you fill your pastry bag, or place it in a tall glass to hold it up as you fill it. Shove some bag into the tip to keep it from squirting out before you are ready.
- Don’t worry if you get little tips on your cookies. Just wet you finger a touch and tap them down.
- Tap the cookie sheets pretty hard on the counter to get out any air bubbles. She had us almost slam ours.
- DON’T BAKE THEM RIGHT AWAY! Did I emphasis that enough? Yes. I yelled. You want to let them sit out to “dry” before you bake them. This could take a while. Check every 10 minutes or so to see if the tops are a tad hard and dry. (Not just a random 15 minutes, because everyone’s environment is different. Yours might take longer if there is too much humidity. If there is way too much humidity, then they won’t dry out at all. Hence, the note above about not on a rainy day.) Just the tops. The rest of the cookie will still be wet. This is how you get the little “foot” at the bottom of the cookie. Drying keeps the top in the same shape and form, while the rest poofs up the bottom.
- The rest of the recipe is good.
- We used lavender sugar in one of our batches. Those are the purple cookies. You need purple food coloring to get them purple, so you might not want to be that daring until you try this a few times. But, lavender sugar is easy to make. Just follow the recipe I linked to. Use it in place of the regular sugar in the egg whites.
- Also, you can make whatever filling you like. Buttercream frosting works great with whatever flavoring you like. I think next time I am trying chocolate cookies with mint filling. Just use the recipe I linked to. You will probably only need half of it, though.
- Ask me questions in the comments, if you have any. I will do my best to get you an answer.
So, that is it. If you ever get the gumption to try these, let me know how they turn out. It may take a few times to master, but once you do, you can wow everyone you know with these babies.
Oh yeah! I almost forgot the most important part. The suckers are naturally gluten-free. They are definitely not sugar free. Oh, goodness gracious, no. But, they are gluten-free. Enjoy!
Until later, here’s to…Living better, easily!™
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