The perfect cookie if you want a project. Or to impress somebody special. These are traditionally filled with buttercream or jam, but I like a smear of pate for a fancy appetizer with Champagne. Forget all the rumors of resting the dough or humidity being evil. These will work no matter what.
I have a hard time keeping the cookies the same size piping freehand – make circles on the parchment using a small cookie cutter, the top of a spice jar lid or a compass. Flip the parchment over so there are no marks on the macaron.
- 1 3/4 cup Confectioners’ (powdered) Sugar
- 1 cup Almond Flour
- 3 Egg Whites
- pinch of Table Salt
- 1/4 cup Superfine Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Get out 4 matching baking sheets. Make 2 stacks of 2. On 2 sheets of parchment paper, trace out circles, about 1 1/2 inches across. The macaron don’t spread, so the circles can be about 1/2 inch apart. Put one sheet of parchment, traced side down, on each stack of baking sheets. Turn your oven on to 300. If you have a convection, use that setting.
- Sift the Confectioners’s sugar and and the almond flour into a large bowl. Yes, you really do need to sift. Nobody likes a sugar nugget in an otherwise perfect treat.
- Beat the egg whites. This is when you will truly fall in love with your stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment. Put the egg whites, salt and superfine sugar in the bowl of the mixer. Whip on low – setting 4 on a KitchenAid for 3 minutes. Go up to setting 7 for 3 minutes. Scoop the sides of the bowl. Adjust the mixer to setting 8 for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix on setting 10 for 1 minute. At this point the whites should be mounding towards the center of the whisk.
- Take the bowl off the stand mixer base. Now we add the sifted sugar and almond flour. Go ahead and dump that all on the whites. Take your rubber spatula and give yourself an expert lesson on folding!
- We are going to fold the dry into the wet in 40 motions. Start at the “top” of the bowl, the point farthest from you. Hold the spatula so that the edge is hitting the bowl and run it half way around the bowl, so it is now closest to you. You want to be bringing some batter with you. Now run that spatula right up the middle of the bowl so it ends where you started. Good! Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat 39 times! We are deflating the eggs and combining them with the sugary almond flour to make a very sticky batter. Ugly delicious!
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag with a large plain tip. Pipe the macaron batter onto your trace circles, holding the tip close to the paper. Once you are all piped, pick up the sheet trays to 6 inches off the counter and slam them down (still holding on!) Slam the trays a total of 6 times. This lets out air bubbles.
- Slide the macaron into the oven. We are baking for 18-20 minutes. The trays will need to be rotated half way thru. Top to bottom, left to right.
- When the cookies are very pale, but set and have cute puffy feet, they are done. Let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack (still on the tray) and then carefully peel off of the parchment paper. Fill with buttercream, jam, pate, lemon curd or something else delicious. These are actually at their peak 24 hours after they are made.
- piping bag and plain tip
- stand mixer