As I told y'all my husband and I went to Europe last month, while in Paris I talked him into taking a French Macaron Class. It was amazing, we went through the company La Cuisine, which is located right near Notre Dame and the classes are in French or English! Next time we are back in Paris, I absolutely plan to take another class here.
I had been wanting to make French macarons since I first spotted them on Tartelette, but was of course intimidated by the precise measurements and perfection that the little cookie called for. After taking this class, I feel like a pro already and my first batch at home came out amazing, all thanks to the wonderful tips from the class!
In the class we made chocolate and pistachio macarons, each have their own cookie recipe and garnish recipe. At home, I made a plain cookie with a chocolate ganache center.
So first off I want to share the recipe, then I'll go over all the tips needed throughout the recipe to make that perfect French macaron!
300 grams ground almonds or almond flour, sifted
300 grams confectioners' sugar, sifted
110 grams egg whites, few days old and room temperature
300 grams granulated sugar
75 grams water
110 grams egg whites, few days old and room temperature
150 grams heavy whipping cream
150 grams bittersweet chocolate (64% cocoa), chopped
53 grams butter, cubed and at room temperature
Preheat oven to 330 degrees F (between 160 and 170 degrees C). Line a few baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sifted ground almonds and confectioners sugar. Add in 110 grams of egg whites and food coloring, mixture will be paste-like, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, fitted with the whisk attachment pour the remaining 110 grams of egg whites, do not mix yet, but set aside. In a medium saucepan combine water and granulated sugar over medium heat. You will want to bring the sugar-water mixture to boiling, but when the mixture reaches 110 degrees C, start whisking the eggs whites you set aside earlier. Once the mixture reaches 118 degrees C slowly pour the mixture into the bowl of whisking egg whites, do not stop whisking during this time. Continue whisking the meringue till the mixture is no longer hot, about 50 degrees C, and forms a shiny white stiff peak. Begin folding a small amount of the meringue mixture into the almond-sugar mixture set aside previously. Blend only until all white streaks have disappeared. Pour the mixture into a large pastry bag fitted with a 10mm tip, I used a Wilton 1A tip.
Using the filled pastry bag, form 3 cm diameter circles ( a little larger than an inch) on the prepared pans. Do not make too large, as the mixture will spread. Once each pan is filled with cookies, let rest for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. Bake each tray for 12-15 minutes, rotating in the oven half way through if baking multiple trays at a time. The cookies will be done if you touch the top of the cookie and it gentles wiggles. Let cookies cool completely on sheet and remove, cookies will come off easily if they have been cooked long enough.
For the ganache, in a medium bowl pour chopped chocolate and set aside. Bring the whipping cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once whipping cream is boiling, in a small amount pour over chopped chocolate. After each addition, whisk the chocolate starting in the center of the bowl until completely incorporated. Once all whipping cream is incorporated into the mixture, add in the chopped butter and whisk till smooth. Let ganache cool and pour into pastry bag fitted with a 10mm tip. Set bag aside or chill until the ganache is workable.
Pair cookies based on size and squeeze a good amount of ganache onto one cookie. Gently press cookies together till ganache moves to the edge of the cookie, do not twist.
For the food coloring addition, you can use either dry or liquid. I used 10 drops of red liquid food coloring to obtain this pastel pink color. You do not want to use more than one tablespoon of coloring total.
An absolute must to make this cookie, is a food scale. There is no way around getting the precise measurements without it.
Sifting is key, you want to make sure and sift the confectioners' sugar AND the almond flour. Our instructor told us that some double or triple sift their sugar.
The egg whites can go either way, extremely fresh (like you live on a farm) or a few days old. As most of you probably don't live on a farm, crack your eggs a few days in advance and chill the egg whites together. When you are ready to make your macarons, bring the egg whites to room temperature before using. It is estimated that a large egg white is equal to 30 grams. So for 220 grams of egg whites, I separated eight eggs earlier in the week, which was a good estimate as I only had a little leftover after measuring. Think that's a lot of yolks to waste? Nope, I used the yolks to make a custard!
In this recipe you prepare what is called an Italian meringue, made by boiling sugar water and whipping it into egg whites. Although this cookie is french, the Italian meringue is preferred over the French version, simply whisking sugar into egg whites, as it can often leave a grainy sugar taste in the cookie.
If you live in a humid location, as I do in Houston, you can remove a small amount of water from the sugar water mixture. I removed one tablespoon prior to boiling.
For the ganache, you want to use a heavy cream that is at least 30% milk fat, the higher the better. When pouring the simmering heavy cream into chopped bittersweet chocolate, you want to use a fast whisking motion in the center of bowl. As you pour more heavy cream in, continue stirring in the center of the bowl, slowly working your way out and scrapping the sides of the bowl. This motion of stirring in the center of the bowl gives your ganache that beautiful shine.
Here is a picture of two cookies, the one of the right was baked on a silicone mat, while the left cookie was baked on parchment paper. The cookies taste the exact same, but if you want to make it easy to get the cookies off the pan and if you are a slight perfectionist... then use a silicone mat!
Also, if you haven't checked out Baking and Cooking, A Tale of Two Loves I will be participating in her online Bake Sale on May 2nd benefiting the American Cancer Society, so go make a bid!