I’ve spent literal months thinking about macarons. Readers of this blog will know that’s not hyperbole; after all, I spent years perfecting honey cake and honing my go-to buttercream. Macaron attempt 1 yielded batter that was far too stiff; the cookies tasted great, but looked nothing like the elegant cookies you see in bakery windows. Attempt 2 got closer, but the macarons were underbaked, though they had great flavor. Attempt 3, after watching this incredibly helpful video from Tasty, yielded the best results.
Note: I measured most of the ingredients for this recipe by weight, rather than volume, which I highly recommend. The recipe below is a hybrid of a few I found online, including Tasty via Buzzfeed and Sally’s Baking Addiction.
- 120 grams egg whites, at room temperature (about 3 large eggs)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 40 grams superfine sugar, sifted (about 3 tablespoons)*
- 200 grams powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
- 100 grams almond flour (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Gel food coloring, if desired
- Lemon curd, for filling
*You can make superfine sugar by placing granulated sugar in your food processor and pulsing it until it becomes like sand.
Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine powdered sugar and almond flour and pulse for about 30-45 seconds. Sift into a large bowl, discarding any large bits, and set aside.
Place egg whites and salt in clean, dry, grease-free bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low speed, then increase to medium/medium-high speed and whip until egg whites are foamy and no longer translucent. Slowly add superfine sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, whipping until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla extract and a small amount of your desired food coloring; I used red for a light pink color. Whip again to combine, but be careful not to over-whip; you still want stiff peaks but don’t want to take the meringue too far and have it become grainy.
Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients at a time and fold in with a spatula, turning the mixture about 15 times with each addition, being very careful not to over-mix. The batter is mixed enough when it is sticky and smooth, and you can make an unbroken figure 8 with the batter as it drips off your spatula.
Place batter into a large piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Holding the bag upright, pipe rounds of batter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto the parchment, leaving about 2 inches between each circle. Gently tap or drop your baking sheets onto a counter top or table to release any air bubbles.
Let batter sit for about 30-60 minutes; the tops will form a skin that becomes dry to the touch.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake macarons, one sheet at a time, for about 17 minutes, checking halfway; the macarons should form “feet” on the bottoms, but have smooth tops. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets.
Once macarons are cool, flip half the macarons onto their tops and spread lemon curd on the bottom, then top with another macaron. Store in an airtight container at least overnight before serving. Full disclosure, though: Mike and I both at a macaron as soon as they were cool and they were quite tasty.
Makes about 36 macarons.