I never understood what was up with this macaron craze, so I decided to make some. Now I understand. They’re delicious, and light as a feather so it’s easy to eat six of them! I’m going over to my cousin’s house for dinner today, and she is an excellent cook, but she can’t bake for her life. I mean, she forgot the chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies. That’s bad. But she can cook, and I can bake, so it works out perfectly, and whenever we have family get-togethers, she’s in charge of the meal, and I’m in charge of dessert.
KellyAnne has been my favorite cousin for as long as I can remember. When we were younger, we always just said that to each other since we were the same age. Then around middle school and high school, our families didn’t get together very often (even though we only live 20 minutes away from each other, go figure), so we lost touch a little bit. But we both decided independently to attend UCLA, and we both ended up joining the ultimate frisbee team! Funny how life brings us back together. Anyway, now both of us are making more of an effort to bring our families together as well, and so far it’s been quite successful, and it always involves either food or frisbee, or both!
Now onto the dessert part. French macarons have a bad reputation for being difficult to make, and they require very strict guidelines. Not so. Yes, they’re a little more challenging than your average chocolate chip cookie, but they’re really not so delicate that any little mistake will make the whole thing fall apart. It is true that I did weigh my ingredients for this recipe, but I also didn’t follow a specific recipe, I made one up myself after consulting a few different ones and adjusting to my own tastes. Here’s the recipe and the process I used. I’ve taste-tested these (of course), and they’re fantastic, so hopefully these macarons are a hit tonight!
French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
100g egg whites (3 egg whites)
¼ tsp cream of tartar
45g white sugar (about 3 tbsp)
100g almond meal
175g powdered sugar (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or 8 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Whip eggs in a mixer until frothy, then add the cream of tartar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the white sugar.
Run the almond flour through a food processor until it is super fine. Add the powdered sugar and process together until fully combined.
Fold the almond/powdered sugar mixture into the egg/sugar mixture until the mixture is no longer holding stiff peaks, but instead melts out of shape in a few seconds. Fill a plastic bag about 2/3 full with batter, then cut about a 1/4 inch slit in the corner. Tip: When filling the bag, put it in a cup and fold the edges over the rim of the cup. This makes it so much easier!
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Holding the bag perpendicular to the paper, pipe the macarons into 1 inch rounds. You can either pipe in a swirl or just pipe straight down and let the batter puff out to the sides into a round, I did it both ways and it didn’t make a difference. After piping, rap the baking sheet on the table a few times to remove air pockets in the cookies.
Let macarons dry for at least an hour. Blowing a fan over them speeds this process to about half an hour. The macarons should not be sticky to the touch. The drying step prevents cracking of the top, and also makes the nice little “feet” made when the air inside the cookies heats up and pushes the top upward, cracking the sides.
While the macarons are drying, you can make the ganache. Heat the heavy whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat and pour in the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Stir until smooth and glossy. Let the ganache cool while the macarons bake.
Preheat the oven to 325˚. Put the cookies in and reduce heat to 300˚ to reduce steam. Bake for about 10-12 minutes in the top 1/3 of the oven, turning the pan at 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing. The cookies should pop easily off the parchment paper once cooled.
Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove from baking sheets. Pipe or drop teaspoonfuls of the ganache on one round, then sandwich with another round. Gently push down the top and twist until the ganache peeks out of the sides.
These can be eaten right away, but they get chewier if refrigerated overnight. Refrigerate in an airtight container, then take out at least half an hour before serving to allow them to come to room temperature. Enjoy!
Notes about macaroons:
-Many recipes call for 100g egg whites, and say to discard any extra you have. I just cracked 3 eggs and ended up with something like 105g of egg whites. Did my macaroons fall apart? No. Just use 3 eggs whites. It’ll be fine.
-On the subject of egg whites, separate eggs when they’re cold, since the yolks won’t break apart. Then let them come to room temperature before whipping, since they’ll whip up higher, faster. Make sure there’s no yolk or oil in the bowl or in the egg whites, since this will cause your egg whites to stay frothy and not form soft peaks. It’s very sad when this happens. If egg shell falls into your whites, use part of a shell to pick it out, not your hands, as there’s oil on your fingers.
-Many recipes call for 1 2/3 cups or 2 cups of powdered sugar, but I tried that with another friend and we agreed that it made the cookies a little too sweet. If you love sugar, use more powdered sugar. If you like the light, airy cookies with just a touch of sweetness, use 175g, or a cup and a half. I don’t really think you need to weigh it out. The only thing in this recipe I really weighed out was the almond flour, just because I had no idea how much 100g would come out to be. Unfortunately, I don’t actually remember how much it was, but I think it was just about a cup.
-When piping the cookies, there’s no need for a pastry bag or even a tip. I don’t like washing the tips, and I didn’t have a big one, so I didn’t use one. Just cut off the corner of a plastic bag and voilé, you have a pastry bag.
-Lots of recipes also say for you to pipe on the ganache. That’s a waste of time, since you just end up squishing it anyway. Plop on about a teaspoonful, squish it to the edges with the top cookie, and twist to make the sides smooth.
Here’s what the macaron batter looked like with the almond mixture folded in.
Look at the feet! That’s why it’s worth it to wait for them to dry.
My recipe made 78 rounds 1 inch in diameter (I had a mini sheet of 8 more not shown in this picture). I probably could have made them 1 1/2 inches in diameter, so the recipe probably makes about 50 rounds of that size, so 25 total macarons.
You can never go wrong with chocolate.
The finished product!
Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with a lovely chocolate ganache filling. Yum!