I teach at a homeschool co-op and we also have “Club” Day once a month with all ages of homeschoolers who come for fun little classes. I teach Globetrotters where we focus on a different country each month and try some kind of food that is typical to that country. Tomorrow we are learning about France! So I knew that although I’d never tried one, I wanted to have macarons for them to eat. However, they are expensive and we try to stay on budget with our group!
So I decided that I would try to make macarons! Instead of buying macarons at anywhere from $2-3 each, I was able to purchase the materials to make 90 of them for about $15. Much more budget-friendly for us! However, I understand now why they are so expensive. It is a pretty detailed baking process that is driven by attention to detail. I love to cook, but prefer just throwing things together. So baking is not my favorite. However, my daughter loves baking and helped me with the entire process. It took us about 6 hours to make these! We made a batch of pink with buttercream, a batch of lavender with buttercream, and then a batch of yellow with a lemon curd buttercream (they ended up being my favorite!)
I’ve put the recipe below and the link takes you to a video that really helped us with tips as we followed along. I learned that macaron baking is an art and mine were not perfect at all. Out of the 6 batches we made, I think 1 of them was the most true to what a macaron is supposed to be. We did have a very humid/rainy/snowy day, and I think that moisture in the air hindered them from drying properly. We let the batter sit for over an hour at times, and it still wasn’t dry enough for some batches.
However, they really are a delicious dessert. I am amazed at how buttery and rich the actual cookie part tastes (before the buttercream), considering it’s mostly just egg whites, sugar, and almond flour. Ours did achieve what a macaron is supposed to be though-a delicate crisp on the outside with a chewy interior. And they were even more delicious today after letting them rest for 24 hours. Yum!
for 30 macarons
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup almond flour, finely ground
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 drops pink gel food coloring
- 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Make the macarons: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the powdered sugar, almond flour, and ½ teaspoon of salt, and process on low speed, until extra fine. Sift the almond flour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar until fully incorporated. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form (you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out).
- Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the food coloring and beat until just combined.
- Add about ⅓ of the sifted almond flour mixture at a time to the beaten egg whites and use a spatula to gently fold until combined. After the last addition of almond flour, continue to fold slowly until the batter falls into ribbons and you can make a figure 8 while holding the spatula up.
- Transfer the macaron batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Place 4 dots of the batter in each corner of a rimmed baking sheet, and place a piece of parchment paper over it, using the batter to help adhere the parchment to the baking sheet.
- Pipe the macarons onto the parchment paper in 1½-inch (3-cm) circles, spacing at least 1-inch (2-cm) apart.
- Tap the baking sheet on a flat surface 5 times to release any air bubbles.
- Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until dry to the touch.
- Preheat the oven to 300˚F (150˚C).
- Bake the macarons for 17 minutes, until the feet are well-risen and the macarons don’t stick to the parchment paper.
- Transfer the macarons to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Make the buttercream: In a large bowl, add the butter and beat with a mixer for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat to combine, until desired consistency is reached.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Add a dollop of buttercream to one macaron shell. Top it with another macaron shell to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining macaron shells and buttercream.
- Place in an airtight container for 24 hours to “bloom”.