Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mac Madness!

Though macarons are dainty and cute, they can be a bit much to take on at home. They can be difficult and costly. So if you are going to take the time and money to attempt them, you want to make sure you have already read up on as many tips/recipes you can find. Because in the macaron world, mistakes are easy to make and hard to afford (maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but guys, seriously...almond flour is expensive). So in order to help out I have detailed my own rookie attempts- from one beginner to another- so you know what to expect and how to avoid a few of my disasters.

 Detailed in this post from 2 years ago, my first try was a cherry macaron:

"I thought I'd take a stab at them.
More like wimpy five year old hit actually- they failed; pretty much everything that could have gone wrong went wrong- they were flat, they cracked, they had no 'feet'- they were pathetic."

That same day 2 years ago, I also attempted these peanut butter- chocolate macarons:

The following 4 were made this past week:

'Uncrustables' Inspired Macaron

1) Make sure to sift your powdered sugar/almond meal mixture! If you don't your shell will not be smooth (I went the lazy non-sifting route once, see try #3, turns out there is a reason for sifting...) 

2) To know if you've folded your batter enough, when you put it in the pastry bag, it should just start to "ooze" out of the tip - it shouldn't run out or be to stiff that it just sits at the edge of the tip. It should slowly ooze a little on it's own. Too much stirring will result in flat macarons that may even crack (see Try #1 and Try #5 above) (Try #2 and Try #4 were the result of not stirring enough).

3) Letting the macaron sit out at room temperature before baking helps it get "feet" (the ring around the bottom of each shell) while baking. So do not skip that step!

4) In the last half of baking, cover lightly with foil to ensure that the macarons don't brown while baking.

5) Don't make your filling too sweet. Macarons can easily become this sugar-bomb in your mouth so watch out.

6) To get your sprinkles to stick: After you've filled them, brush the tops, using either with a clean paint brush (that you would use for food-decorating purposes) or your finger, with a tiny amount of water and add sprinkles (this makes the shells sticky enough for the sprinkles to adhere). I made the mistake of adding sprinkles before they were baked and they sunk into the batter a tiny bit while cooking, which was gross.

7) Once filled, let macarons set for a couple days to soften up a bit. Keep in an airtight container for a week or so (this is a guess, if they taste bad, probably time to toss them out), or in the freezer for a few months (again, a guess. As long as they're not freezer burned, they should be fine).

adapted from Martha Stewart
2 egg whites, at room temperature (let sit out on your counter for 1-2 hours)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar whizzed in the food processor for 30 seconds)
food coloring, if desired (powdered is best, but I used the basic coloring drops from the grocery store)
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond meal

1) In your stand mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium until foamy. Add superfine sugar all at once and beat on medium-high/high until stiff, but shiny peaks form.

2) In your food processor, whiz together powdered sugar and almond meal until they are combined, about 30 seconds. Sift into your egg white mixture and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny -- be careful here, too much stirring and it will get runny, not enough and it will be too stiff.

3) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2- inch plain round tip. Pipe rounds about 3/4- inch wide, dragging pastry tip to the side instead of forming peaks. Tap bottom of sheet lightly on counter to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F. Reduce oven temperature to 325F and bake macarons for about 10-12 minutes, rotating half way through. After each batch, let oven come back up to 375F for 5 minutes before decreasing to 325F again while baking.

4) Let macarons cool on the sheet for 3-4 minutes, before removing to a wire rack. If macarons stick, spray water underneath the parchment on the hot sheet, the steam will help release macarons. Fill with desired filling (like jam, curd, frosting, piped ganache, etc.).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Macaron recipe can be found here.

Pistachio White-Chocolate Ganache:
1, 12 oz bag white chocolate chips
1/4 cup whipping cream (or evaporated milk)
6 tablespoons pistachio paste

1) Place chocolate chips in a bowl. Heat cream until it just begins to simmer. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit 5 minutes. Then stir until smooth. Stir in pistachio paste. Refrigerate until cooled. Whip until consistency is stiff enough that it can be spread on a macaron.

Lemon Cream Buttercream:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice of one lemon

1) Beat everything together, adding more powdered sugar as necessary to get a stiff enough consistency for filling macaron

Strawberry Milk Buttercream:
*I found this filling a bit to sweet for my tastes. 
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup strawberry milk powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (if needed)

1) Beat everything together, adding more milk or powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.

For PBJ filling
Pipe a little peanut butter ring onto one side of a macaron. Place 1/4 teaspoon jam in the center and top with another macaron.


  1. Still have not yet ventured to try macaroons...someday! Until then I can look at these pretties. :)

  2. i love your blog!! i have got so many new ideas. hope you keep posting recipes. =)

  3. I just found your blog and I am already in love and drooling!! Can't wait to read through your back posts!!