Vanilla Macarons

by Chris on July 29, 2008


I have always ooooh’d and ahhhh’d each time I read about macarons. Not MacaroonsMacarons. What’s the difference? The quick, not so sophisticated reason?

Macaroon = coconut/American
Macaron = meringue and yummy fillings, like buttercream or ganache/French

For a much more detailed and eloquently written explanation, check out The Blithe Palate. Or, check out the macaron tutorial here.

Anyway – I have always wanted to be able to make them. But, I am a bit meringue challenged, so I never dared. Then, Helen told me she would show me, and she did! The question then became, can I make macarons on my own without my lovely mentor?

While I still have some work to do, I am pretty pleased with the outcome – too poofy or not. And, since I have egg whites “aging” in the fridge, separated when I made the buttercream filling, I have plenty with which to practice.

Vanilla Macarons
Recipe from Helen
For the Meringue Shells
3 egg whites (1-2 day old)
50 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar
110 gr. almonds

Put the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a good foam and gradually add the sugar until you have a glossy meringue. (Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won’t work.) Add the almond-sugar mixture to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon, about 50 strokes. You know you’re ready by performing a test – place a small amount on a plate and if the mixture flattens itself, the batter is ready.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (I used a Wilton 1A, Helen uses Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment paper baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for about an hour then bake in a preheated 300F oven for 12-15 minutes. Let cool.

When cool, pipe or spoon a dab of buttercream or ganache on one shell and sandwich with another one. (I used a vanilla paste, a wonderful thing I had heard of but never seen/used before visiting Helen. So, my macarons have the vanilla bean specs, as if I used a real bean! Very cool!)

Yields 20-30 depending on size

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