Raspberry Lemon Macarons
After weeks of recipe testing, I’m happy to report that my recipe for French macarons is ready to go! It took a lot of whipping, a lot of folding, and a heck of a lot of sitting around and doing nothing, but I finally got macarons that were fully baked with a flavor that actually came through. So let’s get to it!
Now the first thing to note is that there are a lot of macaron recipes out there. You’ll notice when you’re doing some research that they’re all different in some way. And let me tell you: it’s because they’re so. Darn. Particular. This cookie is made mostly with egg whites, and if you’ve seen my recipe for pavlova, you know that egg whites can be tricky to work with. Easy to curdle, easy to crack, difficult to dry out. Macarons have the added stability of ground almonds, so they won’t crack as easily, but there are plenty of other things to worry about.
Macarons are known for their smooth shells, crackled ring around the edge (called the “foot” of the cookie), and pillowy texture inside. A good macaron is the picture of a delicate dessert. And, because it’s French, you know it’s fiddly and takes time and dedication. Fortunately, macarons are not nearly as difficult as other aspects of French pâtisserie (you’re just filling a cookie, so no design background required). In fact, you can think of it as just a really fancy Oreo if it makes you feel better.
The texture of your ground almonds is super important. Don’t just buy a bag of almonds and grind them yourself in the blender; no home blender will get them as fine as you really need. Instead, head to the alternative flours section of your local grocery. You want almond flour – almonds ground so finely that they resemble the powdery texture of a flour. This will help them mix with the egg whites and will help you escape a lumpy batter.
The environment that you’re baking in will also factor into the success of your macarons. The unbaked shells need time to sit out on the counter and develop a skin so the finished shell is smooth and beautiful. Your kitchen needs to be a nice room temperature and have a good humidity level to allow the skin to form. Too wet, and the shells won’t dry out. Too warm, and you might get the same issue. A good rule of thumb is to keep your kitchen comfortable. If you’re too hot, then your macarons will be too!
These cookies are intimidating, but not that hard to handle once you try it a few times. And it’s fun to fiddle with it and try to perfect! I think I could get a better skin on mine, and I’m also wanting to try a few different flavors. If I find one I really love, I’ll update back here. Give them a shot, and impress all your friends and family with your fancy pâtisserie skills!