If you have watched period shows (like me), mainly set in seventeenth and eighteenth-century France, you will notice a tower of colorful cookies adorning many royal tables. What makes them so unique?
Well… mainly because it is considered a French delicacy, and the French know how to glorify anything. However, macarons didn’t originate from France. Catherine de Medici from Florence in 1533 was wedded to King Henri II of France and brought her pastry chef with her. A very practical dowry indeed!
My favourite one indeed is the series Versailles which shows the life of Sun King, Louis XIV. I simply loved their costumes, wigs, location and their lavish tables. Another movie with colorful display of macarons and other desserts is Marie Antoinette.
My first experience tasting macarons was at Gare du Nord, Paris, when I took a train from Paris to London. During all my European trips, kids and I have always gawked at these delicacies but never thought of trying or buying them. Why? Because they are expensive. €3 each. And if each one of us is buying two flavours, that sums up €24 for a family of four. And the minus point is: my husband isn’t much into desserts, and he finds it useless to pay for a box of macarons (he will pay €50 for a steak though). But in all of my Europe trips, we have still managed to purchase a box of different flavors. My favourite is pistachio and knowing how macarons taste like originally in Europe, I’ve tried (and wasted my money) at many bakeries in Toronto but couldn’t find the exact flavor except for one place.
Why are they so special to my kids and me? Because no trip to Europe is complete unless we buy some macarons. We have so many memories associated with it… like buying a pack of 12 (3 for each) and my husband saving his till the end until the kids decide to have it. Or buying an oversized one and enjoying it for an hour with a cup of cappuccino. Every purchase has a memory tagged to it. I have been to many cities and tried their local as well as commercial macarons, and most of them are incredible. Still, I’ve always preferred promoting local businesses.
Getting macarons from so many places obviously ended up in a dispute with hubby who (like I said) thinks it’s a waste of money. So what a humble wife (that’s me…ahem ahem) should do in this case? Try making it at home.
My first trial was successful (yes, it’s a miracle). So based on this experiment, my hypothesis is that if I can make it, so can YOU!
One more thing I’d like to add is that macarons are naturally GLUTEN FREE!
Here is a quick recipe that would work for any shell (you can change colors). You must be wondering why my recipe duration is ‘trial and error’. Well… you learn it with time. We are not experts and depending on the house temperature, how much time the shells would take to dry, how much time you’d need to sift the flour, how much time you’d need to pipe— there is no fixed time to prepare macarons. And yes, patience is what is needed most here 🙂
Feel free to try different colors!
For the first-timers, I am certain that you’ll have difficulty following the recipe card above. And we all need pictures to follow the recipe. Here is the detailed one.
INGREDIENTS FOR SHELL:
- 70 grams almond flour
- 120 grams icing sugar
- 2 large egg whites (room temp)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (regular)
- gel color (orange)
For any macaron, you’d need pretty much the same ingredients for the shell.
Keep a few things in mind:
Always measure almond flour and icing sugar with a food weighing scale.
Sift the almond flour and icing sugar twice to avoid any sorts of clumps. (It’s tedious but worth it)
Almond flour should be kept in a cool and dry place. Any kind of moisture or water will ruin the entire recipe.
Depending on your level of sweetness, you can use up to 110 grams of icing sugar.
Icing sugar is also powdered sugar.
Always separate egg whites from yolk when they are cold. If the egg is at room temperature, the yolk is hard to separate unless you’re a pro.
Always use gel color. Liquid or powder do not mix well, and disturb the consistency of the batter.
Your house/ room temperature also plays a major role in setting the macarons. If you think your kitchen is too humid or warm, dry the macarons in a separate room and turn the fan on. If the outside weather is nice, let it dry in the outdoor air (but not leave them outdoor). Opening your patio door should be enough 🙂
You can use any piping bag. I use the disposable ones without any nozzle. (I have yet to learn how to assemble the nozzle to a piping bag).
- Grind almond flour and icing sugar in a food processor.
- Sift the flour twice
- Beat egg whites till they turn white (around 1 min)
- Add sugar and beat at high speed for 2 minutes until stiff peak is formed.
- Mix flour into egg mixture and fold with a silicon spatula until the mixture is incorporated and drops like ribbon.
- Add color
- Pour the mixture into piping bag
- On a silicon mat or macaron mat, pipe in the centre of macaron circle (on the mat) and press the piping bag until the circle is covered.
- Repeat/ pipe till the mixture is finished
- Tap the tray around 15-20 times till there are no more bubbles left. If you see the bubbles, poke them gently with a toothpick
- Preheat the oven to 300˚F
- Let the macaron shells dry for 20 min or check by touching the upper part. It has to be dry. (Meanwhile prepare buttercream)
- Bake for 17 minutes
- Let it cool down for 15 minutes.
- Gently peel off the shells
- Pipe one shell with frosting and cover it with the other shell to make a sandwich
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
- 1+ 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp of orange extract or depends on how orangy you want
- Beat butter on high speed for 2 minutes
- Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed to avoid disaster
- Add salt and beat at high speed for two minutes.
- Add orange extract and beat for one more minute till its fluffy.
- Add more orange extract if needed
- Add color of your choice (a drop of orange gel in this case)
Make sure to drop comments if you tried this recipe at home.