Saturday, October 13, 2012

Macaroon night fever

Macaroons are *the thing* in here, they're considered the ultimate chic, sign of exquisite taste and sophistication. Serve macaroons to your French guests and your apéro party will be a smashing hit: everyone will melt with pleasure at the view of the delicate texture and fine flavor, and you can be sure that they'll love you forever! Then, after the love is gone, they'll start an endless debate about who makes the best macaroons and what are the characteristics of an exceptional one, debate that'll last the whole evening, giving you the opportunity to perfect your French language skills!

The really good macaroons are expensive, veeery expensive: ask monsieur Pierre Hermé, the best of the best, who sells his at the bargain price of more than 2Eur a piece. Chic and cher make the French dream, but then, hey, who can blame them? The best macaroon I ever tasted was a caramel&salted butter one from his fancy shop, an absolute dream!

So my quest to bake my own macaroons was launched the last week, after a few days busy with reading, watching and studying everything that was ever recorded about the subject, directly from the (more or less) stars of macaroon-makers on the Internet. But you can imagine they are not delivering all the secrets in their recipes and then there are different ideological schools of how it's best to do it. I had some choices to make: Italian meringue or French? egg whites at room temperature or directly from the fridge? oven temperature at 140°C or 180°C ?

After 5 pathetically failed attempts and a pair of deceased kitchen scale batteries, I can now heartily say that I finally have the right proportions to produce some decent easy to make (yes, I really said easy to make!) macaroons and I am more than happy to share the recipe with you:

Easy to make Macaroons - Macarons faciles

Makes about 12 plain macaroons (more or less, depending on their size):

Macaroon shells:

- one medium egg white at room temperature (35g)
- 6 full teaspoons of powdered/icing sugar (60g)
- 6 full teaspoons of powder almonds (40g)
- 4 full teaspoons of granulated sugar (25g)
- a pinch of salt

Optionally, add 2g (half of teaspoon) of dark powder cocoa to the mix for a natural chocolatey color.

Mix the powdered sugar with the almond powder (the finer the texture is, the better! it'll make the macaroons smoother on the surface). I usually grind mine one more time together using an electric mixer/grinder.
Beat the egg white with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form, then add the granulated sugar and continue beating a little longer. The French meringue is ready when you can turn your bowl upside down and the meringue won't fall on anyone's head. When it's done, add the powders and mix energetically with a spoon (only with a spoon or a spatula, don't use an electric mixer!), with round horizontal movements in order to obtain a shiny and flowing batter. Don't overdo it, just enough to mix everything in there and have a shiny look: the ideal result is when you lift a spoon full with content and have it flowing: it should form the most continuous flowing ribbon possible.

Form about 24+ small round peaks with the batter on a non-stick cooking sheet (it's mandatory to use baking paper so you can be able to detach the shells afterwards) and leave the tray to rest for about 20 minutes at room temperature, or even more, if your climate is humid. The goal is to get a crust on the macaroons, which will not deform during baking, thus helping form the little collar. They are ready when you can touch the top of one of them and nothing sticks to your finger.

Preheat your oven at 150°C then bake your macaroon shells for about 5 min at 150°C, then lower the temperature to 140° for another 7-10 min (depending on your shell sizes). After about 7 minutes, open your oven door for 2 seconds to eliminate the accumulated steam. They are ready when you can (gently) touch the shell and it doesn't deform or move. Try not to tan your shells by exposing them to too much heat, unless intended so. I do it when I bake chocolate macaroons so I can have a slightly darker color.

When it's baked let it cool completely then delicately detach the shells from their paper.

Macaroon filling:

- 50g white chocolate
- 100ml whipping/sour cream

Make a chocolate ganache by heating the cream then add the chocolate and stir while it all melts (you can also do it in the microwave). Let it cool - I've put mine for a few minutes in the freezer. If you find it's too liquid when it cooled, add some more chocolate, heat it again and mix it well; let cool. Repeat, if necessary, until you get a cold cream of the consistency of Nutella.

You can add different ingredients into your ganache and vary the flavors: coconut, citrus peel, dried fruits, cinnamon, vanilla, etc.

Fill your shells with the ganache (delicately push the inside of each shell to make room for more filling but pay attention not to damage the outside) then attach each two of them together.

Leave it until the next day so the flavors mix well. They can be very well frozen.

Bon appétit !


  1. La prima vedere pare simplu:)

    1. Try make it and you'll see how simple it is! ;)

  2. Looks great! And also the taste is great! :)
    Do you think it's possible to make them even in a microwave oven?

    1. Hey, Elena, thanks for passing by and glad you liked my macaroons! ;)

      I have no idea if you can bake them in the microwave, but if you are somehow able to keep the temperature constant (at 150°C) in there then I'll say why not?... Go for it and don't forget to report back the result!

      Now you made me curious, but I'm still not going to buy myself a microwave oven LOL