For several months now I’ve been stalking macaron recipes and photos online. Since having them, for the first time, at a baby shower several years ago I’ve been obsessed. Until recently I avoided actually making them because, from the commentary found online, they are suppose to be horrendously difficult and often turn out looking …wrong.
Then I learned: it all depends on the recipe. Sure, if you want to scrape vanilla beans, boil sugar, grind berries and nuts…. you’ve got a strict learning curve to contend with. But, if you just want a sweet, flaky treat that is sure to please any taste (and can be done while a toddler screams at you) then this is the recipe for you.
My Secret – 12-pc Macaron Baking Set by Mastrad
This set made my macarons so easy.
The kit includes:
1 Pastry Bag
1 Cleaning Brush
1 Silicone Macaron Baking Sheet
Available on Amazon, Cooking.com and more.
Tip #1: Always one for shortcuts, I opted to use almond meal rather than grind and blanch my own. I do not have time to be smashing and boiling nuts. I went with Trader Joe’s “Just Almond Meal” – at $4 a bag you can’t beat it.
Tip #2: You don’t need a sifter. I’m sure there are chefs who would scream at me for saying that, but it’s true. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a sifter. I may eat my words and buy one later down the road but, I didn’t use one for this recipe. I used a normal hand whisk to blend my dry ingredients and nothing turned out weird.
Tip #3: You’ll also notice that I don’t have a whisk attachment for my mixer. Guess what? I didn’t need one. My mother has made cakes and pies all her life and never has she owned an electric whisk. Believe it or not, there was a time when commercial-grade mixers were not common household items (gasp). They survived without it then – I’ll survive without it now.
Tip #4: When a recipe says ‘fold’ ingredients – don’t get scared. You don’t have to treat this recipe like your life depends on it. I folded with a typical rubber spatula and rather quickly. As long as you aren’t beating your mixture to death, you’ll be fine.
Tip #5: This is where the Mastrad Kit starts to come in handy. The silicone bag sits upright in the stand so you can use both hands to fill it and escape the mess. Then clamp the top and you’re ready to go.
There are 6 tips included with the kit. I used the large round tip to lay out the macaron batter. The silicone baking sheet is already marked with raised baking areas so that every macaron is the perfect size – no more spending time drawing a hundred circles on wax paper.
Tip #6: Tend to your baking time. This recipe requires two different temperature settings. I also leave the oven door cracked open for the last 5 – 7 minutes. If you prefer a chewier center then remove your macarons 3 – 4 minutes early.
Tip #7: It doesn’t have to be gourmet to be good. Most recipes call for scraping vanilla beans. Guess who has two thumbs and used pure vanilla extract instead? This chick. Turned out delicious and saved me a lot of time.
Delicious, easy, quick, cost effective…and perfect down to the last detail.
|Easy French Macarons with Vanilla Butter Cream||
- 1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
- 1 c almond meal
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 tblsp sugar
- Vanilla Butter Cream
- 125g Butter, softened
- 1 tblsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 1/2 c almond meal
- Preheat oven to 300°
- Mix powdered sugar and almond meal well in a bowl
- Place egg whites in an electric mixer and whisk/beat on high for 30 seconds
- Add sugar and continue to whisk/beat for 8 – 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form
- Fold into almond meal mixture – using half of your egg mixture at a time
- Blend until smooth
- Fill icing bag with batter and pipe 4cm rounds onto a lined (or silicone) baking tray
- Lightly tap the tray to make sure you loosen any air bubbles
- Set aside and let stand for 20 minutes – or until a skin forms on the macarons
- Reduce oven temperature to 260°
- Bake macarons for 17 – 18 minutes or until crisp on the top and moist in the center
- Remove from oven and allow to cool
- Beat butter and vanilla in mixer for 6 – 8 minutes or until pale yellow and creamy
- Add sugar and continue to beat in mixer for 10 minutes or until fluffy
- Add almond meal and beat until combined
- Spread cream on half of your macarons and sandwich with remaining macarons.