This past week I decided to try my hand at french macarons, which I’ve been wanting to make for awhile. Macarons are all the rage right now and they seemed relatively easy to bake – two cookies with some chocolate in the middle. So when I saw that the February edition of Martha Stewart Living contained a step-by-step guide of how to make macarons, I thought I would give it a shot. I came to find out that while baking macarons is a bit intensive, the process isn’t very difficult if you have (1) a food processor and (2) a KitchenAid Mixer. These two machines do most of the work for you, thankfully. If you don’t have a food processor, I have seen some recipes where you can substitute the blanched sliced almonds for almond meal or flour, which would also save some time.
I should also mention that these cookies could cause some serious anxiety if you are a perfectionist. I could make batch after batch until they look just like professional macarons, but as of right now, I am just happy to make an edible version of this french dessert!
- 2/3 Cup Blanched Sliced Almonds (I used Trader Joe’s version)
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 2 Egg Whites (Martha Stewart Living recommends large size, I used extra large)
- 1/4 TeaspoonPeppermint Extract
- Green Food Coloring
- Grated Bittersweet Chocolate (optional)
- 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 1/2 Ounces Finely Chopped Bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
Cookie Directions (also found on the above link):
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. The recipe recommends putting a rack in the lower third of the oven, and I definitely noticed a difference in my macarons when they were in the lower third instead of in the middle.
- Put the almonds in the food processor and process for a minute. Then add the powdered sugar and process that for about a minute, until combined.
- Sift the almond mixture through a sieve and push down on the clumps. Repeat until there’s less than 2 tablespoons of solids left in the sieve.
- Grab your KitchenAid mixing bowl and put in the egg whites and granulated sugar. Whisk them by hand until they are barely combined. Then put the bowl in the KitchenAid Mixer. Beat on medium speed (4) for two minutes, then medium-high (6) for two minutes, then on high (8) for 2 more minutes.
- Add the peppermint extract and 2 drops of food coloring. Beat on highest speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl. The recipe calls for a specific type of mixing by folding the spatula from the bottom of the bowl up and then pressing the flat side of the spatula through the middle of the mixture for about 35-40 strokes.
- Put the batter in a pastry bag with a piping attachment and then place it in a glass until ready. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat baking mat. I have to say my Silpat baking mat made a huge difference in cooking these cookies and I would recommend buying one!
- With the piping tip 1/2 inch above the sheet, pipe the batter into small rounds (the recipe recommends 3/4 inch size circles) and swirl the tip off to the side. When I swirled the tip on the top, it left a little circle of the top of my cookie when it cooked.
- To get the air bubbles out of the cookies, hit the pan firmly against the counter 2 or 3 times.
- As an option, you can finely grate the bittersweet chocolate over the all or half of the unbaked rounds.
- Bake each sheet for roughly 13 minutes and rotate about halfway through, until risen and just set. Let them cool.
- Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until it starts to bubble slightly. Add the bittersweet chocolate and butter, then stir. Let cool until its thick and spreadable.
Finally, spread the chocolate sauce on the cookies to make cookie sandwiches!
Despite all these steps, macarons are really fun to make and I will definitely make more of them in the future!