Updated: Feb 12, 2022
Espresso Macarons filled with a dark chocolate whipped ganache topped with a sprinkle of coffee grinds.
Raspberry Macarons filled with an American Buttercream and a fresh raspberry coulis topped with freeze dried raspberries.
Making macarons became a goal of mine in the late fall of 2019. Before that, I had never attempted them before and thought, 'How hard can it be?' The answer is CRAZY HARD! Why do you think these little bites are so expensive?
It is not the ingredients. Basically the shells are made of powdered sugar, almond flour, egg whites and sugar. (Flavorings and colorings can be added). Nope, these little amazing chewy, light, bites of perfection are so expensive because they require the utmost technique.
And good for us, they are naturally gluten free. Just make sure that the filling is not with Oreos or another cookie that will of course have gluten.
This is my go to recipe for macarons.
For the Shells
113 grams egg whites (aged)
113 grams almond flour
100 grams sugar
200 grams powdered sugar
a pinch of cream of tartar
For my espresso macarons I add one tablespoon of instant espresso to the meringue mixture just after I put in the sugar. Also, before putting piped macarons into the oven I sprinkle each shell with a little bit of fresh coffee grinds.
*We love drinking Dallmayr Prodomo coffee here in Germany which apparently is also available at TJ MAXX in the States! Since we always have this coffee in the house, it is what I use on top of my macarons.
For my raspberry macarons I add a 1/2 teaspoon of pink food gel right before my meringue mixture is finished. I also add a 1/2 teaspoon to my American Buttercream.
For the fillings you can basically fill it with whatever you like. BUT I love a whipped dark chocolate ganache. Here is the recipe
200 grams of dark chocolate chopped
100 grams of heavy whipping cream
Chop chocolate into small pieces and put it into a heat proof bowl. In a small stove pot bring cream to a simmer, not a full boil. As soon as you see the little bubbles around the edges take the pot of the heat and pour the liquid onto the chocolate. Don't mix it. Just make sure that the chocolate is submerged. Let that sit for about 5 minutes. Then take a whisk and whisk it until smooth a shiny. Let it come to room temperature and sit out for awhile. Maybe about 30-60 minutes. You can also put it into the fridge for 5-10 minutes to speed up the process. Next put this chocolate ganache into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Start on slow-medium for about 1-2 minutes and then increase speed to medium-high for another 1-2 minutes. The mixture will lighten in color and become fluffy and pipable.
Here is my step by step guide to the perfect macaron:
Get all you materials ready to go. Get out you pans with your silicone macaron mat. (I bought mine off of Amazon.de and it is amazing, definitely get one!) Get out a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1A tip and measure out all ingredients. If you do not have a scale- get one. Macarons require precision, and I will not go over more than 1-2 grams when measuring out every ingredient.
Make sure to get blanched almond flour that looks creamy off white. I get these 1 Kilo bags from Amazon.de. They are great if I am going to be making a lot of macarons within a month or two. However, if you buy this large bag and have it sit around, opened for a long time, the flour will get stale and clumpy.
I actually prefer this almond flour. It comes in 100 gram bags at my local grocery store, Rewe.
In a food processor pour in the powdered sugar first and then the almond flour and pulverize it for about 1-2 minutes. Making sure that the pieces on the sides get scraped down and fully mixed in.
Pour the dry mixture into a large metal or glass bowl. I don't use my normal mixing bowls for this. Any added grease/fat can destroy your macarons and I find that my metal bowls work so much better for this.
I used to pour my egg whites into the bowl, turn my stand mixer on high, add my sugar and wait until stiff peaks came. NO NO NO! Slow and steady wins the race.
Ok what are aged egg whites? They are egg whites that have been FULLY separated from their yellow counterparts and left out on the counter (in a bowl, weighed of course) for at least 4 hours prior to use. If I know I am making macarons I usually crack my eggs right before going to bed and leave it out all night so they are ready to use the next morning.
Speeds for a stand mixture (whisk attachment) when making the merengue.
I will say that since I am in Germany we have 220 voltage. I do find that our electronics are sometimes more powerful. Am I nuts? Maybe, but if you are in the US you might want to add 10-15 seconds to each step.
Hand whisk your egg whites for 20 seconds
Attach whisk and whisk on speed 3 for 90 seconds (At the last 20 seconds add your cream of tartar) At the end of this stage you should see large bubbles everywhere.
At speed 5 (90 Seconds) slowly, oh so slowly add your sugar and then your instant espresso powder or any spices/powders that you are using. In this stage you will see your mixture turn a beatiful white that shines in the light.
At speed 7-8 (60 seconds). Check after 30 seconds to see where you are at. Once you have soft peaks you can add your food coloring.
At speed 8 finish whisking to firm peaks. NOT STIFF. DO NOT OVER WHIP!
The last stage takes practice. If you find that your macarons are bubbling out or your feet are too high and the shells are hollow after baking it is because you over whipped your merengue. I cannot tell you how many times I have done this. Don't fret, high feet are better than no feet.
Use hand to mix Little bubbles everywhere Beautiful white but thin
Soft peaks Add food coloring Firm peaks
Now it is time to make our Macaronage. Yes that is a real term. Pronounced Macka-row-nage.
I like to add my wet to my dry. You'll see different methods, but this one works for me, so why should I change it? I don't add all at once. I add about 1/3 of the merengue, mix it in as best as I can, and then keep adding until it is all mixed together. To mix you must use a spatula and not a wooden spoon. Your goal is to beat out the bubbles. You want to make a J motion with your spatula and press out the macaronage on the sides of your bowl not forgetting to scrape the bottom of the bowl as you go.
Here you will see after a bit of mixing how thick the macaronage still is. It is definitely not ready!
We are trying to get our macaronage to fall off the spoon into ribbons so that we can make a complete figure 8 without it breaking. I almost got a complete 8 but not entirely, I gave it about 4 more turns and then I was ready to pipe.
Now it is time to pipe. I try to pipe so that my macaronage fills to the first (smaller) circle. I keep my piping bag very straight and then quickly lift up at the end. Don't worry if you see some nipples (the poking out parts) because they will melt back into the macaronage after we slam down the tray about 10 times.
This is directly after piping.
This is after I slammed the tray down onto my kitchen island... and I mean I lift the tray to about shoulder height and then I let it go, free falling onto my kitchen island. I do this 12 times per tray. We want to bring all the air bubbles up to the surface. Then take a tooth pick and look at every single one to see if there are any bubbles to pop. Finally, I dust the top of each shell with some pulverized freeze dried raspberries for that extra pop of color and added flavor.
I bought these at Denn's Biomarkt where they have a variety of freeze dried fruits.
Bake for 15 minutes at 150 Degrees Celcius with a normal bake setting that does NOT use the fan. I keep my tray in the middle of the oven and I do not open my oven at all during this process.
This recipe made about 80 shells which means 40 macarons. I do have 2 ovens so I baked one tray in each oven. I have not tried baking two trays in one oven before.
Find the matches (shells that are equal in size) and first pipe a border or dam of buttercream. Then fill each hole with a 1/2 teaspoon of your raspberry coulis.
Let me tell you these macarons are so tasty! They are a bit crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on this inside. I love the fresh raspberry coulis because it adds tartness and cuts the sweetness of the buttercream.
I will now be on my couch, with a nice cappuccino in my hand, and a few of these beautiful perfect macarons. Happy Holidays everyone. Stay safe and healthy out there.