Fear – a four letter word that can hold you back or drive you forward. Though fear often holds me back, macarons have been on my baking “bucket list” for months. After a few days of research, I felt ready to tackle them. The first French macaron I’ve ever tasted came out of my oven (and if you’ve never tried one, that’s reason enough to make your own!). These macarons melt in your mouth, an ethereal blend of vanilla bean and silky raspberry curd.
A food scale is a must for macarons. I recommend weighing out all the ingredients before beginning; I also found it helpful to use my iPhone as a timer while beating the meringue. Last but not least, if you’ve never made macarons, start by reading Macaron Mythbusters and The Ten Commandments.
I’ve included two photos I snapped on my iPhone – on the left, you see the stiff, dry meringue after 9 minutes of beating; on the right, my baked macarons (with feet!) cooling on the pan. For step-by-step photos, go here.
Vanilla Bean Macarons with Raspberry Curd
Adapted from BraveTart
115g almond flour
230g powdered sugar
144g egg whites, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
2g (1/2 tsp) salt
Raspberry curd filling (click here for recipe)
Preheat oven to 300°F and fit a large disposable pastry bag with a round tip. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. On a third sheet of parchment paper, trace out 24 1.5-inch circles (use a round cookie cutter or stencil as a guide), spaced 1 inch apart. Set aside as a master guide.
Use a fine mesh sieve or sifter to sift almond flour and powdered sugar together twice; use a firm spatula to push any large particles through (If you are making your own almond flour, process the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor until finely ground; sift mixture as mentioned above). Set aside.
Combine egg whites, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt in a large mixer bowl fitted with wire whip attachment. Whip for 3 minutes on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid), until egg whites begin to foam. Increase speed to medium-high (7 on a KitchenAid) and whip for 3 minutes, until meringue forms soft peaks. Increase speed to 8 and whip for a final 3 minutes, until meringue is stiff and dry (see photo above). The meringue should clump in the center of the wire whip attachment; knock against mixer bowl to release.
Add dry ingredients to meringue all at once. Use a rubber spatula to fold dry mixture into meringue, smearing the mixture against the side of the bowl to knock the air out (you want to deflate the whites, so don’t worry about folding them gently). After 25 folds, your mixture may still look lumpy. Continue to fold about 10 more times, checking texture after each fold. The batter is ready when it holds its shape when spooned onto itself and slowly flattens out after 15 to 20 seconds. If the batter is stiff and doesn’t flatten out, it’s undermixed. If the batter is runny and fluid, it’s overmixed and won’t hold a shape.
Transfer half the batter to pastry bag. Slide master guide of circles between baking sheet and parchment paper. Hold piping bag vertically and pipe batter to within 1/8″ from the edge of the circle. Carefully remove master guide from underneath piped circles and transfer to second baking sheet, repeating with remaining batter. Remove guide and save for future use. Tap pans sharply on counter; rotate 90 degrees and tap two more times (to deflate air bubbles and prevent cracked shells).
Bake for 17 minutes, until you can cleanly peel the parchment paper away from the macaron. Place pans on wire racks and cool completely before removing shells. When ready to assemble, fit a large disposable pastry bag with a round tip and fill with raspberry curd. Pipe about a tablespoon of raspberry curd onto the bottom of half the shells, then sandwich with remaining shells. Because of the moisture content of the curd, these macarons are best eaten the day of assembly; fill with curd no more than an hour before serving. If you don’t want to fill all the shells at once, store in an airtight container between layers of parchment.
Yield – 60 shells, 30 macarons
Calories – 100 (per macaron)
Carbs – 17