I used the basic recipe from Elaine Lemm with a slight variation on the filling, adding a touch of fleur de sel, the hand harvested sea salt from France. I weighed rather than measured all of the ingredients and used a dry food coloring called dusting powder in teal made by Rainbow Dust from the UK which worked wonderfully, although my decision to make my macarons the color of a stormy sea perplexed mostly everyone. I also used a simple disposable plastic pastry bag with the end cut off and a silpat macaron mat which will make your life easy and is worth the investment. Since it’s flat on the other side, it also be used for cookies. —Melissa Leighty
Sift the powdered sugar and almonds together into a bowl tossing out the large pieces of almond.
In a separate bowl, beat together the egg whites, the dusting powder and the salt. When they begin to get foamy and soft peaks form, add in the sugar little by little. Beat until the mixture is very stiff and glossy.
Fold the sugar and almond mixture gently into the egg batter, just until fully incorporated.
Using a small pastry bag, pipe the filling onto the silpat mat, leaving the mixture to sit for 20 minutes before baking which will make the batter shiny.
Bake for 7 minutes, then open the oven to allow the steam to escape. Close the door and bake for another 7 minutes until the dough is just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the mat.
To make the filling, cream the powdered sugar, softened butter and salt together. Spread gently on the flat side of one of the cookies and press together gently with a twist.