These are small, sweet almond meringue cookies that, when properly made, puff into a smooth-topped matte round with a craggy ring on the bottom, referred to as “the foot.” The foot is the grand prize of macaron making and, like the smooth, uncracked top, it’s a sign of a job well done. There’s one more sign, which only becomes visible when you break into the cookie: a chewy interior beneath that outer shell.
A word on egg whites: Some pros leave their egg whites at room temperature for a few days before using them—you get a better meringue with old (more liquidy) whites. I leave them out overnight. If that makes you uncomfortable, separate the eggs and leave the whites in the refrigerator for a day or two.
A word on almond flour: The almond flour has to be absolutely free of lumps, so you must sift it or press it through a sieve. Never skip this step—it’s imperative.
A word on measuring: If you have a scale, use it to measure the ingredients for this recipe. You want equal weights of almond flour and confectioners’ sugar. You also want 150 ml of egg whites. That’s about 5 whites. Just turn your glass measuring cup around to the metric side, you’ll have an easy time of it. It’s also easier to use the metric measure should you have to divide the egg whites in half.
A word on tools: Because you have to beat the egg whites and, at the same time, pour hot sugar syrup into the bowl, it’s best to work in the bowl of a stand mixer. You’ll also need a candy thermometer. And while you can certainly bake the macarons on parchment-lined baking sheets, this is a case in which silicone baking mats do a better job.
And finally, a word on timing: Filled macarons need to soften in the refrigerator for at least 1 day. Sorry, it’s the rule. —Dorie Greenspan