A craving for French macarons doesn't need to result in frustration or disappointment! I've developed this recipe after taking a pastry course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and it's my go-to when baking macarons for clients. They can be a little tricky, but macaron making should be mostly easy and fun! —edibletimes
egg whites (about 75g)
cream of tartar (or tbsp lemon juice)
vanilla bean or extract (or any others you can think up!)
unsalted butter, room temperature
vanilla beans (or vanilla bean paste or extract)
Line a couple baking pans with parchment or silicone baking mats. Preheat oven to 300° F.
Grind almonds or almond flour with confectioner’s sugar in a food processor, just let it grind while you whip meringue. If using lemon or orange zest, add here.
Combine the egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (hand mixer works, too), and whip on high speed with a whisk attachment to a stiff meringue (resembles shaving cream). Add the cream of tartar, and any color or extracts, and whip on high speed 30 seconds more to incorporate.
Using a spatula and a sieve, fold in the dry ingredients in batches. Fold until it flows like lava, combined, but not over-mixed.
Transfer to a piping bag (or large plastic bag) fitted with a quarter-inch tip, pinching the bottom closed so it doesn’t leak out on you. (I use a hair pin).
Pipe onto a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Tap the sheet pan on the counter with moderate force a couple of times, rotating once.
Optional: Let the piped macarons rest on the counter for 30 to 40 minutes. The shell will turn from shiny and sticky, to smooth and dull.
Bake at 300° F for about 16 minutes, rotating the pan once the signature “feet” form. Cool a few minutes before removing from baking mat or parchment. Fill with buttercream and store chilled for 24 hours before serving.
In a small saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil, and cook until it reaches 234° F on a candy or meat thermometer. Sans thermometer, it usually on takes a minute or two of boiling to become hot enough).
While syrup boils, beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl on medium speed. When syrup reaches temperature, slowly drizzle into eggs, avoiding beater or whisk attachment (if using stand mixer). Beat on high until room temperature. Add butter in several additions, and beat until smooth.
The buttercream may appear broken (curdled), but keep beating and it will smooth out. Add extract or liqueur to taste. Store refrigerated, and bring to room temperature to use leftovers (it may need another beating to smooth out after being refrigerated).