Yield: Yields about 30 sandwich cookies
The subtly sweet almond flavor of these meringue cookies makes them incredibly versatile: They serve as a blank canvas for different flavor variations.
Watch the video to see Joanne demonstrate how to make classic French macarons and their sweet fillings.
Using a medium-mesh sieve, sift the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour into a large bowl and set aside. In a clean stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using a large bowl and a hand mixer), whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and the wires of the beater(s) leave a trail, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. of the granulated sugar and continue to whip for another 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat 3 times with the remaining granulated sugar. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, continue whipping the whites until they turn glossy and stiff (when you lift the beater(s) from the bowl, the whites should hold a straight peak that doesn’t curl at the tip), 4 to 8 minutes more.
With a large rubber spatula, fold in half of the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Once most of it has been incorporated, fold in the remaining mixture until just combined.
Remove the meringues from the parchment and pair them by size.
Cinnamon Macarons: Add 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon to the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour while sifting; proceed as directed.
Black Pepper Macarons: Add 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper to the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour while sifting; proceed as directed. Sprinkle with a little black pepper as soon as you pipe them.
Sesame Macarons: Using a spice grinder, grind 2 Tbs. sesame seeds to a fine powder. Add the powder to the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour while sifting; proceed as directed. Sprinkle the meringues with a few sesame seeds as soon as you pipe them.
Vanilla Macarons: Scrape and add the seeds from one-quarter of a vanilla bean to the egg whites after they’ve formed glossy, stiff peaks. Distribute the seeds evenly throughout the batter by pressing the clumps of seeds against the edge of the bowl with a spatula. Proceed as directed.
Cocoa Macarons: Reduce the amount of almond flour by 7/8 oz. (1/4 cup) and substitute 1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) cocoa powder; proceed as directed.
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These were a big hit with family, friends, and my coworkers. They might not be "french" but they're delicious and pretty easy to make. I used a ziplock bag instead of a pastry bag because I couldn't find my 1/2 piping tip. The vanilla butter cream didn't turn out very well, so I just grabbed another basic recipe which worked wonderfully. Highly recommend.
What is it about those French macarons? Well, it's probably the ingredients. Having said that, my friend, Nancy and I made these and we enjoyed them too. Not as good as the ones in France but okay in my book. The first batch was interesting looking. The second batch was better looking. Takes practice. I like the chocolate much more than the lemon. But, hey, I'm a chocolatholic!!
Although I found the video useful in terms of technique for the feet of the macaroon, I found the recipe itself to be un-inspiring. The beauty of the French macaroon is the unique flavors that are produced. Both the butter cream and the lemon curd were unsuitable companions for the delicate macaroon cookie. The lemon curd over powered the cookie and the butter cream was dull. In addition, the lemon curd held too much moisture and compromised the cookie, after only 30 minutes I was left with a soggy mess that I was barely able to get from the plate to my mouth without the cookie disintegrating. I have had more inspired success from the bloggers out there, I wonder the amount of taste testing performed on this recipe. Disappointed. Un-noteworthy.
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