How to Make Macarons

What is that?  You may be asking.  Well, my friends, it is a delicious little French cookie called a macaron (say macaroni without the ‘i’, and you’ve got the pronouncation down).  It is delicious, and gluten-free!  I was first introduced to these by Bakerella (check out her blog!), who was introduced by Tartlette.  They are a little finicky, and do take some advance planning, but are SO WORTH IT!  It was also my chance to use this bad boy for the first time:

I got it on sale at Candian Tire for less than 10 dollars.  And I also got to use my wonderful little chopper because I had halved the batch of cookies:

Now, here are all the ingredients you need for the cookies:

That’s right, folks.  4 ingredients is all you need!

Step 1: Age your egg whites.  I was making a half batch, so I used 45g of egg whites, and aged them on the counter for 1 day.  You can refrigerate your eggs after they’ve aged, but they should sit for at least a day.  Apparently you can age them for up to 5.

Step 2: With and electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high until they become foamy.  Add up to 25g of white sugar.  You’ll have enough when it’s shiny and stiff peaks form.

Step 3: Using a food process or chopper, finely grind up 55g of blanched almonds and 100g of powdered sugar.  You may need to separate out the lumps and process a second time.

Step 4: Add the almond mixture in with the eggs and begin to fold.  At this point, you may wish to add in some food colouring.  Both Barerella and Tartlette recommend powdered food colouring, but I couldn’t find any.  I used liquid, and I think it turned out ok.  Maybe gel would work?

Step 5: Put the mixture in a pastry bag with a circle tip.  On parchment paper, make circles of almond-sugary goodness.

Let them sit for about half an hour until a skin forms, then bake them at 300 for about 20 minutes.  Mine browned a little on the edges, so next time I will cook them a little lower for a little longer.  They will puff up beautifully.  If you want to make a filling, a chocolate ganache, it only required two ingredients:

1/4 cup of cream, and 4oz of semi-sweet chipits.  I melted them in the microwave.  When both the cookies and the ganache has cooled, you can spread the ganache on the macarons, and allow them to set.

Now I ate some right away, and they were good, but I made a plate for some guests, and then hubs put the rest in the fridge for me.  They were AMAZING that night, and even better when they were completely cooled and set.

A half batch made about 12 or 13… I forget how many exactly, because I think I had eaten at least 1 by this point.  They were really good, but not perfect.  They were hallow (which they weren’t supposed to be), and they had browned.  I am definitely trying them again.  In fact, there are egg whites ageing on the counter as we speak…