ORANGE COUNTY, Calif, May, 2012—This macaron recipe comes from pastry cook Suzanna Hoang, who also contributes stories and recipes regularly to Great Taste, a trade magazine for hospitality professionals based in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Yields 35-40 sandwiches
Classic French almond-meringue sandwich cookies are the quintessential dessert in a tiny package. They are not to be confused with macaroons. These handheld cookies are not as sweet; they are delicately crunchy and chewy all in one bite. Best of all for the baker, with a little patience and practice they bake off with a smooth, clean shell.
Almond flour can be found in most markets. The finer the grain, the smoother the cookie surface will be. You can also pulse blanched almonds to a fine consistency. Also note, room temperature egg whites whip and thicken easier.
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup fresh egg whites from 4 to 5 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
Sift almond flour and confectioners’ sugar through a sieve and set aside. In a stand-mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low for a few seconds until foamy, then gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until whites become stiff peaked, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Fold in sifted ingredients in 3 to 4 increments. Add a few drops of food coloring and/or flavoring at this point, if desired. Be quick but gentle, and be sure to scrape down flour that sticks to sides of bowl. Batter should not be too thin or too thick.
Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip, fill with batter. Pipe out 1 inch mounds about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on the sheet. To avoid a peak on the cookie surface, flick the pastry tip to the side when finishing, instead of straight up. Let batter rest on sheets for at least an hour to form a dry skin on its surface. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F.
Bake macarons for 10 –12 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes. Finished cookies should be smooth and very lightly golden. A characteristic, crackly ringlet that circles the flat side of the cookie should form, called ‘feet. Let rest for 15 minutes before filling and sandwiching.
Experiment with flavors and fillings to your heart’s desire. Fill with jam, chocolate ganache, buttercream, or caramel. My personal favorite: adding chopped nuts between the sandwiched buttercream layer for another level of texture. Amazing.
Macarons can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and unfilled macaron shells can be frozen for 2 weeks.
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