A macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection that can be quite intimidating for home cooks to consider baking. Macarons originated in Italy, and the earliest known recipe dates back to the 17th century. They seem to be inspired by a 16th-century recipe for almond biscuits. However, the macaron didn't become the little cookie sandwich as we know them today until the 1830s. Previously, it was one single cookie with no delicious filling that we have come to know and love.
Oh, The possibilities
When it comes to picking your favorite flavor of macaron, it may not be such an easy task. These sweet little confections come in a wide variety of flavors and the American variations just keep growing. Traditionally filled with ganache, buttercream or jam, the macaron has a flavor combination for every foodie's palate.
Some of the most common flavors are:
The American variations can range from one extreme to another. Many popular confection flavors have been turned into macarons. Some of them include combinations such as peanut butter and jelly, mint chocolate chip and pink champagne, to name just a few.
French macarons don't necessarily require any special tools and gadgets, though you can purchase special silicon baking mats that are individually indented for each cookie. Most of them even come with a handy squirt container to help you get the perfect amount for each little cookie. Silicon baking mats are highly recommended when making macarons! Or you can give it a go with good old-fashioned parchment paper. If you do choose the plain silicon mat instead of the special macaron mat or the parchment paper, I suggest you print a simple template to ease the guesswork in piping same-sized little medallions.
Basic macarons recipe
1 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
2/3 cup almond flour
3 egg white as room temp
1/4 cup sugar
Ganache, jam or buttercream for filling
• Sift the almond flour and confectioners sugar together, set aside.
• Whip egg whites with mixer on low speed until frothy. Slowly add the sugar
and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
• Gently fold the flour mixture into to egg whites half at a time. Fold 15-20 times; the batter
should be thick and fall slowly when lifted.
• Place mixture into a piping bag or large zip-top bag with corner cut for piping. Pipe
1-inch circles onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicon mat, if you choose.
Note: placing a printed template under the parchment paper will help guide the size.
• Let piped macarons rest. After about 15-25 minutes the macarons should have a dry skin on the tops.
• Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. If only baking one sheet at a time be sure to bake on the bottom rack first for 5 minutes with an empty sheet on top. After 5 minutes, rotate the pans putting the empty sheet on bottom and full pan on top to assure even cooking.
• You will want the macarons to be set before you remove them from the oven. Touch the tops and be sure that the top crust doesn't slide. If they do not feel fully set, place them back in the oven for an additional 2 minutes.
• Let them cool on the pan for about 1o minutes. Be sure that they are cool before filling with your favorite ganache, buttercream or jam.