We christened our journey in Paris with an early morning cooking class at the famous cooking school ‘Le Cordon Bleu‘. If you have a love of cooking but are not here long enough to enroll in the actual chef school, then be sure to check out the school’s short courses – as some of them are offered in English and just a few hours long.
Our crew from Canada was eager to get started! Since there are plenty of tips and tricks for making the delicious macarons, let’s get started with the recipe.
* Makes approx. 30 macarons
* In bold is the basic recipe, which can be modified based on the color/flavor you want. In this case we were making a coffee macaron.
- 90g ground almonds
- 150g powdered sugar (*for best results avoid any brands that add cornstarch)
- 75g egg whites (about 2 1/2 eggs)
- 35g white sugar
- 1g cream of tartar
- coffee color (*we used a coffee colored food coloring) – if you do not mind a lighter color you could skip the coffee color
- garnish (optional) – feuillantine (pailletine – crushed Gavottes crepes)
1. With an electric mixer, slowly beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on low speed for 3-4 minutes.
2. Increase the speed to medium for 2 minutes, and then to high speed until the egg whites have doubled in size and formed soft peaks.
3. In the meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the almond meal and powdered sugar.
4. Once doubled in size, very slowly add and beat in the sugar.
5. If you are using the coloring, then add 1-3 teaspoons of food color to the bowl and mix to combine. Use whatever amount you like for the color you wish to achieve.
5. Scrape the meringue into a bowl and then mix in the almond meal with a spatula, turning the bowl as you mix. The technique for this is to scrape around the edge and then cut through the middle, turning the bowl as you go and repeating the process. Be sure to incorporate all the flour well, but be careful not to over mix.
6. Once thoroughly combined, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe into 1 1/2 inch circles, leaving 2 fingers space between so the macarons can expand. Space each row so the macarons are staggered.
Some tips with piping for perfect macarons:
- Use pressure while you squeeze and then stop and pull the piping tip away. To explain a little better, keep the piping bag stationary as you pipe. Just squeeze, 1-2-3 then flip the piping bag up.
- Once they are all piped, slap the tray down hard onto the counter 2 – 3 times to let any air bubbles rise to the top.
7. If you are garnishing – pour a layer of the crepe flakes onto the first two rows and then toss to coat the rest. (* This feel intimating, and yes, does make a bit of a mess. I guess you could also just sprinkle them on by hand and then tip the rest off onto the counter.
8. Preheat the oven to 130C. While you wait, let the macarons sit on the counter to dry out until they are not sticky to touch. The drying time will vary with your climate. If it is hot and dry, they will dry quicker than in a moist climate. Drying time is very important before baking the macarons.
9. Place the tray of macarons into the oven and let bake for 7 minutes.
TIP – at the 7 minute mark open the oven door for a moment to release any steam, then close. You only need to do this once.
10. Bake for another 6 – 8 minutes or until they macarons have ‘feet’. Which are the little air pocket looking sections at the bottom. Let the macarons cool, then gently lift each one to ‘unstick’ them from the pan.
11. Flip alternating rows over to prepare to fill with ganache. Chef Daniel called this the ‘Mamas and the Papas’. Once you have piped the ganache, add the top and gently press down. Let harden slightly for several minutes before serving. Letting the macarons sit for at least 30 minutes will improve and increase the texture and flavor.
NOTE ON FREEZING
- Line an airtight container with parchment paper to stack between layers.
- Keep in fridge for days or freezer for 3 – 4 months.
- To freeze, first leave them in airtight container in fridge over night, and then put into freezer.
- To defrost – EITHER put them in the fridge the night before OR put them at room temperate an hour before serving.
..and thank you Chef Daniel!