Thoughts on food coloring
On principle, macarons are literally the only treat I use artificial food coloring in. And in recent years I’ve come to use much less. Artificial colors like Red 40 are not très bien.
I’ve experimented with food-based colors for macarons and they either lose tint in the oven, or require an amount that over-liquifies the batter. If you know a great plant-based food coloring gel that is heat-proof, I’d love to learn about it! Do send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My meringue method
This recipe calls for the French meringue method – simply whipping the egg whites with granulated sugar. Many macaron recipes online call for the Italian meringue method, but I find this one much simpler and even more reliable.
Italian meringue requires drizzling boiling simple syrup into the egg whites while whipping. Essentially more steps, more dirty dishes, and more to master. I’ve never noticed any discernible difference in the results. Chef’s promise.
- 180 g confectioner’s sugar
- 108g almond flour (or blanched, slivered almonds)
- 3 egg whites (90g)
- 45g granulated sugar
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- Food coloring, gel recommended (liquid loosens your batter)
- Flavoring + extracts, i.e. vanilla, lavender, citrus zest, etc.
- 2 eggs, large
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 8 oz butter, unsalted, room temperature, cut into small pieces
For macarons shells
- Line two baking pans with parchment or silicone baking mats.
- Grind almonds or almond flour with confectioner’s sugar in a food processor. I let it grind while I beat the egg whites.
- Combine the egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or with hand mixer).
- Whip on high speed to a stiff meringue, meringue will be shiny and stick to the bottom if you flip it upside-down.
- Add vanilla extract/beans or vanilla bean paste, and whip a few seconds more.
- Sift the dry ingredients little by little directly into the meringue, folding gently but firmly.
- Fold until it flows like lava, combined, but not over-mixed.
- Transfer to a piping bag (or large plastic bag) fitted with a quarter-inch tip, pushing the bottom of the bag into the tip so it doesn’t leak.
- Pipe onto a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- Optional: Let the piped macarons rest on the counter for 30 to 40 minutes, or up to two hours. The shell will turn from shiny and sticky, to smooth and dull. You’ll be able to touch the top without damaging it.
- Bake at 300° F for about 16 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through baking.
- Cool a few minutes before removing from baking mat or parchment.
- Fill with buttercream and store chilled for 24 hours before serving.
- In a small saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil, and cook until it reaches 234° F on a candy or meat thermometer. Sans thermometer, it usually on takes a minute or two of boiling to become hot enough).
- While syrup boils, beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl on medium speed. When syrup reaches temperature, slowly drizzle into eggs, avoiding beater or whisk attachment (if using stand mixer). Beat on high until room temperature. Add butter in several additions, and beat until smooth.
- The buttercream may appear broken (curdled), but keep beating and it will smooth out. Add extract or liqueur to taste. Store refrigerated, and bring to room temperature to use leftovers (it may need another beating to smooth out after being refrigerated).
I dare not add notes to this recipe! For all manner of tips, tricks and troubleshooting, do scroll up!
Keywords: French macarons, French macaron recipe