Years and years ago, I took a macaron making class offered by Dessert Truck Works through Groupon (sadly, DTW is now closed). I’m not sure why I deviated from the method they taught (I probably found it too fiddly — my new favorite word I have picked up from The Great British Bake Off), but after dabbling with the French meringue method, the prodigal macaron-maker has returned! I will never again stray from making my macarons this way. Through my experimentations with different methods, obsessive googlings on why things go wrong when making macarons, I have never come across this method. Poor student that I was, I didn’t save the instructions nor did I take notes during the class — I have no idea why. Fortunately for me, Vicki of Wilde in the Kitchen, who happened to also take the class (but probably not the same day I took it because I don’t recall seeing her there), posted the method in her blog. The following are her two posts that I found MOST helpful:
Going back to my roots as far as methodology has paid off…This is probably the most successful and neat-looking (as far as the ruffling of the feet are concerned!) batch I’ve ever made:
For my own reference, I will post the method here, not including the flavorings she adds in her posts and adding my own (very minor) tweaks.
French Macarons: Dessert Truck Works Method
125 g almond flour
125 g confectioner’s sugar
50 g egg whites
50 g egg whites
110 g granulated sugar
Combine almond flour and confectioner’s sugar (plus any dried flavorings you might have — in the picture above, I’ve got coffee macs and I added 3 tsp instant coffee to the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar) in the bowl of a food processor. Whir for about 1 minute, until everything is combined.
Sift mixture through a medium sieve to break up the large pieces.
Combine the dry mixture with 50 g egg whites and set aside. The mixture will be very thick and almost like wet cookie dough (think chocolate chip cookie batter-ish), but this is ok. I worried at first that I did something wrong, but rest assured, this is ok.
Bring a pot of water to a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk 50 g of egg whites until they start to get foamy. Add granulated sugar in three portions, continuing to whisk. Once all of the sugar is added, place the bowl over the simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t sit in the water, but is a few inches above). Whip the eggs until they reach stiff peaks and are shiny and glossy white. The meringue should be warm to the touch, but not hot. If it starts to get too warm, but isn’t yet at stiff peak, remove from the heat and continue whipping. — In this step, I ditched the whisk and used my KitchenAid hand mixer instead. Why suffer?
Fold meringue into the almond flour mixture. Be sure to turn the bowl to combine all the ingredients together. It will take between 30-40 turns to get to the desired consistency. It should flow like cooling lava, or, if you draw a line down the center of the batter with your spatula, it should disappear within ten seconds. I didn’t count the number of strokes, just eyeballed the batter and went with my gut, using the “ribbon test” to determine readiness. If you scoop up a gloop of batter onto your spatula and let it drip down into the bowl and it more or less drips back down in a gloopy ribbon, it’s ready… here’s a video I found on YouTube that demonstrates what I’m talking about:
I even went, “gloop, gloop, gloop!” in my head as my batter dribbled down back into the bowl.
Prepare piping bag with piping tip (I used a round Wilton #12 tip) and transfer batter into the piping bag.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Pipe out 2-inch circles of batter, leaving an inch in between each circle (I only did about 1 1/2 inch circles). Allow the newly piped shells to dry for 30 minutes before baking (at least 30 minutes, or however long it takes for the batter to develop a dull outer shell).
Preheat oven to 300 F and bake shells for 15 minutes, rotating halfway during the baking.
Allow macarons to cool completely before removing from the parchment paper/silpat.
(I generally like to prepare the baking pans and the piping bag before getting into the macaron making, but everyone has different ways of doing things. I just like to be ready and immediately have them waiting once the batter is ready. I also did NOT age the egg whites when I made the macs pictured above.)
Now that I’ve got my method set, I’ll be experimenting with other powdered flavorings next! The possibilities are endless! Muahahahaha!!!!