Simply put, a good macaron (not to be confused with macaroon) will completely and totally sweep you off your feet. The delicately crisp outer shell surrounding a moist airy interior creates a meringue like texture that leaves you in a state of utter smitten-ness. Oh yes, and you take two of those heavenly meringue cookies and sandwich them together with a dab of filling and it will send you over the sweet-lovin’ edge.
If you’ve been to Paris you know exactly what I’m talking about. Patisseries everywhere show off colorful variations of this chic French confection with endless flavors ranging from pistachio to espresso to fruit-filled goodness.
But the sad part to all of this is that I don’t live in Paris. And the thought of taking five minutes to combine four simple ingredients to make my own totally freaks me out. I’ve heard of so many disheartened macaron stories and failed endings due to their finicky nature that I wasn’t quite ready to take on the task…until I saw this:
David Lebovitz has complied dozens of blogs, websites and demonstrations on how to make the perfect macaron. With tips like aging your eggs whites for at least 24 hours prior and techniques on handling your batter this article will direct you to places all over the web where French professionals divulge their secrets. Halle-freaking-lujah! Let the baking begin!
Raspberry Filled Macarons:
(Recipe derived from Tartelette)
For the macarons:
90 grams of egg whites (about 3 eggs)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
pink food coloring
For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won’t work. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve. Add them to the meringue,with the coloring and give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.
To assemble: spread raspberry preserves in the center of two cookies