Learning to make macarons has been on my baking to-do list for a while now, and I think I can safely say I’ve succeeded. I did indeed make the macarons pictured in this post! There are still plenty of details to perfect, but I no longer feel intimidated by these cute little cookies. The ones pictured here are basic vanilla macs with lemon buttercream.
My friend Adrienne (of A Big Mouthful and Tacoma Foodie) was willing to attempt macarons with me, so we got together last December to give it a go. She suggested a recipe from a pastry chef and blogger who made it seem so much more accessible than the complicated book and recipe I previously tried. And hey, we succeeded! So now it’s my go-to recipe, and I’ve made it almost half a dozen times with success.
If you decide to make these yourself, definitely check out BraveTart’s recipe. In the meantime, here are some things I’ve observed:
Sifting the almond flour is the most time-consuming part of the process. I use Bob’s Red Mill almond flour and put it through a mesh sieve. Supposedly, putting it through a food processor helps, but I’m afraid my “food processor” is kind of a wimp. (Side note: This is the third time this weekend I’ve considered getting a real one. Maybe it’s time.)
Folding the dry ingredients into the egg whites is the make-or-break step. Under-mix, and you get cracked shells. Over-mix, and the pretty circles you pipe onto your pan will ooze together into one giant macaron mass. I’m a chronic over-mixer, so I have to stop well before I’d like to. I force myself to regularly check the batter by lifting the spatula and letting some batter plop back down into the bowl. If it reincorporates itself, it’s probably good to go.
Parchment paper is the way to go. I’m not giving up entirely on the silicon macaron mold I’ve been using, but I regularly have to scrap at least half of the macs piped onto it. They’re very difficult to remove without crushing. There could be other factors going on here, so I’ll continue to experiment. But I’d recommend starting with parchment paper. Just trace circles onto the back as a helpful guide when piping—I use a spice jar lid.