DIY October: Macarons!

 

macarons

This recipe is based on the one from Nigella Lawson’s wonderful cookbook, How to Be a Domestic Goddess. They’re easy as pie, too, so have no fear!

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Basic Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup almonds, or other nuts, plus ¼ cup for the filling
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 1 2/3 cups for the filling
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup softened, unsalted butter, for the filling
  • 2 cookie trays, lined with wax paper

Basic Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°
  2. Put whatever nuts you are using in the food processor with the confectioner’s sugar until you have a smooth powder.
  3. Whisk the egg whites part way, then sprinkle them with the sugar and whisk until they are quite stiff and hold peaks. I recommend using a hand mixer.
  4. Fold the whites and nut-dust together, until they are mostly combined. It will be mixed more as you pipe it.
  5. Scoop your batter into a ziploc bag, while keeping one corner empty. Then cut ½ inch into that corner. You can also use a pastry bag with a ½ inch tip, if you have one.
  6. Pipe out macaron-sized circles onto the baking sheet. They won’t really expand, but don’t put them too close together.
  7. Let the macarons sit until a skin has formed on them, about 10 minutes. This is very important if you want smooth, pretty macarons.
  8. Bake the macarons for 10-12 minutes. When they are done, they will look firm and set, but not dry. Then cool the macarons on their trays.
  9. Next, grind the nuts and confectioners’ sugar for the filling.
  10. Cream the butter and add the nut-sugar into a buttercream.
  11. Once the macaroons are completely cool, remove them from their trays with a spatula.
  12. Then pipe half the macarons with the buttercream, and sandwich the other macarons on top of them.
  13. Ta da!

Ideas to Try:

Once you have this recipe down, you can substitute other nuts and fillings easily, or add color or topping.

  • Hazelnut Chocolate
    • Substitute hazelnuts for pistachios, and add melted chocolate to the filling. Shaved chocolate top of the cookies completes the look!
  • Rainbow
    • Add a little food dye to the egg whites and to the buttercream. Pastels are the best.
  • Pistachio
    • Use shelled, salted pistachios instead almonds. Trust me, the salt is good.
  • Jam
    • Fill almond macarons with jam or lemon curd instead of buttercream, and add a little dye to the cookies to go with your jam color
  • Coffee-Chocolate
    • Add espresso powder to the nut-sugar, and add melted chocolate and espresso to the buttercream

Experiment! Having several flavors all on one plate is very pretty.

 

For more information, check out these cool library books on the subject!

Macarons (by Mowie Kay)

Macarons (by Cecile Cannone)

Les Petits Macarons (Ebook, by Kathryn Gordon)

— recipe by Phoebe, Greenwood Branch

GWD

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