As you may already know, I am in love with all things French. There is just something the French have, (especially with food) that no one can seem to replicate. Everything they do is just so…chic. There is a certain femininity that is essentially French. The complexity of French food is fascinating in its own right. There is such precision and passion behind their food. It such a key part to their way of life. They have mastered and perfected the art of cooking, to such a degree that no other culture could even come close.
I have always wanted to make French Macarons. After seeing the elaborate bakeries in France, I knew it was something that needed to be added to my baking bucket list. Now that they have become so fashion forward, it has made me want to pursue them even more. Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée (Creator of the infamous Ladurée Bakery) thought to put two meringues together, thus, creating the first French Macaron. He originally used ganache to bind the two, now a number of different fillings are used. Some of them are buttercream, curd, jam, and salted caramel. They are often served with coffee or tea. They can even be found at high teas and other special occasions. Macaroons have a distinctly nutty taste, with pairs well black tea and even espresso.
French macaroons have developed a high status, and have even been named number seven in the ten most expensive desserts. This is because of Macarons Haute Couture’s $7,000 price tag. It is hard to believe that someone would charge that much for almond meringues. They allow the customer to choose all of their macaroon flavors. Usually, Macarons are colored in light pastel hues. I decided to make mine brightly colored for a creative fun twist. Letting the meringues sit is vital to their success. By doing this, a skin is able to form over the top of them. When they are baked, it forces the air to leave through the bottom creating “legs”, which are a distinct characteristic of French Macarons. They are the little ridge area at the bottom of the macaroons.
If your macarons come out cracked or without “legs” it is probably because they weren’t able to sit long enough before baking them. It could also have to do with the whipping of the egg whites, but it is more likely due to the sitting time. If you are not serving your macarons immediately, you can keep them in an air tight container, layering wax paper between each macaron. Makes about 16 macaroons (depending on size).
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and Finely grind Almonds in a food Processor.
(Be careful not to over grind, or it will turn into almond butter)
Add powdered sugar, and pulse until it becomes a smooth mixture.
Beat Egg whites (or alternative) until frothy, then add superfine sugar.
Whip on high until rather stiff peaks form. (do not overbeat)
Fold in the almond and sugar mixutre with a spatula.
(egg whites will deflate a bit)
Divide batter into 2 bowls, and add food coloring to each.
Put batter into piping bags, and pipe onto a LINED baking sheet.
(I used a SILPAT, but parchment paper works great. This is a must!!)
Let macarons sit for 45-50 minutes before baking.
Once they are no longer tacky/sticky, they should be ready to bake.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm to touch.
Add filling and sandwich 2 macarons together.