Recipe | Pretty Good Strawberry French Macarons
Every soccer-mom has a cooking blog with twelve paragraphs of preamble before the actual ingredients list and directions. I'll try to keep this part brief. Macarons (note the one 'o') are French almond flour and meringue cookies, often called "French Macarons" or "French Macaroons". Macaroons (two 'o's) are Italian almond flour and coconut cookies. This recipe is for the French kind.
Make sure you have twice the amount of everything listed below, because I nearly always botch something on my first attempt.
- 2 Egg Whites
- 1/4 Cup Ultrafine Cane Sugar
- Dash of Cream of Tartar
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Cup Blanched Fine Almond Flour
- 1 Cup Confectioners' Sugar
- Few Drops Red Gel Food Coloring
- 1 Teaspoon Brewer's Best Natural Strawberry Flavoring
- 1 Can Duncan Hines Classic Vanilla Frosting
The natural strawberry flavoring isn't really natural and doesn't actually taste like strawberries. It does, however, taste exactly like those hard candies in the strawberry wrappers that your grandparents always used to keep a bowl full of.
For the meringue, start by bringing two eggs to room temperature. You can set them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to speed things along.
- Crack the eggs, and put the egg whites into your mixing bowl. Save the egg yolks for a custard.
- Begin whipping the egg whites with your mixer (or hands) at a low speed.
- Slowly incorporate your 1/4 cup ultrafine sugar into the bowl. Regular granulated sugar is fine too, but ultrafine dissolves faster.
- Drop in your dash of cream of tartar and pinch of salt. If you don't have cream of tartar, it's no big deal; it just helps the meringue maintain structure.
- Turn your mixer (or hands) up to a higher speed so that your meringue achieves soft peaks.
- After you have soft peaks, drop in your food coloring and strawberry flavoring and watch as the color gets distributed evenly throughout the meringue.
- Keep mixing until your meringue achieves stiff peaks.
In every recipe they describe the batter as needing to have the consistency of "lava". Probably noone has first hand experience with magma/lava, so take it for what it's worth.
- Combine and sift your almond flour and confectioners' sugar into a mixing bowl to remove any chunks.
- Combine the meringue with your sifted, sugary almond flour.
- With a spatula, fold the meringue into the flour until you have a slightly runny batter that "flows like lava."
- Put the batter into a pastry bag. A Ziplock bag with a hole cut in the corner will suffice.
Next you'll need to form your cookies on a non-stick surface, like a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- With your pastry bag, squirt little cirles of batter onto your non-stick baking surface.
- Let them dry out in the air for 20+ minutes until their suface gets glossy. Touching them lightly shouldn't leave a mark when they're ready.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Baking is done at a pretty low temperature. If everything goes well, your baked macarons should have "feet" on the bottom.
- Place your cookies in the 300 degree oven for 14-16 minutes.
- At the 7 minute mark, open the oven door slightly to let any steam out. Lower the temperature to 290 to avoid burning them.
- At the 14 minute mark, check to see if they're browning/burning. Take them out if they begin to.
- At the 16 minute mark, take them out of the oven if you didn't already in the previous step. Your macarons should hopefully have feet.
Once they've cooled for while, you can begin to frost them and sandwich halves together. You can choose to make your own butter cream frosting if desired. Make sure that if you choose another frosting it has ample shortening or butter. The default frosting they put on store-bought cupcakes has way too much low quality sugar/syrup and not enough fat, and it makes me nauseous.
- With a gentle twisting motion, take the cooled, baked cookies off of their baking surface.
- Organize the cookies into like-sized pairs.
- With a pastry bag full of frosting, squirt a little onto the center of one cookie and sandwich it together with its mate cookie.