Makes about 80 macarons:
- Prep time: 1h 40min + resting time
- Cook time: 20min
- Total time: 2h
- Difficulty: Advanced
This recipe was slightly adapted from Sugar Baby by Gesine Bullock-Prado. Before you start baking, read through the recipe few times to familiarize yourself with the process. For best results, use aged egg whites and carefully weigh all ingredients. Once the shells are baked and cooled, cover them with a kitchen towel and leave them on your countertop overnight. The shells are better when aged, but only do this if the weather is cool and dry. On a humid day the macarons will get soggy. Macaron shells may be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks; allow them to thaw for 1 hour before serving. Store the filled macarons in an airtight container at room temperature. If you put them into the refrigerator, they will become soggy.
For the Parisian macaron shells:
- 210g almond flour
- 200g confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons Matcha green tea powder
- 150g egg whites (about 5)
- pinch of salt
- 200g granulated sugar
- 60ml water
Place the almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and green tea powder in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is very fine. Sift the mixture into a large bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 90g of egg whites and the salt. In the meantime, place the granulated sugar and 60 ml of the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely melted, clip on a candy thermometer, and stop stirring.
When the sugar temperature reaches 98°C (210°F), turn the mixer on high speed and begin beating the egg whites. They should be foamy before you add the sugar syrup. Continue heating the sugar until the mixture reaches 116°C (240°F). Immediately remove the sugar syrup from the heat. Carefully pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the egg whites as they are whipping. Whisk until you achieve soft, white peaks – the tips of the peaks should still fall easily.
Just before the egg whites are finished whipping, add the remaining 60ml of egg whites to the almond flour mixture and combine to make a paste. Don’t do this any earlier or the paste will harden. Transfer one-third of the egg white mixture to the almond flour paste and stir well, making sure there are no white streaks remaining. You needn’t be overly gentle during this addition – you are mainly loosening and lightening the batter. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold them into the batter. You want a loose but not runny consistency. When you eventually start piping the batter, you’ll want it to move easily from the piping bag but it shouldn’t pour out. So if you think that your batter is too stiff, continue stirring until it loosens a bit.
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip. Pipe round, 2.5 – 3cm dollops about 1cm apart on a nonstick baking mat or parchment-lined baking sheet. Once every last bit is piped,let the macarons sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 135°C. Bake the macarons for 20 minutes, rotating the tray once for even baking and to avoid browning. After 5 to 10 minutes of baking, you’ll notice little ruffles forming along the perimeters of the shells; in French these are called pieds, or “feet.”
Remove the shells from the oven and allow to cool completely. Leave them at room temperature over night before filling, if you have time.
For filling, pipe a small blob of chocolate ganache on one shell and then smoosh it with another shell, just to the point that the filling reaches the edge. Once the shells are filled, serve immediately. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not keep them in the refrigerator or else they will become soggy.
For the Chocolate ganache filling:
- 120g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 120ml heavy cream
- 20g butter, at room temperature
Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes.
Add butter and stir until smooth. Let cool until piping consistency, about 20 minutes. Stir every once in a while.
As I was flipping through the Sugar Baby pages, I kept coming back to the Parisian Macaron Shells recipe. I made quite successful French macarons a couple of times before, but never using the Italian meringue method. I just knew I have to try it. Macarons are notorious for being finicky, but with Gesine’s detailed recipe and instructions, you cannot fail. The recipe works like a charm and the macarons were a success.
Before you embark on a macaron bake off, it is important to read through the recipe a few times, just to familiarize yourself with the process. Carefully weighing all of your ingredients is crucial, even the egg whites. “All egg whites are not created equal,” Gesine tells us. It’s also best to use aged egg whites, which basically means you have to separate the eggs the night before and leave the egg whites at room temperature covered with a kitchen towel That way they lose some of their moisture and macaron shells will be more successful. The recipe asks for 2 tablespoons of powdered egg whites, which I didn’t have, so I substituted them with real egg whites. Just so you know, 1 tablespoon od powdered egg whites + 2 tablespoons of water equal one regular egg white (30g).
I decided to flavor my macarons with Matcha green tea powder and sandwich them together with a chocolate ganache. I embellished the shells with a sprinkle of cocoa nibs and few dried hibiscus flowers. We loved them. They make a really nice holiday treat. The adapted macaron recipe is below, and if you’re still feeling a bit unsure, check out Gesine’s macaron video. I discovered this video only after I had made my macarons.
There’s just one thing that bothers me about this recipe. The book says that the recipe makes about 200 macaron shells, that is 100 finished French macarons. I ended up with approximately 160 shells, that is 80 macarons. I piped them quite small, about 2,5-3 cm in diameter, and there’s no way you can get 200 of them. Well, I at least I couldn’t.