As a gift to me for my first Mother’s Day, my husband took on a baking challenge that has always intimidated me: French macarons. Those vibrant, perfect little cookie sandwiches make me squeal with delight at the very sight of them. It’s difficult for me not to use the words “cute” and “whimsical” when describing macarons. They’re almost cartoon images that have popped out of a children’s picture book — perhaps straight from the Mad Hatter and Hare’s tea table. Macarons place me in that “too pretty to eat” dilemma, and the ones that my husband made were no exception.
He not only succeeded in achieving the gorgeous “feet,” or ruffles on the edges, but also a sheen on the cookies that made them resemble jewels. They had a fluffy, marshmallow-like softness combined with a gentle crunch from the ground almonds. The slightly tart blueberry butter cream was a pop of fruity flavor with the mildness of the almond meringue.
The French macaron now represents for me the essence of motherhood: It requires patience, technique, and constant attention. It’s simple yet complicated. It’s delicate. And it brings so much joy. My husband lovingly calls this dish, “Macamom.”
Pair with a fruity black tea.
Recipe adapted by Elaine Lemm at The Spruce
1 cup icing (powder) sugar
1 cup ground almonds
2 medium egg whites
Small pinch salt
¼ cup caster (fine) sugar
For the filling:
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup icing (powder) sugar
2 tablespoons blueberry fruit spread
You’ll also need
Large mixing bowl
Piping bag with 1 cm nozzle
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Parchment paper with drawn-in circles to use as a template
Preheat the oven to 300.
Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds into a large mixing bowl. Combine well.
In the electric mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the fine sugar a little at a time, and whisk until the whites are very thick and glossy. Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mixture. The mixture will lose some air, which is normal. Add food coloring.
Fill the piping bag with the macaron mixture. Pipe small amounts onto the sheet remembering that the mixture will spread a little. Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on your work surface to help pop any air bubbles. Let dry for 20 minutes, or until the surface of the macaron becomes smooth and shiny.
Bake the macarons in the oven for 7 – 8 minutes. Open the door to release steam, close and bake for another 7 – 8 minutes. The macarons are ready when they appear firm and are slightly risen. Slide the parchment paper with the macarons onto a wire cooling rack and cool thoroughly. Do not remove the macarons from the paper until they are cold, or they will break.
For the Filling:
Beat the softened butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add fruit spread, or any flavorings. Place 1/2 a tsp of the filling to the flat side of one macaron and sandwich together with another. Twist the cookies slightly to create a bond. Continue with the remaining macarons.