I am not a macaron whiz. I’m definitely a dessert whiz, but it’s not specific to macarons. In fact, I had very little experience with the tender morsels until today. I’ve tried less than four macs in my lifetime. And honestly, the first two were kind of duds. After learning the art of the French Macaron from a little get together at Melanie’s, I knew that I would like these guys. I devoured more that day than I’d like to admit. And since then, I’ve been a bit obsessed. Like, buy-the-dozen-box-every-time-i-visit-trader-joes kind of obsessed.
Everyone always says how tricky they are to make. And I’m not saying that they aren’t! But I happened upon a recipe that was lexy-proof. And that’s a lot tougher than just regular fool-proof. And once they were complete (we’re talkin’ feet on the first try, my friends), I decided that they needed to become edible typography macarons. And that’s just what we’re talkin’ about below.
Wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am. I could just eat a million of these.
After your macarons are all baked and cooled (recipe at the bottom of the post), pipe the buttercream into the center in a small ring and smash the little cookies together.
You can do this before you pipe the frosting, or after the cookies are assembled, but use an edible marker to draw or write whatever you feel like! Imma stick with the word “hello” because that is, like, the easiest word to write in cursive. I used these Americolor Gourmet Writer Pens! Can’t even taste ‘em! ;)
Write whatever you like and then immediately devour. Or you can deliver to a friend.
Or you can devour…
Basic French Macaron from YumSugar
2/3 cup almond meal or ground almonds
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 280ºF, and position 2 racks in the lower section of the oven. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- If your almond meal is very coarse, grind it with the powdered sugar in a food processor until fine. Sift the almond meal-powdered sugar mixture twice through a mesh sieve. My almond meal was from Trader Joe’s and was P-E-R-fect.
- Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer), and begin to beat on medium-high. When the eggs are frothy, gradually add granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Continue to beat the egg white mixture until glossy and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters. Gently stir in the vanilla extract. Be careful to not overbeat the meringue (e.g., the meringue takes on a clumpy texture).
- Add half of the sifted almond mixture, and gently fold it into the meringue using a flexible silicone spatula. Lift from the bottom, up around the sides, and toward the middle, being careful to not overagitate the meringue and lose too much air. Once the almond mixture is predominantly incorporated, add the second half and repeat the folding motion.
- When the almond mixture is just incorporated, you will need to transform the batter into the appropriate texture. Using the flat of the spatula, “punch” down into the center of the batter, then scrape more batter from the sides to the center, and punch again. You will need to repeat this 10-15 times (or more, depending on your arm strength and the beginning texture of your batter) until the batter slowly and continuously drips back into the bowl when you scoop it up with the spatula. Think of the consistency of molten lava. For the best results, punch the batter a few times, check the consistency, then punch a few more times, etc. Do not make the batter too runny or the macarons won’t rise as they should, and you could end up with oil stains on the surface.
- Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 0.4-inch tip. In a pinch, you can also use a gallon-size Ziploc bag: just snip a teeny bit from one of the bottom corners. Twist and clip the top of the bag to avoid overflow. On your prepared baking sheets, pipe out 1-inch rounds.
- Holding the cookie sheet with both hands, gently smack it against your countertop a few times to help the batter settle and even out. This also helps get the elusive “feet”!
- Let the piped macarons sit out for at least fifteen minutes to help build a slight film over the top. After 15-20 minutes, check the batter by lightly tapping your finger on the top of a macaron. Your finger should bounce off the top without anything sticking to it. If they’re still sticky, allow to sit out for up to an hour!
- Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, open the oven to allow any excess humidity to escape. Halfway through, swap oven racks and rotate the sheets for even baking. The macarons are done when they are baked all the way through and the shells are just hard. Take care to not underbake (insides will still be mushy) or overbake (tops will begin to brown). Remove them from the oven, and cool on baking sheet placed on a wire rack. When fully cooled, assemble the macarons with your choice of filling. The assembled macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
I know it may seem like a lot of steps, but I am telling you that I had macarons in under an hour. It’s super easy. Follow each step and you can’t go wrong!
LET YOUR EGG WHITES AGE! I cracked mine three days ago and they were perfect today. Leave them in the fridge until a few hours before baking. Let them come to room temp before whipping. This makes all the difference. I’m tellin’ ya.
I am thinking that I’ll fill these with some nutella next time, but I just filled them with plain old buttercream.
Have you ever made these before?! Any tried-and-true tips for me? I’ve heard things like “stir the batter 51 times” to help get the feet! I’d love to hear your experience or your fave flavor combos! Share below in the comments!
photography: all photos by The Proper Pinwheel