A macaron is a sweet confectionery. Its name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” or “maccherone”. This word is itself derived from “ammaccare”, meaning crush or beat, used here in reference to the almond paste which is the principal ingredient. It is meringue-based : made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.
The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference (referred to as the “foot”), flat base, mildly moist and easily melted into mouths. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The macaron is commonly filled with a buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two macaron cookies.
Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new (truffle, green matcha tea). Since the English word macaroon can also refer to the Coconut macaroon, many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling of the cookie. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonyms.
Although predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II.
In the 1830s, macarons were served two-by-two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today was called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron” and is the creation of Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie Ladurée, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling.
In Paris, the French pâtisserie Laduree is reputed for making quality macarons in traditional and new flavors. Other reputed French patisseries on Macarons includes Pierre Hermé and Fauchon.
- Preparation time : 15 mn (cookies) + 30 mn (cream)
- Cooking time : 12 mn (cookies) / 10 mn (cream)
- Pause : 1 hour (cookies) / 1 hour (cream) / 1 hour (full cookies)
- Cost : medium
- Wine : Champagne
A macaron is composed of 2 cookies and cream in-between :
Ingredients : 70 cookies – i.e. 35 macarons (you will need 2 cookies for a macaron)
- 110 gr powdered almonds
- 225 gr icing sugar
- 120 gr egg whites (4 eggs) at room temperature
- 50 gr white sugar
- ½ vanilla pod
Ingredients : for 250 gr buttercream (you will need half of this cream, but you cannot prepare less than this quantity, in order to have the right proportion of eggs)
- 125 gr melted butter
- 1 egg and 2 egg yolks
- 88 gr white sugar
- 25 cl water
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla aroma (for 250 gr buttercream)
Step 1 (Steps 1 to 6 : cookies)
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Mix powdered almonds and icing sugar for 2 minutes in food processor until you have a smooth fine powder. Sieve the powder in a tamis.
Beat rapidly the egg whites until you obtain a homogenous mixture. Add white sugar little by little. Continue to whip to stiff peaks, the whites should be firm and shiny within 3 minutes.
Pour in powdered almonds and icing sugar over the egg whites. With a spatula, stir downward toward the middle of the mixture and back up the sides of the again, constantly turning the bowl, until the mixture is even.
With a sharp knife, scrape the inside of the vanilla pod in order to get the seeds. Add the seeds to the mixture. Stir again until the mixture is light and fluid (but not liquid).
Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch (1 cm) round tip. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheets you have previously covered with wax paper : the cookies should have 3 centimetre diameter maximum. Let dry at room temperature for 1 hour to allow skins to form.
Bake, in a 150°C oven for 12 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet after 6 minutes for even baking. Remove macarons from oven and transfer wax paper to a cooling rack. When cool, slide a metal offset spatula or pairing knife underneath the macaron to remove from wax paper.
Step 7 (Steps 7 to 10 : buttercream)
Stir vigourously 125 gr unsalted butter at room temperature until you get a smooth buttercream.
Pour 1 egg and 2 egg yolks in a bowl.
In a pan, heat 25 gr water and 88 gr white sugar. Stir from time to time until 121°C. At the same time, when temperature reaches 110°C, beat rapidly the eggs (1 egg and 2 egg yolks). When temperature reaches 121°C, pour boiling sugar over the eggs and stir vigorously for 5 minutes, until the mixture is lukewarm. Then, add buttercream and stir for another 5 minutes at medium speed until you get a smooth cream.
Cover the buttercream and let it rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Step 11 (Steps 11 to 12 : last steps for creating macarons) You will only need half of the cream (125 gr) for 35 macarons
Use only 125 gr of the buttercream. Add 1/2 teapsoon natural vanilla aroma, and stir.
Pair macarons of similar size, and pipe about 1/2 tsp of the filling onto one of the macarons with a piping bag. Sandwich macarons, and refrigerate to allow flavors to blend together for 1 hour. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
Macarons can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 days or in the freezer for a few weeks. When frozen, take macarons out of the fridge 2 hours before serving.Gourmet Food Store - Discover a world of luscious gourmet food. Shop our exquisite food selection now and save. Caviar. Smoked Salmon. Truffles. Foie Gras. Oil & Vinegar.