A silver lining to the stay-at-home orders put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus is that I now have plenty of time on hand to pick back up on hobbies such as baking! I've always loved to bake, it's really one of the few things I'm actually good at. It's funny to think about it because I'm not very food motivated and suck at cooking, but when it comes to sweets it's a completely different story.
A challenge I gave myself this quarantine was to master the art of french macarons. Macarons can be incredibly difficult to bake perfectly because they're so sensitive to everything - the amount of moisture, batter texture, amount of time they get to rest, baking temperatures, they're incredibly hard to please... they're basically me in cookie form haha!
Enough with the intro, lets just right to what you'll need:
Ingredients for Macaron cookie:
- 100g/3 egg whites aged at room temperature overnight
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup finely ground almond flour
- 1 tsp salt divided into 1/2
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 drops of green gel food coloring
- 1 tbsp culinary grade matcha powder
Ingredients for Matcha Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 1/4 cup Betty Crocker cream cheese buttercream
- 1/2 tbsp culinary grade matcha
Things you'll need
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- a food processor or blender
- a hand mixer or mixing stand
- a fine-mesh strainer or sifter
- silicone baking mats or parchment paper
- 2 piping bags
- 1 or 2 round piping tips
After a few trials and errors, I've come to believe that in order to have the perfect cookie, you must age your eggs whites! A few recipes I came across call for a few hours prior to mixing the ingredients, but I've found that leaving them out overnight at room temperature, covered with some plastic wrap with a few holes poked is the way to go.
Another pro tip to making this process a little easier on you is to purchase a silicone baking mat with a macaron template as well as a piping bag and a large round tip. I bought mine from Amazon here, it comes with everything you need! It's currently sold out but here is a good alternative: silicone baking mat + piping bag/tips are sold separately
1) In a food processor or blender, combine powdered sugar and almond flour. Process the mix on low until you achieve an extra-fine, smooth, and powdery texture.
2) Place your fine-mesh strainer over a medium mixing bowl, make sure the bowl is large enough for you to sift the strainer without much fallout. Slowly empty your mixture into the strainer and sift the mixture into the bowl, making sure any chunks are broken up and large bits stay behind. After all of the mixture has been sifted into the bowl, add in the 1/2 tsp of salt and mix.
3) In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt with an electric hand mixer on high until soft peaks form (when the peaks flop over immediately when the beater is lifted). Gradually add the granulated sugar a bit at a time while still beating on high until fully incorporated. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form (you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out).
4) Add in the vanilla and food coloring and beat on low until fully incorporated. Add in the matcha powder and beat on low until incorporated (make sure you can't see any matcha speckles!)
5) Slowly start adding the almond flour mixture, about 1/4 of it at a time, while gently folding the batter. Here I like to use a baking spatula to scrape that the bowl in a half-pike motion, folding the batter back down gently every time I reach the end. Don't mix or beat the batter, be gentle here. After the last addition of almond flour, continue to fold slowly until the batter falls into ribbons and you can draw a figure 8 with the batter without it breaking. Stop right when you complete a full 8 and a half, you don't want to overfold the batter either.
6) Prepare your piping bag with a round tip. To make things easier, fit your piping bag over a cup so that the tip is sitting inside the cup, make sure the tip folded upwards. Transfer your batter into the piping bag.
7) If you are using normal parchment paper, pipe a dot on each corner between the baking pan and your sheet. If you are using a silicone mat skip this part!
8) Pipe your macarons onto your sheet, you always want to be piping from above at the 90* angle. Always have your tip aimed at the center of the macaron while you pipe pushing slightly downwards but never touching the sheet, without moving just squeeze the batter, the round shape will automatically form. When you want to stop piping, quickly pull away. If a little peak forms in the center of your macaron when you pull away, you're doing it right!
9) After piping all of your macaron circles, you will want to pick up the baking pans/sheets and drop them gently onto a flat surface like a counter, several times. This will release the batter of any air bubbles.
10) Don't put it in the oven just yet! To create beautiful feet for the macarons, you'll want to let them sit at room temperature for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until they're dry to the touch. But don't leave them out for too long or the cookies can crack.
11) Preheat the oven to 310. Once the oven is preheated, let it sit at 310 for about 5 minutes before putting your macarons in. This helps make sure the temperature is stable. Bake your macarons one sheet at a time for 14 min. Don't open the oven while the cookie is baking, macarons are super sensitive to any changes while baking.
12) Let the macarons sit out and cool for about 30 minutes before trying to peel them off the sheets. In the meanwhile, you can make the buttercream frosting!
13) The buttercream frosting is the easy part, combine 1/4 cup frosting with 1/2 tablespoon matcha powder and mix until frosting is evenly green. Transfer into a piping bag with a round tip.
14) Once cookies are cooled, pipe a dollop into the center of one macaron shell. Top it off with another shell to create a macaron cookie!
Congrats you did it! You can now either 1) enjoy the cookie as is or 2) let the macarons sit overnight with frosting to achieve that soft and chewy center. But I totally get it if you want to devour them right away, it was hard work, you deserve it!
I'd love to see how your cookies turned out! Tag me @ilikeamy_ on Instagram or comment down below!
Happy baking xx