Oh hey, macarons. Been a while.
While researching almond flour recipes for this series it was hard to avoid the many – MANY – macarons that flooded my screen.
And it was a reminder that it had been more than three years since my last macaron post.
But the truth is I had been a little scarred by a series of fails that had me convinced that I’d lost my touch.
Yes, macarons are finicky. There are so many opportunities and steps along the way to cause even the most seasoned chef to turn out a batch of flat, wrinkly or too-chewy cookies. But after my third (or maybe fourth? or fifth?) disaster, I decided I was “done” with macarons, and promptly moved on.
But then here I was – staring at an endless feed of funfetti, speculoos and s’mores versions of these charming little pastries.
And I decided to dive back in. And why not go big, with this insanely delicious twist inspired by the beautiful Broma Bakery blog?
A few truths:
1. This batch? My THIRD attempt (yes, it had been a while and I was rusty).
2. This batch? Still not “perfect”. The feet are too spread out and “frilly” to be considered proper macarons, and the insides were hollow – another hallmark of macaron failure.
3. I did a TON of reading on various sites, to see if there were some common rules-of-thumb that were different from my own, and that might yield more successful results.
And this is what I learned:
1. Unlike meringues, you do NOT have to start off low and slow when beating your egg whites for macarons. Most of the recipes I read called for a fast and furious whipping, which indeed resulted in glorious, shiny and stiff egg whites.
2. Paying attention to the folding stage is THE most important. There is a moment where the batter – having been lifted with your spatula – will take 10-15 seconds to reabsorb back into the bowl, and THAT is when it is ready to pipe. Check often, and be prepared to toss a few bowls of batter in the process.
3. There are really no macaron “fails” – that is, even the most imperfect cookie is still probably delicious – either eaten on its own, or layered with some ice cream or whipped cream (or this insanely delicious Oreo buttercream).
My point in all of this is to convince myself – and all of you – that macarons are attainable, doable and worth the effort. You need very few ingredients, the results are so delicious and impressive, and when you DO make that “perfect” macaron? Hell, yes.
adapted from Broma Bakery
8 Oreos (or similar sandwich cookie), filling removed and set aside
2/3 cup almond flour (not almond meal, which is coarser in texture)
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided into 1 1/2 + 3/4 cups
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch each of salt and cream of tartar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/2″ tip.
Make the macarons: Process the Oreos till fine; set aside half of the crumbs (to be used for the buttercream). Sift crumbs with 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and the almond flour three times into a large bowl, each time discarding any bits that are left in your strainer.
Place the egg whites, granulated sugar, salt and cream of tartar in your mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed for five minutes.
Add the egg whites to your dry ingredients in three parts, folding the batter thoroughly each time. Once completely incorporated, keep folding and check frequently by lifting some batter with your spatula and letting it flow back into the bowl. When it is absorbed within 10-15 seconds it is ready to pipe (think lava, for the proper consistency).
Transfer batter to your piping bag and pipe discs 1 – 1 1/4″ in diameter, leaving about an inch in between. Rap the sheets on your counter a few times to eliminate any air bubbles and let sit for 30 – 40 minutes. The macarons are ready to bake when they look dull and are dry to the touch. Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees.
Bake the macarons for 16 minutes and let cool completely on the baking sheets.
Make the buttercream: Clean your pastry tip and fit it into a new bag. Beat the reserved Oreo filling, butter and vanilla till light and fluffy. Add the reserved Oreo cookie crumbs, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and milk; beat for 1 – 2 more minutes. Fill your prepared pastry bag, pipe half the cookies and sandwich with the remaining halves.
Store in an airtight container for one day, in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for up to a month.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver