Macaron Lessons From Holly

Secrets to making perfect macaronsMacarons have got to be the obvious winners of most adorable looking cookies, no? I love messing around in the kitchen but macarons have always been one of those recipes I just couldn't get to turn out right. One of my best attempts I shared here. They turned out tasty and they had the macaron feet, but they also were a bit lumpy and most of them cracked during baking. I felt pretty doomed to forever be a macaron failure.Macarons by Holly  For a few months now Elsie and I had been looking forward to visiting Colorado Springs to visit Rachel. We dragged Katie along. And we met up with Holly, who traveled all the way from Canada. We all hadn't seen Holly in, I think a little over two years (basically since Elsie's wedding). It was set to be a pretty epic girls weekend. I also made plans to get Holly to teach me her macaron making secrets. She starting making and selling lots and lots of macarons this year at local farmer's markets. We also recruited Rachel's youngest, Ruby, to give us a hand in the kitchen. Holly was also gracious enough to share her recipe and tips here on the blog. You ready?Cookie dough macarons French Macarons by Holly

275 grams finely ground almonds
360 grams icing sugar
1 cup egg whites (from about 7 eggs) aged at room temperature for 6 hours
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
Wilton food colour gel (optional)
Your favourite jam for filling, or lemon curd, dulce de leche, egg-less cookie dough, etc.

1. Separate eggs and allow them to rest on the counter, covered with a single piece of paper towel, for about six hours, to allow moisture to evaporate and for them to fully come to room temperature. For the macarons you see in this post the egg whites only sat out for about three and a half hours and still did well. Six hours is preferred.Holly and Ruby making macarons2. Process ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor. The mixture should be ground to a very fine powder. Then, using a single fine mesh sieve, sift the almond/sugar mix into a bowl.
3. In the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the granulated sugar and pinch of salt for 2 minutes on level 4, then 2 minutes on level 6, and finally 2 minutes on level 8.  There should be very stiff peaks. If you're choosing to colour your macarons, add the food colour gel after the first 2 minutes of whipping.
4. Add the almond/sugar powder to the egg whites, and using a good silicone spatula, mix as if you were folding the two together, except press the air out by pressing your spatula against the side of the bowl as you rotate it with the other hand. If you search YouTube for "Macaronnage", you can get a good idea of how this is done properly.  You'll need to mix until the batter is shiny and smooth, and has a lava like consistency.
How to make macarons5. Pipe your macarons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. You can make a template using 2" circles, 1" apart, to make them uniform. Use a #8 tip when piping.
6. This is important: bang the pan on your table 3 times on each side of the pan. This gets out any trapped air bubbles, and helps to flatten the macaron shell. Do this to all the pans, and let them sit for 15 minutes to dry.
How to pipe macaron batter7. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F for convect ovens. (325*F for non-convect) and once they have rested, bake one pan at a time for 13 minutes (give or take a minute, depending on your oven). After the first 6 minutes, open the oven door just for a few seconds to allow steam out.
8. Once removed from the oven, immediately slide the parchment/mat off the pan to cool. Once cooled completely, fill the shells with jam, or other fillings such as buttercream, curd, dulce de leche, egg-less cookie dough, etc.
Macaron feet!Enjoy your macarons after one night in an air-tight container to allow the flavour of the filling to absorb into the shells. They will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week, or months in the freezer. Just allow an hour for them to come back to room temperature before serving.
Macarons by Holly    Thanks for sharing your secrets with us Holly! xo. Emma (and Elsie)

 Credits// Author: Emma Chapman and Holly Neufeld, Photos by: Emma Chapman

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