Here we go: another recipe! I warned you all that I’ve always loved baking.
I was definitely worried I wouldn’t actually make the time to get into the kitchen while I’m home for the summer. Between working, seeing my friends, keeping up with the blog and all of my other summer work, I thought I might have a long list of food I wanted to make but never actually got to make. But surprisingly enough, I’ve found the time to try out a couple recipes.
And I’m most proud of this recipe by far.
Macarons are really tricky to make. If you’ve ever made them before, you know how finicky the entire recipe is. I knew it was going to be a difficult recipe before I started, but I didn’t expect it to take three tries to get my macarons right!
A recipe like macarons can be very frustrating. But if you decide to try these out, try to power through! You’ll probably need to make adjustments to the recipe, based on everything from which exact ingredients you use, to how humid it is outside. In the recipe below, I wrote some notes about the problems I encountered; read them! It took three tries, but I’m so glad I kept at it until I got it right.
The cookies are the difficult part of this recipe. My first two attempts used the French macaron method. This technique uses the same basic ingredients, but is where you add granulated sugar a little bit at a time to beaten egg whites. On my third attempt, however, I tried out the Italian method. This technique is where you combine the sugar with water to form a simple syrup, then combine that with the beaten egg whites. A lot of people say they have better results when using the Italian method, which is what prompted me to try it out when my first two attempts failed. I can’t say for sure whether the different technique made the difference, but I’ve made macarons since then and have preferred the Italian method.
The shells might be finicky, but the filling for these cookies is crazy easy. Most macarons use a ganache or white chocolate-based filling, often with extra flavoring added. But I decided to stick with a classic buttercream frosting. It doesn’t overpower the almond flavors in the shells and the texture pairs well with how light and fluffy the shells are.
Yield: 48 individual shells (24 macaron sandwiches)
For macaron shells:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup powdered sugar
3 egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
As many sprinkles as you want!
1 cup salted butter, softened
5-8 cups powdered sugar
For macaron shells:
- Combine almond flour and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Sift twice (you can use either a sifter or a mesh sieve and pat the mixture through the mesh with a spatula). Set aside.
- Begin beating the egg whites with a stand mixer at medium-high speed. While beating, combine the water and sugar in a pot. Without stirring, heat the sugar mixture over low-medium heat until simmering. It should form a smooth, syrup-like consistency.
- Continue beating the egg whites until they are white and fluffy. When they form soft peaks, slowly pour in the sugar syrup, continuously beating on low.
- Beat the syrup and egg whites until glossy, stiff peaks form. A stiff peak should form on the beater when you take it out of the bowl. This is your meringue.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape the meringue into the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture. Being careful not to over mix, fold the meringue and dry ingredients until just combined. The mixture is done when it drips off the spatula in a slow, lava-like consistency.
- Pour the mixture into a pastry bag with a 1/4″ round tip. Pipe onto either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper on a baking pan.
- While the shells are still wet, sprinkle your nonpareils over the top. Let the shells set at room temperature for up to an hour, until the top is no longer sticky to the touch. While the shells are setting, preheat the oven to 325°.
- Bake shells for 18-22 minutes, until feet (the crust on the bottom) forms and the top is firm.
- Beat the softened butter on medium until fluffy.
- Slowly add powdered sugar to butter, to taste.
Let the shells cools completely before frosting. The best ratio of shell:frosting is usually 2:1, so the frosting should be about the thickness of one of the shells.
They’re best served after being allowed to sit for one day, so the cookies absorb all the flavor and texture they’re meant to have.
Good for 5-7 days if refrigerated, up to 3 months frozen.
- If you think your egg whites are beaten enough, they aren’t! One of my biggest issues was that I wasn’t beating my meringue enough, so when you think it’s done, beat it a little more. You should basically be able to hold the bowl upside down over your head without any problems!
- I’ve found that letting the meringues set before baking is vital. Some people say it isn’t important, but letting them set completely has been the only way I get the feet to form and the meringue to puff up when baked. You’re looking for the shells to be dry and for a “skin” to form over the top. If it’s particularly humid, using a fan to help them set can be very helpful.
- Buttercream is a classic sweet frosting, but because the macaron shells are so sweet, I only added about 5 cups of powdered sugar to the butter instead of the usual 8 cups. The frosting was still sweet, but didn’t overpower the macaron shells with less sugar.
I hope you try out this recipe for funfetti macarons; macarons are tough, but they’re so worth it when you finally get it right. And, the sprinkles sure add a festive touch.