There's something about Valentine's Day that makes me want to indulge in everything. Maybe it's just the season of love causing me to love myself so much that I don't even consider the negative effect of sugar, fats and alcohol on my body. Or, maybe it's still winter and I know that I have a few more months to hide behind large sweaters and flowy tees. Either way, I have most definitely been catching up on all the baking I've been wanting to experiment with.
After an epic lumpy, goopy failure a few months ago I knew I had to try macrons again. Gluten and dairy free, they really aren't bad for you. Other than a bit of powdered sugar it's simply almond flour and egg whites so technically a health food, right?!
This time around I used a French Macaron recipe from Posh Little Designs made with Italian meringue and precise measurements. Lucky for me I just happen to have a kitchen scale and a candy thermometer in my stash of kitchen gadgets.
Nice and crisp exterior with the tell-tale macaron foot I was thrilled with how they turned out. I used raspberry jam for the filling but I love the versatility of macarons and how much opportunity there is to get creative with fillings and flavors.
I did make some mistakes with the recipe - too much food coloring made for a shade of pepto-bismol pink rather than the beautiful pastel pink I was going for. I piped them too big and instead of being small and cute they were large, slightly undercooked and gooey. All the failures were on my part and this recipe was a MAJOR upgrade from the one I used before. Next time I know they will be perfect. Third times a charm after all.
French Macaron Shells
recipe by Posh Little Designs
- 212 grams of almond meal
- 212 grams powdered sugar
- 82 and 90 grams of egg whites divided
- 236 grams of granulated sugar
- 158 grams of water
- ¼ tsp gel food coloring
- Prep and measure all of your ingredients with scale.
- Prep your piping bag with your 1/2-inch tip.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. The temperature of your oven will depend specifically on the way it heats and the levels of humidity. My oven tends to run hot so I bake about 25 degrees Fahrenheit less than suggested (325).
- Combine almond meal & powdered sugar together in a bowl. Sift one time to remove any lumps, then mix together to break up clumps.
- Make a well in the center of the dry mix and pour the 82 grams of egg whites into the center of the dry mixture. Fold together until blended and paste-like and set aside.
- To make your syrup, heat granulated sugar and water in a pot on medium heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side. Once the thermometer's temperature reaches approximately 200 degrees F, place the 90 grams of measured egg whites in your stand mixer and whisk on medium speed.
- Continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Once formed, turned your mixer down to low speed to keep your egg whites moving.
- As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 248 degrees F, remove from heat. Quickly increase mixer speed to medium and begin slowly pouring the sugar syrup down the side of your mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. THEN increase the mixing speed to medium high and whisk sugar and egg whites together until glossy and stiff peaks form. (The meringue should completely keep its form.)
- Add ¼ tsp of purple gel food coloring to the meringue, and then gently fold into the almond/powdered sugar mixture in thirds, until completely incorporated. (If you’re making more than one color, add the food coloring right after your mac batter is ready and has been divided.
- Continue to fold your batter in a circular motion, going around the edges of the bowl until smooth and thick ribbons run off your spatula.
- Transfer batter into your prepped piping bag(s).
- Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles about one inch apart on your baking sheet.
- Be sure to hold your piping bag directly above your baking sheet when making your rounds. Continue to pipe rounds until you've filled your entire baking sheet.
- Before placing your macs in the oven, allow them to rest until a skin has formed. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Test by touching your piped macs to make sure they're dry to touch and that no batter comes off on your fingers.
- Once the skin has formed, place your macarons in the middle rack of your oven and reduce heat by 25 degrees (325)
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the feet have formed.
- Remove from oven and allow 3-5 minutes to cool.
- Gently remove from parchment paper/silpat and transfer to a cooling rack.
- Repeat same steps for baking the remaining macaron batter, increasing your oven back to 350 degrees F before baking each batch.
- Allow your macarons to cool completely and they're ready to fill.