I’ve been meaning to make these macarons for a while now and was doing my research on the best recipe to follow. Lots of people raved about David Lebovitz and how great his macaron-making skills are. I also gathered how tricky macaron making is and that the glorious ‘feet’ of the macaron are extremely elusive. It takes a lot of precision technique to get those ‘feet’.
For the uninitiated (I certainly was before my adventure), a macaron’s ‘foot’ is the bubbly layer just below the bulbous top. I read many stories of how people had failed batch after batch with flat macarons and I wondered how hard it could be. I learnt my lesson when I got the near-perfect batch only on my third attempt. I still don’t think they’re perfect because I didn’t get a great dome but, I at least got the ever-elusive ‘feet’!
I made a few changes to David Lebovitz’s recipe because I felt a few things were off (following his recipe to the T made the macarons extremely sweet – that’s what I thought even though my tolerance for sweetness is very high), but I got the basics from him.
I also found this amazing tutorial on Youtube by someone called Chefnini, on how to fold the batter which made a world of difference to the success of my third batch.
Hope these help if you decide to try your hand at macarons. And if you’re a veteran at them, I hope you think I did them justice. Either way, Bon Appetit!
(adapted from David Lebovitz)
Ingredients and instructions
- 4/5 cup powdered sugar (basically just a little less than a cup)
- 1/2 cup powdered almonds (you can either get store-bought almond powder or make your own powder with blanched, well-dried almonds, which is what I did)
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready. Since I had neither, I used regular aluminum baking sheet to bake and a ziploc bag with the tip cut to pipe the icing. It worked like a charm, no harm done. Sometimes you can’t substitute ingredients or equipment but this is tested, so don’t sweat it.
Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor. This also smooths down any lumpy almond pieces if any.
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer or an electric beater, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, gradually add (extremely important to add gradually because your macaron will go flat if you just dump all the sugar in one go) in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in about 5-6 batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).
Pipe the batter on your prepared baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons – you can omit this if you want because I didn’t really see any visible difference. Let the macarons stand for at least 20-30 minutes so the top of the macarons dry a bit, essential to always get the ‘feet’ at the bottom. Bake them for 10 minutes, then turn the oven heat down to 300 deg F (or 140 deg C) and continue baking for 3-5 minutes. Let cool completely, then remove from baking sheet.
Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from ABC’s Good Morning America)
Ingredients and instructions
- 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1/2 cup peppermint candy (about 7 peppermint sticks), finely crushed
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the peppermint candy, confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.
Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend up to 1 tablespoon milk if the frosting seems to be stiff.
Frost the bottom of a macaron and fuse another to it. Let them sit for a couple of hours so the flavors fuse together.