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Let's Make Macarons!

March 12, 2014

Let's Make Macarons!

March 12, 2014

Pastry crazes may come and go, but the macaron’s appeal is timeless. This Parisian import seduces through playful elegance; and based on its reception, nothing is lost in translation.

Once only found at high-end patisseries, we’ve perfected the art of making these stylish sandwich cookies at home (for less than a quarter a pop, no less). Read our test kitchen Q&A, visit our step-by-step guide, and say bonjour to your new favorite treat.

Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas

Espresso Macarons

Have some espresso with your cookie — or rather, baked inside. Make ours a triple, as we wouldn’t forfeit the buzzy buttercream or the subtly dusted exterior.

2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds (71 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar (53 grams)
1/2 teaspoon instant-espresso powder, plus more for sifting

Filling
1/4 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
2/3 cup Swiss meringue buttercream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place almonds in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.

2. Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.

3. Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.

4. The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add instant-espresso powder, and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.

5. Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.

6. Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.

7. With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

8. Sift espresso powder over half of unbaked rounds.

9. Filling: Dissolve instant-espresso powder in 1/4 teaspoon hot water; mix into Swiss meringue buttercream.

10. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

Related: Delicious Desserts in 15 Minutes or Less

Mocha Macarons

Morning joe meets dark chocolate in this rendition, which pairs espresso buttercream with a cocoa-and-coffee-laced shell. Try it au lait.

2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds (71 grams)
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar (53 grams)
1/2 teaspoon instant-espresso powder, plus more for sifting
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Filling
1/4 teaspoon instant-espresso powder
2/3 cup Swiss meringue buttercream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place almonds in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.

2. Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.

3. Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.

4. The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add instant-espresso powder, and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.

5. Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.

6. Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.

7. With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

8. Sift espresso powder over half of unbaked rounds.

9. Filling: Dissolve instant-espresso powder in 1/4 teaspoon hot water; mix into Swiss meringue buttercream.

10. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

Chocolate Mint Macarons

Can a cookie be refreshing? This is as close as it gets. We’ve paired mint cookies with bittersweet ganache, but if your teeth fall on the sweeter side, white-chocolate buttercream would be a lovely match.

2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds (71 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (117 grams)
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar (53 grams)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops leaf-green gel-paste food coloring
Bittersweet chocolate, for grating

Filling
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place almonds in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.

2. Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.

3. Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.

4. The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add peppermint extract and food coloring, and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.

5. Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.

6. Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.

7. With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

8. Finely grate bittersweet chocolate over half of unbaked rounds.

9. Filling: Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until bubbles begin to form. Add bittersweet chocolate and butter; stir to combine. Let cool until thick and spreadable.

10. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

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Toasted Hazelnut and Chocolate Macarons

Ground almonds are the standard base for these naturally gluten-free cookies, but hazelnuts make a sumptuous substitute — especially when paired with rich chocolate-hazelnut ganache.

2/3 cup toasted skinned hazelnuts
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (117 grams)
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar (53 grams)

Filling
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons store-bought chocolate-hazelnut spread

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place hazelnuts in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.

2. Pass hazelnut mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.

3. Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.

4. The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Beat on highest speed 30 seconds.

5. Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.

6. Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.

7. With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

8. Filling: Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until bubbles begin to form. Add chocolate and butter; stir to combine. Stir in chocolate-hazelnut spread. Let cool until thick and spreadable.

9. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

Vanilla Bean Macarons

Now that we’ve given you three routes to a chocolate fix, it’s vanilla’s moment in the spotlight. This macaron classic is flavored with real vanilla bean, which makes it extra chic — polka dots are so hot right now.

2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds (71 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (117 grams)
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar (53 grams)
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1 drop copper gel-paste food coloring

Filling
2/3 cup Swiss meringue buttercream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place almonds in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.

2. Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.

3. Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.

4. The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add vanilla bean seeds and food coloring, and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.

5. Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.

6. Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.

7. With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

8. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

Rose Raspberry Macarons

There’s nothing so ladylike as an all-pink pastry, but everyone can enjoy these test-kitchen favorites, flavored with rose water and sealed with straight raspberry jam.

2/3 cup sliced blanched almonds (71 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (117 grams)
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar (53 grams)
1/4 teaspoon rose water
3 drops rose-pink gel-paste food coloring

Filling
1/2 cup raspberry jam (with seeds)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place almonds in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add confectioners’ sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.

2. Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.

3. Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.

4. The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add rose water and food coloring, and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.

5. Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.

6. Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.

7. With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.

8. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.

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