MACARONS or French MACARONS have been slowly becoming a sensation in the food world. These tiny treats are everything a modern foodie could ever want. They are perfectly bite-sized so you can indulge in them without committing to countless calories. They are colorful and incredibly aesthetic so they feel like decoration all on their own. And they simply taste great.
With countless flavors and colors, Macarons are becoming a common favoriite amongst people. They are lovely little biscuits with filling that you can use to accompany any event. But what exactly are French Macarons after all? Are they related in any way to Macaroons? And how can we make the perfect Macarons on our own?
Today we’ll answer all of these questions so you too can become a Macaron master. So without further ado let’s get started.
Are Macaroons Macarons?
Outside of the similar-sounding name Macaroons and Macarons have no real ties. These two foods share so little that you won’t find any shared ingredient beyond whipped egg whites. And that’s present in more or less any confectionery we can think of.
Macaroons are almost always made with coconut or nuts. On top of that, they are baked far more thoroughly than Macarons and you can count on any serving of Macaroons to have a golden baked look.
Last but not least Macaroons don’t resemble French Macarons in shape either. Where Macarons are functionally cookie sandwiches, Macarons are traditionally baked dough. Their shape is just a side effect of their baking and they aren’t layered either.
By comparison, French Macarons can come in a wide variety of flavors, to the point that every bite can be a surprise in and of itself. The appearance of Macarons is also a fine craft and a lot of attention is paid to it. Each layer is baked separately and in a perfectly round shape. And the batter is usually colored, to make sure it has that extra spark when it comes to presentation.
The only reason these two treats share such a similar name is due to linguistics. They both derive their name from “Maccarone”, the Italian word for paste or dough. So in fact these two cookies couldn’t be further apart from each other.
How do French Macarons Taste?
Perhaps the most important aspect of a Macaron lies in its texture. Macaron fillings can come in countless flavors, from simple whipped cream to crazy flavors such as wasabi. As such the aromatic flavor you’ll find on the center will vary based on each bakery. However, it’s traditionally sweet and light. Macarons have subtle fillings that offer some flavor without being overpowering.
The texture however is a constant, and it plays a large role in the appeal of these treats. The top and bottom are baked in a way that they remain solid on the outside but grainy on the inside. This means that as soon as you take a bit you can enjoy a crunchy exterior but the inside will melt in your mouth. Macarons are designed to break apart with a single bite and as such the cookie will spread all over your mouth.
This unique combination means that the filling will be the main flavor you’ll feel, but the crumbling texture will make sure to spread it all over your mouth. Macarons feel like fine powder spreading in your mouth and thanks to its light filling it can spread without becoming overbearing.
While aesthetically we compared Macarons to Oreos when it comes to the flavor they are opposites. Traditional cookie sandwiches have hard shells and thick cream in the middle. Macarons meanwhile have crumbly shells with a light filling which means they spread in your mouth instead of offering focused bites.
How to Make French Macarons
By now you must be pretty interested in making some Macarons of your own; don’t worry, we have your back. Any recipe can be easy if you understand it well, so we’ll go step by step over everything you’ll need for this treat.
It’s time to gather these ingredients:
- For the filling, you’ll need 1 Stick of Unsalted Butter at room temperature, 3/4th of a cup of Powdered Sugar, and 1 teaspoon of Vanilla extract.
- The shells require Cooking Spray, 226 Grams of Powdered Sugar, 98 grams of Fine Almond Flour, 3 Egg Whites at room temperature, 1/4th of a teaspoon of tartar, Salt, 40g of Superfine Sugar, and Food Coloring of your choice.
- To get the best possible results you’ll need a Kitchen Scale, Fine Sieve, and Food Thermometer as well.
Ultimately French Macarons aren’t a complex recipe, however, they do demand a lot of precision. And this is why we ask that you try to follow every step to the letter. Not letting your eggs sit at room temperature will affect the shell texture. And modifying the measurements can also affect the balance of the recipe. That is why we recommend you grab a Kitchen Scale, to make sure all the measurements are perfect.
First, you’ll need to lightly grease two baking sheets, we’ll use these for the shells. Grab a bowl and use the sieve to sift the powdered sugar and almond flour. Press with a spatula until only the large chunks remain on the sieve, and now discard those leftovers.
Use a mixer to beat the egg whites, salt, and tartar, make sure to keep at it until it has a frothy texture. Start beating faster while you add the sugar and keep up at it for 3 minutes or so. Your whites should look stiff and glossy by now. You can add your choice of Food Coloring now for a more classic look. Different colors need different amounts but 8 drops should suffice in most cases.
Now it’s time to combine the sifted ingredients with the whites, keep beating for 2 minutes until you get a thicker texture out of the mix. Now you can grab a pastry bag and fill it with our batter. Pipe the batter into the baking sheets making one-inch circles with roughly one inch of separation from each other. Make sure to release any bubbles by lightly tapping the sheet and now let this mix sit for 45 minutes.
While we wait for the batter to be perfect we can begin to preheat the oven. We need the oven to reach a temperature of 300 and this is vital to make sure that the Macarons turn out perfect. Baking temperature is as important as the quantities after all. For the perfect result, it’s better not to trust any built-in thermometers. And you shouldn’t open the oven mid-cooking to check either. A wireless thermometer will allow you to have an accurate reading and prevent any mistakes with your Macarons.
Once the batter is ready you can bake 13 to 14 while making sure to rotate the sheet halfway through the process. Do this with both sheets and then allow your shells to cool down for 10 to 15 minutes.
Now all you need to do is to mix the ingredients for the filling and either spread or pipe it into the shells, making sure to make a sandwich shape for each Macaron. Wrap the Macarons in plastic and refrigerate them until they are ready to serve.
Macarons are not a difficult recipe but they are a precise one. You shouldn’t have much of an issue baking them, but you need to make sure to pay attention to the details. These small treats are delicate in both flavor and execution, but as long as you follow this recipe you should have no issue at all.