Vanilla Buttercream Macarons
I have a love/hate relationship with macarons. I love eating them they're round, colorful, happy, with endless variety of flavors, but baking them is a whole different experience and far from happy.
I remember when I first tried macarons; I was in Milan and I wanted to see the Ludreé (they have the BEST macarons OK maybe after Pierre Hermé ). I was standing in the middle of the shop overwhelmed by the beauty of displays, rainbows of macarons, and the endless flavors. My eyes couldn't capture all the magnificence the place had to offer; gorgeous decoration & vitrines. My mouth was already watering as I look at the descriptions of macarons...lemon basil, jasmine, black pepper... I wanted them all. It was as I opened a box of color pencils and couldn't decide which one to use first. I was about to ask the gorgeous girl behind the counter whose makeup and dress was as lovely as the macarons in the showcase, can I have one of each please?!
I was in my own world, when My niece Mahroo said: "did you hear what she said"...I'm like..who? said what? She replied the girl behind the counter said Jasmine flavor makes you nostalgic for Iran. I smiled, oh she's Persian too. It was actually then that I paid attention to her face and I could see her Persian eyes and lovely smile.
So we chatted for a little bit and I picked 6 or 7 macarons. Since they didn't allow photography inside the store, I sat outside of the store on the curb and quickly snapped some photos so I can start eating them. Each one with vibrant color & more flavorful than the other; now I don't remember which was my favorite flavor, but the point is that I adore Macarons.
I even took a macaron class at Lenôtre in Paris and of course when the Chef Legrads was baking them, it all seemed so easy, but the reality in my kitchen is/was far from easy.
It didn't matter what recipe I used, I've tried Lenôtre recipes, I've tried Pierre Hermé recipes, I've tried Christophe Felder recipes. I still sent trays after trays of flat, cracked, too puffy, no feet macarons to trash...(don't tell my mom ;) she hates wasting stuff). I truly believe it's not the recipe, it's your relationship with macarons. I read in some blogs: "Macarons do respond wonderfully to patience, encouragement, and a loving touch". So I was going to do just that!
As I approach my third series of attempting to bake macarons,( and by series I mean I bake macarons for two or three days at a time), I'm nervous, anxious, and excited at the same time. I walk to my kitchen where I've already measured the ingredients the night before. One thing that I've learned is to have all the ingredients and tools ready before you start. I know this is true for baking in general but is more important when you bake macarons.
I started that morning at 7am and didn't leave the kitchen until 8pm, and even though my last attempt was a semi success, I'm far from being a master of them. But until then, I'm going to share my findings with you.
Join the conversation:
How you tried baking macarons? Were you successful? Do you have tips that can help us all? Please share :)
Vanilla Buttercream Macaron
125g ground Almond or almond Meal
225g confectioner sugar
100g egg whites
2 tbsp sugar
75g whole milk
30g egg yolks
200g butter ; softened
1 pod vanilla
Have all your tools ready: 2 trays lined with parchment paper, piping bag with round tip 405 or 408, template for piping (read notes below)
In a food processor, mix together ground almond and powdered sugar until finely ground
Sift the mixture and get rid of any lumps
In the bowl of your stand mixer, Beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, then add the sugar slowly
On medium speed continue beating the egg whites until shiny, fluffy, and hold stiff peak. be very careful not to overbeat the eggs (the meringue takes on a lumpy texture)
At this point, I find it easier if I transfer the egg whites to a stainless steel bowl and add the almond powder mix in three rounds; folding gently with a plastic spatula Lift from the bottom, up around the sides, and toward the middle, being careful to not over agitate the meringue and lose too much air. Once the almond mixture is incorporated, add the second half and repeat the folding motion.
After you incorporated the almond mixture, you have to transform the batter into the right texture by stroking the batter with the flat spatula until you have a batter that would not spread flat when pipped.
Pour the batter into the pastry bag and pipe out the batter on the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper; with the template underneath the paper
Make sure that your paper is straight and has no wrinkles
When piping the macarons, pipe straight down to the paper and squeeze the bag enough to fill the circle of your template, but don’t pull the bag straight up, go in a circular motion and remove the tip from the side of macarons.
Once macarons are all piped, hold the baking sheet in both hands, rap each baking sheet firmly on the counter two or three times. This smooths out the top and get rid of any air bubbles in the macarons.
Preheat your oven between 290-300 F (143c)
Allow macarons to rest for 30-40 minutes or until it forms a skin. This will prevent macarons from cracking and helps forming the feet.
It’s best if you bake one tray at a time; placing the tray on the medium rack and bake for 10-15 minutes
Once done, place the tray on a rack to cool down, macarons should be releasing easily from the paper
Vanilla Buttercream Process:
In a medium saucepan, bring milk, sugar, and the vanilla to boil. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and while stirring add the egg mix. Simmer until your reach 179F
In the bowl of your stand mixer and with the whisk attachment whip the milk/egg mixture with the softened butter until you reach 86F; keep it cool in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours
*Use aged egg whites, leave them out of refrigerator at least 24-48 hours prior to baking
*To get all the macarons the same size, make a template prior to piping them, get a piece of parchment paper the same size as your baking sheet and draw circles of 1 1/2″ in diameter with 2″space in between them.Place the template under the parchment paper that is covering your tray, remove after piping
*Have all your tools ready before you begin
*Ensure all your utensils and bowl are clean and dry
Source: Patisserie: Mastering The Fundamental Of French Pastry by Christophe Felder