One of my favorite desserts ever would be these delicious, chewy and pillowy macaroons. For me, a good macaroon must have the chewy cracked rings along the bottom and there should definitely be enough creme to balance out the flavors. This was my first try and I can't believe that I actually succeeded. All that means is that, if I can do it you can too!
I've looked at many different recipes and tried to figure out how to get the right consistency for my macaroons. So taking a few tips from here and there, I decided to try a recipe by Beth from Entertaining with Beth food blog. Beth really nailed the concepts of how to make the perfect macaroons here, so definitely give it a try. You can use any type or flavor or buttercream you want, but I used a coffee buttercream filling. This recipe will really test your patience, so be prepared, but believe me it really is worth it.
Macaroons 3 Egg Whites (must be room temperature) 1 cup Almond Meal 1/4 cup White Sugar Pinch of Salt 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar 2 cups Confectioners Sugar 1 tbsp Instant Coffee once sifted Fine sieve Piping bag
Buttercream 1/4 cup room temperature Butter 1/4 teaspoon of Salt 3/4 cup Icing Powdered Sugar 1/8 cup of Dark Espresso (2 tbsp instant Coffee Powder)
MACAROON STEPS When baking, the first thing you want to do is measure out all your ingredients and also pre-heat your oven. For this recipe, heat oven to 300f (148C) and use a baking tray evenly lined with parchment paper (baking paper). Please try to use baking paper and not butter lined tray because there is a good chance your macaroons will stick to the tray.
Once you have measured out and prepped all your ingredients, in a bowl or mixer, start mixing your egg whites until it starts to foam up. This should take about 3-4 minutes if you are using an electric mixer. After that add the salt, cream of tartar and a bit of white sugar at a time and keep mixing till stiff peaks form. This process could take around 5-7 minutes, and if you're patient enough, you should be left with glossy and firm peaks. By firm peaks I mean if you dip in your whisk and pull straight up, they should look like stiff peaks or the tip of Hershey's kisses. At this point, add in the instant coffee powder and mix till fully incorporated (only about 30-40 seconds). Don't overwhip your mixture, or else it will split at one point. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift almond meal and confectioners sugar through a sieve and discard any lumps which are left behind. Now you should have one bowl with the egg whites and one bowl of the powdery almond meal and sugar mixture. It's time to put it together and this is really where your patience and gracefulness will be tested. Using a baking spatula (alternatively a wooden spoon), slowly pour the almond mixture evenly over the white whites, and fold in the mixture. Remember you are folding in one direction and also incorporate everything gently as possible. Yes, this is not going to be easy, but believe me, if you get through this part, the end result will be worth it.
Once you are satisfied with the mixture and there are no lumps, slowly pour mixture into a piping bag. I had a tip for my piping bag, so I knew where to cut the tip, but if you don't just cut a .5cm tip and it should be big enough. Once you are ready with the mixture, slowly pipe circles (2inch diameter) onto your baking tray. Leave space in between your macaroons. Tap the tray on the counter gently to get the air bubbles out. At this point, let the macaroons sit on the tray at room temperature for at least 20-30min. This is the part that will ensure that your macaroons rise up and not widen when baking. The longer you wait, the better, but 20-30 minutes was really my limit.
Once the macaroons have had time to rest, slowly place it into the oven and let them bake for 20 minutes. This should give you enough time to whip up the buttercream. You don't want to undercook your macaroons and if unsure just taste one. They should be chewy on the inside and just slightly crack when you bite into it. If you over cook the macaroons then they might become rather biscuity, so you definitely want to avoid that too.
In a mixing bowl, mix the butter until it becomes light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the sugar a bit at a time. If you add the sugar at once, it could create lumps and you would have to beat for longer to get rid of them. Now add in the espresso and mix until fully incorporated. Taste the cream and if the coffee flavor isn't as strong as you would like, then you can add in more instant coffee powder or coffee extract. We don't want to add too much espresso itself because that would increase the moisture quantity in the cream, which would make it harder for the cream to set. Now put the buttercream into a piping bag and place in the fridge while the macaroons bake.
Once macaroons are baked, let them rest on a rack at room temperature. Once cooled, pipe in enough mixture to leave just about 2mm space around the corner of one macaroon. Now place another macaroon on top and you're done!
Tips: If you don't have room temperature eggs, then place the eggs in warm water for about 5 minutes and it should be good to go.
Variations: The general recipes can be kept the same, but lets say if you want a strawberry macaroon, then you have to do two changes: 1) Instead of the coffee powder, just add strawberry essence (1 tsp) and a splash of red food coloring to the macaroon mixture and 2) heat 5-6 strawberries in a saucepan with 1 tbsp water, once the strawberries have heated up, use a sieve to extract 1/8 cup of strawberry juice and place into freezer. Once the juice has completely cooled, then beat into the buttercream mixture to give it that good fresh strawberry kick to it.