From weddings to afternoon tea, macarons are everywhere right now, and it’s no wonder why.
WITH A SATISFYING CRISP AND CHEWY TEXTURE AND a whole range of delectable flavors, French macarons make for the perfect springtime treat. Although these little delights can be tricky to perfect, a little practice and a patient loving touch will have you turning out beautiful macarons to enjoy with friends and loved ones. Macaron lore details that their most basic version was first introduced to the world by Catherine de’Medici’s Italian chefs, but the most recognizable French macaron was pioneered by Ladurée. Famous for its whimsical color and flavor options, this pastry shop has locations all over the world from Paris to Singapore to New York.
1. WHISK TOGETHER ALMOND MEAL AND
confectioner's sugar and sift into a large mixing bowl.
2. BRISKLY BEAT EGG WHITES UNTIL LIGHT
and frothy for 2-3 minutes, and then begin to slowly incorporate the granulated sugar and almond extract until shiny peaks begin to form. This should take about 5 minutes.
3. NEXT, FOLD EGG WHITES INTO ALMOND
mixture until thoroughly combined. Mix vigorously with spatula until the mixture takes up a thick syrupy consistency.
4. TRANSFER MIXTURE TO A PASTRY BAG
with 1/2 inch cut off the tip. Pipe one-inch round shells about one inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let dry on the counter until the tops are firm and completely dry.
5. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 350 DEGREES,
and bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes, being gentle with the baking sheets as you remove them from the oven. Rotate once to ensure even cooking.
6. ALLOW YOUR MACARON SHELLS TO DRY
completely, and then add your desired fillings. Some of our favorites include rose-flavored cream cheese frosting, hazelnut chocolate spread, raspberry jam (be sure to strain to prevent sogginess), orange marmalade, and salted-butter caramel.
1 1/4 cups almond meal or almond flour
1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Jam, nut butter, chocolate spread, or desired filling
This straightforward meringue-based French macaron shell is the simplified version. Things really get exciting once you start to experiment with the endless flavor and color combinations.
For a chocolaty shell, try incorporating Dutch cocoa mix or vanilla extract with natural red food coloring for a tasty twist on the classic. Be sure to add any dry flavoring to the almond meal/sugar mixture and the extracts and color to the wet meringue to ensure consistency in texture.
"Perfect with a cup of coffee, fresh fruit juice, or a post-dinner treat, these delectable delights have become something of a pop icon in the culinary world."
From weddings to afternoon tea, macarons are everywhere right now, and it’s no wonder why. Wonderfully delicate and sumptuous, make these a part of your spring-baking lineup.
If you’d rather leave it to the professionals, we have our very own masters of the macaron arts here in the Hudson Valley.
HERE ARE JUST A FEW:
FRIDA’S BAKERY + CAFE Milton 845-795-5550 fridasbakeryny.com
GROUNDED Kingston 845-514-3432 groundedny.com
SÉRAPHINE BAKERY Kingston 845-331-0201 seraphinebakery.com
ALTERNATIVE BAKER Rosendale 845-658-3355 lemoncakes.com
ELLA’S BELLA’S Beacon 845-765-8502 ellasbellasbeacon.com
THE VILLAGE TEAROOM New Paltz 845-255-3434 thevillagetearoom.com