Macarons are the death of me. With the little patience I have with simple baked goods, I don’t know why I still try to make these terribly temperamental cookies. But alas, I took on the challenge and I think I accomplished my goal of not failing.
I’ve been drinking tons of Earl Grey tea lately and thought it was a great flavor to incorporate into this pesky cookie. I, for some reason, started thinking of strange flavors to infuse into these macarons. I truly considered basil and balsamic vinegar infused macarons…but was a little too afraid of the outcome. Maybe next time.
So with the little patience I have, I made every possible effort of finding a macaron recipe that (a) did not require a scale (b) did not require me to wait 40 minutes after piping before placing the cookies in the oven. Laziness? Sure. Impatience? Absolutely. Efficient? Arguably yes.
This is NOT at all traditional or perfect. So don’t go saying “How dare she not use a scale??? How dare she not make her own almond meal? How dare she even publish this?!” I fully am aware I have minimal knowledge. I simply wanted to share my experience with you all. Cooking and baking, to me, is about fun and enjoying your creations with friends and family. It’s not trying to be the best/most correct one out there.
I suggest having everything, and I mean everything, ready and measured and sifted. Including your piping bag (with a size 12 round tip. If you don’t have this, I’ve used Ziploc bags before with a corner cut off). You don’t want to be scrambling to put your piping bag together as your labor intensive mixture sits in your bowl. As you can see, I have mine ready to go sitting in a large beer glass. A nice reminder that it will be five o’clock somewhere after I’m done with this insanity.
One big detail is the aged egg whites. This means egg whites separated 2 days prior to making this cookie (and left in an airtight container at room temperature). I coincidentally separated my egg whites thinking I was going to make them two days ago but forgot. I’ve used non-aged egg whites and still got the same results so either way (in my opinion) is fine. I honestly have little to no idea what this aging actually does to the recipe and I’m sure some macaron enthusiast will be shaking their head while reading this, but look in my About Me section. A recipe is a recipe. I tend not to follow them directly.
Also, make sure your oven is preheated to about 275 degrees F. Line some cookie sheets with parchment paper and you’re ready. If you don’t have the confidence to pipe even and circular cookies, I have seen people draw templates on the other side of the parchment. I’ve had a decent hand when it comes to these things, so I didn’t do it.
First: sift your almond meal and powdered sugar together in a bowl. I found almond meal at a local organic supermarket since I don’t have a good food processor.
Second: in a larger bowl, start whisking your egg whites with either a hand mixer or stand mixer. When it gets frothy, add your granulated sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
If you want to add food coloring (powder or gel), do it now. I attempted to make mine a nice pale purple but instead, I got a nice flesh color.
Mix at a relatively high speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture gets a nice sheen and firm texture. To check if your egg whites are ready, stop and pull out your whisk. The end of it should have a pretty firm peak.
Third: get a strong spatula out and add the almond mixture in about 6 sessions. Fold. I repeat, FOLD your almond and sugar mixture into the eggs. The mixture does not have to be perfectly mixed in every time you add more almond mixture. And fold clockwise. It’ll be easier.
Fourth: continue to add your almond mixture. Once you have added all of it, start really incorporating the mixture together. You want the consistency to be thick but able to flow off of your spatula. Check every few folds.
Fifth: get this glorious mixture into your piping bag and start piping onto your parchment paper. Go in a slow circular fashion.
Sixth: once done, tap your cookie sheet firmly on the counter to get rid of any bubbles in the mixture.
Seventh: check on your suspiciously quiet dog, who has apparently gutted her hedgehog toy.
Eighth: stick your cookie sheets in the oven for about 17 minutes. You will see that a little “foot” will form at the bottom of the cookie, which gives the macaron it’s distinctive look.
Ninth: take out and let cool. Move onto the buttercream filling.
Earl Grey Buttercream Ingredients:
First: take your softened butter and cream in a bowl.
Second: add remaining ingredients and mix. If needed, add more sugar to thicken the frosting.
Third: add 1/2 the contents of an Earl Grey teabag. Mix.
My fiancé asked if this was ranch dressing when he walked in…
Once the cookies have cooled, assemble your macarons!