Finished Macarons, after some experimentation.As you can see, too hot of an oven can create macs with concave bottoms.
- a scale (crucial for measuring to the exact gram or oz!)
- fine mesh sifter (I picked mine up from the dollar store)
- food processor (try to find one that will last. I went through 3 of them in the past year)
- Kitchen Aid (or similar), a hand mixer can also do the trick
- piping bag and large round tip
- Parchment paper or Silicon Mats (mine are from Crate & Barrel & Silpat)
- gel food colouring (I am currently using the Wilton brand)
- thicker baking trays (this helps prevents the macaron shells from getting too much heat)
Ingredients for the Macaron Shells:
100g of Aged Egg Whites (2-3 days in airtight container at room temperature)
225g of Powdered Sugar (also known as icing sugar)
125g of Almond Meal
5g of Dehydrated Egg White Powder (also known as albumen)
28g of Granulated Sugar
French Meringue Method for Macaron Shells:
1. Measure all ingredients with a scale.
2. Process almond meal and icing sugar in the food processor.
3. Sift the blended almond meal and powdered sugar through a fine mesh.
4. Start beating egg whites at low speed (2 on my Kitchen Aid).
5. When egg whites are foamy (mousse-like) add in the dehydrated egg white powder (albumen) and granulated sugar mixture.
6. Choose the colour you want for your Earl Grey macarons. I used a blue gel food colouring for these shells (Wilton Sky Blue). Don't be afraid to make the macarons a shade darker as the colour will lighten in the oven.
7. Increase speed on Kitchen Aid to 4. Beat egg whites until "soft peaks" form (stop, and tilt head back, look to see if egg whites form a small bird's beak). Do a check by stopping the mixer and tilting the head back to check the firmness of the peak. If a peak stays up, then you are done. Ensure that they are not stiff or foamy since that means you have gone too far! You have now made the "meringue".
8. Slowly add the blended almond meal-powdered sugar mixture 2 tablespoons at a time to the meringue you have created. Try using Chef Nini's method.
9. Mixing in a clockwise rotation seems best. The process that she describes is slowly adding your almond mixture into the egg whites in a clockwise direction. She also split her almond mixture into 6 parts. Mixing in a clockwise direction do the following:
1st part= 16 turns
2nd part = 11 turns
3rd part = 14 turns
4th part = 11 turns
5th part = 11 turns
6th part = 23 turns. Take a look at the video for a more detailed visual.
Here the macaron mixture flows like 'magma'
10. Once the mixture feels and looks like magma (flows slowly - as pictured above) transfer it to a piping bag.
11. Pipe out small circles. I tend to pipe down and then do a quick circular movement to the right to finish piping one shell.
12. Pipe approximately 30 shells on each tray. Before piping the next sheet, firmly rap tray on floor or counter to get rid of any air bubbles inside the shells. This is called "tamping".
13. Use a toothpick to pop air bubbles on shells (this part is essential otherwise you get volcanoes instead of smooth macaron shells)
14. Let macarons sit for at least 30-45 minutes until a skin forms and is dry to the touch (this is also an important step)
15. Preheat oven to 250-295 degrees Fahrenheit.
If baking at 295F put one tray in the oven and bake for 8 minutes, then rotate tray (by now the feet should have formed!) and bake for another 11 minutes.
If baking at 250F (which I've been doing since we moved), bake the shells for 20-30 minutes before rotating the pan and baking for another 10 minutes. This allows for the shells to rise slowly enough to form a firm crust and the sought after pied (feet)
16. Take out of oven, allow macarons to cool.
17. Peel from silpat/silicon mat, and get ready to fill with your buttercream.
Note: Everyone's oven is different! I highly encourage you to experiment and bake some test batches and take notes. I use a table to help me with the headings: Resting Time, Temperature In, Bake Time and Results. For instance, when I used to live on the 10th floor of a south facing building I was resting my macarons for 30 minutes and then baking them at 295F for 8 minutes, rotate and then another 11 minutes. Now that we have moved and have a different oven I am baking my macarons at a lower temperature of 250F (which really measures at 275F) for 20 minutes, rotating and then another 10 minutes.
Earl Grey Buttercream (based on Pierre Herme's method)
80g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
1 whole egg (~60g)
1 egg yolk
160g soft butter (cut into cubes)
One bag of double bergamot (Earl Grey) tea
1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small pot.
2. Heat the sugar to 250F(120C). If it boils clean the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush. Try not to continually mix the solution. Allow it to heat on its own.
3. In another bowl or the bowl of your Kitchen Aid whisk the eggs and egg yolks until it lightens in colour.
4. Once the hot sugar mixture reaches 250F pour immediately into the whisking egg mixture. You may find turning down the whisking speed temporarily will help prevent hot sugar threads from flying everywhere. However, it is imperative to pour the hot sugar mixture in quickly and then increase to a higher whisking speed.
5. Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled down completely. It will start to look like a meringue and be glossy.
6. Meanwhile, cream then whisk the butter until it has thickened.
7. Once the egg mixture-meringue has cooled, add the butter.
8. Continue whisking until the butter cream is smooth. It may curdle slightly but this is okay. Keep whisking and the butter cream will come back together.
9. Cut open the tea bag and sprinkle into the buttercream and whisk until smooth.
10. Immediately transfer butter cream into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle and pipe away.
11. Pipe a small mound of butter cream onto each half shell.
12. Top with the matching shell to finish the macaron.
Once you are done matching and topping shells, resist the temptation to eat them! Macarons should be stored in the fridge in a covered container for 2 days to reach its optimal flavour and texture. When you are ready to eat them, take out of the fridge two hours before eating. If you are making an entire batch for a special event or can't finish all of them (like me) freeze you macarons in a covered container. Prior to eating defrost in a covered container for 2-3 hours in room temperature.
These macarons taste quite delicious. As you take a bite of the macaron, it is similar to taking a sip of Earl Grey tea. Pairing these macarons with Earl Grey Tea on a sunny afternoon would be perfect! Alternatively, bring them out to eat at a picnic, for dessert or even a small afternoon snack.
If you happen to be in the Edmonton or surrounding area and want to actually purchase these macarons, I do sell them! Go check out my macaron purchasing page for details!