These sophisticated cookies are called macarons and not macaroons. The word macaron, is actually derived from the Italian word "macaroni". The history of the macarons is confusing, one thing for sure is that the French adopted these sophisticated cookies as early as 1533 and were introduced by Catherine de' Medici.
At the time, these fancy cookies were simply a sweet meringue composed with ground almonds, egg whites, and sugar. No flavors or fillings were added. Then, as time went by, the macarons were no longer a simple cookie, flavors and fillings were added.
They are now served with two cookies sandwiched, with a filling of your choice. The fillings range from ganache, buttercream or jam. The macarons are
characterized with a thin crispy crust at the top, a moist almond meringue in the middle and a perfect "foot" with a flat glossy base. They are quite challenging and overwhelming at first, but follow my steps and tricks and you will see that these amazing cookies are not complicated as they may seem.
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1 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup almond flour or ground flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar (granulated sugar works as well)
Preheat your oven at 375 degrees
Sift both icing sugar and almond flour twice.To make your own almond flour, pulse white almonds in a food processor until it because like flour.
Whisk egg whites until you get a foamy texture.
Add a pinch of cream of tartar. Whisk again until you get soft peaks.
Once peaks are formed add the superfine sugar or granulated sugar.
Continue whisking until you get stiff peaks. Add your flavoring and your food coloring.
Add half of the flour mixture into your meringue and gently fold until mixture is smooth and shiny (about 50 times). Repeat same process with the other half of the flour mixture.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag and pipe round shapes using a plain round tip. You can pipe on a silicone macarons sheet or on a parchment-lined baking sheet 1 inch apart.
Once all your macarons piped, tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. (If you skip this step your macarons will crack or not raise properly.) Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 5-10 minutes depending on your stove. Bake 1 sheet at a time, until macarons are crisp and firm but not brown at the top. After each batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees.
Let macarons cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Once cooled off, you should see the glossy base of your cookie.
Sandwich 2 macarons with filling of your choice and enjoy the delight.
*** They can also be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Align your cookies between two parchment papers and conserve them in a air tight container wrapped in plastic.***
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For a better visual tutorial click on this picture and watch my video on YouTube.
Have fun caking!
Liliana da Silva