Macarons are probably one of the easiest things a person can fall in love with. The endless possibilities in shell and filling combinations is mind-blowing, and whatever combination in colour and flavour one chooses, the results will almost always be a guaranteed winner. I mean just look at how adorable these things are! Making macarons has evolved from being intimidating to something really fun to do.
Now I know this is only my third time making macarons, but it has been an incredible learning process. I think this is one of the things I love most about making these babies: I learn something new every single time. The difference in my understanding from my preparation to make it the first time, to the second time, and now this third try is immense. I made these macarons using my old oven, which has been sent over for repairs. As with my previous macarons, I still got lopsided shells, but this time I managed to get more even ones as well.
See here is the reason why I keep sticking to the recipe from the Les Petits Macarons cookbook: when the feet come out right, they are perfect as can be.
I also got some very nice underbellies. I think it’s a very good recipe.
Anyway, here are some of the new things I noticed on my third try:
- Even though my oven’s heat distribution is off, I got a lot more even-footed shells this time around by placing my baking tray on top of another one baking on the middle rack of the oven. I read this trick somewhere and it says there this elevation helps the macarons get the best of the heat circulation.
- I noticed that most of the macarons I piped close to the edges of the baking pan did not rise evenly. Next time I will keep about an inch of distance between my macaron and the edges of my baking pans as the small space probably inhibits equal heat distribution.
My concerns are still mostly oven heat issues. I already feel like I have a good handle on the macaronner/folding process, and I already have a feel for how the batter should be when it’s ready, so the scariest aspect in macaron-making no longer scares me at all. Maybe when I get the oven fixed I’ll finally have a full batch of good, even macarons? Fingers crossed.
The greenness of today’s macarons comes from food colouring. At first I was a little nervous about folding it in because liquid food colouring takes a while to fully incorporate into the batter, but it all worked out perfectly in the end. They’re supposed to be matcha-flavoured, but as I have mentioned in another post, the matcha powder I have is the un-concentrated, sweetened kind. The matcha flavour is so mild it is lost within the strong sweetness of the white chocolate filling I decided to pair the macarons with.
Good news is, since the filling is infused with green tea as well, the flavour of the tea becomes a little more present. I was still not satisfied though. I feel a bit like the filling overpowered my macarons a little too much. White chocolate is a very sweet type of chocolate and this sweetness can tend to be very strong. I actually felt that to be true in this case, although the macarons still tasted delicious nonetheless.
I would still make these macarons with real matcha once I get my hands on that, but I would change the filling into something a little more mild and soothing, something fitting to the relaxing vibes of green tea. It could also be that I just dislike white chocolate in general, but if you are unlike me and love white chocolate as I know many people do, then I am certain you will love these macarons as is.
Makes about 24 1.5-inch sandwiched macarons
- 165 grams almond flour *
- 165 grams confectioner's sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 5 grams powdered egg white, optional (I don't use them)
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 115 grams aged egg whites (from 4 eggs) **
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 to 4 drops green liquid food colouring
- 343 grams (12 ounces) white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder
- 2 tablespoons (8 grams or 4 tea bags) loose green tea
- 240 grams (1 cup) heavy cream
- 1. Place almond flour, confectioners' sugar, matcha powder, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse 4 times for 3 seconds each to combine them. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between pulses with a spoon or spatula.
- 2. Sift almond meal mixture with a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Set aside. *
- 3. In the bowl of the stand mixer, whisk together using your whisk attachment the granulated sugar and powdered egg whites (if using), then mix in the egg whites and cream of tartar until the mixture is homogenous.
- 4. Set the bowl unto the mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until the meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks. This will take about 10 minutes. Stop the mixer once the whisk leaves heavy marks in the meringue as it goes around in the bowl and the mixture resembles marshmallow fluff. To see if the meringue is ready, turn the bowl to the side or upside-down and check if the meringue slips in the bowl. If it does not move or slide at all after about 3 seconds of being tilted or held upside-down, then move on to the macaronner stage.
- 5. With a spatula, quickly fold the sifted dry ingredients into the meringue to beat out the air bubbles in the mixture. Once the mixture looks to be 80% incorporated (there will streaks of dry ingredients left), scrape the sides of the bowl then fold in food colouring with as few strokes as possible. To test if the batter is ready, scoop up some batter and drop it back into the bowl. It should have a thick consistency like flowing lava and the batter dropped in should disappear into the rest of the mixture after about 3 to 5 seconds.
- 6. Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Fill the bag halfway to about 3/4 all the way full. If you overfill the bag, you will not be able to squeeze the bag properly to pipe even shells. Twist the top of the bag to lock in the mixture.
- 7. Pipe the meringue on a parchment or silicone-line baking sheet into approximately 1-inch mounds, spacing them about 1 to 1-1/2 inches apart.*** Holding the tip of the bag at a 90-degree angle about 1/4-inch above the baking sheet, firmly squeeze batter until a small round is formed (you may use a piping guide for macarons to make things easier). Do not move the bag while squeezing the batter and just keep it straight up. Once desired size is attained, release pressure from the bag and move on to the next round.****
- 8. Once the baking sheet has been filled with macaron rounds, lift your baking sheet about 6 inches above the countertop then firmly slam them down to remove excess air and to settle any tails left on the surface of the rounds. Do it about 6 times and let the air bubbles rise and pop. Leave macarons on the countertop for about 30 to 40 minutes to form a "skin".
- 9. Once macaron shell have hardened and the meringue no longer sticks to your finger when you poke it lightly, bake at 200°F (95°C) for 12 to 15 minutes to dry out the shells. Rotate the pan then increase the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C) for 10 minutes, rotating the pan again halfway through to ensure more even baking.*****
- 10. Remove first batch of macarons and lower temperature back to 200°F (95°C). Slide parchment paper or silicone mat unto a cooling rack and let the macaron shells cool completely, about 1 hour. Bake the rest of the dried shells in the same way.
- 11. Place chopped white chocolate in a bowl with the matcha powder sprinkled over it. Set aside.
- 12. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the tea and cream to a boil. Let it steep for 5 minutes, the press the tea to extract as much flavour as possible, then strain the tea-infused cream.
- 13. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately pour it over the white chocolate. Wait 1 minute to let the chocolate melt completely the stir until the mixture is completely smooth.
- 14. Pour the ganache into a shallow pan and let cool at room temperature until it becomes pipeable, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. To check if it is ready for piping, use a small spoon to scoop out some of the ganache. If it holds a ball-like shape, it is ready.
- 15. Once all shells have been baked and cooled, pair shells by size. Pipe some white chocolate ganache in the center of one shell, leaving about 1/4-inch all around the sides, and sandwich with another. Twist lightly to secure the shells together.
- Storage: Sandwiched macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, or frozen for up to three weeks. Ganache can be kept covered and refrigerated for up to two weeks.
- * If you're planning to grind almonds for your almond meal like I do, take 165 grams of almonds and grind in a food processer for about 3 to 5 minutes. The almonds will still look course but remember that you will be pulsing them again with the confectioners' sugar and salt. Once you sift them to prepare them for folding into your egg whites, you might have big bits left over in your sifter. Put these back into the food processor and grind again until you are left with very little large bits. I usually grind until I am left with about 1/4 teaspoon large bits, then I just throw them in with the rest of the mixture. The goal is to make most of the almond meal as fine as possible for a smooth shell, but having a teensy bit of big bits in there won't make your shells lumpy.
- ** I aged my egg whites on the counter overnight loosely covered with plastic wrap. You will need almost exactly egg whites from 4 eggs. I'm usually left with about 1/4 teaspoon of egg whites after weighing so don't worry about leftovers since you will be using almost all of them.
- *** Since I didn't pipe my macarons too far apart, that might have hindered them from rising properly in my already bad oven.
- **** The book calls for rotating your hand in a clockwise motion to avoid having a "tail" on top of your macaron rounds. I do not do this because my tail typically sinks into my macaron batter after a few seconds, and more so after I bang the baking sheet on the counter, but if you fell like your batter is thicker than it should be, do the twisting motion to be sure.
- ***** For now I just bake one tray at a time because my oven is bad and I'm not brave or experienced enough to bake 2 trays yet. By the 12 minute mark, when you see the macarons already have sturdy feet, you can rotate the baking sheet and turn up the oven temperature.
Green is such a lovely colour. Wonder what my next macaron flavour will be?