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French Macarons

The French Macaron is a French pastry made with a meringue, almond flour and powdered sugar. Two cookies are sandwiched together with a delicious berry, tart, or sweet filling. 

With only four ingredients in the shell (almond flour, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, and egg whites), naturally, these cookies are Gluten Free. Although some fillings may include gluten, most fillings are made Gluten Free.

The Macaron

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Macarons are a delicious French pastry known for its smooth outer shell, chewy center, and tiny "feet". Although only four ingredients, they are one of the most challenging pastries to master. They are finicky little things and each batch can be affected by a variety of factors: development of a stable meringue, using proper technique (called the macaronage) to incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, drying time, oven temperature, and even just the weather outside!

The flavor of the macaron comes from the filling. When the filling is piped into the center of a shell and sandwiched together, the shell will mature and absorb the delicious flavor from the filling. Popular fillings include buttercreams, jams, chocolate ganache, and curds. 

 

Although challenging to make, they are not impossible to make at home! With a few important kitchen tools, attending an in-person or virtual baking class, or watching several Youtube videos, you can and will eventually master these on your own! 

The Process

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It all begins with measuring your ingredients in Grams, sifting your almond flour and powdered sugar together, and making sure your egg whites are at room temperature. A digital scale is extremely helpful! There are three meringue methods: French, Italian, and Swiss. I like to use the Swiss meringue method, which requires you to heat your granulated sugar and egg whites in a double boiler, just until the sugar melts. After the sugar has melted, it is time to develop the meringue. I use a KitchenAid stand mixer and gradually whip the egg white and sugar mixture until stiff peaks are formed. All of the air incorporated into the meringue is extremely important to a successful macaron.

It is now time to move to the "Macaronage" stage. You will slowly incorporate the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar into the meringue (in three parts). Be extremely careful not to deflate the meringue! Once everything is incorporated, it is now time to fold and gently deflate the mixture until the mixture effortlessly flows off of the spatula. Many say it should resemble molten lava. Once ready, it is time to pipe the batter onto your baking surface. I like to use silicon mats with the macaron template built in. Once the batter is piped, it is now time to dry the batter until a dry shell forms. It is now time to bake!

If each stage was done correctly, you will achieve the perfect shells. Sandwich your shells together your choice of filling and store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for at least 24 hours. This is called maturing the macaron shells and it allows the shells to absorb all of the flavor and soften the center of the shell.

Enjoying and Storing your Macarons

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For optimal flavor and freshness, they are best if stored in the refrigerator and should be enjoyed within 5-days of delivery date. Your macarons should be removed from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before eating to enjoy their full flavor.

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