French macarons are very pretty little desserts, and today is macaron day or Jour du Macaron. Jour du Macaron is a day begun by Pierre Hermes in which a group of mostly French bakeries, Relais Desserts, will give people a free macaron. Guests are then invited to give a donation to a charity. This year French bakers are giving the donations to Overcoming Cystic Fibrosis. But, other places around the world are beginning to celebrate Jour du Macaron. In 2010 Francois Payard began Macaron Day NYC, which will be giving its donations to City Harvest, who rescues food in the form of restaurant leftovers and takes it places where it is needed like shelters.
So, to celebrate Jour du Macaron, I am going to give you the vanilla bean macaron recipe I use. At some point, I do plan to do a more thorough tutorial on From Calculus to Cupcakes, which has a raspberry macaron recipe up today. My recipe is a bit different from most you see in that I do not age the egg whites. Aging the egg whites allows them to thicken because water is evaporated from them. I compensate for this by adding egg white powder, which is available at most grocery stores. The greatest tip I can give you to avoid air pocket is to make sure the macarons are actually done. If they are not done the inside will “fall” away from the shell kind of like a souffle falls leaving you with a hollow shell. If this is your first time making macarons, don’t despair if they are not perfect the first time. Try again. Change the temperature a little, add a little more or less egg white powder, until they turn out like you want them. Everyone’s oven temperature, altitude, and humidity are a little different, so you may have to play with it a bit. My recipe is slightly adapted from Not So Humble Pie’s recipe, who is a great source of macaron wisdom. The main difference being that I don’t age my egg whites and add more egg white powder, but it is also a little different in method. I beat my egg whites to a stiffer consistency but again this is something you might want to play around with. I have a feeling that everyone’s perfect recipe will be slightly different.
- 12 grams powdered egg whites
- 28 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams egg whites
- 125 grams almond flour
- 250 grams confectioners’ sugar
- the seeds of two vanilla beans, scraped from the bean
- 4 oz. mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment.
- Put almond flour, 250 grams confectioners’ sugar, and the seeds from one vanilla bean in the food processor and process until combined.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together egg white powder, granulated sugar, and egg whites. Don’t worry, they won’t really combine at this point.
- Beat egg white mixture together using whisk attachment on medium high until stiff peaks form.
- Fold almond flour mixture into the egg whites in three additions. Continue folding until the mixture will fall from the spatula in what looks like ribbons.
- Using a round tip, pipe mixture onto prepared sheets. You want circles about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pipe them from the center and let the circle grow rather than drawing circles.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Allow macarons to sit until a skin forms on top (about 30 minutes).
- Bake about 20 minutes or until cooked through. When macarons are done, they can be removed from the parchment fairly easily. They will stick to the parchment if they are not done.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- While macaron shells are cooling, beat together mascarpone, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and the remaining vanilla bean seeds.
- Pipe or spread filling on half of the shells, top with the remain shells, trying to match for size.
- Cookies will be best about 48 hours after filling as shells will soften slightly in that time.