Gesine Bullock-Prado has a new book out called Sugar Baby. The book is awesome and there is also a website to go with it for tutorials.
Also, I've made this recipe as a first timer and had no problems (not from Prado's book).
I do not have a food processor. I bought Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour-raw almonds already ground up, but I sifted the bag a couple of times and instead of forcing the bigger pieces through to become smaller, I discarded them. If you have a food processor, I would re-grind the whole amount of almonds called for with the powdered sugar. I also used regular powdered sugar from the grocery store which probably has cornstarch in it. I have made these four times (4 batches), but all in separate batches-not combining ingredients to make more than once batch at a time.
I've filled them with basic chocolate ganache, swiss meringue butter cream and played around with adding caramel to the buttercream, and lemon curd to the buttercream.
2. Parchment paper
4. Powdered sugar
5. Granulated sugar
6. Egg whites
8. Round tip
9. Piping bag
11. Stand or hand mixer
Basic recipe for French meringue macarons
Makes 35-40 whole macarons
-100 gr (1 1/8 cup) ground almonds (make sure to grind more than 100 grams/1 1/8 cup)
-100-110 gr (3/8 cup) egg whites (about 3 egg whites), aged 1 day at room temperature covered with clingfilm
-200 gr (1 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
-4 tablespoons (about 45 gr) granulated sugar
Grind the almonds in a food processor. Sift to get rid of any large pieces (read visible) or lumps.
Mix the powdered sugar together with the ground almonds in a food processor.
In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with a hand- or stand mixer. As the egg whites start foaming, add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue whipping until the mixture is glossy and stiff. You should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the meringue sliding out!
Fold the dry mixture into the meringue using a spatula. Add food coloring if desired and fold until fully mixed. The mixture should flow like a ribbon when you hold up the spatula. Dont overmix! If you want to test if the batter has good consistency, just dollop some batter on a piece of parchment paper. If the dollop slowly flattens, youre good to go! If not, just keep folding.
I usually find that a slightly under-mixed batter is better than an over-mixed.
If you want to color your macarons, its generally better to use powdered food coloring, or pastes that are low in liquid.
If you, like me, find it difficult to fill a pastry bag with only two hands, put your piping bag in a tall glass or jar.
Fill your piping bag and pipe the macarons onto baking sheets, I usually end up with two sheets. Remember that the shells will flatten once youve piped, so dont make them too big. About 2,5-3 cm (1 inch) is enough.
Let them set for 60 minutes to form a dry skin.
Heat the oven to 150° C (300 degrees F). Bake for 10-12 minutes in the middle of the oven. Keep a close eye on them the last couple of minutes as they brown easily. You can test if they are done by touching the tip of a macaron, if it wobbles they are not done.
Let the shells cool completely before removing them from the baking sheets. If you have trouble removing them from the paper, put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes. Pipe your filling of choice on a shell and sandwich together with another shell.
There is an endless list of flavors you can use for macarons. The best way to flavor the shells is to use dry flavorings, such as dried, ground zest from lime, lemon or orange. You can replace half of the ground almonds with ground pistachios or any other type of nut. If you want to make chocolate shells, just replace 15 grams of the powdered sugar with cocoa powder (that means 185 gr powdered sugar + 15 gr cocoa powder). Chocolate macarons usually need to be baked for a few minutes more, about 14-15 minutes. Dont worry if the shells seem too hard and crunchy, after a day or two in the refrigerator (with filling) they will be perfect! Ground instant coffee is also a perfect way to add flavor to your shells, just add 1-2 tablespoons to the dry mixture depending on how strong you want the coffee flavor to be.
The shells can also be sprinkled with, for example, chopped pistachios or a pinch of sea salt to add even more flavor. Just remember to do this right after youve piped the shells on the baking sheet, before they form a dry skin.
You can use any type of filling you like, my favorites are ganaches and buttercreams, but you can also use jams and curds if you want to. If the filling contains a lot of liquid I recommend eating them the same day. If not, keeping them a day or two (in a box with an air-tight lid of course) in the regrigerator will only make them taste better! It's best to sandwich the macarons and leave them in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Dark chocolate ganache
-150 gr (1 3/8 cup) chopped dark chocolate
-150 ml (5/8 cup) heavy cream
Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for a minute and then stir until combined. Let cool until firm enough to pipe.
Vanilla swiss meringue buttercream
-2 large egg whites
-90 gr (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
-110 gr (1/2 cup) softened butter (cut in pieces)
-1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
Whisk together egg whites and sugar in a heat-proof bowl. Put the bowl in a double-boiler with simmering water. Keep whisking until the mixture reaches 65 degrees C (150 degrees F). Remove from heat. Start whipping the mixture with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until it is white and fluffy, like meringue. Whip until cool, this can take up to 10 minutes. Add the butter slowly, piece by piece and keep whipping for another 3 minutes. If the mixture looks soupy and grainy, dont give up! Just keep whipping and itll come together. Add the vanilla or any other type of flavoring and whip until fully combined.
Store filled macarons in an air tight box in the refrigerator for 5-6 days. It is also possible to freeze them once theyre filled.