You know those pretty packages of fluffy looking cookies that look too perfect to be real? I often stare at them and am in awe of how someone could craft something so beautiful and simple! After all, they look so perfect, they must be difficult and uber-technical, right? I’ve always loved the look of sweet and delicate desserts, so when a colleague showed me a recipe for Macaroons, I had to try making them. They’ve always been a bit intimidating to me, but this recipe seemed basic enough and here’s what I ended up with.
The scarcest of ingredients was the almond meal. It tends to be a bit expensive, so an alternative might be of interest. The best substitute is fine cornmeal – just make sure you use a flavor extract so it doesn’t taste like cornbread (unless you’re going for savory). Next time, I’m going to do this with a cranberry relish filling instead of icing!
Today I made a basic vanilla macaroon with vanilla buttercream filling. They are definitely a light treat (even if mine don’t look quite so delicate…).
Macaroons – 1 ¾ Cups powdered sugar, 1 ¾ Cups almond mean (or fine cornmeal), 3 large egg whites (I used eggbeaters whites), ¼ tsp salt, 3 Tbsp granulated sugar, ½ tsp vanilla or other flavoring
- In medium bowl, combine powdered sugar and almond meal, set aside
- Beat together egg whites and salt with whisk attachment on high speed until peaks are soft (tips curl)
- Beat in sugar 1 Tbsp at a time
- Beat in flavoring and food coloring (if you like) until peaks are stiff (stand straight)
- Using a spatula, fold half of the almond mixture into the egg white mixture, then fold remaining in until smooth
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and use a ¼ inch round decorating tip, or cut a hole in the corner of a sandwich bag
- Pipe batter into 1 ¼ inch mounds – make sure they are approximately 1 ½ inches apart
- Tip: to release air bubbles, lift cookie sheet ~ 5 inches above the counter and drop 4 times
- LET SIT 20-30 MINUTES, or until the tops are no longer sticky looking
- Bake at 300*F for 12-15 minutes, let cool and assemble into sandwiches
Frosting – 2 Tbsp softened butter, 2 Tbsp shortening (I use butter flavored), 1 Cup powdered sugar, 1 ½ tsp milk, ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- Beat butter and shortening in an electric mixer until smooth
- Beat in powdered sugar ½ cup at a time
- Add milk and vanilla, beat until creamy
A Few Tips:
If they stick to the parchment paper, use a paring knife to slide under the macaroon. Make sure you let them cool for a good long time before removing them from the paper, this will help avoid cracking. Next time I’ll use an actual decorating tip to get the right size rounds, but they taste good nonetheless.
We enjoyed them with our Sunday afternoon coffee, a perfect combination if you ask me, complete with my Anthropologie mug!! I hope everyone had a good weekend.
What’s your favorite weekend treat?