Macaroon or macaron – the “King of Cookies”

    Macaroon day is May 31st. 

    If you have never tried making one of these delightful little cookies – now could be the time.

    The word macaron is derived from the Italian word, maccherone, meaning fine dough.

    It’s believed that the macaron cookie was born in Italy and brought over to France as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici, a noblewoman from Florence who married the future King of France, Henri II. The first macarons were very simple cookies made of sugar, almond flour and egg whites.  Macarons gained fame in 1792 when two Carmelite nuns seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution baked and sold macarons in order to support themselves, thus becoming known as “the macaron sisters”. The macarons they made were simple. No special flavors. No filling.  Just 100% cookie. French macaron bakeries did not become trendy  in North America until the 2010s.

    How to Make Macarons at Home

    Author: Amrita Rawat

    Ingredients
    • Sugar
    • Almond Flour
    • Egg whites
    Instructions
    1. Almond meal (finely ground almonds) will save you a lot of time, but you can also use regular almonds that you can grind yourself with a food processor. They do not have to be blanched! Other nuts also work… I’ve made successful macarons using pistachios or hazelnuts to replace almonds entirely.
    2. You do not need to slowly add in granulated sugar to the egg white mixture when beating the egg whites. Many recipes insist you must add it in slowly, but I’ve always tossed it all in at once, which saves me the annoyance of having to turn off my hand mixer every minute to add a small amount in… it has never made a difference.
    3. You don’t have to use aged egg whites (I’ve made macarons with egg whites at room temperature for about an hour or two and they’ve turned out just fine), but when the climate is humid or rainy, this tends to have an adverse effect on the macaron shells… I’m not sure why but I’ve learned my lesson and avoid baking them on a rainy day!
    4. Buy a piping bag with a round tip. The bags are available in disposable and reusable versions; I find them handy not only for macarons but also decorating cakes and cupcakes, and there are a huge variety of tips to choose from. This allows better control when piping the circles onto the mat for baking!
    5. Use gel food coloring instead of liquid. Liquids can alter the consistency of the macarons and ruin results.
    6. I like to toss the gel food coloring into the egg white mixture while I’m beating it to properly distribute the color. This works better for me than folding it in, since the electric beater does a better job. I would not recommend trying this with liquid coloring as it would alter the egg whites consistency but with the gel or powdered colors, it does fine!
    7. When you are beating the egg whites till glossy/stiff, beat them till they literally do not move when you turn your bowl this way and that. If you can hold the bowl above your head and nothing moves, (and you don’t have egg whites in your hair), it’s ready!
    8. When folding the egg whites with the almonds and sugar, use a flexible spatula. Fold by repeatedly scraping around the bowl and moving towards the middle. Do it no more than 50 times so as not to overmix (Yes, I used to count them!). Many recipes say the consistency should be of molten lava (that comparison doesn’t help me) but if you make it to runny pancake batter, you’ve gone too far. When you lift it with the spatula, it should spread but not too much or too far.
    9. After piping the macarons onto the baking mat, let the tray sit out for at least 15-25 minutes or until the tops of the macarons look dried out and are no longer spreading. Leave spaces between them when piping to allow them to spread!
    10. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pans in the oven in case you have an oven that heats one side more than the other.

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