Vanilla Bean French Macarons
Many macaron enthusiasts swear that you
absolutely must measure ingredients by weight rather than volume.
Although macarons can be temperamental, I have never had a problem
measuring by volume, as this recipe is written.
makes about 35 macarons
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup superfine sugar
Pulse confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2 times.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on
medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft
peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Cut vanilla
bean open lengthwise and scrape seeds out with a knife. Add seeds to
speed to high, and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift
flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain
round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on parchment-lined
baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than
forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet on work surface to release
trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven
temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway
through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each
batch, increase oven temperature to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes,
then reduce to 325 degrees.
Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer
to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on
hot sheet. The steam will help release macarons.)
Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon filling. Serve
immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and
freeze for up to 3 months.
Chocolate Ganache Filling
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (preferably 70 percent cacao)
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
Bring cream to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour cream
over chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let stand for 2 minutes. Add butter,
then whisk mixture until smooth. Let cool, stirring often. Use
To hand-paint macarons
Gel food color
Wet paintbrush and dip in a very small amount of
food color. Practice your design on paper first, then on macarons. To
make my peony inspired design, make arcs starting on the outer edge of
macarons. Make a second and third, if necessary, row of arcs. Use a
smaller brush with another color for the center of flowers.