Macarons are the ultimate high fashion dessert. It’s a symbol of understated opulence. In contemporary times, it can be seen as an accessory to a lady with delicately manicured hands and dressed in Chanel tweed coats. Macarons have long charmed people through their ethereal looks and delicate flavors.
Everyone thinks of French macarons, eclairs, and cream puffs as forms of French desserts. In reality, it’s difficult to master but easy to enjoy.
- Although they’re called French Macarons, the oldest macarons can be traced back to 1533 Italy during the reign of Catherine de’ Medici. When de’ Medici married French heir Henry II, she brought her chefs to France to continue enjoying Italian desserts. Over time, the French patissiers in the Royal Court refined the Italian cookie by making the sophisticated jam-filled, meringue cookie we know today.
- New York City celebrates Macaron Day every March 20, but the US celebrates National Macaron Day on May 31.
- French Macarons have always been associated with the c’est la vie French philosophy. No doubt it is one of the most selling desserts in France. Laduree, Pierre Herme, Fauchon, and Angeline constantly compete to dominate the dessert market in Paris.
Macaron Buying Guide
French Macarons have charmed Texans for years. Numerous flavors have popped in traditional and modern bakeries; and Texans have been attending baking classes to learn or master these delicately, evanescent desserts.
Macaron Production & Farming in Texas
Due to Texas’ rich agricultural background, it is easy to select the best and freshest ingredients for the French Macarons. Several dairy farms produce milk, butter, and eggs. When making French macarons, the freshest and firmest egg whites are needed to make a strong and chewy meringue. Butter and milk are essential for a fresh and creamy taste.
Texas also has fruit farms and many producers make jams, jellies, and preserves for the filling. Bean-to-bar chocolate producers are also available for a decadent chocolate French Macaron.
Preservatives and Chemicals
French Macarons do not usually have preservatives and chemicals as they are usually baked with all-natural ingredients. However, it has a high sugar content thus, it can be an unhealthy snack and would pose health issues for consumers with diabetes and high blood pressure.
French macarons are individually packed in small, plastic packets to maintain freshness. They are packed again in boxes for a flavorful and more sophisticated package. Because they are extremely vulnerable, French Macarons are prone to cracking during the shipping process.
Did you know you can be judged by how you eat your French Macarons? Well, macarons exude an air of elegance and sophistication unlike the casualness of a cookie. French Macarons are usually eaten as part of an afternoon tea break. This practice was popularized by Laduree in France. Although it is known as a sweet dessert, various chefs have successfully developed savory French Macaron fillings including foie gras, goat’s cheese, burrata, and even smoked salmon mousse.
There are different ways to store filled and unfilled French Macarons. Unfilled macaron shells are bet stored in airtight containers and boxes because their firm structure prevents movements, unlike flexible Ziplock bags which makes the shells vulnerable to breakage. Unfilled macaron shells can last for months, but we recommend consuming them for a week because taking the French macaron shells in and out of the containers exposes them to air which affects their crispiness and chewiness.
Like unfilled macaron shells, filled macaron shells must be stored in airtight containers and must always be refrigerated. A commercial deep freezer would suit best for long-term storage as it has a steadier temperature than a regular, refrigerator freezer. Just ensure that there isn’t other strong-smelling food such as fish or meat that will contaminate the French macarons’ freshness.
For the Cookie
100 g egg whites room temperature – 3 large eggs
140 g almond flour – 1 1/2 cups
90 g granulated sugar – just under 1/2 cup
130 g powdered sugar – 1 cup
1 tsp vanilla – 5mL
1/4 tsp cream of tartar – 800mg
For the Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter softened – 226g
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar – 100g
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp water – 30mL
1 pinch salt
For the Macarons:
- Sift the confectioner’s sugar and almond flour into a bowl.
- Add the room temperature egg whites into a very clean bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites. Once they begin to foam add the cream of tartar and then SLOWLY add the granulated sugar.
- Add the food coloring (if desired) and vanilla then mix in. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Begin folding in 1/3 of the dry ingredients.
- Be careful to add the remaining dry ingredients and fold gently.
- The final mixture should look like flowing lava, and be able to fall into a figure eight without breaking. Spoon into a piping bag with a medium round piping tip and you’re ready to start piping.
- Pipe one-inch dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this should be glued down with dabs of batter). Tap on counter several times to release air bubbles. Allow to sit for about 40 minutes before placing in the oven.
- Bake at 300F for 12-15 minutes; rotate the tray after 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking sheet.
For the French Buttercream Filling:
- Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat while stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil
- Put egg yolks in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until thick and foamy.
- Cook the sugar and water syrup until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat. With the mixer running, SLOWLY drizzle the hot syrup into a bowl with yolks.
- Continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature.
- Add in butter one cube at a time allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Add vanilla and salt. Continue mixing until buttercream is smooth and creamy. (About 5-6 minutes.) Add food coloring if desired.
- Pipe your filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and repeat. Macarons should be aged in the fridge for 1-3 days for best results. This allows the filling to soften the shells inside.