You know what I love?! Easter!!! Not only are the pastel colors and blooming flowers just the cutest, but it really is the most important holiday of them all. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter spent with family and friends, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Also, I hope you make these macarons because macarons are always the best, and these ones are oh so cute. I chose to stick with a vanilla shell for all of these and just switch up the food colorings. The filling could be absolutely anything your heart desires: buttercream frosting, a jam spread, chocolate ganache…the possibilities are truly endless.
Whichever flavor you choose, your guests are sure to be impressed by your mad pastry skills. However, French macarons tend to be a bit on the tricky side. When I first attempted these, they were an utter disaster. I had expected my pastries to turn out like those from Laduree, but it took tons of research and trying-and-failing to finally perfect my own recipe. While practice is always what makes perfect, I have come up a few tips that help to make these bad boys wonderful regardless of how experienced you are with macarons.
- Use stainless steel cookie sheets. Do not use a stone or thick sheet; if you do, the cookies will not be able to cook all the way through.
- Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together to get all that you can through the sieve. Run whatever was too clumpy the first time through a food processor and sift again. Repeat this process until the flour & powdered sugar mixture is all fine.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar to the egg white mixture. This will give the egg whites strength and make them more voluminous.
- After piping the macarons onto the baking sheet, let them sit for 15-30 minutes or until you can touch the top of them without the batter sticking.
yields: 12-24 cookies, depending on size prep time: 1 hour cook time: 12 minutes
For the macarons:
- 1 3/4 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon caramel extract (can also substitute vanilla extract)
- optional: 2-3 drops of GEL food coloring (do not use liquid as it will mess up the texture)
For the royal icing:
- 2 cups organic powdered sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1/4 cup water
- optional: 2-3 drops of GEL food coloring**
- Preheat oven to 300°F and prepare two baking sheets with silicon mats. If you do not have silicon mats, parchment paper will work fine.
- Blend powdered sugar and almond flour in a food processor (be sure not to do it to fast or it will create unwanted moisture and make the two stick together instead of a fine, dry powder) and sift through a sieve. If some of the mixture is too clumpy to go through the sieve, blend it in the food processor a second time.
- Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium until frothy. Increase speed to medium-high and slowly add the granulated sugar until stiff, shiny peaks form, about 5-7 minutes.
- Sift the almond flour mixture into the egg whites and gently fold the mixtures together with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold in the food coloring and extracts. Be careful to not over-mix; only stir until the flour mixture is completely dissolved by the egg white mixture.
- Pour the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip. Pipe the batter into rounds on the baking sheet leaving an inch between each round.
- Let the cookies sit for about 15-30 minutes, or until they are no longer sticky to the touch, before putting them into the oven.
- While you are waiting for the cookie batter to set, prepare your royal icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg white and powdered sugar at low speed. Add the water. Once everything is fully combined, speed the mixer up to medium-high and mix until shiny, stiff peaks form. About 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring as desired and set aside.
- Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, turning the baking sheet around halfway through.
- Let the cookies cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.
- Fill with your favorite filling (frosting, jam, ganache, etc.), decorate with the royal icing like Easter eggs or baby chicks, and enjoy!
*Separate the royal icing into different bowls in order to make different colors for decorating