Now that my semester has come to a conclusion, I’ve had ample time to bake to my heart’s desire. In the last week that I’ve been home, I’ve conquered triple chocolate biscotti, peppermint chocolate crinkle cookies, steamed mussels in spicy tomato sauce (a very proud accomplishment) and, alas, French macarons. I tried this recipe from Martha Stewart last year, and have been craving to make them again ever since. There is something so pleasant, so comforting, about a light and flaky yet succulent chocolate egg white cookie sandwiching rich, creamy decadent raspberry buttercream frosting. I literally can’t stop eating these little guys, but the indulgence and time spent making them is beyond worth it.
INGREDIENTS (makes 18 macarons)
for the macarons
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup almond flour, or finely ground almonds
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch of cream of tarter
1/4 cup superfine sugar
for the raspberry buttercream
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
a few dots red food coloring
Sift confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and cocoa powder into a bowl 2 times, to insure any larger almond pieces are removed. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture of whites and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Transfer batter carefully into a pastry or large plastic bag and snip a small hole at one corner. Pipe 3/4-inch round 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Be careful to pipe the batter into coils, rather than layering lines of batter of top of each other. You do not want the cookies to have much height at this point. Tap bottom of each sheet on a counter to release any trapped air. Let the cookies sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees but do not wait to put the cookies in. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, until they are crisp and firm, rotating the pan halfway through.
Let macarons cool on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
To make the buttercream, cream butter with an electric mixture on medium speed until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and combine with a spatula. Add vanilla and preserves and whisk on medium speed until the color is uniform. If you desire a deeper color, add food coloring and combine.
Sandwich 2 same-size macaroons with 1 teaspoon buttercream. Serve- and enjoy- immediately.