I‘m going to start by saying that I am in no way a macaron expert. But I’ve baked through my fair share of failed batches to have a good idea of what works and what reeeeeally doesn’t. Macarons are hard, but then I remembered that time I made croissants and realize that any recipe that does not take three days to make cannot be considered so difficult anymore.
Things I’ve learned (which I don’t think get emphasized enough):
1. Macarons brown easily, and this is especially noticeable with light colors. Place an empty baking sheet on the rack above the macarons to act as a kind of shield from the heat. You also want to make sure the oven temperature isn’t too hot. This make take some trial and error, but I found that the perfect temperature for my oven was 315°F, whereas I originally started at 325°F like the recipe suggests.
2. Unless you’re a piping master, using a guide helps to keep the size of your macaron shells consistent. I used this one for the regular macarons and edited them slightly in Photoshop for the Stormtrooper macarons. Print as many guides as necessary and place them underneath your parchment paper or silicone baking mat–make sure to remove them before they go in the oven!
3. The trickiest step of all: the macaronage stage. This step is where you combine the dry almond mixture with the meringue to create your final batter. I watched many Youtube videos to help me understand what consistency I was looking for, but it really came down to getting a feel for the process myself. You learn best by doing!
Originally, I used the recipe and instructions from this Youtube video from Beth Le Manach. It’s a great way to get your feet wet with the oh so tricky Macaron, but I’ve since found another recipe and method that works best for me. Bruno Albouze is a great resource for traditional french foods. I would suggest watching Beth’s video first and familiarizing yourself with the process, then move on to Bruno’s for a more traditional take on the macaron.
Originally, I planned to post this on May 4th for “May the Fourth”–hence the Stormtrooper macarons (heh). But life got in the way, and I’m only getting to it now. They were too cute not to share anyways. Roy said they look like an upside down Kirby wearing a bikini and now that I’ve told you that, that’s probably all you can see too!
Black Sesame Macarons
1 1/8 cup (125 g) almond meal
1 3/4 cup (225 g) powdered sugar
6 tbsp black sesame seeds, ground into powder
3 large egg whites (100 g), room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp (30 g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Process almond meal, powdered sugar, and the ground black sesame seeds together in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Then pass through a fine mesh sieve and throw away any lumps left behind.
2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until foamy. Add in half of the granulated sugar, whisking until soft peak stage. Add in the remaining sugar and increase the speed of the mixer to high for a few seconds. Add in any food coloring at this point (I omitted color because I wanted a white macaron) and beat on high again for a few seconds. Continue to beat until the meringue reaches stiff peak stage. One test is if you turn the bowl upside down above your head, the meringue won’t fall out!
3. Transfer the meringue to a clean bowl. Gently fold in half of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Use a plastic bench scraper to fold the batter from the bottom upwards. Press the bench scraper down and flat through the middle of mixture and scrape around the sides to bring the batter back together in the center of the bowl. Repeat until the mixture is glossy and falls like ribbons.
4. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a 1/2″ round tip. Underneath your parchment or silicone baking mat, place a piece of paper with a printed macaron template. Pipe out the macaron batter. Swirl and pull up quickly to prevent any tips from forming on top.
5. Tap the baking sheet against the counter to release any air bubbles from the macarons. Sprinkle half of the macarons with a few black sesame seeds. Let them sit out at room temperature for around 40 minutes to dry out. In the mean time, preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C) for a conventional oven or 300°F (150°C) for a convection oven. Bake the shells one sheet at a time, 14-16 minutes for a conventional oven or 10-12 minutes for a convection. **please read my tips above before baking!** Remove the shells from the oven and let cool completely.
Black Sesame Ganache
150 ml heavy cream
150 g white chocolate
50 g butter
1 tbsp ground black sesame seeds
pinch of salt
1. In a small pot, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the white chocolate and butter in a bowl. Whisk consistently until the liquid is uniform and has thickened slightly. Add in the black sesame seeds and salt. Let the ganache set in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
2. Once the ganache has set, transfer it to a piping bag. Pipe rounds onto half of the cooled macaron shells. It works best to keep the filling in the center and a few centimeters from the edges. When you sandwich the second shell on top, the ganache will be pushed to the outer edge.
3. Place the macarons in an air tight container and let them sit in the fridge for a day. They’ll have absorbed the flavor of the filling and the center of the shell will be slightly soft and chewy. Share and enjoy!
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