“One of the most vexing tasks some bakers come across is making the perfect Parisian macaron, those ethereal little domes of almond meringue seen all over Paris, often filled with buttercream, ganache, or a fruity filling of jam.” -David Lebovitz, renowned Pastry Chef
I would say I am an experienced baker but as much as I love to bake, I am not an advanced baker. Cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, etc are relatively easy. These baked goods require only careful measurement of ingredients and to mix them together. My favorite cookie, however, is not easy.
Parisian-style macarons are light, delicate and melt in your mouth. I adore them. It’s an obsession, really. I love how the cookies can be made into any flavor and fit any color palette.
I’ve been wanting to make my own Parisian macarons for awhile, but these cookies require technique, not just following a recipe. Honestly, I was scared to attempt these cookies. But alas, I have nothing to do this week so I decided to finally attempt them. My cousin, Sofia, came over to photograph the process and be my moral support. It was a fun afternoon! The cookies are not impossible. They take patience, organization, and time. I would say from start to finish it took me 3 hours. Were my Parisian macarons perfect? Nope. But for my first attempt I consider it a success.
For my first ever attempt at making macarons I chose to follow Baking Bite’s recipe for Nutella Macarons. These are made with ground hazelnut instead of the more traditional almond. Nutella is made from hazelnut, so using hazelnut in the cookie works nicely.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
Step 2: Grind hazelnuts in food processor. The finer you can grind them, the better.
Step 3: Sift in confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.
Step 4: Add 2 egg whites and pulse mixture until a thick dough forms.
Step 6: Beat the 2 remaining egg whites to soft peak while the sugar mixture boils.
Step 7: Once the sugar mixture boils, remove from heat. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BURN YOURSELF. With the mixer on medium speed slowly add the liquid into the egg whites. Beat until you have a thick, glossy meringue.
Step 8: Remove 2/3 of the meringue and set aside.
Step 9: Add the chocolate hazelnut mixture to the remaining 1/3 of meringue in the mixer. Slowly mix together.
Step 9: Gently fold in the previously set aside meringue. Note: do this gradually in 2-3 batches, your arm should hurt by the end The resulting batter will be airy.
Step 11: Transfer batter into a piping bag with a 1 cm opening. I used my dessert decorator tool from Wilton.
Step 12: Pipe batter onto prepared baking sheets, forming 1 inch discs.
Step 13: Preheat oven to 350. Let batter sit for 20 minutes before baking.
Step 14: Bake macarons for 10 minutes. Don’t be alarmed if your macarons look like mushrooms when you take them out of the oven. Once they cool they will lay flat. Let cool completely before filling.
Step 15: Take 1 cookie and spread a thin even layer of nutella. Take a second cookie and place on top to make a sandwich.Notes for next time: -I am going to buy almond/hazelnut flour. This is key to getting the cookies extremely smooth. My food processor can’t grind nuts as fine as they need to be. Also, they need to be ground in a special way that prevents them from becoming oily (which happens if you use a food processor). My point: a food processor is fine, but for perfect macarons you need to buy almond/hazelnut flour. -After piping the batter onto the baking sheets, I am going to smooth the top with a spatula. My macarons had a swirl so they were not flat.
***Major thanks to Sof for taking the beautiful pictures!!