Macarons are not to be confused with macaroons! Macaroons are small and slapdash coconut or almond stacks, sometimes dipped in chocolate. Macarons are cute dainty little sandwiches that are made with meringue, almond flour, and buttercream filling.
Macaron is the French word for macaroon, but are never the coconut-based biscuit. Macarons are one of the most amazing pastries, with hundreds of flavours and fillings. Macarons are made from almond flour and meringue the macaron as we know it now, made up of two meringue cookies brought together by a smooth flavored filling, was created in Paris during the 1830s. They also have a reputation for being tricky to make.
Traditional Recipe for Macaroons:
Time 30 to 40 minutes.
1/4 lb. ground almonds or coconut
1/2 lb. castor sugar
whites of 3 or 4 eggs
a few drops lemon juice
a few blanched almonds.
Mix the almonds and sugar in a bowl, and, beating well all the time with a wooden spoon, add the lemon juice and whites of eggs very gradually until the mixture is sufficiently thin to drop from a spoon. Using a forcing bag with a plain pipe, force small portions on to rounds of the wafer paper, and dredge a little icing sugar on top : this will make the mixture crack. Place half a blanched almond split lengthwise on top of each, and bake in a moderate oven until the macaroons are well risen and lightly browned. Place on a grid or sieve to cool and trim the edges of the paper.
Modern French Macaroon (or Macaron!)
4 extra large egg whites
1 ⅔ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ⅓ cups almond flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup superfine (castor) sugar
Place egg whites into a metal mixing bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next day, bring egg whites to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 280 degrees F (138 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk sugar and almond flour in a bowl. Beat the egg whites with salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy (for about 1 minute); on high gradually beat in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the egg whites hold stiff peaks.
Gently fold almond flour mixture into whipped egg whites. Pipe 1-inch disks of meringue onto the baking paper, leaving 2 inches of space between each one. Leave them to stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Place the tray oven and bake with the oven door open slightly until the macarons’ surfaces are completely dry, about 15 minutes. leave to cool completely on a baking sheet before gently removing them.
Spread with any special filling, top with a second to make the sandwich then leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours to overnight to let them soften before serving.