Wander through the city of Paris, and you’ll find shop windows piled high with brightly colored Almond Macarons. Unlike the big, brash coconut version most of us are familiar with, these little jewels are all about finely crafted restraint. In France, however, most macarons are filled with buttercream, so preparing them is a fairly labor-intensive process. To make these Parisian Almond Macarons, The Hungry Wife simplified the fillings by using marmalade, jam, ganache, and curd. There is a single batter that could be used to prepare five different cookies.
Espresso-Blackberry Macarons Recipe
3 ounces almond flour (2/3 cup) or blanched sliced almonds (3/4 cup) or slivered almonds (2/3 cups)
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon instant-espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
About ½ cup blackberry jelly
Equipment: A food processor with a sharp blade or an electric coffee/spice grinder; a large pastry bag fitted with a 3/8 inch plain tip or a quart-size sealable bad with a corner snipped off; an offset spatula
Make Macaron Batter: Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Grind almond flour or almonds with confectioners sugar in food processor until powdery, 30 seconds for almond flour, about 2 minutes for almonds. (If using grinder, grind in small batches.) Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl (if not fine enough for almost all of nuts to go through sieve, regrind). Sift again into a large bowl.
Stir together espresso powder and vanilla in a cup until powder has dissolved.
Beat egg whites with salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in granulated sugar, a little at a time. Increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute. Add espresso mixture and mix at low speed until incorporated. Fold meringue into almond mixture with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate and batter will be loose.)
Pipe and Bake Macarons: Put small dabs of batter under of parchment to secure to baking sheets.
Spoon half of batter into pastry bag. Holding bag vertically just above baking sheet, pipe 1 ½ -inch-wide mounds of batter about 1 inch apart, stopping pressure and flicking tip sideways to avoid peaks (tamp down any peaks with a wet finger). Refill pastry bag and repeat. Let macarons stand, uncovered, at room temperature until a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake macarons, switching position of sheets halfway through, until crisp and interior does not give easily when gently pressed, 22 to 28 minutes total. Cool completely on baking sheets (to harden bottoms) on racks, about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons from parchment with off set spatula (they will be fragile).
Assemble Cookies: Sandwich flat sides of macarons together with a thin layer of jelly. Layer macarons between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.
Cooks’ Note: Filled macarons (of any flavor) can be kept in an airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap, chilled 2 days or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature in wrapped container (to avoid condensation), about 1 hour if chilled or 2 hours if frozen.
These cookies should set for a while before serving. The fillings help soften the meringue – and your patience will be rewarded with a wonderfully chewy texture.
Chocolate Earl Grey Macarons
- Add 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder to almond flour or almonds when grinding.
- Omit instant-espresso powder and vanilla.
- Grind 1 teaspoon Earl Grey (from 1 tea bag) to a fine powder in an electric coffee/spice grinder. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon (reserve remainder) on macarons before baking.
- Fill with chocolate Earl Grey ganache: Bring 1/2 cup cream and remaining 3/4 teaspoon tea powder to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in 3 oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (60% to 64% cacao if marked) and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter until smooth. Chill, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a sealable bag. Snip off a corner and pipe to fill macarons. (There will be ganache left over.)