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Some of the most beautiful and decorative cookies, French Macarons are pressed by piping meringue batter from a piping bag into round or whimsical shapes. Also known as macarons, they have enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to French pâtissier Pierre Hermé. He has elevated them from being served as petits fours in smart restaurants for the last 30 years to a fashionable statement, with his flavors changing with every season.
Ladurée is famous for their French macarons and pastries. The history of Parisian tea salons is intimately tied to the history of the Ladurée family. It all began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller from France’s southwest, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris. The story of the Ladurée macaron starts with Pierre Desfontaines, second cousin of Louis Ernest Ladurée, who at the beginning of the 20th century first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling.
Still made with ground almonds or almond flour, egg whites and sugar, macarons are little fragile and cripsy light cookies, macarons used to be made in just a few flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, coffee and raspberry, that sandwich a creamy ganache or a butter cream filling. They are actually gluten-free. But, today you can find them in every flavor choice possible. The fillings are often substituted with lighter, flavor packed ones flavored with fruit.
Our CraftyBaking.com French macaron recipe-tutorials give you everything you need to know about making French macarons in a step-by-step fashion, with color photos. In fact, we were one of the first baking websites to feature a perfected French macaron recipe tutorial in 2007 when we spotted an early emerging trend.
CraftyBaking.com invented the FIRST Nut-free French Macaron Recipe Tutorial in summer 2009. We created our authentic Savory French Macaron Hors d'Oeuvres Recipe Tutorial in summer 2013, reducing the amount of sugar used and replacing it with other ingredients. Before that, we created whimsical Bluebird French Macarons or Macaron Pops in early 2012.
What is the "perfect" French macaron?
What is the size of the “perfect” macaron?
The shells should all be of the same size.
SARAH SAYS: We think the perfect size is 1 1/2-inches in diameter.
SARAH SAYS: We think we my have started a trend at CraftyBaking.com in early 2012 - whimsical shaped French macarons! We made ours into Bluebirds because they have a certain whimsy about them, plus, they taste GREAT! We have included a piping template you can print out as a guide to place on your baking sheet, so you cannot go wrong when making them. You can tint these any color desired and since French Macarons are sandwich cookies, fill them as you wish. Have fun!
Macarons take a lot of practice to make because everything has to be just right! I think the whole making of a macaron is an exercise in food architecture and engineering!
The Parisian macaron should have a smooth shiny outer skin rather than a cracked one that we see in other recipes. They should have flat tops, not puffy ones. The secret to their perfection is a delicate balance between creating the feet - the little ruffled skirt on the macaron that touches the filling, which should not poke out from the cookie, but rather stay within the borders of the baked shell. - and having flat topped cookie - all controlled by how much you beat the whites and how long you let the piped macaron batter sit before baking - it does make a difference. The egg whites should be beaten until they just reach the perfect "firm peak stage." Biting through the crust should be effortless, like an egg shell, to unveil the cookie's texture beneath it, which should be light, just a little chewy, and soft.
The meringue batter should be folded just until it flows and looks like a runny cake batter, not one that is too stiff. If you lift the batter with your fingertip, any peak formed should fall into the batter and quickly dissolve; You need not smooth the tops after piping them on the silpat mat or parchment paper that lines your cookie sheet if the batter is mixed properly. Fold too little, and your macarons won't have feet and will have a peak on their tops. But fold too much, and you'll end up with flat, cracked, tough and chewy macarons. If you overmix your batter, the macarons will spread a lot and have feet that deflate.
If the whites are too stiff and have too much air incorporated into them, you will get a peak on top of the cookie, and a foot. If the batter is too thick, you will get nipples on top of the cookies; do not use water to smooth them out because you will end up with a weak spot in the shell. Instead, try to tap the baking pan a few times on the countertop and they should disappear. If the insides escape from the crust during baking, the batter is too thin or has been over-folded.
Freshly made macarons should be eaten within a few days, and are best after 24 hours after making - Ladurée waits 2 days after making before consuming. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and remove 15-20 minutes before serving to come room temperature for the best flavor.
Macarons can be frozen stored in an airtight container, then freeze for a month or more. Leave at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving, or refrigerate.