One of my favorite movies is Marie Antoinette, the version with Kirsten Dunst. In this movie she is constantly nibbling on brightly colored cookies. I had never seen one before and did some research to find that they are French Macaroons. These are light airy cookies typically filled with buttercream icing, ganache, or other things.
A few years ago Jeremy surprised me with a trip to Paris for my birthday. We had a great time. We picnicked by the Eiffel Tower. We visited Marie Antoinette’s home. We visited many museums and ate lots of wonderfully rich food. I also got to try my first macaroon.
These macaroons were so delicious and yummy. I had a pistachio one at Cafe Duex Magots and a few other flavors at different locations around Paris. I loved them! When I returned home I was unable to find them anywhere. Even some of the gourmet eateries around Dallas were without.
So the past few years I’ve been looking to perfect my recipe and scouring the web looking for any help I could find. There were many recipes out there and lots of help. Lately there has been a boom of people looking for the same thing so I’ve had a lot of help the last few months.
One thing I found is that the texture of the cookie is hard to get right. You do not want to make them on a humid or raining day. I made this batch while it was snowing and it really affected the way my egg whites whipped up. Also, for the perfectly shaped dome you do not want to over mix your batter. Over mixing will cause your cookie to collapse. After shaping your cookies leave them on the counter for thirty minutes before baking. This will give them a good dome with a little sheen and crispness to them.
Another trick is achieving the little crinkle at the bottom of the cookie. There is a perfect way to achieve this. Bake
your cookies one sheet at a time. After baking for two minutes barely crack the oven. You may need to put a wet wooden spoon wedges in the door to make this happen. It only needs a slight crack to let heat escape.
You should also stack two or three cookies sheets when baking. This will help the air circulate under the cookie and let it cook to the right crispness without burning.
I made strawberry macaroons with chocolate ganache. I added the chocolate mostly because everything is better with chocolate. You can make all sorts of variations. The new American versions come in many unexpected variations. At the final whipping of the batter you can add any food coloring or flavorings you like. You could add cocoa to make chocolate macaroons. You can also make all sorts of fillings. The traditional macaroon has little filling and does not squish out over the edge.
Macaroons can be stored in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container. You can also prepare the cookies in advance and freeze in an airtight container before filling.
These cookies are a lot of work but well worth it. They are a very sophisticated cookie and look very pretty. They would be great for a wedding or baby shower.
Chocolate Strawberry Macaroon Recipe
2 Egg whites room temperature
½ Cup almond meal
1 1/3 Cup powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon sugar
3 Drops red food dye
5 Tablespoons of strawberry preserves
2 Egg whites
½ Cup butter
¾ Cup sugar
½ Cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons of heavy cream
1. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and draw 1-2 inch circles with a pencil onto paper. Place circles about ½ apart. Batter will not spread much.
2. Place almond meal in food processor and process until fine. Add powdered sugar and process until well mixed. (Almond meal is blanched and finely ground almonds. The meal you buy from the store isn’t quite fine enough so this is why you are giving it an extra puree.)
3. In a mixer with whisk attachment beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in sugar. Beat on medium for about 5-6 minutes until firm and glossy. Fold in ½ of dry ingredients by hand then fold in other half. At this point you can add in any desired colorings or flavorings.
4. Spoon batter into piping bag and pipe circles onto the preformed circles on the parchment paper. The easiest method is to start in the middle and work your way out. Pull the tail and let fall onto the top of the cookie. If your batter is the right consistency it should slowly sink in. Let set thirty minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Stack one or two cookies sheets under cookies. Place in oven and bake for two minutes. After two minutes, very slightly crack oven door with wooden spoon. Bake for another 12-15 minutes. Cookies should slightly turn golden and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool for two minutes. Let fully cool on wire wrack
1. Place heat proof bowl over a sauce pan of water that is just barely boiling over the stove. Whisk egg and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
2. Beat eggs with whisk until stiff peaks form and egg whites are cool and glossy. Switch to paddle attachment on mixer. Beat in butter one tablespoon at a time on medium-low. Slowly mix in strawberry preserves. Beat until well combined.
1. Bring cream just to a boil in saucepan and remove from heat. Drop in chocolate and let set five minutes.
2. After five minute stir until well combined. Let set for about 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
1. Lay out cookies flat side up. Place ½ teaspoon of ganache onto one half of the cookies. Spoon one teaspoon of strawberry butter cream filling onto remaining cookies. Squeeze together until filling reaches ends of the cookies.
Makes 25 1 ½ inch filled cookies
You can find a much more extensive collection of information on macaroons at Syrup and Tang.