Carol Fenster is a gluten free culinary genius! This month Carol brings us a gluten free macaron recipe. At first I thought she made a typo by leaving out an “o”, to find out that it isn’t a typo at all. Read on to find out what French Macarons are! By a quick Google search you can see that you can color them in pastels, bright colors or even chocolate. What a great Easter treat! You could make them egg shaped. Or even an idea to save for future holidays, like Christmas, Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. Make the colors of that particular holiday.
French Macarons are simply two meringues made from ground almonds, egg whites, and two kinds of sugar, sandwiched with a sweet filling, such as lemon curd or jam. You see these charming little gems in fancy pastry shops in Paris and glossy magazines. They are fairly easy to make and naturally gluten-free. French Macarons are not at all like our American coconut macaroons: they spell macarons differently and the French version contains no coconut. You can choose any color and filling you want (I used pink with raspberry jam for the photo); see Colors and Flavor Combinations below.
Macarons are a French dessert made up of egg white puffs sandwiched with the filling of your choosing: jam, ganache, and so many more! Makes you want to have an afternoon tea!
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons almond flour (almond meal), (Bob’s Red Mill or Honeyville)
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
3 to 4 drops red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup red jam such as raspberry or strawberry
Line two 13x9-inch shiny baking sheets (not nonstick) with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine the powdered sugar and almond flour in a food processor and pulse until powdery, about 30 to 40 seconds. Set aside.
Place the egg whites and salt in a clean, large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer, beginning with Low speed. Gradually increase the speed to Medium and beat until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Continue beating while slowly adding the granulated sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold in the food coloring and vanilla. Gently fold in the almond-sugar mixture with a large spatula, adding one-fourth at a time, until there are no white streaks.
Stand a heavy-duty, gallon plastic food storage bag on the counter and fold back the top about 4 inches to form a cuff. Place the batter in the bag, unfold the cuff and seal the bag shut. You now have a pastry bag. Use scissors to cut a small hole (1/8-inch) in one of the bottom corners of the bag so you can “pipe” the batter onto the baking sheet.
Holding the bag upright about 1-inch above the baking sheet, twist the top of the bag and then gently squeeze the batter out into 1-inch rounds, spaced 1-inch apart?about 24 per baking sheet. Let cookies stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, position oven racks in the middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.
Bake the first sheet of cookies for 12 to 15 minutes or until tops are puffy and dry. If tops start to crack, they have baked too long. Remove cookies from the oven and cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets on wire racks, then slide the cookies (while on parchment paper) onto wire racks to cool completely. (If the cookies stick to the parchment paper, use a thin metal spatula heated in hot water, then wiped off, to slide under the cookies and loosen them.) Repeat with second sheet of cookies.
To assemble the macarons, choose two cookies of similar size and place a teaspoon of jam on flat side of first cookie then place flat side of second cookie on top and gently press together. Place in single layer on plate.
*Even though you bake about 48 cookies, some will crumble and break so you will have about 20 finished macarons (two meringue cookies per finished macaron) in the end. (1) If your cookies don’t turn out perfectly round, don’t worry. Practice makes perfect. As you can see in the photo, mine aren’t perfect either. (2) If you use almond flour that has the skins left on, your cookies will be a little darker than if you use almond flour that has been made from blanched almonds (no skins). Either way, the cookies are delicious. (3) If you don’t want to fill all of the cookies, freeze them and fill later. (4) When putting the filling on the bottom cookies, leave a small rim around the edge. When you add the top cookie, it will automatically press the filling to the edges so it shows prettily in the completed cookie. (5)It is important to hold the pastry bag upright (at a 90 degree angle to the baking sheet) because that gives you more control over how the batter comes out of the bag onto the baking sheet.
If you want your macrons to have uniform sizes, check out this baking mat.