Macarons

Macarons are one the most popular cookies around. They can be a little finicky to make, but once you get the technique down, you can have lots of fun playing with flavours. One of the beautiful things about macarons is that they are naturally kosher for Passover (with the exception of being limited to flavourings).

Sugar(s), ground almonds, egg whites, vanilla, salt, and any additional flavours you want to add, make up the shell. Fillings can be different types of icings and ganache. If you pipe a ring of icing or ganache you can add even more flavours by spooning some jam or curds in the centre of the ring.

There’s no question you’ll wow your friends and family if you serve up some macarons at Passover or any time of the year. Store these in the fridge for a few days or wrap well and freeze.

Macarons

Classic French Macarons work perfectly for Passover.  Naturally gluten-free, there are no substitutions necessary to make these delicate, delicious cookies

Macarons should be light and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. You can fill them with anything you like – I include recipes for a simple American buttercream and a vegan chocolate ganache below.

Ingredients

  • 225 grams powdered sugar
  •  125 grams almond meal
  •  130 grams egg whites, room temperature
  •  1/8 tsp. salt
  • 110 grams granulated sugar
  •  1 tsp. vanilla extract  (you can replace with non-oil based flavour extracts)
  •  (Optional, 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder OR 1 Tbsp. instant coffee OR 1 ½ tsp. Earl Grey tea)

Directions

1. Place the powdered sugar and almond meal in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until the almond meal is very, very fine.  (If you are adding cocoa, instant coffee or Earl Grey tea, add it to the food processor and blitz it with the sugar and almond meal.)

  2. Add the egg whites and salt to a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to whip the eggs on high until frothy.  Slowly add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and continue whipping until soft peaks form.  Add the vanilla extract and whip on high until stiff peaks form.

  3. Add 1/3 of the almond/sugar mix to the whipped egg whites.  Most recipes will tell you to sift the almond/sugar but I always skip this step (I use a VERY fine almond meal – if yours isn’t fine, sift your almond/sugar mixture to remove any larger pieces).  Fold the dry ingredients you added into the egg whites, then repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients in two more additions.  Continue folding the mixture together  to lightly deflate some of the air in the eggs.  When the mixture turns glossy and flows off your spatula like lava, it’s ready to pipe.  This is the important part – if the mixture deflates too much it will be runny and if it’s not deflated enough, it will be too stiff.  The mixture should fall off your spatula in ribbons, and if you try to form a figure 8 as you drop the batter off your spatula, it should take 8-10 seconds before sinking back into the rest of the batter.

 4. Spoon the batter into a piping bag.  You can use a plain round tip or cut the tip of the piping bag off so you have a ½ inch opening.  Pipe 1-inch circles onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Carefully tap the baking sheet on the counter several times – this is an important step, don’t skip it.  Let the macarons sit for 30-40 minutes, until dry to the (gentle) touch.

5. While the macarons sit, preheat your oven to 300˚F (150˚C).  Bake one tray at a time on the middle rack of your oven.  Bake for 7 minutes, turn the tray, and bake for another 7 minutes.  As they’re baking, they should form feet.  When they’re ready, the cookies should be set and come easily off the parchment paper.  If you try to lift one off and the top separates from the bottom, bake another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool completely. 

6.  Once cooled, pipe a dollop of filling onto the flat side of one round and sandwich with another round.  Continue assembling the rest of the macarons.  Though you can eat them right away, it’s best to let them age in the fridge for a minimum of a few hours.  They can stay covered in the fridge for several days or they can be frozen well wrapped.

Vanilla American Buttercream

The simplest filling; you can add all sorts of flavourings you'd like to change it up.

Most recipes for American Buttercream use a 1 part butter to 2 parts sugar ratio, but that’s too sweet for me. Macarons are already sweet, so I cut back the sugar and do 1 part butter to 1 1/2 parts sugar. You can always add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough for you.

Ingredients

• 227 grams butter, room temperature (1 cup)
• 340 grams icing sugar
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 Tbsp. milk or cream

Directions

  1. Place the butter, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Run the machine on low until all of the sugar has been incorporated into the butter.
  2. Add the vanilla and milk and run on low until combined, then turn the speed up to high and beat the icing until smooth and a little air has been incorporated. If you’d like a bit of a softer icing, you can add another tablespoon of milk.
  3. Transfer to a piping bag and fill your macarons.

Vegan Ganache Filling

Because this uses coconut milk, it's vegan and parve. You can make this exact same recipe subbing the coconut milk for heavy cream. Obviously it won't be vegan or parve, but it's a good option if you can't find coconut milk. This filling is not very sweet, which is a nice combination with the sweet macaron shell. But to make it a little sweeter, you can use semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet.


Ingredients

• 227 grams bittersweet chocolate chips (or semisweet or chopped up chocolate bars) • 200 grams full-fat coconut milk • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place the choclate in a heat proof bowl.
  2. Heat the coconut cream in a bowl in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat. You need to heat it until it just starts to steam and you see a couple of bubbles forming. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate.
  3. Place a plate or cover over the chocolate/cream bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Use a spoon or spatula to stir the ganache together. This will take a couple of minutes — stir until all of the cream has been incorporated into the chocolate.
  4. Place the ganache in the fridge to cool and thicken. Every 15 minutes, stir the ganache until it’s thickened enough to pipe but doesn’t get too hard. If you leave it in the fridge and forget about it, it will harden and you’ll have to remelt it.
  5. Trasfer to a piping bag and fill your macarons.

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