Anyone who knows me very well is aware that I've spent 6 months trying to master the French Macaron. I didn't even care for them much growing up but they've become a passion now and my cravings have become a problem. I essentially work out so that I can eat more macarons. My boyfriend, who's not as utterly obsessed with sweets like I am, has been taking note of the amount of times I've tried and failed. The thing to remember if you haven't made macarons before, is that you will likely fail, and not just once. But if you love to bake pretty things, it's worth every discouraging moment you look inside the oven and wonder what the hell happened. Trust me.
I started using a few different recipes that just did not work for me. I nearly gave up entirely when I found this amazing YouTube video from Cupcake Jenna that saved me. Using their instructions, and some tweaks of my own, I've pieced together this drop-to-the-floor amazing cinnamon/hazelnut macaron! Regularly I get flavours by using what's currently in my pantry, and I'm so thankful for hazelnut butter right now.
And how beautiful are these? They make the perfect gifts. I tend to make them for my family or friends, freezing a few gift bags at a time (so that I don't eat them all myself). I'm currently dieting for Hawaii so I've eaten 2 of these in total and it's killing me to give away the rest this Easter weekend.
Remember to watch the video if you're unsure about my instructions below, it's honestly the best one I've watched.
Enjoy and let me know how it went!
CINNAMON MACARON SHELLS
-205g powdered sugar
-190g ground almonds
-4 large egg whites
-2-3 tsp of cinnamon
-190g caster sugar
-1/4 cup water
HAZELNUT BUTTERCREAM FILLING
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 heaping tbsp hazelnut butter
MACARON SHELL DIRECTIONS
Sift the icing sugar and almond flour into a bowl. Dispose of clumps.
Pour half of the egg whites and the cinnamon into the sugar/almond mixture and combine with a spatula until fully incorporated. You don’t need to be gentle at this stage. The mixture will become very thick. Cover with cling wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.
Add the rest of the egg whites to a standing mixer and leave them until ready, use a whisk attachment.
Melt the caster sugar and water over medium heat. It should bubble softly for a couple of minutes. Do not stir or the sugar will crystallize.
Once the sugar reached 110 degrees, start to beat the egg whites on medium-high so that they become foamy by the time the sugar is ready.
Remove sugar syrup from the stove top once 118 degrees. This is pertinent to achieving a chewy macaron consistency.
Turn your mixer on high and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg mixture, near the edge of the bowl, avoiding the whisk so that it doesn’t splatter. A slow pour will avoid the eggs from separating.
Whisk on high for another 2.5-3 minutes. Do not over mix, or you might create a pocket of air under the macaron shell after it’s baked. Once done, your meringue should be glossy and thick. How to test: Remove the Whisk head, dip into the batter and flip it upright. A peak should form, flop over but hold that shape.
Add a large dollop of the meringue into the sugar/almond mixture and mix with a spatula until combined, to make the rest easier to fold.
Dollop the remaining egg whites in and gently FOLD by scrapping the sides of the bowl and occasionally cutting through the middle (as to not knock the air out). Consistency is absolute key. When ready, it should slowly but consistently ribbon off the spatula when held up. If it clumps off the spatula you need to keep working it. Do not overwork, if you do, the ribbons will melt back in with the rest of the batter - and this is why you may get cracks in the macaron shells with no feet.
Pipe onto parchment or silpat lined trays, attempting to make similar sizes. Print a template if you aren’t sure you can do this well.
Bang the tray plenty of times to release air bubbles, you will see a few come to the surface of the macarons.
Leave trays to rest for 30-60 minutes. Timing depends on dryness or humidity. You’ll know they are ready when you touch the top of the macaron and it doesn’t stick onto your finger. A skin should have formed. This assures the macarons will rise up, creating their signature feet.
Set the oven to 305 degrees F while you wait for the macarons to dry out.
Bake for 11-12 minutes, in the middle rack. Exact time varies by the minute if your oven isn’t calibrated. You may want to try some batches to see if one minute less or one minute more is better for your oven.
Immediately after the oven, set the parchment paper onto a cooling tray to stop them from cooking. Do not remove with parchment paper right away or they may stick to the paper a little and tear. Once cool they should pop off easily.
Add the softened butter to a standing mixer and whip for 2 minutes.-Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar, milk and hazelnut butter. Return to medium-high speed once the powder won’t fly up into the air.
Once nice a fluffy, add to your piping bag and pipe onto one macaron shell and sandwich with another.
Sprinkle the finished macarons with cinnamon (optional).