A macaron or French macaroon is a confectionery whose name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” meaning paste. It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.
The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaroon differs from other macaroons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (foie gras, truffle). Making macarons requires a great deal of discipline and is a process that is highly dependent on exactitude, technique, and proper equipment. For this reason it is a notoriously difficult recipe to master and a frustrating endeavor for the amateur baker. (from Wikipedia)I never actually had a real French Macaroon before until a few weeks ago. After stalking several local bakeries I found some beauties located at Les Medeleines . Before I had another failure in the kitchen I had determined that I would actually try one so that I would know for certain what I was trying to make. Well, to be honest I didn't need to go to any bakeries because the very best bakers turned out to be Barbara of BarbaraBakes and Tiff of FoodFinery who showed me exactly how to make these "notoriously difficult" cookies. Please visit their blogs for bounties of ideas on many things including French Macaroons!
- add flavoring and coloring before beating egg whites
- beat egg whites until peakes stand up and will NOT BEND OVER (much longer than I had done previously)
- stir in almond flour that is premeasured, and then test to see if the batter is correct thickness- it shouldn't be to thin or to thick (here is where the tricky part comes in)
- standing time didn't make too much difference in our altitude and climate
- bake at 280 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until shell is set