Birthday Cake Macarons

An interesting thing happened to me, I made the front page of Reddit with these delicious little guys!  Thanks internet 🙂

So I thought I’d share my base macaron recipe.

Below the recipe you’ll note a lengthy tips and tricks section which I’ve gathered from people who are actual pastry chefs and just general trial and error.  I hope you find them useful.

Shell ingredients:

120 g Almond Meal
240 g Confectioners’ Sugar
40 g Granulated Sugar
120 g egg whites

  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and set your oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Sift, measure and then combine your Almond Meal and Confectioners’ Sugar in a bow. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer with a Wisk attachment, beat your egg whites and granulated sugar on medium for about 2 minutes. Trust me.  2 minutes.
  4. Kick up the speed to High for 2-3 minutes until you have stiff peaks and turn off the mixer.
  5. Remove your mixer bowl from the mixer and pour in the dry ingredients. No need to slowly add and mix.  This is a particularly finicky part.  Don’t over-mix, don’t under-mix.
  6. Using a spatula begin mixing in an oscillating figure-8 for about 20-25 repetitions.
  7. Pour your batter into a pastry bag for piping.
  8. Pipe 1.5 inch circles onto your parchment. If all goes well they won’t spread much so you can pipe them pretty closely.  They’re supposed to go straight up for the famous “feet” form.
  9. Here’s the fun part. Pick up your pan and smash it down on a table or hard surface a few times.  Spin it so you’re holding a different side. Smash a few times. Spin. Repeat until you do all 4 sides.
    1. Why? You want to get all the air bubbles out to avoid ugly cracked cookies. Shaaaaame! *Ding* SHaaaaaaame! Sorry, I couldn’t resist a GOT reference.
  10. If you want to decorate with sprinkles, now is the time to add them.  Be careful though as excessive sprinkles could lead to cracked shells.
  11. Now, contrary to what we’ve all learned of food safety, leave your piped cookies out and undisturbed for about 45 minutes.
    1. Why? This is how the “skin” is formed which gives macarons their “feet”. Don’t ask me, that’s just what it’s called.  When you bake them, the liquid batter under the skin will expand and create the pretty ruffled feet on the bottom.
  12. Bake your cookies for 20 minutes.
  13. They are done when you are able remove them from the sheet without sticking.

 

Birthday Cake Batter Buttercream

2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 cups Yellow Cake Mix
4 tablespoons Heavy Cream
6 tablespoons Unsalted Room Temperature Butter
1/4 teaspoon Salt

  1. Use your stand mixer to combine all ingredients. Start at medium speed and increase to high until your buttercream is nice and fluffy.  About 2 minutes.

 

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Use parchment paper, not wax paper. IF you make your macarons uniform in size, you can avoid having some stick.  These are temperamental little devils so small variations in size will make the larger ones stick causing you to eat them immediately to avoid the shame of an ugly macaron.
  2. I’ve tried the fancy macaron specific mats, but honestly, it messed me up more than anything because they bake differently than on parchment. If I was patient enough I could probably adjust my method to accommodate the mat, but why mess with something that’s already working?
  3. I use full sheet sized pans in my double oven for maximum cookie output. I think using one large uniform pan probably helps to bake my cookies evenly.
  4. For the love of all that is holy, weigh your dry ingredients with a digital scale. Attempting to measure with measuring cups will result in ugly macarons.
  5. Dry food coloring should be added to your dry ingredients. Liquid food coloring can be added to your egg white and granulated sugar mix AFTER you’ve gotten your stiff peaks.  And then mix just long enough for even distribution.  I personally haven’t tried dry, but liquid hasn’t given me any issues.
  6. My experience with egg whites… A lot of recipes call for room temperature egg whites.  Aside from my complete distrust of the notion of room temperature eggs, I haven’t found a benefit to this.  I will typically just use the pre-packaged box of liquid egg whites that you can find at any grocery store straight out of the fridge.  No warming necessary.
  7. Batter Piping tricks. I use ziplock bags that I stand in a giant World of Warcraft Am/PM plastic cup.  Glamourous I know.  I also don’t use a piping tip.  I just cut a bottom corner of the bag after the batter is in it and then squeeze.
  8. If you mixed your batter correctly, your piped cookies won’t be too stiff i.e. with a little peak or nipples *snicker*. And they won’t be too liquid as in turning into loose watery shapeless blobs on your sheet.
  9. Baking tips. If your cookies are uniform in size and about 1.5 inches then 20 minutes at 300 degrees F should be perfect.  If they’re a little larger or not so uniform make it 21 minutes. In my experience, it’s cookie size and uniformity which prevents your cookies from sticking.
  10. If you’re baking multiple batches, DO NOT use still hot baking sheets. It will make ugly macarons.
  11. What do macaron snobs consider to be ideal?
    1. Smooth even top.
    2. Vertical feet with no outward expansion
    3. Consistent interior, as in not hollow.

I hope this helps you in your own personal battle for the perfect macaron.  I’ve been doing these for a few years and still struggle to get consistent batches.  Whether it’s the humidity, patience or whatever, these are tricky little guys to make.
Good luck!

 

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