- Jewish Learning
Most of us have grown up with classic macaroon cookies for Pesach, but did you know those beautiful French delicacies known as macarons are also perfect for this holiday? Macarons are a quintessentially French pastry — beautiful, delicate, and a bit finicky — but with a few tips and the right technique, they are completely achievable for the home baker. There are three methods to making macarons — Italian, French, and Swiss. The Italian method involves boiling water and sugar and then adding to your egg whites. While this seems to produce a more stable meringue, the French method is slightly simpler, and that’s the one I’ll be sharing here. Before making your first batch, read through the directions carefully. The steps to making macarons are very precise and there are some basic rules to follow that will help you achieve success.
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
45 grams white sugar
12 ounces (340 grams) good quality semisweet chocolate
360 milliliters pareve whipping cream
18 grams margarine
Before you begin, measure out all your ingredients, and prepare your Gefen Easy Baking Parchment Paper template. (See tip).
In a food processor, pulse almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa to a very fine powder. Sift in a mesh strainer and remove any coarse bits.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, start beating the egg whites. As bubbles begin to form, add the cream of tartar. When bubbles start to get smaller and the whisk is leaving marks in the whites, turn the mixer to medium speed and slowly add your white sugar, allowing it all to be well incorporated.
Turn mixer speed to high and beat whites just until stiff peaks form. If you turn the bowl upside down, the whites will not move. Be careful not to overmix! They should be a nice, glossy white.
With a spatula, fold one third of the almond flour mixture into the egg whites. Gently mix until fully incorporated and then add the rest. Keep mixing by hand until the meringue mixture reaches “lava” consistency, meaning that it falls off the spatula in soft ribbons. Once again, it is crucial not to overmix.
Use a piping bag fitted with a half-inch tip to pipe circles of batter onto a baking sheet with a prepared template. You will get 24 shells. Bang the baking sheets on your countertop to release any trapped air. Set the shells out to dry for at least 30 minutes, until the tops are dry to the touch.
While shells are drying, prepare the ganache: Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat whipping cream and margarine in the microwave or on the stovetop, but don’t allow it to come to a boil. Immediately pour it over the chocolate. Allow to stand for a couple of minutes and then stir until completely smooth. Keep at room temperature and ganache will thicken to the right consistency.
Preheat oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius). Set oven racks to top shelf and second from bottom. Place one baking sheet on each rack. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Allow shells to cool completely before filling.
Photography by Saraizel Senderovitz
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