How to Make Macarons and Some Super Bowl Ideas

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This past Saturday, Matt and I actually had a few hours with nothing on the agenda and I actually had energy, shocking!  So I finally experimented with something I’ve been wanting to try forever, macarons!

Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

I’ve loved macarons since I first tried them at the famous La Duree in Paris almost six years ago.

(Oh to be 22….)

dinner at la duree in 2007 - the first time I had a macaron!

Since then, I’ve tried a range of not-so-good specimens to just perfectly light and crisp shells sandwiched with creamy decadent fillings (this girl’s macarons are not a joke!).

Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

Famous for their difficulty and challenges, I was terrified that my first attempt would be a failure. However, when I saw Annie’s step-by-step instructions for a fail-proof Italian method, I knew I had to try it.  Plus, Matt said he would help so I knew there was another person to help make some judgment calls.

Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

To keep things simple, I just used made a plain shell. I really wanted to get the hang of a basic recipe before playing around with it and potentially messing with the structure.  Since I had some basic chocolate buttercream on hand, it worked for the filling. Next time, however, I’ll definitely try something more exciting like red velvet, peanut, or S’mores (or one of the other bazillion flavors I have pinned).  I would also prefer a lighter swiss meringue buttercream instead.  I think it would complement the macaron texture better.

Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

All in all, I was thrilled with a pretty successful first attempt!  I think it helped that there was almost no humidity and I really took my time.  While I am clearly not an expert after that, I thought I’d share some tips that I used and / or will use going forward.

Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

Tips for Making Macarons:

Equipment

  • Definitely make sure you have a kitchen scale and candy thermometer, this is the kind of recipe you want to be precise with
  • Make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are really clean before you start, any grease will prevent the egg whites from forming a meringue (I wipe the equipment with white vinegar before starting)

Ingredients

  • Choose fresh ingredients; my almond meal was at the almost stale state and while I have a very sensitive palate, I can definitely tell that something is slightly off in flavor
  • Speaking of almond meal, I used Trader Joes; I think next time I’d look for some that is finer or pulse it through a food processor a few times to eliminate any interference with the clean, crisp texture

Process

  • Read the directions a few times to make sure you understand how each step works; setting up your mise en place certainly helps
  • Be patient!  Almost every time I make some form of meringue I get paranoid that it won’t work, it just takes a few minutes more than I expect
  • Take your time folding the meringue into the almond meal paste, it is very delicate
  • Also take your time as you pipe your shells, that way yours might actually end up all the same size (mine definitely range!)
  • Be careful removing the shells from your parchment paper or slipat as to not break them

Storage

  • Store macarons for several days in refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer; bring to room temperature before serving

Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

Even though it felt like a lot of work at the time, now I’m so excited to make them again.  Now that I know what the batter is supposed to feel and look like, I’ll be a lot more confident for the next go around.

Oh, and in case you are looking for some fun ideas for your Super Bowl snacking on Sunday, check out some of the links below!

You should probably hurry to place a last minute order for the Smoked Sea Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Fun Pick-up Desserts for Super-Bowl

My “Party Apps” Pinterest board has a ton of great recipes

Super Bowl Party Ideas from Young Married Chic (also check out these push-up pops!)

Super Bowl Recipes from Baked by Rachel

Upscale Party Food ideas from the Novice Chef

14 Super Bowl Recipes from Incredients Inc.

Sponsored Links

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18 Responses to “How to Make Macarons and Some Super Bowl Ideas”

  1. Jean January 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

    They’re beautiful–little feet and all. You’ve inspired me to give them a try–they’ve been on the to-do list forever but I’ve been afraid. Great job!

  2. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic January 28, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    French macarons are on my baking to-do list too! My favorite at Laduree is salted caramel, and I wish I have one now!

  3. Liz January 28, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Hi Lauren! I haven’t attempted macarons either yet. I think I’m intimidated by the whole process, but after reading your blog I am definitely going to try them – thanks to all your tips!

    • Keep It Sweet January 29, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      Definitely do! Let me know how it goes:-)

  4. Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    I love macarons but am always to scared to try making them! Great post!

    • Keep It Sweet January 29, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      I think if you really take your time and use some photos as reference along the way you can do it!

  5. Valerie January 28, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Bravo, Lauren! Your macarons are Perfect! I actually like the plain versions- they’re so dainty and happy-looking. :)

    • Keep It Sweet January 29, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      Thank you! And thanks for the pin!!

  6. Tracey January 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    Your macarons look amazing Lauren! I can’t believe it was your first attempt.

    • Keep It Sweet January 29, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Thank you so much, I was a little shocked myself lol

  7. Kathryn January 29, 2013 at 4:33 am #

    These are perfect Lauren, I’ve taken a couple of classes on how to make macarons and mine are still nowhere near as good as these!

    • Keep It Sweet January 29, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      Thank you so much! Half of them were not quite as pretty, I obviously took photos of the best looking ones! A macaron class sounds fun.

  8. Joanne January 29, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Your first batch is so pretty! I’m enamored. I really want to try the s’mores version also…it just seems so intimidating!

    PS – I use Bob’s Red Mill almond meal…I think it’s finer than the TJ’s version.

    • Keep It Sweet January 29, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Oh, I am going to try with that almond meal next time. Thanks, love!

  9. thelittleloaf January 30, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    These look seriously impressive (I’m not even going to say ‘for your first attempt’, they’re impressive full stop). Yum!

  10. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family January 30, 2013 at 8:36 am #

    Lauren these look beautiful. I think you did a spectacular job on your first try.

    Hi five to Matt for lending a hand :)

  11. Audra | The Baker Chick February 4, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Bravo! Your first attempt at Macs is much prettier than mine was. They look perfectly domed and with feet galore! if anyone can get creative with fillings around here it’s you. I look forward to seeing what you come up with! :)