I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t like macarons, those delicious French, meringue-based cookie sandwiches. I also don’t think I’ve ever met someone who says they make them at home all the time. Because they have the reputation of being – in a word – finicky. And that’s why we’re willing to pay so much to indulge in them occasionally.
For years I’ve thought about trying to make them at home, but always felt too intimidated. But with the pandemic dragging on, and so much extra time at home these days, I decided to give it a try recently. I also had the encouragement of my daughter who was excited to help, and I knew having two people working together would make it easier.
Yes, it’s a lengthy process that requires a lot of patience, but it proved to be very fun and not as difficult as we had expected. Now that we’ve done it a couple times, here are some tips to help encourage you to give it a try in your own kitchen.
First, I recommend you watch at least a couple “How to Make Macarons” videos before you decide to tackle this baking adventure. This way, you’ll see a few different bakers sharing their techniques and you can assess what kitchen tools you have and what you may need to buy. We ended up purchasing a $15 silicon baking mat set on Amazon that also contained two piping bags with frosting tips. I highly recommend the silicon baking mats with the macaron templates for both the nonstick feature and to help you achieve uniform-sized cookie shells.
With any recipe you end up using, the most important technique tips are these:
- Be sure your egg whites are completely room temperature before you start whisking.
- Even almond flour that says “Finely Sifted” on the package needs to be sifted further.
- Tap/drop your baking sheets multiple times to release air bubbles from the shells.
- The “resting” phase should not be skipped – use that time to clean up your kitchen and/or make your filling.
- It is better to overbake your shells a bit, than to under bake and have uncooked centers.
The best part about making macarons, is that even if you don’t attain the perfect shape or texture, your “mistakes” will still taste delicious. I promise.
And depending upon the age of your children, there are multiple steps in the process where they can help, such as sifting flour, folding it into the egg white mixture, piping the shells, and tapping the baking sheets. Let them help you decide what food coloring to use for your shells, what you’ll fill them with, and how you’ll decorate the tops, if you chose to do so. The possibilities are endless!
It may be a lengthy process from start to finish, but it’s a great activity to keep kids busy for a few hours and for them to learn some new kitchen skills. It’s also the perfect opportunity to watch the hilarious “Just fold it in!” scene from Schitt’s Creek. And it is definitely worth trying at least one time to feel the pride in having made your own scrumptious French macarons.