French Toast Macarons
Bonjour! Today I’m sharing one of my favorite things to bake (and eat, or course!). Whenever I used to see macarons I honestly didn’t think they were real. They are so bright and picturesque that they just look too perfect to be real! And getting such perfection is of course not the easiest of tasks, but I’m here to assure you that they are not as hard to perfect as everyone says they are. Promise. I’ve even made these in a college dorm kitchen, so clearly you can make them with just the basics!
Macarons are one of my family’s favorite and go-to cookies (pastries? I don’t really know what they’re considered…) not only because of their crunchy shell with chewy center, endless flavor options and aesthetic appeal, but also because they are naturally gluten free. No need to substitute any sort of flour, these beauties are perfect just as they are.
Other than dessert, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It’s not really surprising because the things I eat for breakfast are essentially just desserts that you eat in the morning: waffles, pancakes, muffins, cinnamon buns… so I decided to make these macarons after one of my Sunday morning favorites: French toast. The cinnamon goodness of the meringue paired with the maple buttercream is like eating breakfast for dessert. Which is a great combo in my personal opinion.
The key to macarons is following the recipe exactly. Any little change can chemically mess with the macaron in ways I am not scientifically-adept enough to understand. But other than that they do not live up to their difficult reputation.
Start by sifting together almond meal, cinnamon, powdered sugar and salt into a large bowl. Then, with a stand mixer beat room temperature egg whites until foaming, about 2 minutes. The photo below is what the foaming egg whites should look like before adding the sugar.
With the mixer still running, gradually add in granulated sugar a spoonful at a time and vanilla. Beat on high speed until stiff, shiny peaks form, about 5 minutes. You should be able to flip the bowl upside down and not have anything fall out (would not recommend actually trying this though, just in case).
Now fold the egg white mixture into the dry mix with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix. This is really important. You want to have just the right amount of air in the batter and overmixing it will get rid of that air completely. Fold until fully incorporated and continue folding until the batter comes to a consistency that when you lift up the spatula, the batter runs in a SLOW continuous stream and incorporates back into the rest of the mix on its own. It should not pour right off the spatula, however.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a 1/2” circle tip and pipe 1-1 1/2 inch circles onto a sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Whack the cookie sheet against a hard surface (firmly, but carefully) a few times to release extra air bubbles. Preheat oven to 350, then let them sit and dry for 30 minutes-1 hour. Do not rush this step. When touched, the tops of the macarons should have formed a sort of dry skin. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes, making sure to rotate half-way through. The macarons should not really brown any further. They should be about the same color as they were before baking, but a little bit more puffed up.
Let shells cool completely before removing them. Prepare the buttercream while shells are cooling. Once completely cool pipe or spread the maple buttercream onto 1 shell and sandwich with another. Store in air tight container at room temperature or freeze for up to 3 months.
Then pat yourself on the back because you just made a fancy French pastry you can totally brag about!