Les Macarons: What Makes Them So Unique? [Tips And Recipes Included]

Mar 06, 2022

 

Macarons are one of the most beautiful cookies ever invented. They consist of two delicate cookies sandwiched together with a creamy filling between them. Macarons can come in many colors and flavors. These cookies were first developed in Italy and brought to France via Catherine de Medici's Italian pastry chefs. The French called them "macarons" because they resembled a type of flat, round cake called “macaroni" famous at the time.

The key to making macarons is using the right ingredients in the right proportions and proper techniques. In addition, you must follow your recipe closely since even small changes can significantly impact how easy it is to make the cookies – and how good they end up tasting!

 

What are some unique ingredients of Macarons?

A key ingredient in macarons is almond flour. Almond flour is made from ground almonds and has a unique texture. You will need to sift almond flour before you use it to ensure no lumps in it – this will allow the batter to mix correctly. You can find almond flour easily online or in some specialty and health food stores.

  • The Macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring. The macaron is commonly filled with ganache, buttercream, or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies. The name is derived from the Italian word macaroni, Maccarone or maccherone

The confection is characterized by a smooth squared top, a ruffled circumference (referred to as the "foot" or "pied"), and a flat base.

  • It is mildly moist and quickly melts in the mouth. Macarons can be found in various flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the new (foie gras, matcha).
  • The traditional French macaron is made with a combination of almond flour and confectioner's sugar that is folded into a meringue of stiffly beaten egg whites. The mixture is piped out and baked until set.
  • After cooling slightly on the baking sheet, the cookies are removed from their shells and paired up according to their size. They are then sandwiched together with ganache, buttercream, or jam filling to make what are known as double-decker cookies.

 

History of Macarons

Macarons are one of the most challenging desserts to make. They may look simple, but they can be a nightmare to bake. These bite-sized treats are delicate and demanding, so you must master various techniques before starting baking them at home.

 

A Brief History of Macarons

Macarons have been around for centuries. In 1533, Catherine de Medici married Henry II of France and brought her Italian pastry chefs to the French court. The chefs introduced the French people to macaron cookies, which quickly became popular throughout France.

  • In 1792, two Carmelite nuns from Spain baked macaron cookies in Nancy, France, to raise money to pay their rent during the French Revolution. The nuns were eventually driven out of France and took their recipe.
  • But, according to legend, one of the nuns wrote the recipe down on paper and gave it to an aristocrat named Stanislas Leszczynski (the father-in-law of Louis XV) as she left town. He shared this secret recipe with his royal pastry chefs.

Macarons became popular again almost 100 years later when Leszczynski's granddaughter Marie became Queen of France after married Louis XVIII in 1808.

 

French Macarons are so famous

  1. They're pretty: All macarons are beautiful to look at, but the French macaron is particularly so. The classic French macaron comes in various colors and shades, often with a contrasting filling. The colors can be dramatic or soft; the combinations are endless.
  2. They have a distinctive shape: The French macaron has a shell consisting of two meringue cookies with a filling in between. The top and sides of the cookie are flat and smooth, while the bottom has feet or ridges.
  3. They come in many flavors: You can choose from hundreds of flavors for your macaron. Some are traditional, like vanilla, lemon, pistachio, raspberry, and chocolate. Others are more modern, like caramel fleur de sel or salted butter caramel. Because they're delicate pastries, you can enjoy them as an indulgent treat without feeling guilty about it!
  4. They're great for special occasions: Because French macarons are so pretty and unique, they make great gifts for birthdays, Valentine's Day, or Christmas (among other holidays). But, of course, they also make beautiful centerpieces for parties or weddings!

The French are known for their gourmet food culture. It makes sense that one of their most popular desserts would be something as delicious and unique.

 

Taste of French Macarons

I have always been curious about French macarons. I know they are popular and look delicious, but I've never tasted one. So what do they taste like?

I asked a French chef to describe the taste of macarons. Here's what he said:

  • French macarons have a delicate, crunchy shell and a smooth, creamy filling. They are colorful and have an elegant appearance. The outer shell is made from sugar and almond meal (ground almonds). It is pretty thin so that when you bite into it, the shell shatters into tiny pieces which melt in your mouth.
  • The texture of the cookie itself is fragile, so it just disappears in your mouth! The rich filling ranges from ganache to jams and buttercreams.

The most popular flavors are vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, lemon, and coffee. In addition, some bakers experiment with unusual flavors such as earl grey tea or lavender.

Macarons originate in Italy but were brought to France by Catherine de Medici in 1533 when she married Henry II of France. Nowadays, these cookies are found worldwide – from Europe to Asia to America!

 

Are Macarons supposed to be refrigerated?

Yes, macarons should be refrigerated. Because of their delicate texture, it is best to eat them within the first couple of days after purchase, and the refrigerator will help maintain their freshness.

To ensure that your macaron maintains its texture for as long as possible, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you have a variety of flavors, keep each flavor separate so that the flavors don't mix and so that you don't end up with mint-chocolate-chip or strawberry vanilla macarons.

 

Macaron recipe French food UK

 

Why do Macarons taste so good?

There are many theories out there about why macarons taste so good - but what's the truth? We asked some experts to weigh in.

  • Macarons are tiny, pretty, and delicious. Unfortunately, as far as pastry goes, they're also incredibly fussy about how you make them, and you'll more likely than not end up with a failed batch at least once in your life. So why do we bother? Why do macarons taste so good?

So for starters, part of their appeal is that they're small. They're bite-sized and the perfect size for one person to eat and feel satisfied.

  • There's also the joy of a perfectly-baked macaron. A chewy crust on top gives way to a light, airy interior - it's pretty much impossible to find something else that has this kind of texture.

And then there's the filling. Macaron fillings range from simple ganache to fruit preserves to buttercreams - all of which are sweet, tasty, and bound to put a smile on your face once bitten into.

 

Macaron is a cookie or pastry

Macarons are a confectionary delicacy flat and round, with a tiny space between them. A filling is usually sandwiched between the two layers, and they come in various colors and flavors.

  • Macarons can be made with almond flour or almond paste. The cookie has a crunchy exterior and soft inside. The cookie was initially created in Italy but has since become a favorite in France.
  • The cookie's ingredients don't contain any leavening agent, so the cookie is not supposed to rise too much during baking.

In France, the macaron is baked in the bottom layer (macaron) and the top layer (macaronage). The top layer contains ingredients such as flour and eggs, which gives it its unique texture.

Macarons are also topped with buttercream frosting or ganache to add flavor and decoration to the cookie.

 

Macarons should be chewy

Macarons are made with almond flour and sugar- not wheat flour or other gluten-containing flour that, when mixed with water and fat, form the gluten strands that create chewiness. Almond flour doesn't have this property, so macarons don't have the same kind of chewiness as a gluten-containing cookie. But, almond flour does contain some proteins that give macarons their kind of chewiness- a lighter, more fragile texture.

  • In France (and Europe in general), many people prefer their macarons this way. In France, they devour them and are on the go. They look down upon the trend of sandwiching things like buttercream between two macaron shells. These treats are meant to be eaten quickly, in one or two bites, not leisurely over several minutes while you sit at a table and read the paper.

 

Best flavor of Macarons

Many macaron flavors can be enjoyed. The most popular ones are chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and pistachio.

  • The flavor is not just limited to the filling; the cookie part can also have a different taste.
  • In terms of overall popularity, it's hard to say what the best macaron flavor is because people have different tastes.

It's safe to say that a lot of people favor chocolate macarons. They tend to be more popular than any other flavor.

 

There are many Macaron flavors out there, but the best one of all is chocolate. I love it because it is delicious. I can eat a whole box of macarons at once.

Macarons are not like sandwiches or bagels. They are more like cakes. They don't come in loaves, and you don't slice them up to eat them. Instead, they're single-serving desserts with a cookie base and a cream filling. The base is usually egg whites, sugar, and ground almonds. The cream filling is a light buttercream or ganache.

  • You can find macarons in various colors and flavors, ranging from simple vanilla to exotic mango-passion fruit. Chocolate is the most popular flavor because it's so versatile.
  • It mixes well with fruity flavors to floral flavors and goes great with nuts like hazelnuts or peanuts. Chocolate also makes for an excellent pairing with other rich foods like cheese or ice cream.

 

What can you fill a Macaron with?

There are many things you can fill a macaron with. A few of them include ganache, buttercream, jam, peanut butter, chocolate mousse, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, and more.

  • A French macaron is a delicately flavored cookie with almond flour and egg whites. The outside of the cookie is crunchy, and the inside is soft and chewy.
  • They are usually filled with icing or ganache in the middle. If you search online, you will find hundreds of different kinds of macarons that have been created over the years.

Macarons are such a pretty pastry, and they are easy to make at home with a bit of practice. If you've got the macaron shells down, the next question is, what should you fill them with? The possibilities are endless! You can go sweet or savory, neutral or flavored. You can make your filling, buy it or use something from your pantry.

 

Here are six ways to fill Macarons:

  • Fruit curd
  • Nutella
  • Buttercream
  • Jam
  • Ganache
  • Caramel

 

How to thicken Macaron filling?

You must whip the ingredients together on an excellent macaron filling until they're completely smooth. If you don't, the filling will be grainy, and the macarons will be unpleasant to eat.

  • Instead of using a spoon to mix, use a handheld whisk or a hand mixer (the stand mixer is overkill here).
  • If you want your macarons to be extra smooth and creamy, you can sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder into the butter before mixing.

 

There are several ways to thicken your Macaron filling

I use chocolate ganache. This has the advantage of being delicious and much easier to work with than buttercream. For a 1kg batch of ganache, use 500g cream, 500g dark chocolate (at least 60%), and 50g butter. You can vary the ratio of cream to chocolate to make it thicker or thinner according to your preference.

You can also use buttercream frosting. In this case, add more butter and less milk/water to make it thicker.

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