It’s been so long since I created a recipe specifically for this blog.
Hell, this isn’t really even my own recipe, so does it count? Haaa.
For me, in the battle of cooking vs. baking, I’ve always loved to cook because there is more flexibility in the process. Measure by eye, get creative with the spices, add a little more dry ingredient to offset higher moisture, et al.
Baking? That is SCIENCE.
While there are some baked recipes I’ve made by heart for years now where I can say, “Oh, a few shakes of salt is tantamount to 1/4 teaspoon. I’m good!”, there are some others recipes where the measurements need to be precise. That’s part of the reason I’m not much of a baker, and a huge reason why I avoided baking something I’ve wanted to try for a very long time: French macarons.
I took the task to heart after seeing Mike Bakes NYC make it seem more approachable that other recipes I had come across. He explains the process in his blog in more layman’s terms, and I was, in turn, able to approach making it with less apprehension. And you KNOW I measured with a food scale to a T. I even out-Type A-ed myself here. HA!
Through trial and error, I saw how no one should expect to make that quintessential batch of French macarons on their first try. And if you have…what is your secret? PLEASE SHARE.
1.) When folding the mixture, I feared OVERfolding it and deflating it. I soon came to learn, after seeing my ratchet first batch of macarons, that I UNDERfolded – even though I truly thought I had already OVERfolded – due to utter paranoia. HA!
2.) As I made subsequent batches, the batter got worked in the pastry bag; after that, I started to yield the more quintessential-looking macarons, albeit not perfectly round. Some where oval, some where lop-sided circles, and some even got those pretty little feet on them after they baked!
3.) Some macarons had the dreaded “hollow tops”, while others didn’t. Again, I’m sure that had to do with the folding and baking process. As most ovens have their “hot spots”, there is that risk of over-baking. I baked them to the higher time – closer to 15 minutes than 13 – and I think I’ll try to cook them on the lower end next time to see the result.
I am glad I did this just to prove to myself, “YEAH! Allison, girl, you can make these if ya really wanna!” When all is said and done, it’s cheaper to buy the ingredients to make French macarons at home than it is to buy some at a store; thanks to getting my almond flour from a bulk bin at Whole Foods, I paid less than $10 for all of my ingredients which yielded about 3 dozen small macarons. Better than paying $10 for four macarons at most stores, if you’re LUCKY.
I used Mike Bakes NYC’s recipe for Red Velvet Macarons as a basis, obviously eliminating the cocoa and red food gel while creating my own simple strawberry buttercream to fill them with. Click on the link in the recipe section to follow along for his recipe, then swing back here for my simple Strawberry Buttercream recipe!
HAVE FAITH! Y’all can do this! And if you screw them all up, at least you’ll have some delicious misshapen macarons. It’s really win-win.
French Macarons with Strawberry Buttercream
Macarons: Follow the link to the Mike Bakes NYC recipe!
Strawberry Jam Buttercream:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
When macarons are completed per the linked recipe, whip all buttercream ingredients together with a hand blender until smooth. Pipe or spoon buttercream onto half of your macarons and sandwich them together with remaining macarons. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours to allow macarons to “mature” before consuming. Or eat them right away. You do you!