Vanilla Bean and Raspberry Macarons

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It would be hard to not notice the popularity of the French macaron in pastry shops, coffee shops, online, in books and everywhere.

In the United States, the word macaron refers only to the new ganache sandwich cookie, leaving macaroon to describe the coconut cookie, while of course macaroni for us now means only the dried elbow pasta. It used to have a secondary meaning: In 18th-century England, rich young hipsters sported outlandish hairstyles (very tall powdered wigs with tiny caps on top) and affected clothing. They were called Macaronis because on their travels in Italy they acquired a taste for pasta, an exotic foreign food fad of the 18th century. If you’ve ever heard the song “Yankee Doodle,” this should sound familiar. The chorus mocks a disheveled "Yankee" soldier whose attempt to look sharp was to "stick a feather in his hat and call it macaroni." Slate, Nov 16, 2011

Get the recipe for Coconut Macaroons here. 

macarons
  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 20 to 20 CookiesServings

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces almond flour
  • 8 ounces confectioner’s sugar (use cornstarch free for Passover)
  • 5 ounces egg whites
  • 2½ ounces sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut lengthwise and seeds scraped out or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Fillings: raspberry jam, other fruit jams, melted chocolate, ganache, or buttercream

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Fit a large (18”) pastry bag with a plain tip (#1A). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

2. Draw 1½-inch circles on a sheet of paper and place the paper UNDER your parchment lined pans (that way the ink won't get on your parchment or silicone mat so you can keep your macaron the same size.) Set aside.

3. Pulse almond flour and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor 4 or 5 times. Sift into a large bowl to separate large chunks of almonds.

4. Place egg whites, sugar, vanilla bean and salt in bowl of a standing mixer and whip at low speed for 3 minutes until egg whites are frothy.

5. Increase speed to medium and whip for 3 minutes more until glossy peaks begin to form.

6. Increase speed to high and whip for 3 minutes more until stiff peaks form.

7. Dump all egg whites into sifted almond flour mix and fold together. The mixture will look completely incompatible, but the point is to break up the meringue against the side of the bowl, SO MIX LIKE YOU MEAN IT! (Fear not, usually you are careful with whites, not the case here.)

8. After about 25 folds of a spatula, lift your spatula and if the batter doesn't fall in a smooth sheet, fold a few more times and check again. The mixture should resemble flowing lava and should hold a shape for 20 seconds when dropped back onto batter in the bowl, but then “melt back down” into the remaining batter. Keep doing this until batter is right.

9. Once the batter is the desired consistency, fill pastry bag. Pipe out macaron within the circles on your parchment paper.

10. Slam the baking pans on the counter. This will knock out air bubbles that can ruin macarons. Place a second baking sheet under each pan of macarons. This will protect the bottoms from getting too brown during cooking.

11. Bake at 300°F for 18 to 22 minutes until macarons have formed a crispy shell and easily peel off parchment paper.

12. Cool completely before filling. Cooked and filled macaron can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The texture will be softer and chewier, and we really LOVE that!