Vanilla Macarons are delicious little desserts that melt in your mouth.
When made well they are soft, yet crunchy, sweet, bits of perfection.
There was a time in my life when I worked as a professional pastry chef.
Being a pastry chef can be a very exacting, and rewarding job.
Dessert is the last thing people have with their meal, so if it was good, my dessert was the lasting impression they were left with.
There was a time when I worked seven days a week as a pastry chef, at two different jobs.
With a young family to raise, you have to do what you have to do.
I would work Tuesday through Saturday at a country club in Durham.
And then Sunday and Monday at a specialty baker that had an outlet in a mall in Chapel Hill.
That was the point when I’d always have a feeling of dread, the feeling that nothing would get done.
It was a tough time, but it definitely taught me discipline.
I also learned about a lot of desserts, and how to make them.
It was difficult to have to work every day but it was rewarding in the end.
Onwards to these simply delicious vanilla macarons!
What is a Macaron?
A macaron is a two sided meringue dessert with a filling sandwiched in the middle.
It is light as air, a delicate, crunchy, chewy, gooey, sweet mouthful of goodness.
It is made using almond flour, with egg whites and sugar.
Usually the meringue is flavored or colored with food coloring.
The fillings are endless, anything you could imagine seems like it would be possible.
So many flavors!
The flavors seem to be endless with new ones emerging all the time..
Chocolate with a chocolate ganache filling.
Lemon with a lemon vanilla filling.
Strawberry with a cream cheese filling.
Lavender coconut, chocolate caramel, coffee and Baileys cream, mint, chocolate hazelnut.
Vanilla, white chocolate and lavender.
Candy corn, blueberry cream cheese, apricot, mango and white chocolate.
Chocolate truffle, pumpkin spice, and gingerbread.
And those are just some that come to mind.
How to Make Vanilla Macarons
Macarons are pretty simple to make but you need to be exacting in order to get them right.
So following that recipe to the letter will be important.
Make sure you have all your ingredients together before you begin.
You will need egg whites that are at room temperature.
Make sure no yolk gets into the white as this will keep them from whipping properly.
Sift the almond flour with the powdered sugar in order that they integrate well.
Also you want the grains to be as fine as possible so that your macarons will have their trademark smooth top and bottom.
It is best to sift two, or even three times.
Once the whites start to resemble shaving foam add granulated sugar and keep whisking until soft peaks form.
Add a pinch of salt and vanilla bean paste.
Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
In three additions gently fold in the almond flour mixture.
As each addition of the dry ingredients is incorporated, add the next bit.
Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe rounds of macaron batter onto a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Try to keep the size at about an inch in diameter, doing the best you can to make them all as close in size as possible.
Let the tray sit for 30 minutes so that the edges of the macaron halves can develop their characteristic air bubbles.
Once they have sat for 30 minutes, bake the macarons for 16 to 18 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely and make the filling while the macarons are cooling.
For the buttercream filling, put the butter, vanilla extract, milk and powdered sugar, mix well.
Once the macaron shells are cool, using a pastry spatula, spread the vanilla buttercream.
Place filling on one macaron shell then top with one without buttercream.
Keep refrigerated for up to five days.
What Makes the Perfect Meringue?
Light and airy, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside are the characteristics of a good meringue.
Follow these tips for the best results.
For starters, all your bowls and utensils need to be squeaky clean, with no traces of oil.
Even a speck of oil can keep your whites from achieving their full potential, and meringues are all about the whites.
Don’t cook them too hot, good temperature control is a must to end up with a successful outcome.
Vanilla Macarons Ingredients
The most common ingredients in a macaron will be the egg whites, which must be at room temperature.
You want the almond flour to be fine and smooth as possible, this is a delicate dessert and you want to help it stay that way.
Powdered sugar, granulated sugar and perhaps food coloring will round out the ingredients.
People have tried caster sugar instead of granulated sugar in the egg whites, and in some cases have tried powdered sugar instead of granulated.
Caster sugar can be a good substitute or even brown sugar gives an interesting look and flavor.
Powdered sugar whisked with egg whites tends to make the meringue overly sweet and a bit one dimensional.
Of course when it comes to the fillings there are so many different ways to go.
I would recommend that you have flavors that are complementary, and maybe some that are the opposite.
I would also suggest playing with textures when it comes to filling, like cookie crumbs, or maybe chopped fruit pieces.
Another thing to consider is perhaps to dip half the macaron in frosting or ganache, or some other sweet dip.
Or dip and cover them in melted chocolate for an even more decadent experience.
What to Drink With Vanilla Macarons
What do you like drinking?
Macarons go with anything as far as I’m concerned.
Traditionally coffee is what you would serve with macarons.
Tea will also work well, black, green or herbal, maybe depending on the flavors of the macarons.
If you want to be decadent then don’t shy away from serving your dessert with a glass of Prosecco.
How to Best Store Macarons
Your macarons will keep from 3 to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
Once removed from the fridge allow the macarons to warm up for at least thirty minutes for best flavor.
The good news is that macarons rarely last long enough to worry about storage!
Vanilla Macarons Recipe
For the Macarons
For the Macarons
- Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites at high speed until they begin to foam.
- Once the whites start to resemble shaving foam add the sugar and keep whisking until soft peaks form.
- Add the pinch of salt and vanilla bean paste. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
- In three additions gently fold in the almond flour mixture using a spatula. As each addition of the dry ingredients is incorporated, add the next bit.
- Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe rounds of batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Squeeze batter to an inch in diameter. Let the tray sit for 30 minutes.
- Bake the macarons for 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
For the Filling
- Put the butter, vanilla extract, milk and powdered sugar, in a mixer and mix well.
- Once the macaron shells are cool and using a pastry spatula, spread the vanilla buttercream over half of the shells.
- Top with the other half of shells.