French Macarons don’t have to be a scary recipe to make at home.
This recipe outlines how to make the macaron cookies and the buttercream filling in one sitting.
Makes 30 sandwiched macarons
Start the recipe by reducing the strawberry puree for the buttercream first, so it has plenty of time to cool. In a medium saucepan, add the pureed strawberries and cook over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture is reduced by half. Remove from the pan, pour into a small bowl and set in the fridge to cool.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare baking sheets by lining with a macaron template silicone mat or parchment paper with circles traced on it.
To make the macaron cookies, sift the almond flour and powdered sugar through a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl until all the mixture gets pushed through the sieve. Discard any coarse meal (no more than ½ teaspoon) and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the two egg whites and half of the granulated sugar. Turn on medium-high speed and whip until egg whites become foamy. Add the rest of the sugar and turn on high speed. Whip until the whites become glossy and reach stiff peaks, about 3 minutes. If using food coloring, add a few drops and whisk on low until the color has spread throughout.
Using a rubber spatula, add ⅓ of the sifted flour mixture into the bowl with the egg whites and gently fold together. Once fully incorporated, add the rest of the flour mixture and continue folding until combined, around 60-70 stirs. It is important not to overmix the batter. It should flow off your spatula in ribbons and hold for a few seconds, then fall back into itself and create a smooth glossy surface (similar to hot lava.)
Transfer the batter into a piping bag with a ½-in plain round tip. Pipe a small amount of batter into each circle on the baking sheet and let it smooth out into a glossy round. Repeat on the second baking sheet.
Once all the cookies are piped, hold the tray evenly six inches about the counter and drop the tray. It will make a loud sound but will work to get rid of all the air bubbles. Repeat 1-2 more times.
Let the cookies sit at room temperature until they develop a skin on top and are no longer sticky to the touch, 30-45 minutes. While the cookies rest, make the buttercream filling.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the stick of butter and whip until light and fluffy. Sift the 1½ cups of powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any lumps, add to the butter and whip until well combined. Add the vanilla, milk, salt and beat until smooth and creamy.
With the mixer on low speed, pour in half of the cooled strawberry puree. Beat until smooth. Slowly add the rest of the strawberry puree, a tablespoon at a time. You don’t want the buttercream to become too liquidy. Beat for 3-5 minutes, until smooth. If the buttercream breaks, switch to a whisk attachment and whip together until the mixture becomes homogenous again. Let buttercream rest in a cool place until ready to use. (You may need to whip it one more time before transferring to a piping bag.
After 30-45 minutes of the cookies resting, place 1 sheet of the macarons on a rack set in the middle of a preheated 300°F oven. Bake for 7 minutes and rotate the pan. Bake for 7 more minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully slide the silicone mat or parchment paper on a wire cooling rack to let cool.
Once cool to the touch, gently remove the cookies from the mat or paper. Arrange on a cutting board by size to help match up cookies.
Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Gently pipe about 1 teaspoon of buttercream on the flat side of a cooled macaron. Place another cookie, flat side down, over the filling and gently press together just enough to push the filling toward the edges.
Repeat until all the cookies have been filled. Transfer to an airtight container and let ripen in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.
Fully assembled macarons can be kept in the fridge for one week.