Macarons are small, soft and round cookies made with almonds, sugar and egg white. Simple but so good to conquer the whole world.
Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, macarons are composed of two domed parts connected by an icing. They are flavoured with the most varied tastes and decorated with as many colors. In the windows of French pastry shops, you can find chocolate macaroons, strawberry, vanilla, raspberry, pistachio, coconut and salted butter macaroons. Classic flavors but also refined combinations such as lemon and thyme, orange and cinnamon carrot, yogurt and fig, rose and lychee.
To taste them you just have to book our Food Tour of Paris.
The history of macarons
Macaroons have become so famous that they are considered one of the symbols of French dessert gastronomy. But were they really born in France?
Well, if we go digging into history, we’ d say no. The macarons appeared for the first time in the thirteenth century not in France but in Italy. In France, they appeared in the Middle Ages among the monks of Cormery or Saint-Émilion, before they got to know their hour of glory at the court of King Henry. It is said that it was Catherine de Medici who introduced it to the royal court, who had it served at the wedding of Baron Anne de Joyeuse in 1581. It would also be prepared for the wedding banquet of Louis XIV in 1660.
At that time, macarons were nothing more than simple round cookies like amaretti cookies. Only later they were enriched with jam, spices and liqueurs, and then assembled two by two in the 1830s. Since then, many French towns and villages have made macaroons their specialty but all with different recipes: Amiens macaron is thicker and looks like a soft amaretto, Nancy’s macaron is thinner and lighter, Cormery’s macaron has a hole, like a small tarallus, and Joyeuse’s macaron is harder and slightly caramelized, similar to hard amaretto.
The macaron as we know it now, was born at the beginning of the 20th century. The confectioner Ladurée creates a more sugary and more fragrant macaron, colored and garnished with jam or buttercream.
This new recipe is still a worldwide phenomenon.
Easy recipe: chocolate macaroon
And now it’s time to cook! Here is a recipe for you to make macarons at home as in a pastry shop, even at first try.
For 8 medium size macarons or 16 small ones
- 160 g of icing sugar
- 90 g of almond powder
- 15 g of cocoa powder
- 2 medium or 3 small egg whites (75 g in total)
- 100 g dark chocolate
- 10 cl cream
- 20 g of butter
- Sift the sugar, cocoa and almond powder several times to obtain a very fine mixture (or pass it all through the blender).
- Beat the egg whites very firm. When they start to whip, add 10 grams of sugar in 2 times.
- Add the whites to the powder (cocoa/almond/sugar) and mix to obtain a smooth and shiny, but firm paste (mix enough but not too much).
- Using a sac à poche, make small circles of about 2 cm on a sheet of baking paper or a silicone pad.
- Let the dough rest in the open air for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C in static mode.
- Bake the macaroons for 20 minutes (15 minutes if they are small).
- Prepare the ganache by heating the cream and pouring it over the chocolate pieces.
- Blend, then add the butter, blend again and set aside in a cool place.
- Take the macarons out of the oven. Lift the baking paper from the baking tray and let the macarons cool on a cold work surface.
- Wait at least 30 – 40 minutes then remove them using a sharp knife.
- Place the ganaches in a sac à poche with a smooth nozzle and place the cream in the center of the macarons.
- Close the macaron with the other half.
- Fill all the macarons in this way.
- Store in the refrigerator closed in a container for about 12h to let the aromas and flavors settle.
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