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Here’s a few tips I found useful when making macarons:
- Set the egg whites out in a covered dish and allow them to ‘age’ at room temperature overnight;
- Draw circles using a biscuit or cookie cutter on a piece of parchment paper. Trace the circles with a dark marker and flip the paper over, ink side down. Pipe the batter into the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet;
- After piping the batter rap the baking sheet hard against the counter or other hard surface to bust the air bubbles;
- Allow the piped cookies to rest at room temperature for about an hour before baking. This helps create the crispy top; and
- Once you have folded in all the ingredients, take your time in blending the batter. You want a smooth silky texture but not too runny. Spoon a little batter on top of the rest and see if it stays in a lump or if it slowly incorporates back into the rest of the batter. If it smooths out after about 45 – 60 seconds, the batter is perfect. If not, fold it a few more times checking after turn;
- As with making any meringue, it is best to make them when the weather is less humid. A bright sunny day is best – no rain!
Lemon Macarons with Limoncello Buttercream
For the macarons:
- 4 ounces almond flour, sift before measuring
- 8 ounces powdered sugar
- 5 ounces egg whites, room temperature, aged overnight
- 2 ½ ounces granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
For the limoncello buttercream:
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Limoncello liqueur
- a drop or two of pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, more or less as needed for desired consistency
To prepare the macarons:
- The night before: Separate the egg whites and place in a covered container. Allow them to sit at room temperature overnight. Zest 1 lemon and spread the zest on a paper plate or paper towel. Allow it to dry overnight.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (circles traced for easy piping).
- Sift together the almond flour and confectioners' sugar. Stir in the lemon zest and set aside.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer combine the egg whites and granulated sugar. Turn the mixer to medium (speed 4 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip for 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high (speed 7) and beat another 3 minutes. Turn the mixer up to 8 and beat another 3 minutes.
- Add the food color (if using) and whip for one more minute on high speed. You should now have a very stiff, dry meringue. The whisk attachment will hold a large clump of meringue in the center. If not continue beating for a minute at a time until it does. Remove the meringue from the whisk attachment and set the whisk aside. Add the dry ingredients all at once and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Gently fold until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and you have a shiny smooth batter. If you spoon some out and drop it back into the mix, it should blend back into the remaining batter within about 45-60 seconds. If it remains as a dollop on top, fold the batter a few more times.
- Spoon some of the batter into a piping bag fit with a ½ inch round tip. Pipe the batter into the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet. Stop piping before the circle is filled as it will spread a little on its own.
- Rap the baking sheet firmly on the counter or floor to remove any air bubbles. Allow the macarons to sit at room temperature for 60 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 18-20 minutes or until you can peel the parchment paper away cleanly. If you pick up a macaron and the top comes off, it's not done. Remove the parchment paper to a cooling rack and cool completely before filling.
To prepare the buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the Limoncello, lemon juice and vanilla. Blend another minute or until fully incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the sifted confectioners' sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth.
- Pipe the Buttercream in mounds onto half the macarons. Top with the other halves and twist to distribute. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Allow them to rest a room temperature about a hour before serving.
- (base macaron recipe adapted from Bravetart- check out Stella's step by step instructions - she gives lots of great tips)