Vive La France! – French Macarons
Today is Bastille Day. All over France there are celebrations going on. There is a parade down the Champs-Élysées in the morning and fireworks over the Eiffel Tower at night. Not unlike our 4th of July celebrations, Bastille Day marks the beginning of the French Revolution.
We may have Independence Days that are similar, but the French have something we don’t have….macarons!
(Photo of the patisserie counter at Bottega Louis in Los Angeles)
Well actually we can have them too. With a little effort and some simple ingredients, you can satisfy your sweet tooth as well as any Frenchman (or woman).
So mesdames et messieurs whip up those egg whites, turn on your ovens, allez et voilà! Let’s join our French brothers and sisters and let the celebrations begin Viva La France!
(One other added bonus of the French treats is that they happen to be gluten-free)
1 cup ground slivered or blanched almonds or almond flour*
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Food coloring (optional)
1 stick butter
1 cup powdered sugar
Food coloring (optional)
Mix ground almonds and powdered sugar together. Beat eggs whites in a clean dry bowl until very frothy. Add salt and mix again. Mix in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until egg whites are shiny and stiff. Add vanilla or almond flavoring and food color, if using, and mix only to combine. Do not over mix or egg whites will deflate.
Stir in 1/2 of the almond/sugar mixture by folding it into egg whites carefully. Mix in second 1/2 being careful to mix only slightly as the fat in the almonds will cause the egg whites to deflate if over mixed.
Add mixture to a piping bag fitted with a tip with a large round hole. Pipe out dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet to form 1-2 inch rounds keeping the size consistent as you will need to put two cookies together with filling and they should be the same size.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. They are ready to be filled.
It has been reported that these are actually at their best if allowed to sit in the refrigerator for two days before serving. Ours never seem to last that long so we cannot vouch for that
These are great served after dinner as a bite of something sweet. Perfect served at parties or showers, or wrapped in a cellophane bag tied with a ribbon as a party favor. Arrange in a pretty box and they are a lovely gift for someone…who wouldn’t love to get these?
** Flavoring can be as simple as 1 teaspoon of vanilla, OR 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, OR 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract OR 2 tablespoon of your favorite strawberry or raspberry or blueberry jam. Additionally, you can use 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and increase the powdered sugar by 1/3 cup. You can also use Nutella as a filling.
*Trader Joes sells an almond flour but it is made from almonds with the skins on them, not blanched almonds. Using these effects both the color and the texture and taste of the macarons. We recommend you buy the slivered almonds and grind them to a fine flour in your blender or buy almond flour that is light color with no skins from the almonds.