I always enjoy the festive Mardi Gras celebration but for some reason I’m really into it this year. And I just love the yellow/green/purple colors as well. In addition to the colors, I also love macarons. In fact, the macarons above didn’t last more than a day before they were gone.
Macarons are a French cookie that can be a little tricky to make but taste so good. It takes a few times of trial and error to get them right. If you’ve ever tried to make them and they didn’t look like they should some of the reasons are listed below:
1. Make sure you have a good recipe (such as the one below) and follow it precisely as its written.
2. Ingredients are listed by weight not by volume. Volume measures are not pinpoint accurate and this type of cookie must be exact.
3. Be sure ingredients are fresh, especially the egg whites.
4. Do not over fold or under fold the batter.
100 grams ground blanched almonds or almond meal
180 grams confectioner (powdered or icing) sugar
100 grams “aged” egg whites, at room temperature (See below)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
35 grams superfine or castor white sugar (process granulated or raw sugar in the food processor to make it superfine)
Either white buttercream or marshmallow filling.
Yellow sanding sugar (optional)
Either gel or powdered food colors in green, yellow and purple – DO NOT USE LIQUID FOOD COLOR
Aged eggs – separate eggs at least 24 hours and up to 3 days before making macarons. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Then bring to room temperature.
Prepare baking pans with either parchment paper or silicone mats.
Mix the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar together and process about a minute in a food processor. Sift the mixture to make sure there aren’t any lumps.
Fit an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until it’s foamy. Slowly add the sugar and turn to medium high. Continue beating until it forms stiff peaks. You’ll know it’s done when you hold the beater up, the peak should stand up straight and not flop over.
In three additions sift (yes, sift again) the almond mixture over the meringue. With a spatula, carefully fold, do not mix, until fully incorporated.
Divide the batter into 2 equal portions. Add green color to one portion and purple to the other. Continue folding until color is even throughout.
The batter will thin out. The batter is done when it falls off of the spatula and forms a ribbon. The ribbon should take a few seconds to dissolve back into the rest of the batter.
Fill two pastry bags fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. One bag for each color. Pipe out 1 to 1 1/2 inch circles onto the parchment paper or silicone mat. Each circle should be about 2 inches apart. These cookies will spread. Gently tap the tray a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles from the cookies. Let sit on the counter for 20-30 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are no longer tacky. This could take longer depending on the humidity level.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake the cookies for about 14-16 minutes rotating them once halfway through. They are done when they will barely separate from the parchment paper or silicone mat. some browning will occur.
Cool the macarons completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Add the yellow food color to your filling and mix until color is evenly incorporated. Fill either a pastry bag or parchment cone with the filling and squeeze just enough on top of the green macarons to form a sandwich. Top with a purple macaron and roll the sides of the cookie into the sanding sugar.
To decorate I mixed a little bit of purple gel color with a drop of vodka and painted the top of each cookie with a small brush.