I recently had a macaron making party. Two of my friends came over with all the ingredients and I showed them how easy it is to make perfect, fool proof, beautiful cookies. My friend B had tried making them before with disastrous results (she said they just flattened and spread when they baked), while my friend D was too intimidated to even try them. So we got together on a Saturday morning, two KitchenAid stand mixers and a hand mixer going together with a timer, and we had a cookie baking assembly line! It was so much fun, and everyone’s cookies turned out great!
D made maroon cookies and filled them with a cream cheese icing (she wanted a red velvet feeling, it happened to be her birthday!). B made yellow cookies and filled them with chocolate ganache. I had never made just plain white macarons before so decided it would be my challenge.
We used my “Easy French Macarons” recipe which literally turns out every time. Seriously! It’s the best recipe for these cookies, ever! And while I had meant to take them out of the oven 30 seconds sooner (got distracted chatting and laughing with the girls!) they turned out really quite lovely.
So, here are my tips for making a white macaron cookie:
one: use this recipe to the letter, don’t make any substitutions or take any shortcuts; these cookies are easy but they do require you to be technical and precise.
two: don’t add too much extract, if any at all. The point is to keep these babies white, so adding dark brown vanilla flavouring isn’t going to help. The cookies are supposed to be mild anyway, it’s the filling that adds the most flavour. But if you must add extract, just don’t add so much that it darkens your batter. I didn’t use any extract at all and they tasted just fine.
three: watch your oven temperature like a hawk. We waited until the “wait for half an hour” step before preheating the oven because we knew that the oven was going to be on for a long time to bake three batches. But even with careful monitoring it was tricky to get the bake time just right. For D’s maroon macarons the bake time was 11 minutes for the first tray and 10 minutes for the second tray (we started smelling almonds which is a bad sign for these–you don’t want to smell anything while they bake–it meant the bottoms were getting burned. Thankfully not so much that it affected the taste or appearance since her cookies were already a dark colour). For B’s yellow macarons we moved the oven rack a little higher so they weren’t so close to the element and baked for 9 minutes.
For my white macarons we baked for 8 minutes, though I wish I had just gone 7.5 since they are a teeny tiny bit browned. They seemed a bit undercooked when we removed them from the oven so I left them on the tray for a few minutes rather than transferring them to the wire rack right away. This gave them a little more heat to fully cook without getting browned. Knowing when the cookies are done does come from experience, but when they are undercooked they come out too soft and not solid enough to twist off the baking sheet without tearing.
That’s it, easy! The only real challenge was getting the bake time just right, which is very unique to an individual oven, anyway.
As for the sweet cream filling, oh golly it’s a good one! I get compliments on this icing whenever I use it, it’s ah-mazing. I found it here from a gingerbread cookie bar recipe (my mouth is watering just thinking about those cookie bars, sooo good!). It’s a cream cheese icing but it doesn’t have the sour tang of typical cream cheese icing; it’s really sweet and fluffy and you hardly notice the cheesyness at all. Delicious!
Sweet Cream Macaron Filling
(Original recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything)
0.25 cups softened butter
4 oz softened full fat cream cheese
0.5 lb powdered sugar
0.5-1 tsp vanilla extract
one: cream together the butter and cream cheese.
two: add the powdered sugar and vanilla (I love vanilla flavouring and always add extra, but since it’s going into white macarons you don’t want to add too much or you’ll make the icing a darker colour, keep it white!). Mix on low until the powdered sugar is incorporated then mix on high to make it fluffy.
three: use a piping bag to fill your macarons. Go close enough to the edge of the cookie that it squishes flush to the outside edge when the two cookies are pressed together.
Save the leftover icing to eat directly with a spoon when you’re 8 months pregnant and craving cream cheese icing (cough, cough). I actually used favour boxes from my wedding that I’ve been saving to beautifully package these up–they are in the freezer now as gifts for the nurses who will help when I go into labour next month!
Comment below if your macarons turn out white and how long you baked them for, I’m really curious!
Emile Henry Lion Head Soup Bowl: I got these years ago at Hudson’s Bay but they don’t seem to be available any longer, nor at Bed Bath and Beyond.