Valentine's Day Macarons
  • 212 grams almond meal
  • 212 grams confectioners' sugar
  • 82 and 90 grams egg whites divided
  • 236 grams granulated sugar plus a pinch
  • 158 grams water
  • Buttercream icing use this recipe, or get a jar of store-bought icing
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take a sheet of parchment paper and trace a small cup or shot glass with a pencil to make guides for piping the macarons. Turn the parchment paper over (so the pencil marks are on the back) and use it to line a cookie sheet.
  2. Using a scale, weigh out the almond meal and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the 82 grams of egg whites. Mix together until well blended. The mixture will be sticky and paste-like -- set it aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, stir together the water and sugar. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat on medium-high until mixture reaches 200 degrees F. While it's reaching that temp, go ahead and put the 92 grams of egg whites and a pinch of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Once the syrup reaches 200 degrees F, turn the mixer on medium speed and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. If this happens before the syrup is through, turn down the mixer to low speed.
  4. Continue to heat the syrup until it reaches 248 degrees F. By this time, the egg whites should have reached soft peaks. Turn the mixer on medium-high and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the stand mixer bowl. Once it's been incorporated, increase the speed to high and whip the mixture until glossy stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold about 1/3 of the meringue into the almond paste. Add a little bit of meringue at a time to adjust the consistency of the macaron batter. It should be smooth and run in thick ribbons off the end of a spoon. You will likely have a bit of meringue left over. You don't want it to be too thin, or it will spread too far when piped. If it's too thick, flaws in the tops of the cookies will not work themselves out.
  6. Add the batter to a piping bag fitted with a #12 tip and pipe it onto the parchment paper, using the template as a guide. Don't fill the circles completely with batter -- it will spread a bit as it settles.
  7. Allow the piped batter to sit for 5-10 minutes to settle before baking. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the cookies have formed "feet" at the bottom and the tops have set. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the parchment paper, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once cool, spread icing on the bottom of one cookie and use another to make a sandwich. I used some of the left-over meringue to attach small red heart sprinkles to the top of the finished macarons.