Vibrant macarons can now be found in a variety of stores. The idea of making macarons yourself can be a daunting task at first, however, macarons are easier to make than you think! There are not many ingredients that you would need to run out to the store and grab. The catch is how to master the French techniques involved in baking them. The macarons involve the most skill, but the show stopper is actually the filling. In this case, I used white chocolate-lemon ganache.
We make this recipe with in The Chopping Block's summer Teen Camp: Baking and Pastry. The week is a complete baking experience for young pastry chefs as they navigate the world of quick breads, French pastry techniques, yeast dough and fritters, cakes and cookies, even decorating a cake. The fourth day is centered around cakes and cookies. The students learn how to make a Jelly Roll Cake with Fresh Fruit and Cream, and Individual Devil's Food Cake and Lemon Macarons with White Chocolate-Lemon Ganache. If the teenagers can master this recipe, so can you!
Yield: About 1 dozen filled macarons
Active time: 35 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 2/3 cup ground blanched almonds
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 to 3 drops of yellow gel food coloring
- White Chocolate-Lemon Ganache (recipe follows)
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Using a sheet of parchment paper, draw 24 one-inch circles on the paper, spacing them at least half an inch apart. You can use the wide end of a large pastry tip as a template for the circles. Lay this paper on a sheet tray with the drawn circles facedown.
- Place the ground almonds and powdered sugar in your food processor. Process until you have a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a sieve twice. Set this mixture aside on a piece of parchment paper.
- Place the egg whites in a large, clean bowl. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat on high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites. Add the vanilla extract, and beat the whites on high speed until you have stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute.
- Add the lemon zest, food coloring and half of the sifted almond mixture to the whipped egg whites. Fold it in gently, using a wide spatula to scoop it up from the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the remaining almond mixture and mix it lightly in a circular motion.
- Once the flour has been incorporated, press and spread out the batter against the bowl’s sides. Scoop the batter from the bottom, and turn it upside down. Repeat this step about 15 times. *If this step, known as macaronnage, is done less than 10 times, the macarons will lack luster. If this step is done more than 20 times, oil stains may remain on the pastries’ surface after they are baked.
- When the batter becomes nicely firm and drips slowly as you scoop it with the spatula, it is done.
- Set up a piping bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Fill the piping bag with the batter until it is about 1/2 full.
- Squeeze the batter into the center of your traced circles on the parchment paper. The batter tends to spread after being piped, so don’t fill the circle in completely.
- Tap the sheet tray firmly against the counter. This helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps to form the little “foot” (also known as the pied) when they bake.
- Allow the circles to dry at room temperature, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. A slight crust should form on top of the macarons. *If the batter does not stick to your finger when you touch them, the drying is complete. If they are still a bit wet, allow them to dry a little longer.
- Nest the tray of macarons onto another sheet tray. Doubling the trays helps prevent the macarons from overbrowning on the bottoms.
- Bake the macarons until they are slightly crisp and crackled on top, 15 to 18 minutes. *If the insides of the macarons are still soft, lower the temperature to 300°, cover the tray with foil, and continue to bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
- Allow the baked macarons to cool completely. After they are cool, spread White Chocolate Lemon Ganache between two of the macaron shells and enjoy!
White Chocolate-Lemon Ganache
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Active time: 5 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour
- 6 ounces white chocolate (about 1 cup of chips or chopped from a block)
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ounces unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
- Fill a sauce pot with 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Place the white chocolate, cream cheese and butter in a heat-proof mixing bowl, and set the bowl over the pot.
- Allow the ingredients to melt, and then stir with a whisk until smooth.
- Stir in the lemon juice and zest, and remove the bowl from the pot. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
Although our teen camps are over for the summer, we've just introduced a new series of classes to keep the teens cooking throughout the school year. Our Jr. Chef classes are designed for young chefs ages 12-17 years old who have a hunger for cooking, and are passionate about expanding their culinary knowledge in our fun, interactive and engaging hands-on classes. Try:
- Jr. Chef Breakfast for Dinner Saturday, September 28 10:30am Merchandise Mart
- Jr. Chef Breakfast for Dinner Monday, October 14 11am Lincoln Square
- Jr. Chef Homemade Pasta Workshop Saturday, October 26 11am Merchandise Mart