Parisian Macarons

Have you ever tried a Parisian Macaron?

I have been obsessed with them ever since I tried them. The best ones I’ve ever had ( I haven’t been to Paris yet) are at Payard in New York City. A Parisian Macron is a small round cake/cookie with a crunchy outside and soft inside. It comes in all kinds of beautiful colors and flavors and is filled with many kinds of delicious fillings. I love all the flavors- chocolate, raspberry, pistachio, almond – I could go on and on.

I’ve always held the Parisian Macaron in reverence and never had the courage to try making them, until last week when I chanced upon a recipe by Gourmet for Raspberry Chocolate French Macrons. It looked easy enough and given that Payard has shut down, I figured its time to give it a try!

The results were marvelous!! My kids have literally been inhaling the Macarons! We’ve decided that we are going to make them in red, green and white for our christmas cookie plate this year. So… I thought I’d share this wonderful recipe with all of you….I can promise you that you will soon be addicted…just as I am!

Raspberry Chocolate French Macarons

Dainty pink cookies sandwiched together with a silky ganache look as if they belong on a restaurant’s petits fours plate. In fact, the perfect little rounds can be made with a makeshift pastry bag. You can fill the macarons with either the ganache or any kind of  jam – I used raspberry jam. You can also substitute the flavors – if you can’t find raspberry extract use orange or chocolate and use any color food coloring to make your Macarons look pretty.

Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Active Time: 45 min

Total Time: 1 3/4 hr

For the Macaron

6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

3 large egg whites

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Red or pink food coloring

For chocolate raspberry ganache

3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), finely chopped

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1/16 teaspoon raspberry extract (preferably McCormick brand)

Special equipment: parchment paper; a gallon-size sealable plastic bag (not pleated)

Make Macarons:

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
  • Sift in remaining cup confectioners sugar, stirring to combine.
  • Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks.
  • Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks.
  • Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low-speed until evenly combined.

  • Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)
  • Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening.

  • Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.

  • Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.

Make ganache while macarons bake:

  • Melt chocolate with cream in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Bowl should not touch water.)
  • Remove bowl from heat, then add butter and raspberry extract, stirring until butter is melted.

  • Let stand at room temperature until cooled completely and slightly thickened.

Assemble cookies:

  • Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile).
  • Sandwich a thin layer of ganache (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.

Cooks’ note: Filled Macarons keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.