But first, their origin story:
I came across something on the interwebs the other day that really held a lot of meaning for me. It said that french macarons are the diva of the cookie world.
Truer words were never written.
After years of making these little dudes in both an industrial kitchen and in my home, I thought I’d had it down to a science. But then we moved across the country. And for every batch of perfect little macaron shells, I would turn around and get uneven feet or hollow middles or a couple of cracked tops. I don’t know if its the oven or the air or entirely human error, but my macarons had been more hit or miss this past year.
So like any completely macaron-obsessed person would, I saved up all my pennies to take a macaron class in Paris where I learned that some of the most famous macaron shops in Paris use the Italian meringue method rather than the French. Apparently it’s a bit more consistent and you have a bit more control over the cookies.
After getting back Stateside and experimenting a bit in my own kitchen, I’m going to have to go ahead and agree with that assessment. I’ve found that the french method yields a little bit of a crispier cookie (which I like), but that I get more consistent results with the italian method. No more annoying random hollow middles — yay!I also learned that around 90% of the flavor from a macaron comes from the filling. I definitely suspected that was the case previously. But now that it’s been confirmed, I’ve gone a little crazy with dreaming up new fillings for my macarons. The recipe I’m sharing today is for Brownie Batter Macarons.
Because the only thing I love more than thick, dense, fudgy brownies, is the batter.
- 200 grams sifted almond flour
- 200 grams powdered sugar
- 75 grams egg whites, room temperature
- 75 grams egg whites, room temperature
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 50 grams water
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ounces melted chocolate
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup boxed brownie mix
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons warm water
- Sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Discard the remaining almond meal pieces that won't go through the sieve. I usually have anywhere from a few tablespoons to a quarter of a cup of leftovers. Add the egg whites to the almond/sugar mixture and stir until a thick paste forms. Set aside.
- To make the Italian Meringue, bring the granulated sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan and cook to 244 degrees F. While sugar water is boiling, whisk the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed with a whisk attachment for 2-3 minutes.
- Once sugar mixture reaches 244 degrees F, carefully pour it into a heatproof measurer. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly drizzle a few tablespoons of the hot sugar mixture over the egg whites at a time until it's completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to high speed and continue to whisk until the mixture has dropped in temperature and is no longer too hot (about 122 degrees F). At this point, the egg whites mixture should be very stiff.
- Use a spatula to gently fold the meringue into the almond paste mixture, deflating the egg whites against the side of the bowl as you do so. It usually takes me around 40 strokes.
- Transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a half inch wide circular opening or pastry tip. Squeeze out the air bubbles and pipe out 1 inch mounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Give the baking sheet a couple of good whacks on the counter to force out any air bubbles. Allow the macarons to air dry for 30 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated 300 degree F oven for about 20 minutes. To test, gently lift one of the macarons from the parchment paper. If any part of it sticks, they need a few more minutes in the oven.
- While the macarons are cooling, beat together the butter, melted chocolate, powdered sugar, brownie mix, vanilla extract, and water (start with 1 tablespoon) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment over medium speed until light and fluffy. Add more water, as necessary. Transfer to a pastry bag with a half inch wide circular opening.
- Match up the macarons into similar sized pairs and flip them on their backs. Pipe the frosting onto one of the cookies and gently top with its mate. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge.