I got this idea into my head for french macarons that tasted like birthday cake and I COULD NOT LET IT GO. I made Mr. Peach drive me to three different grocery stores just to find butter extract. He didn’t even complain. That’s true love.
As it turns out, butter extract is A) a thing and B) exactly what my first few batches of cake batter buttercream were missing. I know this because I tried them all.
Remember how I gave up desserts in December and how I was really good about not eating any until very recently? Yeah, well…
In my defense, I made it almost two whole 2 months without dessert so that’s not completely insignificant.
Through lots of trial and error (more error than trial), I’ve found that the most critical piece is knowing when to stop mixing the whipped egg whites with the almond flour/sugar mixture. Undermix and your macarons will crack as they bake. Overmix and they won’t develop “feet” or that little ruffle at that bottom that we all love so much. One test that works for me is to scoop up some batter with the spatula and let it slide off. If the batter runs off in a smooth ribbon as you move the spatula in a circle around the bowl, it’s done. If the batter breaks while doing this, keep mixing.
This process of mixing the egg whites and almond flour is called “macaronage” and if you’re new to making macarons, I would spend a few minutes watching some macaronage youtube videos. I’m actually being serious here.
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) baker's or superfine sugar
- 200 grams (2 cups) powdered sugar
- 120 grams (1 cup) almond meal
- 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup vanilla cake mix (I like Trader Joe's brand because it has flecks of vanilla bean in it)
- ½ teaspoon butter extract
- 2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
- Measure out the almond meal and powdered sugar and sift together, using clean hands to push it through the sieve. 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.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the baker's sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar for 2 minutes at medium speed (kitchen aid speed 6), another 2 minutes on high (kitchen aid speed 8). At this point, the egg whites mixture should be very stiff.
- Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, deflating the egg whites against the side of the bowl as you do so. It usually takes me anywhere from 45-60 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, powdered sugar, cake mix, and butter extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment over medium speed until light and fluffy. Fold in the sprinkles with a spatula. 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 buttercream onto one of the cookies and gently top with its mate. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. Allow macarons to sit out at room temperature for a few hours before serving to let the buttercream soften up.