These attractive confections feature a sweet cream filling sandwiched between two light-as-air, meringue-y almond cookies. They need to have a smooth, shiny surface, a gentle crackly crispness, a light and airy texture, a subtle but distinct almond flavor, and a luxurious buttercream filling. Yes, it’s a tall order—but one you can achieve at home with the right technique.
As with anything French, appearance is an important part of the package. And macarons’ crisp, smooth texture is one of their best attributes—and also one of the most difficult to achieve, thanks to the almond flour they contain. While the almond flour itself is a powder, it’s still too grainy for the delicate macarons. To remedy this graininess, we processed the powdered sugar along with the almond flour, which broke the flour down even further. Additionally, for a consistently smooth texture for our little dollops of piped meringue, we employed a simple trick: tapping the baking sheet on the counter, which leveled them evenly. The result? Super-smooth macarons that rival any you’ll find in a French bakery.
STEP #1 Pipe the batter onto the prepared baking sheets into 2-inch mounds spaced about 1 inch apart.
STEP #2 Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to level the mounds.
STEP #3 Use the back of a teaspoon or your finger dipped in cold water to even out the shape and smooth the surface of the piped mounds.