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French Macarons

The french macaron. The most fanciest of all tea cookies. By far the most difficult and finicky cookie I have every tried to bake. After two terrible attempts and many egg whites, I finally got the delicious, sweet biscuit I was hoping for! These are so pretty and sweet, and darn impressive; they are well worth the effort and frustration. I made mine with fresh strawberry buttercream, but you can fill them with jam, ganache, or chocolate.
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
Ingredients:
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup Almond Meal/Flour*
1/4 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
Food dye, any color
*Almond meal or flour (synonymous) can be tricky and expensive to find. You can try and make your own, which I did for my first attempt, but the almonds released too much oil and flattened the cookies. Home-made can be done, but I found it worth it for these picky cookies to just to get store-bought almond meal/flour.

Extended Instructions:
1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
2. Sift 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and 1 cup of almond flour into a large bowl. Toss out any large pieces left over. Mix the two together until thoroughly combined.
3. In a another bowl, separate the 3 eggs. Beat the whites until they are pale and fluffy and soft peaks begin to form. 
4. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar and one or two drops of food dye until firm peaks appear.*The cookies will lighten as they bake, so make the batter bright.
5. Carefully fold the sugar/almond mixture into the eggs, 1/3 at a time. Try to use 20 strokes for every 1/3 of the mixture, about 60 total.
This part is tricky: you don't want to over beat the batter, or else you'll loose all the air and the cookies will be flat. But you also must beat them enough so the cookies don't balloon in the oven and crack. This is where many a baker will trip up, it takes time to get a feel of it. The mixture should be very thick, but still pliable enough to slide off the spatula when lifted.
6. Fill a piping bag or plastic bag with batter, using an approximately 1/2 inch tip. Pipe the batter into little 1 inch swirls on the parchment paper lined-cookie sheets.

7. Tap the cookie sheets sharply onto the counter, several times. You want little air bubbles to float to the surface and the cookies to round out (so they don't look like hershey's kisses.)
Attempt #1, too runny didn't even put in the oven.
Attempt #2, too much egg.
Attempt #3, perfection.
8. Let the macarons sit for thirty minutes, so that a film will form over the top. While this is happening, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Also a good time to make the filling.
9. Bake 20 minutes. 
10. Place a dollop of filling on the bottom of one cookie, and place another macaron on top.
Tada! Delicious and beautiful, sweet, crunchy, and chewy. These maybe difficult to make, but once you get it right, they are fun and delightful to eat.
Bring on the glamour shots...








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