How to Make French Macarons

Food Network Magazine tackles the world's most impossible cookie: French Macarons. 

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Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

French Macarons

Basic Rules: 1) Use the convection setting on your oven; this helps dry out the cookies evenly so they won't crack. 2) Don't be heavy-handed with the food coloring; the delicate batter can handle only the smallest bit of liquid. 3) Follow the recipe's directions as closely as possible; measure ingredients carefully and don't overmix. 4) Weather is a factor, so don't save this project for a rainy day.

Get the Recipe: French Macaroons

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F using the convection setting. Line 3 baking sheets with silicone mats. Measure the confectioners' sugar and almond flour by spooning them into measuring cups and leveling with a knife. Transfer to a bowl; whisk to combine.

Sift the sugar–almond flour mixture, a little at a time, through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to pass through as much as possible. It will take a while, and up to 2 tablespoons of coarse almond flour may be left; just toss it.

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium high; gradually add the superfine sugar and beat until stiff and shiny, about 5 more minutes.

Transfer the beaten egg whites to the bowl with the almond flour mixture. Draw a rubber spatula halfway through the mixture and fold until incorporated, giving the bowl a quarter turn with each fold.

Add the food coloring and extract (see variations). Continue folding and turning, scraping down the bowl, until the batter is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thin flat ribbon, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet, pipe 1 1/4-inch circles (24 per sheet). Firmly tap the baking sheets twice against the counter to release any air bubbles.

Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the tops are no longer sticky to the touch, 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the humidity. Slip another baking sheet under the first batch (a double baking sheet protects the cookies from the heat).

Bake the first batch until the cookies are shiny and rise 1/8 inch to form a "foot," about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat, using a double sheet for each batch. Peel the cookies off the mats and sandwich with a thin layer of filling (see filling variations).

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