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Mactweets – Spring Fling

Basic macaron shells (adapted from Tartelette’s recipe)

For the shells:

90 gr egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites) (90gr measured after aging)
25 gr to 50 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
1 tablespoon powdered food coloring (optional) (I used liquid since that’s what I had and added it in just before mixing the eggs and dry ingredients)

Prep the eggs:

48 hrs in advance, separate the whites from the yolks and place the whites in a super clean bowl.  Leave at room temperature, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel for at least 24 hours.  Refrigerate after that if desired.  You can use eggs that have been “aging” for up to 5 days.
(I actually only separated the eggs the night before I made the macs, then left them at room temp overnight)

Prepare the macarons:

Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground.  Sift a couple of times to remove bits and pieces.  Regrind if necessary.  You can also use a coffee grinder for the nuts.  (I ground the nuts before I put them in the food processor using a coffee grinder) Once the nuts and powdered sugar are mixed together, add the color if desired and rub the mixture in between your fingertips to break up the bigger pieces.  Sift if desired. (I always resift the dry mix, sometimes twice).

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream).  Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

Add the nuts and powdered sugar to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that balls back on itself after counting to 10.  Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and then slow down.  The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes.  Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go.  If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Atec #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheets.  Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. (I never let the macs sit because they always get a filmy skin on them that doesn’t go away.  The second and third trays sit out for about 10 minutes whilst the previous batch is baking only)
If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F.  If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F.  (I baked them at 320F for 12 minutes, turning the tray halfway through) When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.  Let cool.