There are some things that I have a healthy amount of fear of…skydiving, my kids getting kidnapped, walking in the dark. I’m a pretty big scaredy-cat and I’m totally ok with that. Making macarons is one thing that I’m proud to say I’m no longer freaked out by. Sure they involve quite a few steps and are kinda finicky but these Easter Bunny Macarons were totally worth the effort!
A New Season
As far as baking goes, there are few things that intimidate me as much as the idea of the perfect French macaron. I’m pretty sure many of you would agree with me! I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard or read about how difficult macarons are to make. So, in honor of Spring and all things new, I thought it would be fun to document my first attempt at homemade macarons. I know, I know, that’s practically asking to be set up for failure but I’ve always been a sucker for challenges!
The Best Ingredients
After researching endless amounts of macaron recipes, the one thing that all agreed on was that you had to closely follow all the instructions to a T. Many of the recipes called to run the almond flour and powered sugar through a sieve a couple of times to make it extremely fine. Luckily, I was using Finely Ground Almond Flour from Bob’s Red Mill and didn’t have to worry about that! I’m a huge fan of all of Bob’s Red Mill other products and this one is no exception. Ground from whole, blanched sweet almonds, not only does the flour give a nice boost of protein to recipes but it’s also low in carbohydrates and gluten-free. Who else has mad love for Bob’s Red Mill?!
Macaron Lovers Unite
Ok, so there are a few things I’ve learned after making my first batch of macarons. Remember, I’m giving you the behind-the-scenes info just in case you’re scared (like me!) to tackle these adorable treats. Mine were by no means perfect the first go-round but they weren’t absolute disasters either which is totally a win in my books! Some hints I picked up:
- Don’t over mix your batter – If it looks like pancake batter, it’s too far. I think that’s the reason why mine didn’t raise as high as they should have and look more like sponge cake on the bottom.
- Parchment paper is the way to go – I used both a silicon mat and parchment paper and definitely preferred the paper. I love my Silpats for so many things but they were a bit too sticky for my macarons.
- Get to know your oven – It turns out I have an oven with some hot spots that cook quicker than in other sections. It might take a batch or two of macaron making to figure out why some cook evenly while others burn. I was able to counteract this by turning the tray halfway through baking time.
- Have Fun! – Macarons are a lesson in humility. Even the most seasoned bakers agree that sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. No need to stress, turns out even flat, non-perfect ones still taste good!
A Fluffle of Bunnies
Random fact: Did you know a group of bunnies is called a fluffle? Yeah, me neither but isn’t that the most perfect word ever! I made a batch of your basic round macarons but since it’s so close to Easter, thought I’d make a few bunny-shaped ones as well! They weren’t any harder to pipe out onto the cookie sheet and once assembled, totally easy to decorate with a food marker. How much fun would it be to have blank ones available at an Easter brunch for kids to decorate?!
So, there you have it. I’d like to think my first attempt at making macarons was fairly successful and because I’m no longer intimidated by them, will definitely be making them again. Here’s a Bob’s Red Mill coupon in case you’re planning on making them too: http://clvr.li/1mMHLNl. Good luck!
Easter Bunny Macarons
- 1 ¾ cups confectioners sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3 large egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup superfine sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoons lime zest
- 1 ½ tablespoons of lime juice
- pinch of salt
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Whisk together confectioners sugar and almond flour. Sift mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl, discard anything too coarse to go through.
- Using either a hand or stand mixer, beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium high and gradually add the superfine sugar (sugar that I ran through my blender) until your peaks are stiff and shiny (about 5-8 minutes).
- Transfer beaten egg whites to large bowl and fold into almond flour mixture until completely incorporated but not so much that it resembles pancake batter.
- Place batter in a pastry bag with a wide tip pipe out bunny shape, beginning with head and then adding the ears. Once cookie sheet is full, tape the entire sheet twice on the counter to remove air bubbles.
- Allow to sit at room temperature until the surface of the cookies aren't sticky anymore. Depending on your humidity, this may take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes.
- Bake cookies until they rise enough to create "foot," approximately 16-20 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to cooling rack.
- Mix all ingredients in a hand or stand mixture. Transfer to pastry bag and pipe onto thoroughly cooled cookies.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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