Mmm, Mmm, Macarons

Gather

1 cup slivered almonds, finely ground (almond flour works well)
2 cups powdered sugar
3 egg whites
salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
food coloring
parchment paper
zip-top plastic bag
scissors

For the filling:
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

Go

1. In a small bowl, stir together almonds and 1 cup powdered sugar.
2. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, salt and vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium with a mixer until soft peaks form. (Dip a beater in mixture, then lift it slowly upward. If the mixture is goopy, continue to mix.)

Soft Peaks
 

3. Put the mixer on slow and gradually add remaining 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat on medium until soft peaks form again. Add 6 to 8 drops of food coloring. (Add less food coloring for a pastel color and more for a bright color.)
4. Slowly fold in dry mixture from small bowl, adding 1/4 of the mixture at a time.
5. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Make sure to cover entire surface.
6. Pour 1/2 of mixture into a large zip-top plastic bag. Snip off the tip of one corner to create a pastry bag.
7. Gently squeeze bag to create 1-inch mounds of dough on the parchment paper. Space each mound about 1-inch apart on each side. Refill pastry bag with the rest of the mixture and repeat until gone.
8. Set cookies aside for about 30 to 45 minutes. Do not refrigerate them. While cookies are set aside, make the filling.
9. With an adult’s help, fill a large saucepan with water and boil over high heat. Using a mixer, beat eggs and sugar. Then place mixer bowl over saucepan and whisk mixture for 3 to 5 minutes, until sugar dissolves.
10. Place bowl back on mixer and use a whisk attachment to whip the mixture for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it’s stiff and shiny. (Use regular beaters if you don’t have a whisk attachment.)
11. Add small slices of butter and whip until mixed thoroughly.
12. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
13. Once cookies cool, spoon filling onto each half and combine to create sandwich cookies.
14. Arrange a few cookies on a plate and present to Mom.

This article first appeared in the May 2012 issue of Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Photo © Ron and Karen Nickel.