I bet this Texas girl would have never had the chance to taste a French macaron unless she moved to California.  Trends seem to take their time creeping down South, sometimes never making it at all.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but after taking one bite of a macaron, I don’t think I could have waited any longer.  My first macaron was from the Bouchon Bakery in Napa Valley.  I took one bite of the raspberry macaron and my head spun around.  Thinking that the dizziness was due to the champagne we had just enjoyed across the street at Domaine Chandon, I went back for a second macaron:  lemon this time.  And before I left, I had to make triple sure my swooning was properly directed with a vanilla macaron.  I can safely say that the fuss made over these cookies is 100% well-deserved.

I used Anne Thornton’s recipe as a guide for scaling down because her recipe uses meringue powder to ensure perfect results every time.

French Macarons (with Nutella)

French Macarons (with Nutella)
Yields: 6 macaron sandwich cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 older egg white
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons almond meal
  • 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 teaspoons Nutella

Instructions

  1. Begin by bringing the egg white to room temperature.
  2. Line a small half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together almond meal and powdered sugar.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg white with an electric mixer.
  5. Once frothy, slowly add the merginue powder while beating continuously.
  6. Once the meringue has soft floppy peaks, stop beating. Then, in 3 increments, add in the the almond meal and powdered sugar. Gently fold it in using a spatula (scrape down the middle and sweep the sides carefully).
  7. Once everything is well incorporated, scoop the mixture into a plastic bag or pastry bag. This is easier if the bag is inside a tall glass. Squeeze the mixture down to one side and snip the corner off of the bag.
  8. Squeeze gently to make 12 perfectly round circles on the baking pan. Use your finger tip to gently press away any peaks.
  9. Let the cookies sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before baking. Before the cookies go into the oven, they should appear dry. This takes longer on humid days. While waiting, preheat the oven to 300°.
  10. Bake the cookies in the middle rack of the oven for 14-16 minutes. They are done when the tops are dry and they have risen up to reveal their ‘feet.’
  11. Let cool on the baking sheet, then carefully remove them to a rack.
  12. Spread 1 teaspoon of Nutella on 6 cookies, then press the 6 remaining cookies on top to make 6 sandwich cookies.

Notes

*You truly need older egg whites for these cookies. After I make a dessert using an egg yolk, I put my leftover white in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap. I store it in my fridge for about a week before using it. *I made my own almond meal by finely chopping a scant 1/2 cup of raw, whole almonds. I then grind them in a coffee grinder. Be careful not to make almond butter-2 or 3 pulses is all it takes. Sift very well before using.