macarons

Homemade (Gluten-Free) French Macarons with Low-Histamine Fillings

how to make basic french macarons

 

Hello everyone! A few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday and instead of receiving gifts and organizing a party, I decided to do my usual birthday tradition, which is to disappear in the kitchen and cook or bake for my family and friends. In other words, my birthdays are usually not a time for receiving, but instead, a time for giving. So, for this year, I decided to take on the challenge, which is to make my dreaded French Macarons. I finally did it and I will tell you in this post how I made it and how you can make your own delicious French Macarons at home.

 

french macarons 101

 

I must admit that it took me some time and some practice to figure these finicky pastries out. Well, I did some sort of experiment on a bunch of ingredients first, like making my macarons sugar-free, vegan, and low-histamine. But good Lord, there was no way on earth I could do these things since macarons rely on real sugar for their structure. Neither Xylitol nor Stevia could do that. Also, I couldn’t figure out how to make a decent macaron using Aquafaba a.k.a AquaFabulous (a brine or leftover liquid from a chickpea/garbanzo can which simulate real egg whites). So, if you have some tips on how to successfully make macarons using this specific ingredient, please let me know. However, the fillings in this French Macaron recipe are definitely low-histamine, and since macarons are made of almond flour, they’re of course, gluten-free.

 

There are several ways to do French Macarons (there’s even an Italian way), and it’s true that making these fickle pastries do require patience, timing, right weather, right temperature, right measurements, right equipments, and heck right mood and energy because these macarons can play tricks on you and you could be at your wits’ end before you’d totally figure it out. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. As the saying goes “Practice makes perfect, but then again, nobody’s perfect, so why practice? LOL ūüôā Anyway, here’s how I did my French Macarons and read what has worked for me below.

 

INGREDIENTS

(Most of the ingredients and the materials used in this recipe can be found in Amazon. You can click directly on the list below.)

 

MACARON SHELLS

 

Dry:

 

1 cup Powdered (Confectioners’) Sugar

3/4 cup Almond Flour

 

Wet:

 

2 Egg Whites (room temperature)

1/4 cup Caster Sugar (finer than granulated sugar)

Food Color

1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar

Pinch of Salt

 

FILLINGS

 

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter or 1/4 cup (softened, room temperature)

1/4 cup Powdered Sugar

Food Color

 

Low-Histamine Flavors:

    1/2 cup Mango puree (Golden Yellow)

    1/2 cup Apple puree (Red)

    1/2 cup Blueberry puree (Teal)

    2 tbsp Espresso Decaf Coffee (done through Nespresso machine) (Brown)

    1 tbsp Peppermint Extract (Green)

    1/2 cup Melon puree (Copper/Orange)

 

MATERIALS

 

Stand or Handheld Mixer

Food Processor

Mesh Strainer

Oven Thermometer

Mixing Bowls

Silicone Spatula

Measuring Cups

Measuring Spoons

Piping Tips

Pastry Bags

Silicone Macaron Mat or Parchment Paper

Baking Pans or Nonstick Cookie Sheets

Cooling Racks

Macaron box from PACKHOME (for packaging 12 macarons)

Paper Doilies (to line the Macaron box)

Ribbons (to decorate Macaron box)

Recipe Cards (from Brittany Fuson Paper)

 

INSTRUCTION

 

french macarons egg white ingredients

 

Set aside 2 eggs and make sure they’re in room temperature. To bring refrigerated eggs to a room temp, put them in hot water.

 

Dry Ingredients:

 

french macarons mixing dry ingredients

 

1. In a Food Processor, mix 1 cup Powdered/Confectioners’ Sugar and 3/4 cup Almond Flour for about 5 seconds, then stop. Manually mix with a spoon to make sure all areas are completely mixed. Do this alternate mixing three times.

 

french macarons sifting dry ingredients

 

2. Sieve the Dry Ingredients using a mesh strainer and carefully throw away the large particles. Set aside.

 

Wet Ingredients (Meringue):

 

1. Once eggs are warm, separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Do this very carefully. You can use your hands or you can use a spoon. We only need the egg whites.

 

egg meringue

 

2. Using a handheld or stand mixer, slowly whisk/mix the egg whites until they become frothy or bubbly. Add in 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar and a pinch of salt. Continue mixing. Then slowly add 1/4 cup Caster/Fine Sugar.

 

3. Keep whisking/mixing progressively the Meringue until it starts to look thick and white.

 

how to add food color french macarons

 

4. Add Food Color

 

how to achieve stiff peaks in meringue french macarons

 

 

5. Gradually increase the speed of whisking until the Meringue looks glossy/shiny and develops stiff peaks. Its peaks should not ¬† fall over or curve. One way to tell is to lift the whisk and make sure it looks stiff at the tips resembling a bird’s beak. Once it does, stop whisking.

 

6. Mixing Wet & Dry Ingredients (Macaronage):

 

fluffy meringue with stiff peaks french macarons

 

mixing wet and dry ingredients french macarons

 

how to mix wet and dry ingredients french macarons

 

7. Mix the Dry Ingredients (Almond Flour + Sugar) with the Wet Ingredients (Egg whites etc., Meringue) using a flexible spatula (silicone ones). You can mix half of the dry ingredients first into the bowl of fluffy yet stiff Meringue. Then mix in a circular motion while cutting through and folding over the batter. This is to minimize bubble formation.

 

how to macaronage

 

french macarons how to

 

 

how to tell if batter is ready for french macarons

 

8. Finish adding and mixing the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The batter should start to look like Lava or Sand Mixture and your arm should start to hurt from all the mixing by this time, LOL. I don’t really count the number of mixture to achieve the ideal batter consistency because it’s easy to overlook it or make a mistake that way. Instead, I LOOK at it, because you know what they say “To see is to believe”, LOL. Here’s my cue: If the batter (Macaronage) runs continuously and could form into a ribbon or like a figure 8 without breaking, then you’re doing great. BUT, it should settle back or sink into the batter within 30 seconds (I use my phone’s timer). Once it does, then stop right then and there.

 

pasty bag and piping tips read to pipe out french macarons

 

preparing macaronage batter for piping

 

9. Place the batter (Macaronage) into a pastry bag with a piping tip. Make sure you twist the bag on top of the tip to prevent the batter from going through directly and spilling all over the counter.

 

piping out the batter for french macarons

 

10. On a Silicone Macaron Mat or Parchment Paper resting on a Baking Pan or Cookie Sheet, pipe out the batter straight through (90¬į angle).

 

drying french macarons batter

 

11. Bang the pan/tray against the counter several times (as many times as you like, really) in order to bring the bubbles to the surface. Pop the visible bubbles on the surface using a toothpick and bang the tray again to make the batter more even.

 

french macaron skin after 1 hour

 

12. Let the batter rest for 1 hour or more. It will start to develop a skin which you can touch lightly on your finger and it won’t stick. It will also look shiny and feels dry. I like to rest mine in a cool dry area, preferably close to my AC.

 

oven thermometer for macaron baking

 

13. Bake for 15-18 minutes at 300 ¬įF or 150 ¬įC.

 

14. Notice the macarons developing feet.

 

french macarons with feet

 

15. Carefully lift the Silicone Macaron Mat from the pan and put it on the cooling rack. Let it cool for 30-40 minutes. Then slowly peel each macaron shell off the mat and put it on another cooling rack to continuously cool and dry.

 

16. Refrigerate for storage

 

Buttercream Fillings

 

1. Whisk 1/4 cup or 2 sticks of Unsalted, Softened, Room Temperature, Butter

 

2. Add 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar on it

 

Add the following Low-Histamine fillings: (I used fresh ingredients for this recipe).

 

Melon/Mango/Blueberry/Apple

 

how to make apple puree french macaron filling

 

 

how to make melon puree french macaron filling

 

french macaron blueberry flavor filling

 

– Cut the Melon/Apple/Mango into thin slices or in cubes, and put them in a saucepan with a cup of water. Bring them to a boil and mash them once soft, turning into a puree. Use 1/2 cup or more according to your preference. For Blueberries, you can mash them directly through a strainer if they’re ripe and soft, separating the skin from the juice. If they’re too hard, you can bring them to a boil with a bit of water.

 

how to make mango puree french macaron filling

 

Peppermint/Decaf Coffee

 

– Use 1 tbsp peppermint/mint extract and add it to the butter with sugar. For Decaf Coffee filling, I used my Nespresso machine and used one decaf pod. I only needed 2 tbsp of it and it gives a concentrated coffee taste. I then added it to my mixture of butter and sugar.

 

– You can add some food color to your fillings according to their taste or flavor.

 

piping out french macaron filling

 

– Pipe out the fillings into one macaron shell and look for its pair.

 

– Store in refrigerator for 3 days, or in the freezer for 6 months.

 

– Macarons should taste crunchy on the outside and chewy inside.

 

Important Things to Consider

 

Macarons taste better as they age, that is after the next day or so.

 

In my experience, there are four crucial times that could literally make or break a macaron. First, the Meringue (egg white mixture/wet ingredients) should achieve stiff peaks. Second, mixing the batter is very important. It needs to form a ribbon or a figure 8 and it should also sink into the batter within 30 seconds time. You can’t overmix. Third, check your oven temperature. It’s good to always have an oven thermometer whenever you bake these temperamental beings, LOL. And lastly, bang that tray against the counter, or better yet, drop it on the floor, LOL, but be very careful when doing that. These will help the macarons develop feet and prevent excessive air bubbles which could give you problems during baking.

 

Silicone Mat vs Parchment Paper? For now, I’m baking with silicone mats because I like that they come in predrawn circular patterns. I’m not good at eyeballing my macaron shapes yet. Also, silicones tend to hold the macaron’s round shape better than the parchment paper. However, silicones don’t dry the macarons completely, and that means the macaron’s bottom could stick to them pretty easily. Parchment paper really dries the macarons which makes them easy to be peeled off.

 

You can dry the macarons for more than 1 hour. The drier they get, the better they’ll turn out to be.

 

If you’re not gonna fill them up with fillings immediately, you can store macaron shells on top of each other separated by a parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together

 

There are several options for fillings and you can do them however you want.

 

To achieve a smooth top macaron shell, always sift almond flour and powdered sugar after mixing them

 

Use gel food color since it won’t fade during baking

 

vegan homemade french macarons

 

Troubleshooting Guide

 

If your macarons are lopsided or its feet are imbalanced, your oven type or your oven temperature could be the culprit, and probably your baking pan as well. Use an oven thermometer and use an Airbake Cookie Sheet to bake the macarons because it allows for an even distribution of temperature when baking.

 

If your macarons have nipples. No joke, this happens a lot. The batter could be too thick and was undermixed or you didn’t bang the tray/pan more. It could also be that you’re using a narrow piping tip. Use a wide-opening piping tip and bang that tray against the counter. Drop it like it’s hot. LOL.

 

If your macarons have zits, LOL, you know those pesky bumps that appear after you bang the pan/tray and they look like tiny breakouts? Pop them with a toothpick and bang the tray again to make the batter’s texture more even.

 

If macarons don’t develop feet, there must be a problem with the way you mixed your batter or you forgot to bang the tray. Also, measure your ingredients accurately.

 

Cracked macarons? you must’ve overbeaten the egg whites (Meringue) or you probably undermixed the batter (Macaronage) which could also make the macarons hollow.

 

If your macaron batter didn’t dry after one hour, check your place’s humidity level.

 

These macarons are probably the most challenging pastries I’ve ever baked, but they’re also the most fulfilling because I received a lot of positive feedback from my friends and family who have tasted them. They’re not that hard to make, but they do require a ton of time and patience. Be ready to spend long hours when making these and be prepared to lose your temper (hope not, LOL), and don’t be afraid to experiment, because just as when you think you’re ready to throw in the towel, it’s when you realized you’ve finally figured it out.

 

homemade french macarons with low histamine filling

 

Happy macaron making!

 

x.o.x.o

 

L

 

 

Laduree Macarons Review

laduree macarons

 

Bonjour! Good Day Monsieur et Madame! As you can guess,¬†we’re gonna be talking french fries today, I mean, scratch that, French Macarons, rather. Have you ever had one of these? I’m 110% sure that you did, or else why would it be everywhere in social media nowadays? (hmmm, y’all hype followers! ūüôā ) They’re like those¬†Diptyque candles¬† but in the macarons world, and I’m not talking about coconut macaroons either. I’m specifically talking about Laduree French Macarons. Those cute and colorful round sweets that cost an arm and a leg, but the taste is nothing but delicious.

Oh well, let me tell you my experience about these macarons. The first time I had these coveted macarons was when I was in New York. I mean of course, where else can you get these fancy Nancy macarons nowadays? I know 2 locations in NY, which is in Madison Avenue and Soho. There’s also 1 in Miami Beach. Anyway, I went to the one in Madison Ave. and was super excited because that’s was¬†my first Laduree visit and experience. Looking from the outside, the store is in a posh place in town, with high-end stores lurking everywhere. The store itself is neat but tiny, yet it’s well-designed and it looks very quirky. As I was line, I saw all these beautiful and well-arranged macarons and I admit I was quite overwhelmed yet mesmerized. As soon as it was my turn to¬†the counter, I asked the saleslady which looks and sounds French, “How does it work?” I mean, it was my first time, you know… Suddenly she gave me that weird look on her face, acting all frustrated, annoyed, scratching her head, slamming things around like she’s having a tantrum and completely ignoring me while she conversed¬†in English with¬†her fellow coworkers. I was totally dumbfounded. This particular French saleslady was not only rude, but she¬†clearly did not have the patience to sell. In my head, I was like “girl…cut the attitude…” and was about to walk out because I felt my blood pressure rising, but then I realized “I’ve got to have those macarons¬†darn it!¬†so I figured, if I point here, and I point there, perhaps the biatch will start interacting with me. So she did, in English. ūüôā and eventually I figured that there are different sizes and style of boxes that can fit either 6, 12, 18, 24 etc., of macarons with its corresponding prices. I was like, pardon my French and my ignorance, but there were different sorts¬†of boxes to choose from, with teeny tiny letterings that are kinda hard to see, plus it was my first time. But why she gotta¬†be so rude? doesn’t she know I’m human too? I’m gonna buy the macarons anyway, LOL! ¬†A little explanation won’t hurt, you know. Oh! from then on, I’ve heard horror stories about other people’s encounter with this particular saleslady. Even much much worse than mine. If you knew her, tell her I said “Bonjour Bitch!” ūüôā excuse the wording folks!¬†

My experience in Laduree Soho was way way better. They’re also French, (I guess that’s always the deal) ¬†but they weren’t like that “Barneys-wannabe” saleslady in Madison Avenue. ūüôā

So, I got my macarons, now, for the best part, THE TASTE. Unlike most macarons I’ve tasted which are mostly local from my unknown little town, these macarons have a lot more flavor and have a slightly crunchier¬†texture on its shell compared to others I’ve tried. You can really taste the strawberry if it’s strawberry flavor, and you can really discern the lemon flavor as well. Unlike some macarons that are too sweet, these macarons concentrate on flavor instead. Though they may pack a punch when it comes to taste and flavor, be aware that they are really small. Being $2.80 per piece, you would expect these to be quite substantial in size, but nope. My local macaron shop sells macarons at a fraction of the Laduree macarons’ price with quite a pretty good assortment of flavors and are also tasty. May not be “Laduree tasty,” but it’s good enough. Also, these macarons come in cute and uniquely-designed¬†boxes, which of course, counts for the steep price, but can be recycled for any other usage you want them to. Hint: makeup storage.

These macarons are really pricey and probably are overhyped. But hey if you’re in NY, or if you happen to be nearby any Laduree stores, it wouldn’t hurt to drop by or give it a try, right? Just stay away from that snotty Madison Avenue saleslady. Anyway, here are the prices for:

6 pieces macarons/standard box: $21.00

8 pieces/standard box: (pictured above) $26.00

6 pieces/gift box: $24.00

18 pieces Bonaparte Box: $57.00

24 pieces Pink Square Box $73.00

 

You can also checkout the Laduree Charms HERE.

 

laduree french macarons review

 

Au Revoir Everyone! 

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