Did you know there is more than one method for making macarons!? Up until very recently, I had no idea! Apparently there are several methods. The one that I have posted about before, the French method, is the traditional method. But there is also an Italian meringue method and a small batch method (more on this later).
Even though I have had more success with the Laduree macaron recipe, they can still be hit or miss. Which is why I have been eager to try the Italian method for my Valentine’s Day-themed heart shaped macarons!
The ingredients for the Italian method are largely the same as the French: almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, egg whites, and granulated sugar. This method requires making a sugar syrup with the granulated sugar and a bit of water.
First, I sifted together the almond meal and the confectioners sugar.
Then, instead of whisking all of the egg whites into a meringue, I mixed half of the egg whites into the almond/sugar mixture to create an almond paste.
Which also seemed like a good time to add in some food coloring.
The next big difference to this recipe is meringue. With the French method, you just whip up the meringue with a bit of granulated sugar. The problem is that this meringue is very fragile and if you over or under mix the batter, you can completely ruin the cookie.
For the Italian method, you an Italian meringue by drizzling a hot sugar syrup into egg whites that were already been whisked into soft peeks.
Once my meringue was back to room temperature, I mixed it into the almond paste. I was very skeptical that my macarons would turn out okay considering how much I had to mix the batter. It will feel like you killing the meringue, but since it’s an Italian meringue, it was much sturdier and held up to the mixing.
I knew the batter was completely mixed when I had no more lumps of the almond paste and the batter just fell off the back of my spatula in a steady ribbon.
And since these macarons are for Valentine’s Day, of course I had to make them into hearts! I outlined a heart shape onto the back of the parchment paper, then used that as a guide to pipe my macarons. I basically pipped a ‘V’ shape, putting more pressure on the piping at the top of the ‘V’, and less at the point. I also used a toothpick to help fill in the shape and make the point even pointier.
I also wanted to add a little something extra to these macarons, so I spattered them with some edible gold paint. It’s one of my favorite decorating techniques because all I do is dip the brush in the paint and shake it over the cookies. No skill required!
When it comes to filling, macarons can be filled with really anything. I love filling them with Nutella or chocolate ganache. But since this if Valentine’s Day, I decided to go with a raspberry cheesecake filling! Which is essentially my cream cheese frosting and a dollop of raspberry preserves.
I will say, I am a big fan of this method. It worked out wonderfully and every macaron came out perfectly! That may seem like I have low expectations, and that’s because I do.
If you have ever tried making macarons at home, you know that sometimes they work, sometimes, they don’t. And sometimes the first macarons piped out turn out fine, while the ones at the end do not. So yes, I value consistency when it comes to my macaron recipes!
My only gripe is that it takes significantly more time and is a bit more cumbersome than the already cumbersome French method. If you plan on making lots of macarons, this is the method for you!
And at the very least, you will have some very delicious macaons to reward you for all your extra effort!