What is a French macaron?
French macarons ("macs" for short) are delicate meringue-based cookies that have given most professional pastry chefs their fair share of agonizing, hair-pulling headaches. They're fickle and temperamental, requiring not only a precise ratio of ingredients, but also the right oven temperature, minimal humidity, and plenty of experience to know when to move from one step in the baking process to the next.
How are AudaMACS made?
Our recipe involves beating egg whites with sugar until a stiff meringue forms. Ground nuts and powdered sugar are then carefully folded in. The batter is then hand-piped onto baking sheets, given a bit of time to "rest", and then popped into the oven to "rise".
We always use a Swiss meringue buttercream filling for our macarons. This is not a simple buttercream to whip up. Instead, egg whites and granulated sugar are carefully steamed until the mixture reaches food-safety standards, then beaten into a soft meringue which is rapidly cooled and thickened with butter.
As you can see, macarons are extremely labor-intensive cookies!
What does the perfect macaron look like?
Aesthetically speaking, a macaron is not a "real" macaron unless it has ruffled "feet" ("pieds") -- otherwise, it's just a very tasty, nutty cookie. Smooth tops reflect the skill of the pastry chef. How well were the dry ingredients sifted together? How carefully were they folded into the meringue? Finally, there should be no air pockets in the macaron shell -- it's one solid cookie!
What does the perfect macaron taste like?
Texture-wise, macarons are a unique combination of crisp, soft, and chewy. They aren't supposed to crumble into mush, and they shouldn't be so hard that you're getting a bonafide jaw workout. Instead, the outer shell should be crisp and give way to a soft chewy center with an intense burst of flavor.
"Stale" macs are better than "fresh" macs!
Believe it or not, proper French macarons taste a lot better a day or two after they're assembled! Since the shells are crisp and fully cooked out of the oven, they need time to soften from the moisture in the fillings. In addition, the "maturation" time allows the flavors from the shells and fillings to blend together!