Parisian Macarons with Strawberry Buttercream

I have fallen in love with Meg Ray’s new cookbook “Miette” and all of the darling and delicious confections she presents within the pages.  Meg is a lover of all things pretty and sweet and happens to be a self-taught baker who owns a boutique bakery in San Francisco.  If I could have any life slash any job in the world, I would like to copy-paste Meg’s.  Everything about Miette just screams charming and delectable.  I can’t believe I didn’t know about it when we were out in San Francisco this spring!  Oh well, we’ll just have to go back sooner rather than later!

If you love to bake pretty treats and aren’t afraid to try new things, you need to add this book to your shelves.  Even the pages of the book are scalloped.  Everything about the aesthetics of the book is heavenly, in addition to the artful photos and in-depth descriptions of the steps necessary to bake each goody.  I have made a handful of things already, since purchasing this book in July, but today I will share the Parisian Macarons.

Photos from Miette

Macarons have been on my “to-bake” list for a while now, and when I learned of a special occasion for which to make them, I jumped at the chance.  They require a large amount of time, some patience and a trusting of your gut instinct, but are well worth the effort.  I would also say that it is a must for you to have a kitchen scale, as that is the most accurate way to measure the ingredients.

You will need:
7 1/2 ounces ground almonds (I used almond flour, from a local market, but you can grind your own if you wish)
10 ounces powdered sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  using a 1 1/2 inch bottle cap (or something of the like), draw circles in rows on the paper, about 1 inch apart.  You should have room for 18 circles on each sheet.  Note: be sure to flip over the parchment after you draw the circles so the markings don’t come off on the cookies!

If you are using ground almonds, combine them with the powdered sugar in a bowl and set aside.  If you are grinding the almonds yourself, place half of them along with half of the powdered sugar in a food processor.  Process for 30 seconds, until the almonds are finely ground.  Pour the mixture into a bowl and repeat with the remaining almonds and powdered sugar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk on high speed until very stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold about 1/3 of the almond mixture into the whites.  Fold in the remaining mixture in two more additions, just until the ingredients are completely combined.

Fit a pastry bag with a medium (1/2 or 5/8 inch) round tip and fill the bag with your macaron batter.  Twist to seal and tighten the mixture and purge the bag of air bubbles.  Keeping the bag tightly twisted, pipe the circles into your templates on your cookie sheets.  They should be between 1/2 to 3/4 inch in height.  Set the baking sheets aside in a protected area and let the cookies stand at room temperature for 2 hours.  This allows the macarons to develop their distinctive crust and a “foot” at the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 325°.  Bake the cookies until set but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool completely on the pans.  When they are cool, use your fingers to carefully lift from the parchment.  At this point, you can place the macarons in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For the strawberry buttercream:
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups (1 1/2 pounds) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
freshly made strawberry juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  Cook the mixture until it reaches 248°, about 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a constant eye on it.

Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  When the sugar syrup reaches 240°, whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed until soft peaks form.  When the sugar syrub reaches 248°, reduce the speed of the mixer to low, and very carefully drizzle the syrup into the mixer bowl, away from the whisk so the hot syrup doesn’t splatter.  Be really careful here, because there is nothing worse than a hot sugar syrup burn!  When you have added all of the syrup, raise the speed to high and whisk until the mixture is cool to the touch (instant-read thermometer will read between 65 and 70 degrees), about 10 minutes or so.
Note: during this step, be sure to watch your sugar temperature while it is still boiling.  If it gets too hot it will start to harden and turn to candy and that will ruin your icing!

When the meringue is cool enough, begin to add in the butter.  Reduce the speed to low-medium and drop in 1 tablespoon of butter at a time.  Wait until each addition is incorporated before adding another.  Your mixture may begin to deflate and look curdled; if this happens, raise the speed to high and continue to add tablespoon-sized pieces of butter, making sure each is completely combined before adding more.  When all of the butter has been added, the frosting should be smooth and thick.  Add the vanilla and mix to combine.  At this point you should add in any extra flavors to your icing.  For this recipe I chose to add in freshly made strawberry juice, leftover from the Strawberry Charlotte I made (recipe to follow soon).  I put in about 6 tablespoons or so and mixed well to combine.

Get out your macarons and place 18 of them flat side up on a clean surface.  Pipe a large dallop of buttercream atop each cookie.  Place one of your remaining cookies on top and press down a bit so the icing spreads out.  Arrange on a pretty plate and watch as people flock to and promptly eat them.  They keep well out at room temperature for several hours, but if you need to save them for the next day, place them in an air tight container in the fridge.

**This recipe makes about 3 cups of buttercream and you will only need about half of that for the macarons.  You can easily put the remainder in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.**

Serves: approximately 18 macaron sandwich cookies & 3 cups icing (1 1/2 leftover for a later time)
Time: macarons – 20 minutes prep / 2 hours rest time / 40 minutes baking + cooling time & buttercream – approximately 1 hour
From: Miette

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  1. Posted September 10, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    SUPER impressed with these Ali, they’re like the baking holy grail. i am dying to go to miette too, or at least eat up the scalloped pages of the book.

  2. Julianna
    Posted October 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Love that book!! Glad you put it to good use!!

One Trackback

  • By Parisian Fruit Tart on September 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    […] great dessert from the Miette cookbook.  Read more about my love of it here.  This is surely a very spring/summer confection, and I must admit that I am late in posting it, […]

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