There are specific differences in both the method and taste of Italian versus French macarons. While both methods are rooted in properly stabilizing meringue, the Italian-style combines egg whites into a hot-sugar syrup.
Powdered sugar and ground almonds are mixed with the egg whites to form a paste, ultimately creating a stiff meringue that develops into a sweeter-tasting finished product.
This Italian-method is often considered the more challenging technique, but in this recipe, we will break it down so that you can create beautifully textured and brightly colored macarons.
Prep your ingredients:
Preheat the oven to 235ﹾF.
Wipe down your whisk and mixing bowl with lemon juice or vinegar to help your egg whites whip up perfectly.
Sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar into one bowl.
Make the macaron paste:
Combine half of the egg whites with the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar. Mix until a paste-like consistency is developed. Cover the bowl to keep it moist.
Make Italian meringue:
Add the granulated sugar to 1 cup of water over high heat. Bring to boil and reduce heat to medium. Monitor the water with a candy thermometer until the water reaches 235ﹾF, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, add the remaining egg whites to the stand mixer bowl plus the cream of tartar (to help stabilize the meringue), mix until soft peaks form. Once the sugar and water syrup has reached 235ﹾF, slowly pour it into the egg whites. Use the mixer on high-setting for about 2-4 minutes, checking periodically for texture: the meringue should be able to hold its shape in a “peak” with a tiny bend at the top.
Combine the meringue and paste:
Mix together, scooping a bit more of the almond/sugar/egg paste into the meringue each time to stir and combine. Be careful not to overmix, it should resemble a thick cascading ribbon when a spatula is dipped in and lifted up.
Separate and mix-in color:
At this point, gather as many mixing bowls as needed, one for each desired color. Mix in gel coloring until desired vibrancy is reached for each color. Add the first color into a piping bag, attaching the round tip.
Pipe macarons onto baking sheet:
Carefully pipe small circles onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced out at least one-inch a part. Use multiple baking pans if necessary (but bake just one pan at a time). Rinse the piping tip and use a new piping bag to repeat the process for the next color.
Release air bubbles:
This is an important step: holding the entire baking sheet about two-inches off the countertop, drop the sheet. This “bang” action helps remove air bubbles from the piped batter. Repeat if necessary. You may also use a toothpick to pop any visible bubbles.
Rest the macarons:
Macarons should be dry to the touch before they are baked in the oven. Let them rest on the cookie sheet for about thirty minutes.
Bake at 235ﹾF:
Place the sheet of macarons in the center of the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Once done, let the macarons cool completely (about one hour) before removing from the sheet.
Assemble macarons with filling:
Use a piping bag to fill each macaron with the filling of your choice.
Chill the macarons:
Let the macaroons chill in the refrigerator for at least eight hours. This will provide the perfect set. Enjoy!
Makes approximately 30 macarons.