Recipe: Matcha Macarons
Hard To Make But Worth The Effort
March 5, 2020
As sakura flowers are about to bloom in Tokyo, we decided to provide you with a perfect matching recipe! Try and make these green matcha macarons, the ideal treat to snap with pink cherry blossoms in the background.
Before we start to get to actual cooking, there are several things I would like to make clear—finally. These are macarons. Not macaroons. Not Macron.
Macarons are temperamental but delicious little French sandwich cookies. Macaroons, on the other hand, are usually coconut-based cookies, they are not macarons. Lastly, Macron is the current President of France.
I’ve been asked to make all three but usually, people are intending to order macarons. If you want macarons but order macaroons you’re in for a big surprise. I’m not sure how anyone would ever be able to deliver a Macron to you. Just putting this out there.
Now For Our Macarons…
I mentioned these are temperamental cookies. They are. Matcha Macarons are mini-monsters with an attitude and I’m not ashamed to say my success rate: even after years of making them I don’t always succeed. There have been raised voices and a bit of language during those failure moments.
It is frustrating. The good news is, practice does help. The bad news is, they’re still fickle little critters.
Any search for a macaron recipe will come up with a similar list of ingredients and methods. As for my recipe, I’ve honed it and have learned a few tricks along the road. My way takes longer it’s true, but they’re glorious and amazing and terrific and so satisfying.
Today I’m using matcha, the concentrated, bitter green tea powder. It reminds me of freshly cut grass and I feel like I’m getting a head start in spring. It is bitter, though, so I highly recommend making a cream that’s sweet to go with it. You can use white chocolate, a common buttercream, or even lemon. These are my three go-to fillings when it comes to matcha macarons.
For the macarons
- 3 egg whites (I use 2 egg whites and 2 teaspoons of egg white powder mixed with 2 tablespoons water)
- ⅛ teaspoon of cream of tartar
- 0.5 cups (100g) of sugar
- 1 cup (I round up to 100g) of almond flour
- ¾ cup (90g) of powdered sugar
- 1.5 tablespoon of matcha powder
For the filling
- 0.5 cups (127g) of unsalted butter
- 1 cup (120g) of powdered sugar
Here we go. I highly recommend you do not cheat or cut corners. This recipe highly relies on precision.
1. Make The Macaron Batter
A clean bowl is a must. Any residue inside, especially anything of an oily nature and your macarons will flop.
- Mix the egg whites (or egg whites and powder and water, if using my recipe) with a hand mixer or Kitchen-Aid mixer. Mix until egg whites are very frothy.
- Add the cream of tartar. Mix some more.
- Add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. The mixture will turn glossy and start to harden a bit.
- Whip until the meringue mixture forms a peak when you pull out the whisk. Not stands-but-then-falls-over stiff but stands-up-straight stiff. A peak, pointing up. Stop mixing, if you keep going you’ll add too much air and the meringues will crack.
- Sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Seriously. I sift three times. (lumps are not your friend, this matters)
- On your last sift, add the matcha powder.
This next part, you’ll figure out in time. You’ll get the right consistency but this takes practice.
- Mix together the dry ingredients into the egg white meringue.
- Slowly mix together. Don’t mash the dry ingredients into the egg whites, gently fold.
- Lift and lower your spatula to move the mixture around in the bowl.
Once everything is combined you want to draw a figure 8 into the mixture.
I know. It sounds weird.
Draw the number 8 with your spatula and see if the mixture splits off the spatula mid-draw. If it does, keep mixing. You should be able to draw a smooth 8 with your spatula, keeping the flow even as it drops down. At this point, it shouldn’t be lumpy but a thick and glossy, drippy paste.
2. Bake The Macaron Halves
- You will need a piping bag with a fairly large tip (mine is 1 cm in diameter). If you don’t have one, you can use a Zip-loc bag: spoon some of the mixture into the bag and cut a 1 cm opening on one corner.
- On an oven sheet lined with baking paper, “pipe” (drip) the mixture in a circle of about 3 cm in width. They will spread a bit so keep them small. Make as many as will fit on your sheet.
- Now comes the fun part: take the sheet and bang it onto a hard surface. Bang it. Really bang it. Loud noises are good. I usually give it a good five or six whacks (I feel much better afterward, thank you). You’re releasing the air bubbles in this process.
- Let the oven sheet sit out for an hour. The macarons should be completely dry to the touch.
- Bake in a 325F/160C° oven for 13 minutes or so. Don’t open the oven to check on them. Here I differ from other bakers, some who take theirs out and turn the oven sheet. I would advise you to keep them inside the oven.
- Once they’re out, let them rest to cool for another 15-20 minutes.
Macarons have a ledge on the bottom: that’s a good sign and proof you’ve succeeded. Chefs call these ledges “feet”. This is where the creamy filling gets applied.
3. Prepare The Filling
Somewhere in here, mix the softened butter and powdered sugar until it forms a nice, soft and creamy filling. Dab a bit of that onto a cool macaron half, squeeze another to form a sandwich.
Dust with more matcha for even more of a kick (or not). Serve to amazed and inspired and seriously impressed guests.
Oh, and if you’re male in Japan and want/need an idea for White Day? Have at it. You’re sure to impress.
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