My attempts yielded some experimental mishaps and unintentional snacks as I figured out the proper size and spacing required for the given baking times. The time required until beginning to become golden was a little more difficult to judge as I had added cocoa and vanilla bean sugar to the batter. A quick filling with some milk chocolate ganache and they were complete. In the end it was not as time consuming as I has thought it would be, but for the next go around, will definitely get the proper size piping tip and go with parchment over silpat. After several batches....some of which had a bit of sticking issues, I discovered that it was the undercooked batch that stuck, and that the silpat offered no real advantage over the parchment in this application. I eventually did learn to identify the slight browning called for as a signal that they were done....and at this point in baking....no sticking issues. After all that trial and error...and eating my mistakes....I can say that I enjoyed each and every degree of doneness.....whether over or under baked....and with all the limitless flavouring options....I will most certainly be trying these again. Next time I may look for the almond flour rather than processing my own as it might just give them more height. The recipe that follows is quite simple and really worth giving a try!
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t over fold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.