Macarons 101 | Macaron vs Macaroon

What's so ironic about the posting of this recipe was that I literally had to talk someone into believing that macarons and macaroons were two totally different cookies - that same morning. This is a constant battle. But honestly it makes sense. Macarons literally just blew up out of nowhere and came with all of their glory into our dessert world. While both cookies are totally different...I mean completely different, some still get the names confused. Here's where I come in, and I'm happy to do so. So let's get into it shall we?

What is a macaron?
Derives from France, not to be confused with the Italian macaron derived from Italy; Same type of cookie, slightly different process. The macaron is a light cookie sandwich which can come in a variety of colors and flavors. Fillings for the cookie might include buttercream, jams, nutella, chocolate - you name it and it's been done. Macarons are known for their slightly crisp outer shell, a chewy center, nutty flavor, and that gorgeous fluffy... 'foot'? I know, doesn't sound too appetizing, but the foot is actually the airy part of the cookie that gives the macaron its' trademark look. Why we couldn't come up with a better name is beyond me. The macaron is made by whipped egg whites and sugar. Finely ground almond flour is then carefully incorporated and then the batter is flavored, colored, piped, and baked. I'm mentally drooling just thinking about it. Onto the macaroon.

What is a macaroon?
The macaroon derives from Italy. This cookie is pretty straightforward. A coconut cookie, usually in the shape of a mound. It's sometimes dipped or drizzled in chocolate for extra deliciousness and character. Typically this cookie isn't colored or flavored with anything other than the traditional coconut flakes. Like the macarons, this cookie is made with egg whites and sugar, however coconut is added. The batter is then spooned (sometimes piped) onto a baking sheet and baked until lightly browned.

Now that we've gone into the break down of the macaron vs. the macaroon, let's get into the recipe! Check below for the free video tutorial.

Classic Macarons:

1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
3/4 C Almond Flour
1 C Confectioners Sugar
2 Lg Egg Whites (room temp)
1/4 C Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Buttercream Video

Vanilla Buttercream Video

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Step 1: Egg Whites

Make sure the egg whites are room temperature. You'll also want to wipe down the bowl of your mixer and the attachments with lemon juice or vinegar to cut any grease. This step is pretty important as grease will keep the egg whites from whipping properly.

Add the egg whites and cream of tarter to your mixer and begin whipping on low. Cream of tarter isn't a requirement, but it does aid in the whipping process.

Next, begin to incorporate the vanilla and granulated sugar a little bit at a time. Once you've incorporated the sugar allow for the egg whites to whip for about 5 minutes or until stiff peaks have formed. The constantly should be similar to whipped cream. If you're unsure if the peaks are stiff enough, flip the mixing bowl over, none of the egg whites should move or spill.

Step 2: Sift-sation

Using a fine sifter, sifter the almond flour and confectioners sugar together into a bowl. I prefer to do this in 1/2 cup intervals. A 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar with 1/2 c of almond flour. Sift both together and discard larger granules that are leftover in the sifter. This helps you to full incorporate both ingredients and helps you to get a nice textured cookie. Once again, whatever is left in the sifter throw away. Any larger granules will weigh down the cookie.

Step 3: Mixing the Magic

Now you can color the egg whites with gel dye, and begin to fold in the almond flour mixture. You'll want to do this in 1/2 cup intervals. The key here is not to mix too fast and don't over mix. The batter should deflate a little but we want to keep a nice amount of air. So, with a rubber spatula, scrap around the bowl, then bring the batter to the center. Cut down the center of the batter with the spatula and then fold that back into the center. Do this until the batter is able to create thick ribbons when poured from the spatula back into the bowl.

Step 4: Pipe & Bake

A silicon mat on a sheet tray is definitely my preference, however you can also use parchment paper. Put your batter into a piping bag with a large round tip and begin piping your cookies leaving about 1 inch of space between each cookie. You can print a macaron template to help with sizing or you can create your own. I actually used the bottom of a k-cup and traced a bunch of circles onto a piece of paper - the perfect size.

Tap the sheet tray onto your surface a few times to knock out any air bubbles and smooth the surface. You can then release the air careful with a toothpick, then allow the cookies to sit for 30 minutes. This is what forms that nice crust. You'll know it's ready because they'll be dry to the touch. Bake the macarons for about 10 minutes. Make sure no browning occurs. When they come out of the oven allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes.

Once cooled filled with whatever your heart desires. For standard macarons, I do vanilla buttercream. Make sure to make one cookie up with another cookie that is the closest to its' size and sandwich them together. My new fave flavor - dulce de leche!

You can now shop my recommended cake decorating tools from all of the MCC videos. Click on the link to shop my Amazon storefront and support the channel!

Wilton Piping Tip Set:

Metal Cake Turner:

Almond Flour:

Silicone Mat:

Kitchenaid Mixer:

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Homemade Eclairs & Cream Puffs - Pat a Choux

One of the best things about Culinary school was learning the history of food. Many of our favorite foods derived from French cuisine. I mean seriously, the amounts of butter and cream incorporated into traditional French recipes are quite impressive. 

It's no secret that France is the home of romance as well as some of the most amazing pastries in the world. One of them being Pat a Choux. Pat a choux is literally one of the mothers of Old French cuisine. So many of our favorite desserts are derived from this one recipe and it's been around for centuries. One of the most popular being eclairs. Now you can easily find eclairs in supermarkets and they've made a serious comeback! Move over cupcake, the eclair has taken your spot. Scroll through pinterest and instagram and you might see what I mean, hashtag eclair is a thing! Today, eclairs are ranging in flavors from pistachio to root beer. You can find them in every color, any theme and various shapes. They are taking on the trendy train by storm! I was excited for the simple fact that, sometimes I don't want a cake ( I know...there's always room for cake). But now-a-days I want something lighter, proportioned...and fancy. The eclair fit the bill! 

With all of that being said, I'm going to share a traditional pat a choux recipes with you all. From that we are going to make some fancy (and super tasty) eclairs & cream puffs! I'd rather us focus on one slightly difficult recipe at a time, so the pastry cream that I'll be using is a 'mock' pastry cream. It's basically a thick pudding made guessed it, instant pudding mix. You can enhance the flavor by adding some good quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean. Once again, you're only limited to your imaginations here so please - get inspired!

Click below to the full tutorial! Enjoy!

Pat a choux:
1 C water
1/2 C butter
1 1/4 C flour
4 large eggs
Mock pastry cream:
1 pack instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c milk
1/2 c cream


Step 1: Pat a Choux

Bring water and butter to a simmer until the butter is completely melted. Remove the pot from the heat and gradually add in flour while stirring. 

You want to stir with a spatula (preferably rubber) until a dough is formed and no longer sticks to the sides of the pot.

Allow the dough to cool slightly then transfer to a mixing bowl and gradually add in your eggs. At this point you can use a handheld mixer or standing mixer to add in eggs. We don't want to beat in too much air so once the eggs are completely incorporated, stop mixing. Put the dough in a piping bag with a large round or star tip.

Step 2: Pipe & Bake

Lay a piece of parchment or rubber mat down on a sheet tray and begin to pipe your eclairs.
A great measurement is between 4 and 5 inches in length. The piping may be slightly tricky at the break away from the piping bag. Pull the piping bag away sharply and simply fix any imperfections by tapping the ends of the eclairs with a wet finger. You can also pipe a few round cream puffs.
Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees, for 10 minutes. Then, lower the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes. When finished, the eclair should be light and fluffy, and springy to the touch. The ultimate test is to break one in half, there should be no wetness in the center.

Step 2: Easy Pastry Cream

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer: Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and whip for a couple of minutes until it reaches a thick custard like consistency. The custard will thicken as it sits. Put this in a piping bag with a small round tip.
Picture of Easy Pastry Cream

Naturally the flavor here will be vanilla, but feel to use a different flavored pudding such as pistachio or chocolate.