Macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) are quite the rage these days — these bite sized meringue-based treats are showing up in specialty shops and bakeries everywhere. If you have a little time, and a little patience, you can make these lemony macarons yourself!
I have always loved macarons, and have spent a decent amount of money buying them because they always looked too hard to make. My local Sur La Table has a few classes specializing in making various flavors of these tiny sweet sandwiches, so I decided to go see just how difficult they actually were to create — and the answer is not too hard at all!
The only thing you might not already have in your cabinet is almond flour (we used King Arthur Almond Flour for this recipe). My teacher actually suggested toasting the flour for about 20 minutes to make sure it was very dry. (Nut-based flour can add unwanted oils to the recipe and cause the meringue to separate or go flat.) Everything else you likely have in your pantry if you do any amount of baking. And if you don’t, it is very easy to find at your local grocery store.
Sur La Table gave us some important tips to make sure our Lemony Macarons came out perfectly. In addition to drying out the flour, triple sift the flour and powdered sugar together. You also should fold the dry goods it into your meringue in quarter batches so as not to flatten the meringue.
Also, if you use a flavoring, it is preferred to use a paste instead of a liquid (liquid flavoring has alcohol, which can cause the meringue to separate). The same applies if you use a coloring for the meringue pieces. Another option is using dried fruit or peel zest — which can add not only wonderful flavor, but natural color to your end product without having to worry about the meringue issues.
The great thing about this recipe, is that while I used lemon, you can replace the lemon with any flavor you want both for the sandwich and/or filling part. (The above picture has lemon with lemon poppyseed buttercream filling, and green tea with chocolate ganache filling.) The important thing is to give it a try, and have fun in the effort!