I decided to try out the Italian meringue method for macarons....I'm never going back. I love all things French, I'm a francophile, I'm related to Charlemagne in more ways than is most likely good for my mental health but, I'm sorry le Francaise...score one for Italy! The Italian method is much better, simpler, not fool proof but exceptionally more exciting. Two steps away from perfection, heat, as I have learned, is a constant battle with these little beauties. I needed to double stack my pans and they would have been perfect. Next time...
The big difference between French and Italian methods is a boiling sugar syrup added to the whipped egg whites, somewhat cooking the batter before you fold in the almond flour and flavorings. It's genius, and creates a far more stable batter to work with. Io amo questa ricetta!
Now, as for buying the honey powder I used to flavor these little gems, I would recomend checking your local health food store or Asian market (because that is where I found mine). Powdered honey is used as a substitute for processed white sugar. For the healthy living among us, good news! You can add that to your shelves right next to the agave nectar! But for me, hooray! Another thing to add to my sugar!
135 g almond meal
135 g powdered sugar
135 g sugar
32 grams water
100 g egg white
2 tablespoons honey powder
Stack two heavy baking trays and line the top with parchment paper.
Divide the egg whites into two 50 g amounts. One half in a small bowl, the other half in a stand mixer.
Sift almong meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl.
In a small saucepan combine the water and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Do not stir.
While the syrup is simmering turn on the stand mixer and beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Once the syrup has reached 245 degrees Fahrenheit (118 C) beat the egg whites to firm peaks. Once firm peaks are made, turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites.
Return the speed to high and beat for several minutes until the meringue is cooled enough to be just warm to the touch.
Pour the second half of egg whites into the almond meal and sugar mixture. Add the honey powder. Scoop the meringue on top and begin to fold the ingredients together. Be careful not to overmix. Take a texter spoonful and dollop a half tablespoon of batter onto the parchment paper. If it settles slowly to round out the batter is ready. If the batter is runny and flattens very quickly, the batter is overmixed.
Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a half inch opening. Pipe even rounds onto the parchment paper leaving an inch in between each round. The batter should settle evenly, but if small peaks persist, tap the tray lightly and these should disappear.
Allow to set for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
Bake for roughly 7-8 minutes. Little “feet” will have formed and the shell should only move slightly when nudged.
Allow to cool on trays for a few minutes.
Gently peel the shells off of the parchment paper. If they are persistent, fleck a few drops of water under the parchment paper and allow to sit for a minute more before trying again.
Pipe your filling of choice between two macarons and enjoy!