Makes 72 macarons
For the cookie:
- 300 grams finely ground blanched almonds
- 300 grams powdered sugar
- 250 grams extra fine granulated sugar
- 220 grams aged Egg Whites at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure strawberry extract
- Red food coloring
For the strawberry French buttercream:
- 12 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh (or frozen) strawberries, pureed
- 1 teaspoon pure strawberry extract
Step 1: To make the macaron cookie: Separate eggs at least 24 hours before using (or up to five days). Save yolks for egg yolk buttercream. The older the eggs the better.
Step 2: Line 6 half sheet trays with silpat baking sheets or parchment.
Step 3: Using a scale, measure out all the ingredients.
Step 4: Place the ground almonds and confectioners sugar in a food processor and process until finely ground (about 1 - 2 minutes). Sift the mixture to remove any lumps.
Step 5: In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add your granulated sugar to whisking egg whites and beat to stiff peaks.
Step 6: Gradually fold egg whites into your dry ingredients, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Once your dry ingredients are completely folded into the meringue. The batter will fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon. Add red food coloring and strawberry extract and gently fold into the batter.
Step 7: Fill a pastry bag, fitted with 1/2 inch (1 cm) tip (#5 or 8505 ATECO tip), with about half the batter. Pipe about 1 - 1 1/2 inch (3 - 4 cm) rounds onto silpat-lined pans. Leave at least 1 inch between macaroons. As you pipe, hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and flick the tip of the bag as you finish each cookie to minimize the peaks.
Let the macarons sit at room temperature for about 60 minutes or until the tops of the macarons are no longer tacky.
Step 8: While your macarons are sitting at room temperature, preheat oven to 300 degrees F with an oven rack in bottom third of the oven. You may have to do some experimenting with your oven to determine the best temperature for your macarons.
Step 9: Bake the cookies (one sheets at a time) for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans front to back, about halfway through baking. The macarons are done when you can just barely separate the cookies from the parchment paper (there will be some browning of the cookies).
Step 10: Remove from oven and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
Step 11: To make the strawberry French buttercream: Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan to 242 degrees F or a few drops form a soft ball in cold water.
Step 12: While syrup is cooking, beat egg yolks until they are fluffy. Pour hot syrup in a thin stream into yolks, beating constantly.
Step 13: As the mixture cools, it will become thick and light. Continue to beat for a few minutes and then set aside until entirely cooled. If the syrup has not been cooked sufficiently, no amount of beating will make the mixture thick enough. If the syrup has been cooked too long, it will not beat smoothly into the egg yolks but will form little lumps of sugar.
Step 14: Beat in softened butter until thick and creamy. You may have to beat up to 5 to 10 minutes for the buttercream to become creamy. Add strawberry puree and strawberry extract.
Step 15: To assemble the macarons: Take two cookies and sandwich them together with your filling. Place filling on flat side of cookie, and leave a narrow, unfilled border when piping the filling onto the cookie bottoms. You want to use just enough filling that it spreads to the edge when topped but doesn’t squish out much when bitten. Top the filled halves with their partners. Best served at room temperature. Filled macaroons can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.