Foodie on the Half Shell: Macarons can be easy

I was never much of a “tea-time” child. I never had Mr. Snuggy Buggy and Miss Oatmeal sitting around a make believe tea table with pretend cookies and pretend tea. I wanted the real cookies and the real (but not so boring) tea, but as a seven year old, I couldn’t just make crumpets whenever I wanted to. At 20, I still am not a tea-time girl, but I do love tiny cookies, such a macarons.

I’ve only heard baking nightmare stories when it comes to making your own macarons, so I have strayed away from the idea in the past. Today though…today I conquered those little French goodies. In my French class, I have the opportunity to make a French food and get points for it. I feared what my final French grade would look like without French food, so I went for it! Macarons are time consuming, but they are so worth it, and you feel like a chef master afterwards.

You can make any kind of macaron by adding any kind of flavor extract into the cookie batter, and you can fill them with literally anything. Today, I made plain cookies and I filled them with good old fashioned, peanut butter and jelly. This recipe makes a lot of cookies, but you will probably have a “mess up” batch the first time, so it is a lot of dough to help you through the process.

What you will need:

1 cup almond flour/almond meal (I made my own)

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups powdered sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

4 egg whites

Creamy peanut butter

Any kind of jelly (I used raspberry)

Start by adding the almond flour, powdered sugar and salt together. Sifting is preferred, but you could also just mix it together very well. Next, you will be making a meringue with the egg whites and the sugar. First, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they are foamy. Next, add the granulated sugar slowly and beat the heck out of it. It took me about seven minutes to get the thick meringue I wanted. Combine the meringue and the dry mix carefully. The meringue will break, but that’s okay! Just don’t over mix; you will be able to feel what’s right and what’s wrong. The dough should be thick and very sticky.

Now you will pipe circles of the dough onto a baking sheet with wax paper on it. For piping, I used a plastic gallon bag and cut the tip off. These cookies don’t grow much, so make sure to make them about the size you want them. Don’t make them too thin with dough, or they won’t have that “crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside”, type of thing going for them. Let them sit at room temperature for an hour, or until they are dry to touch. Put them into the oven at about 315 degrees, for about 15 minutes. They should be a little soft when they come right out of the oven; but don’t worry, they will harden. After they are cool, fill with peanut butter and jelly (or whatever you’d like)! Enjoy these treats, and stay confident and patient!