Weigh out your almond flour and powdered sugar and combine them in a bowl. Whisk together until combined.
130 g almond flour, 130 g powdered sugar
Using a fine mesh sifter, sift the almond flour and sugar mixture. Toss out any large chunks. (You can also do this step in a food processor by pulsing the mixture several times.)
Sift the mixture again and toss out any large chunks.
If you are making a large batch of dry ingredients ahead of time, store the mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can either keep the mixture pre-measured in separate containers, or keep it all in one large container and measure as you need (260 g of the mixture for this recipe).
Set up an oven rack as far away from the heating element as possible. In my electric oven, this is the bottommost rack. Make sure you can see your oven thermometer.
Preheat your oven. You will need to adjust how you use your oven as you go, because every home oven is different, but a good starting point is 300°F (150°C). You may need to preheat the oven for quite a while to get it to a consistent temperature: I try to preheat for about an hour.
Wipe down a metal stand mixer bowl, the whisk stand mixer attachment, and a small metal hand whisk with white vinegar. (Note: If you are using a large stand mixer, 6 quart or above, you will need to double this recipe for the meringue to whip up properly.)
Add a small amount of water to a medium saucepan, making sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered, and bring it to a simmer.
Add the egg whites, powdered sugar, and cream of tartar to the metal stand mixer bowl and set the bowl on top of the simmering water. Optionally, you can add in powdered food coloring at this point.
Whisk the egg/sugar/cream of tartar mixture constantly while it is over the steam.
Use a cooking thermometer to occasionally check the temperature of the mixture, and remove from the heat when the mixture gets to 120°F (49°C).
Use a towel to carefully wipe the water off the bottom of the bowl (it will be warm), and attach the bowl to the stand mixer set up with the whisk attachment.
Turn the stand mixer on to a low speed and allow the mixture to whip as it cools down. After about 5 minutes, raise the speed to medium.
Meanwhile, while the meringue whips, set up your baking pans. Wipe your silicone mats down with white vinegar and place them on the pans.
Check your meringue. When it is a little foamy, you can raise the speed, working up to a maximum of level 6 speed. It takes longer to get to stiff peaks at this speed, but whipping on very high speed will lead to a less stable meringue with uneven sized bubbles.
As the meringue keeps whipping, set up your piping bag(s). Insert the piping tip and position the bag in a large glass or other tall, narrow 5b gbhhbcontainer with the bag edges folded down.
When the meringue reaches soft peaks, you can optionally add a small amount of extract and/or gel food coloring. Don't add more than ¼ teaspoon.
Keep whipping the meringue until it reaches very stiff peaks. This could take 20 minutes or so. When in doubt, keep whipping. Although possible, it is very difficult to overbeat Swiss meringue.
When you have reached stiff peaks, run the mixer on the lowest speed for 1-2 minutes. This will even out some of the meringue bubbles.
Add the dry ingredients to the meringue all at once. Optionally, you can add powdered or gel food coloring at this stage.
Using a large flexible spatula, start gently folding the ingredients together. It will look like a shaggy mess for a while but will come together in a minute or two.
Once the mixture looks pretty well combined, you can start your macronage. Optionally, you can split the mixture at this point into separate bowls and add powdered or gel food coloring to each bowl. You will need to macronage each bowl separately with different spatulas, and keep the unused bowl(s) covered so they don't dry out.
Using your spatula, scrape around the sides of your bowl and gather the mixture into the middle of the bowl. Begin pressing the spatula down into the middle of the mixture. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl again, and press the spatula down again. Continue this process.
Test your mixture to see if it is ready for piping. For this recipe, the best test is a patch test. Gather the mixture together in the bottom of the bowl, and then scrape the spatula down underneath it. Turn the spatula vertically so you are picking up some of the batter, but some will drip off the bottom. Use the drips to carefully spread some of the batter on top of the mixture in the bowl. Watch the patch of batter you have spread, and count to 30. When you are done counting, if the edges of the patch are very soft and mostly spread into the rest of the batter, it is ready. If the edges are still very well defined, you will need to keep mixing. (See Note #3 below about other test types)
Piping the Batter
Check your oven thermometer at this point and adjust the temperature as needed so that the thermometer reaches the baking temperature you want. It usually ranges from 275°F (140°C) to 325°F (165°C), but keep in mind that every home oven is different. Above 325°F may cause your shells to get fairly browned.
When the batter is ready, scrape it from the bowl into your prepared piping bag. Make sure not to fill the bag more than ¾ full. If you have extra batter, cover it well so it doesn't dry out.
Twist the top of the bag closed and, optionally, secure it with a clip.
Pick up the piping bag and, holding it vertically, begin piping rounds onto your prepared baking tray. If you don't have a silicone mat or parchment with a template, you will want to space each round a couple of inches apart (not because they spread, but because they need to get heated evenly from all sides so they won't be lopsided).
For each piped round, try to do a little flick with the bag when you are done piping. Stop squeezing the bag and make a small, quick circle with the bag as you move it away from that round. This will help to avoid any peaks on top of the macaron shells.
As you pipe, try to make sure the rounds are approximately the same size. I do this by counting in my head as I gently squeeze the piping bag, but do whatever technique works best for you.
When you have piped all of the rounds, if you have any batter left over in the piping bag, stop up the bag so it doesn't dry out and let it sit until you are ready to pipe your next tray.
Pick up your baking sheet with the piped batter and, holding it as flat as possible, gently tap it onto your work surface. I do this tapping about 15 times, then turn the tray ¼ turn and do 15 more taps. Turn again twice more for a total of 60 gentle taps. This will help to bring any large air bubbles to the surface.
If you see any large air bubbles on the surface of any of your piped rounds, use a toothpick or a scribe to pop the bubble and use a circular motion to smooth out the surface as best you can.
Optionally, add sprinkles to the top of your piped rounds. Make sure they are oven-safe sprinkles and won't melt at the baking temperature, and that they are not too heavy. Small nonpariels or sanding sugar work well. Large sprinkles are best added after baking, using melted chocolate or edible glue to adhere them to the shells.
Bake the Macaron Shells
Since this is a no-rest recipe, bake as soon as possible after piping. Carefully put the baking sheet into your oven onto the prepared rack and close the oven door.
Baking time is something you will have to adjust based on your oven, but a good starting point is to bake for 18-20 minutes. At the 12 minute mark, check to see how they are baking, and to see what the oven temperature is. If the oven is getting too hot, open the oven door and turn the tray around, then close the door. Adjust the temperature controls if needed.
If your shells start to discolor or turn brown, turn the oven heat down and/or open the oven door a crack.
To test for doneness, open the oven and use your finger to very gently tap the side of one of the shells. If the top wiggles at all, it needs more time to bake. Check again after 2 minutes of baking.
When the shells stop wiggling, bake for another 2 minutes. Then remove the tray from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.
Allow the shells to cool on the baking sheet until they are completely cooled to room temperature.
When the first tray comes out, you can pipe your second batch so the oven has a chance to heat up again. Then, repeat the steps above for baking the second batch.
Finishing the Macarons
When removing the shells from the silicone mat or parchment paper, be sure to peel the mat away from the shells, instead of peeling the shells off of the mat. This will help the bottoms not to tear.
Match up pairs of shells that are approximately the same size, and line them up to get ready to pipe the filling. At this point you can optionally decorate your shells with melted chocolate, sprinkles, edible paint, etc.
Fill a piping bag with buttercream or your filling of choice. Depending on what style of filling you want, you can pipe swirls of filling with a star piping tip, but the easiest way to fill them is using a round tip. Simply pipe a dab of filling on one shell, then pull up as you stop squeezing the bag to make a shape like a Hershey's Kiss.
Take the matching shell and gently place it on top of the piped filling, pushing down carefully so the filling goes all the way to the edge of the macaron. Do the same for all of the matched pairs.
Mature and Store
Once you are done filling all of the macarons, it's time to mature them in the refrigerator. This just means to let them sit in the refrigerator so some moisture from the filing gets absorbed into the shell. Place the macarons into an airtight container and leave them in the fridge for about 24 hours.
After maturing, you can serve your macarons, or leave them in the refrigerator for about a week. If you want to store them longer, they freeze very well. Just make sure they are well wrapped in an airtight container.
1 - Important note: This recipe is given in weight only. I usually try to give weight and volume measurements, but it is really important to be accurate for macarons. As little as 5 extra grams of dry ingredients can really throw off any macaron recipe! If you don't have one, a kitchen scale will totally change your baking for the better, I promise!2 - Cream of Tartar amount: If you are using fresh egg whites from regular eggs, use ⅛ teaspoon per egg white (30 g). If you are using carton egg whites, use ¼ teaspoon per egg white (30 g). The recipe listed shows the Cream of Tartar amount for all carton egg whites. Sometimes I use a mixture of fresh and carton, and modify the amount of Cream of Tartar accordingly. These Cream of Tartar amounts were published by Rose Levy Berenbaum of realbakingwithrose.com. 3- Batter testing. A lot of other recipes say to mix the batter until it makes "figure 8's" as the batter flows off the spatula in a smooth motion. For this recipe, that consistency of batter is actually over mixed, and you will likely get hollow macarons. Do the patch test as described above, or stop when the batter flows a little bit off the spatula but then breaks.