These sweet, almond-laced French delicacies are having a real U.S. moment. We break down why they're worth it. --Amy Thomas
1. Aged Eggs
Cracked egg whites (used to make the shell) age up to five days in the fridge before they’re mixed in, so they whip up into airier cookies.
2. Perfect Pulverization
The dry ingredients must be refined several times. The sugar and almond meal are further ground and passed through a sieve to ensure the softest, smoothest shells.
3. Systematic Stirring
Mixing the meringue with the dry ingredients is a balancing act: If you understir, you risk cookies with spikes or peaks; overstirring may make them flat. Chefs say five minutes of folding by hand is ideal.
4. Rounds of Waiting
After aging the eggs, timing the steps and plowing through a piping marathon, many bakers watch the clock before putting the cookie sheets in the oven. A 15- to 30-minute resting time helps achieve the signature “foot” around the inner rim.
5. Precise Piping
Even the slightest slant of the pastry bag could cause the chefs to create inconsistent circles—and two mismatched halves!
Did you know that the weather can sabotage a macaron-making day? “Humidity is the enemy!” one baker declared. Too much moisture in the air can result in flat or cracked shells, instead of shiny, perfect domes.