Traditionally gluten-free and notoriously pricey in bakeries and markets, the famed grain-free and timeless-yet-oh-so-trendy French sandwich cookie can be yours anytime and any way you like, thanks to Seattle-based pastry chef Tanya Emerick. She caught our attention with her stunning designer macarons on her Instagram (@Scarlet_Nantes), and she’s guaranteed to keep yours with this melt-in-your-mouth gluten free macaron recipe.
Raspberry-Kissed Macarons with Rose Buttercream
MAKES ABOUT 22 MACARONS The reason macarons are considered tricky to make is because of their sensitivity to measurements, technique, and baking temperature. But don’t worry! For best results, measure your ingredients by weight, carefully follow the instructions, use gel-based food coloring only (others contain water and can deflate the whipped egg whites), and avoid undercooking the cookies (better to overcook a bit). If you can’t find superfine sugar, grind granulated sugar in a spice grinder or food processor until extra fine. You can use or skip the ground freeze-dried raspberries. You can fill the macarons with your filling of choice, including jam or chocolate ganache. After they’re made, store them, covered, in the fridge; macarons taste even better a day or two later.
- 3/4 cup (75 grams) almond flour, (Tanya likes Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground freeze-dried raspberries plus more for decorating (optional)
- 2 egg whites (60 to 70 grams), at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (55 grams) superfine (caster) sugar
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- Maroon gluten-free gel food color, (Tanya likes AmeriColor)
- 1 recipe Rose Buttercream (below) or 1-1/2 cups filling of choice
Remove traces of residual fats from your mixer and whisk attachment by wiping them with vinegar or lemon juice and then drying them thoroughly (liquids and fats can deflate egg whites).
In a food processor, add the almond flour and powdered sugar and process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Pass the mixture, along with the freeze-dried raspberry, through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or onto a piece of parchment paper. Discard any large pieces in the sieve (there should be no more than a couple of tablespoons of larger pieces remaining in the sieve).
In the prepared stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, superfine sugar, and cream of tartar. Whisk on low at first to blend, then increase the speed to medium for 2 minutes, on medium-high for 2 minutes, and then on high for 2 minutes longer (when you lift the whisk, the mixture should hold stiff, glossy peaks). Add 2 drops food coloring and whisk on the highest speed for 30 seconds. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix, 35 to 45 strokes.
Inside a glass or pitcher, place a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804-buy it here), tip side down, and the top opening rolled down by a few inches. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Dab a little bit of the batter remaining in the bowl onto the corners of 2 heavy baking sheets, then line them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
With the piping tip 1/2 inch above one of the prepared baking sheets, pipe some batter into a 1-inch round, then swirl the tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing the rounds 1 inch apart.
Move the oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 315°F. Tap the baking sheets firmly against a countertop two or three times to release air bubbles in the batter, decorate with a sprinkle of ground freeze-dried raspberry, if desired, then let the macaron shells rest at room temperature until no longer shiny or sticky, about 30 minutes.
Bake the macarons, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, about 13 minutes. Transfer each baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.
Pipe or spread approximately 1-1/2 teaspoons buttercream on the flat sides of half of the cookies. Top with one of the remaining plain cookies, flat side down, to make a sandwich. Store in a single layer, covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1-3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 drop rose essence or 1 to 2 teaspoons rose water
- 1 drop AmeriColor maroon gel food color or other gluten-free maroon-colored food coloring
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar on low until well combined. Add the vanilla, rose essence, and gel food color and mix on medium until fluffy. Taste and adjust the rose flavor, if needed, by adding one drop at a time.
Photography Tawni Eakman