Gerbet Macaroons

Guest recipe by Tina Casaceli
Director of Pastry and Baking Arts
The French Culinary Institute
Author of The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts

Makes 25 macaroon sandwich cookies
Estimated time to complete: 2 hours

115 grams (4 ounces) almond flour
200 grams (7 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
For the meringue
90 grams (3½ ounces) egg whites, 
at room temperature
8 grams (2 tablespoons) confectioners’ sugar
For the finish
100 grams (3½ ounces) raspberry or other jam

Baking sheet
Parchment paper
Food processor fitted with the metal blade
Rubber spatula
Standing electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment
Pastry bag fitted with a #2 tip
Wire racks
Offset spatula
Prepare your mise en place.

Preheat the oven to 162°C (325ºF).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Combine the almond flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process for about 1 minute or until very fine. Set aside.

To make the meringue, place the egg whites in the bowl of the standing electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on low to aerate. Add the confectioners’ sugar, raise the speed to high, and beat for about 3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Take care not to over-whip or the meringue will be dry and it will be difficult to fold in the dry ingredients.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold the almond mixture into the meringue until well-blended.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with the #2 tip. 
Carefully pipe fifty 2.5 centimeter (1-inch) rounds of the macaroon batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside for about 1 hour or until the macaroons form a skin on their surface. This is extremely important, as the skin helps the macaroons hold their shape during baking.

Bake the macaroons for about 10 minutes, or until firm and just beginning to brown around the edges. (The macaroons should not color much during baking.) Watch carefully, as the high sugar content will cause the cookies to burn quickly.

Immediately transfer the macaroons to wire racks to cool.
Using an offset spatula, lightly coat the flat bottom of 25 of the cooled macaroons with a thin layer of jam. Cover the jam with another macaroon, bottom side down, pressing gently to make a sandwich cookie.

Serve the macaroons immediately or store them, airtight in layers, at room temperature for a day or two.

Buttercream, ganache, or pistachio or praline paste may be used as a filling in place of the jam. 
A drop or two of food coloring along with 3 milliliters (½ teaspoon) of any extract or 15 milliliters (1 tablespoon) of fruit brandy can be added to the meringue.

The baked macaroons should be smooth and round with no cracks, crunchy on the exterior and soft and chewy in the interior.
The baked macaroons should be consistent in size, shape, and color.
There should be just enough filling to hold the two pieces together as well as to add a bit of moisture.