I fell in love with Macarons over Christmas. Their soft yet chewy exterior, matched with a delicious filling have taken the baking world by storm. The only downside to these colorful creations is that people think they are difficult to achieve. Guys, that’s simply not the case! If you can whip egg whites into peaked perfection, you can make these pink grapefruit macarons.
Pink grapefruit macarons start with by making grapefruit curd. I’m sure most of you have had lemon curd a time or two, or even lime curd, pink grapefruit curd is the same thing. It’s a great pop of flavor with a citrusy, slightly bitter finish that pairs well with the meringue-based cookie. First, egg yolks are whisked together with some sugar and grapefruit juice before being placed over a double boiler. As the mixture heats up, it starts to thicken, becoming beautifully glossy and bright yellow in color. When it’s removed from the heat, a few tablespoons of butter are whisked in. The curd is transferred to a bowl and plastic wrap is pressed right down onto it to prevent a ‘skin’ from forming. It’s then placed in the fridge to cool while the macarons are made.
Here is where most people think the difficulty with making pink grapefruit macarons begins, but all you need is a couple ingredient and two special pieces of equipment that most kitchen already have: a mixer and a kitchen scale. It doesn’t matter if you have a stand mixer or a hand mixer. You can even use a whisk to whip the egg whites, but a mixer makes the process much quicker and easier on your arms.
A kitchen scale is used to get precise measurements for your ingredients. This is important because everyone measures differently. The almond meal and powdered sugar can be packed into your measuring cup and you could wind up with a too thick mixture, or a two thin mixture, both of which are no good for making macarons. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can find an inexpensive in almost any big box store, or online. You’ll want something that can measure both grams and ounces and has a tare button to zero out measurements.
Egg whites are whipped up with a pinch of salt. Once they’re frothy, sugar is slowly poured in while the mixer is running. A coloring agent is typically added in at this time too and I prefer to use gel colors. Just the tiniest bit of your favorite pink color is all you need. Once the egg whites have been whipped into stiff peaks, a mixture of almond meal and powdered sugar that has been sifted are gently folded in. The macaroon mixture is then placed into a piping bag or into a zip top bag and piped into one-inch rounds. You can use a template if you want, drawn circles on the underside of parchment, or just eyeball it.
Here is the next important step. Give your tray a few raps on your countertop to remove any air bubbles in your cookies then let them sit at room temp for 30 minutes. They will form a skin that does not stick to your finger when gently pressed. This is what allows the macaroon to form ‘feet,’ the little ring that is created when they are baked. Bake your macarons in a preheated 300F oven for 15-20 minutes or until they are lightly golden brown. Let them cool on the pan on a wire rack.
Once the cookies are cooled, and the grapefruit curd is chilled, it’s time to make pink grapefruit macarons. Place a small amount of curd onto the bottom of a macaroon and gently sandwich together with another macaroon of a similar size. Pink grapefruit macarons should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and are better after a day or two.
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Tart and tangy, Pink Grapefruit Macarons are easier to make than you think. If you can whip egg whites, you can make French Macarons.
200 g (a scant 2 cups) powdered sugar
100 g (1 cup) almond flour*
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp of salt
50 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
Food coloring (optional)
For Lemon Curd:
3 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup pink grapefruit juice
1/2 tbs pink grapefruit zest
4 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
For Lemon Curd:
- In a double boiler with simmering water, combine egg yolks, sugar, grapefruit juice, and zest and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for about 10 minutes or until thickened.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the butter one piece at a time, letting each piece melt before adding in the next.
- Pour the still warm curd through a mesh strainer to catch at bits of egg yolk that might have scrambled. You’ll need to push the thick curd through the mesh because of its thickness, but you’ll end up with a smooth, creamy curd.
- Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the curd and place in fridge until chilled.
- Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together, throwing out any bits of almond meal left. *Do NOT skip this step!*
- In a separate bowl, beat the room temperature egg whites on medium speed until they are frothy.
- Add the salt and any coloring you’re using.
- Whit the mixer running, gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until you have stiff peaks. Do not overbeat.
- Fold the almond meal and powdered sugar into the egg whites until fully incorporated. The batter will be on the thick side.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Transfer the batter to a pastry bag (or a zip-top bag) with a ½ inch tip. Pipe out into uniform 1-inch diameter circles.
- Tap the pan on the counter to get rid of air bubbles and any peaks from piping.
- Let the cookies rest for about 30 minutes on the counter. To check to see if they are ready for baking, gently touch the surface. If they are no longer tacky and stick to your finger, they’re ready to go. This is what allows the cookies to form ‘feet,’ and prevent the tops from cracking.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Bake one sheet at a time for 15-20 minutes or until they are lightly browned. It is better to slightly overbake these cookies than it is to underbake them.
- Let cool on the pan on a wire rack.
- Pair similar sized cookies together
- Place a small amount of completely chilled curd onto the bottom side of one cookie and sandwich it with the other.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They are better the second day.
*Almond meal is also called Almond Flour.