From a trend that started out as adding some serious color to our makeup bags, unicorns have officially taken over our taste buds now, too. You could practically taste the sparkly magic while sipping on a mug of unicorn hot chocolate and now you can bite into their glittery goodness, too. Introducing: unicorn macarons.
Mac Lab Bakery in Duluth, Georgia, presented the colorful beauties to Instagram about a month ago, and the not-so-mythical macarons have seriously blown up the Internet since. They are in such high demand that Mac Lab had to limit people to only buying five at a time.
Considering we could eat five of those unicorn-themed desserts in one very short sitting, why not learn how to make our own batch at home? No lines and no one to stop you while you eat the entire pan? Count us in!
Now if you've ever tried your hand at creating a batch of macarons, you probably found that you practically need unicorn-like magic in order to get those cookies (and the pesky meringue!) looking and tasting anywhere close to the ones in the bakery. So if your culinary abilities tend to be subpar, have no fear. We talked to certified pastry chef (and macaron expert) Julie Kelley to learn how to make your own macarons from home, but you'll have to add the unicorn features on your own!
Kelley swears by Martha Stewart's classic French Macaron recipe, but she has given MORE some tips and tricks to help you perfect the classic dessert.
- 2/3 cup sliced blanch almonds — Kelley chooses to use Bob's Red Mill super-fine almond flour instead! "Make sure to buy super-fine almond flour," she told MORE. "You'll need to sift your dry ingredients before adding to your meringue and if you use the regular ground flour, you end up sifting out a lot of it."
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 large egg whites (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Jam/other filling
How To Make A Batch Of Magical Macarons (Sans Unicorns)
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Add confectioners' sugar and almond flour into a food processor; process until combined, about 1 minute.
Step 2: Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in the sieve.
Step 3: Whisk egg whites and granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.
In regard to the meringue, "Always start with a very clean mixing bowl — any trace of fat can deflate your egg whites," Kelley tells MORE. "When mixing your whites, stay near the bowl if you're making a small batch because two egg whites whip up quickly."
Step 4: The beaten egg whites will hold stiff and have glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add flavoring and food coloring, if desired (this is where unicorn coloring comes in!), and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.
Step 5: Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from the bottom of bowl upward, then press the flat side of spatula firmly through the middle of the mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes. Because the batter should be so runny at this point, Kelley reminds MORE readers to space out the cookies because they'll definitely spread after you pipe them!
Step 6: Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.
"If you're not comfortable with a piping bag, stencil circles on your parchment paper to guide you so that your macarons are close in size," Kelley tells MORE. "Just be sure and flip the parchment over so that you're not putting batter on top of pencil lead or pen ink!"
Step 7: With a piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.
"Be sure and let your macarons sit at room temperature on the cookie sheet for at least 45 minutes before baking," Kelley adds. "This allows the macaron to form a crust on top and develop their 'feet,'...it also prevents the tops of the cookies from splitting in the oven."
Step 8: Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of the cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Macarons are known to be one of the tougher pastries to master, but Kelley encourages MORE readers to not give up.
"It can be frustrating, but it also helps to mess up a few times (experience talking here). Practice helps you develop more of an instinct when whipping your egg whites.... With egg whites, it's better to get to a place where you're not relying on a timer for doneness; you know by looking," she explains. "Happy baking!"