- Preheat the oven to 300F/150C, then prepare a large piping bag with a large round tip and two lined baking sheets. If desired, you can print off macaron templates to put underneath the baking paper on your baking sheets – this will help your macarons be more uniform.
- In a Vitamix or powerful food processor, grind the almonds until very, very fine. Sieve twice over a large bowl together with the ground-up maple sugar and then set aside.
- In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites, granulated maple sugar, scrapings of the vanilla bean, and salt together on medium-high for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to high for another 3 minutes before turning it up to extra-high for the last 4 minutes. The mixture really does need this long, so don’t skimp on the times – if your mixer motor needs a break after every few minutes, that’s fine. Just make sure you mix for a full 10 minutes!
- With a large spatula, add the almond/ground-up sugar mixture to the egg white mixture and fold 35-40 times, pressing the egg white streaks against the sides of the bowl for the first 5 folds or so to help incorporate the dry mixture. You know you’re done when you use a spoon to remove a teaspoon of the mixture, drop it back in to the bowl, and the dropped mixture has dissapeared into the rest after around 20-30 seconds. Take your time with this – it’s the most important step!
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared piping bag, then pipe 1 ½ inch circles on to the baking sheet, around 1 inch apart. When the batter is finished, set aside the piping bag and tap the baking trays against a flat surface about 10 times to get rid of any air bubbles which could crack the macarons.
- Bake for 17-18 minutes, then remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
- After filling them (see below), place them in an airtight container in the fridge for 12-24 hours. This lets the flavours meld and gives the macarons their soft, chewy texture.
To make pistachio macarons: replace the almonds with pistachios. To make cherry macarons: add 1 teaspoon of concentrated cherry juice to the batter in step 4. Now, to make the passionfruit curd filling, combine 4 egg yolks with the juice and seeds of 3 passionfruit, 1/3 cup honey/maple syrup, and 1/3 cup of coconut oil in a large saucepan. Cook while whisking on medium heat for 5-6 minutes, then push the mixture through a sieve and refrigerate it, covered with plastic wrap, for a few hours until it has cooled. Pipe on top of half of the macarons and sandwich together with another macaron! To make a lemon curd filling, combine 5 egg yolks, 1/3 cup of maple syrup or honey, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, and 1/3 cup of coconut oil in a large saucepan. Cook while whisking on medium heat for 5-6 minutes, then push the mixture through a sieve and refrigerate it, covered with plastic wrap, for a few hours until it has cooled. Again, pipe on half of the macarons and sandwich together with the leftover macarons. As for other fillings, I’ve tried Primal Palate’s Brownie Frosting, chia berry jam, all sorts of fruit purees, and even nut butters – all were delicious, so feel free to experiment!