Measure out 40 g of egg white from a large egg. Sift the almond powder and powdered sugar together. (The powdered sugar I use has cornstarch in it.)
To make the meringue, add the granulated sugar to the egg whites little by little while beating (After 6 to 7 minutes it should become like an Italian meringue (a meringue made with sugar syrup).
Take the sifted dry ingredients and sift them once more into the meringue from Step 2. Then, fold using a cut-and-fold motion.
Add the vanilla beans to Step 3. (If you add too much the macarons will be very sweet, so just add enough to make them fragrant.)
Next, scoop the batter up from the bottom and bring it towards the center, as if you were stroking the batter gently with your spatula. (This method is called macaronage.)
Scoop and mix the batter in this way until it falls thickly in a ribbon-pattern from the spatula. (Don't over-mix. Aim for a consistency that can be piped easily.)
Put the batter in a piping bag, and squeeze out onto a lined baking sheet leaving 3 cm between each blob. (My batter barely spreads at all at this stage.)
This batter dries quite fast, so leave it as is for about 20 to 30 minutes. (Preheat the oven to 200°C.)
If you bake for about 3 minutes to start at 200°C, the batter will rise up as shown and you'll get a little "piet" (foot). Open the oven door to lower the temperature.
Turn the temperature down right away to 150 °C, and bake for 10 - 15 minutes. (If it looks like the tops are getting burned, open the oven door again to lower the temperature. You can also cover the tops with foil.)
For the buttercream filling, refer to Recipe ID: 985593. Or use whatever cream you like.
Put the cream in a piping bag, and fill each macaron with as much as you like. Sandwich the halves together and they're done.
This is the powdered sugar I used. It has some cornstarch in it, and I've never once had my macarons fail when using it
The batter mixing method in Step 5 (macaronage) is often described as 'pressing down' with a spatula, but I've had my macarons fail may times if I press the batter. I recommend just stroking it gently.
I have a suspicion that that oil from the vanilla beans, which produces a great smell, also helps the macarons to puff up.
My macarons turned out puffy as shown in the photo...
The drying time required in Step 8 depends on the weather that day, but I think they turn out best if left for a long time. If you can touch the surfaces without any batter sticking to your finger, then they're okay.
The baking time varies depending on your oven, but I usually lower the heat to 150 °C and then bake for 15 minutes, covering the tops with a piece of foil halfway through to prevent the surfaces from burning.
Story Behind this Recipe
I personally am not fond of desserts, but I've never failed when making this. I've given them as gifts, and they are really well received, so I've uploaded the recipe.
25 g of granulated sugar in the egg white worked fine. (I think it's best not to reduce it further.) The time it takes for the macarons to dry out in Step 8 may vary depending on the day. If you make these macarons following the recipe, they won't get cracked on the surface or shrink inside.