Honey Buttercream Macarons

As I sat cross-legged on the tile floor, I peered in through the grainy window of the oven door at my dimly lit baking sheet. When I saw the perfectly formed feet and the smooth sheen of the outer-shell, I practically squealed in excitement. Anyone who has made macarons knows just how temperamental the little confections can be. Leave your eggwhites underbeaten, and your shells will remain flat and sticky, and will be an absolute nightmare to remove from the parchment. Beat your eggwhites for too long, and they will become crisp, cracked, and hollow. The perfect macarons are the result of the perfect ingredients, perfect ratios, and above all, perfect technique. 
Here I will document the tips and tricks I picked up from various recipes and compiled until I was finally successful. I will also give you the ratios that ultimately worked the best for me. 

Honey Buttercream Macarons
     200g powdered sugar
     120g ground almonds/almond flour
     3 large egg whites
     1/4 tsp cream of tartar
     50g superfine sugar (regular granulated sugar run through the blender)
     Crushed pistachios for garnish
     Gold sprinkles for garnish
   Honey Buttercream
     1/4 cup butter
     1 cup powdered sugar
     2 tbsp honey
     2 tbsp sourcream

Begin by blending the powdered sugar and ground almonds together in the food processor. I then sift the mixture over a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking it in the oven for 7 minutes to ensure that it is as dry as possible. Sifting is essential as it gets out any unwanted lumps, so even if you don't bake the sugar/almond mixture make sure that you still sift it well.
Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment of a stand mixture or with an electric mixer. Add the cream of tartar before you begin beating. Beat on medium speed until the whites are thick and frothy, like bubble bath. At this point, add the superfine sugar tablespoon by tablespoon while beating continuously. Continue beating until the egg whites are stiff and shiny. It is often hard to tell just when the egg whites are finished, and overbeating them will ruin the shells. If you lift the bowl and turn it on its side, the whites should not slide but should remain stationary. If you dip your finger into the whites it should form a stiff, peaked little cap on your finger tip. Once the egg whites get stiff enough to form chunks, however, they have been overbeaten. 
Once the egg whites are the perfect consistency, add a third of your almond/sugar mixture. Fold it in with a silicone spatula until combined. While you want to be careful folding, don't be afraid to use some muscle and mix with a bit of force. Add the next third and mix until combined before adding and combining the final third. Continue folding the batter until it is the consistency of magma. If you lift the spatula, it should run off in a thick ribbon. When it lands back in the bowl it should sink into the remaining batter after a few seconds.

Once your batter is the right consistency, fill a piping bag fitted with a large, round tip with batter. Pipe out small 1-2 inch rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet. When piping, apply pressure to the piping bag until the desired size is reached and then release all pressure, gently pushing down and pulling out to avoid creating a peak. This takes some getting used to -- if your macarons are slightly peaked just dampen a finger slightly and gently press in the tails. Give the tray a few gentle taps against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles.
Let the shells sit for at least 30 minutes, until they have formed a skin and are dry to the touch. Then preheat the oven to 275˚F and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, gently poke one of your macarons in the oven. If there is any wobble between the upper shell and the feet they are not yet done and should continue baking for a few minutes. They should be completely dry to the touch and fairly firm before they are removed from the oven.
Once the baking sheet has been removed, slide off the parchment (preferably onto a cooling rack for the fastest cooling). Wait until they are completely cool before removing the shells from the parchment. Remove them by pushing them from underneath and peeling the parchment generally away. Pulling them will generally just break them. I like to line them up in pairs of equal size in preparation for the filling.

With the paddle fixture of a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time to avoid spraying it all over the kitchen and mix until combined. Add the honey and sourcream and mix until combined. 
Pipe a small round of frosting onto half of the macaron shells. Getting the right amount of frosting might also take a bit of practice. Gently press together one shell with frosting, and one without, until the frosting is evenly distributed. Do this until all of your macarons are assembled!
Macarons keep fairly well as long as they are kept in the fridge. If you are layering them in a container, put parchment between the layers to keep them from sticking.