I have a cookie eater. Zion will eat any cookie, in any shape color or texture. I knew she would love the crispy sweetness of a pretty french macaron for her 2nd Birthday. Mine didn't come out perfectly (I over beat the egg whites while consoling a crying baby), but Zion didn't mind. I used a Martha Stewart recipe. Martha has several floating around out there on the internet and I'll do my best to fill in the gaps I think she leaves. People who bake from Martha recipes would probably agree that she sometimes *assumes* we know pertinent information that she leaves out.
Strained jam or other desired fillings. I used a chocolate buttercream I already had in the fridge.
Whisk together almond meal and confectioner's sugar and sift over a large bowl.
Beat egg whites until frothy, anywhere from 30 seconds until 1:30 seconds. They should NOT make peaks yet. Slowly add granulated sugar and extract (also food coloring if you want them a specific color), beat until medium shiny peaks, about 1 to 5 minutes. This is a large range. Sorry, no way around it.
Fold egg whites into almond mixture until combined. Mix vigorously with spatula until the mixture sinks easily into a smooth mass and has the consistency of honey. (see picture for what this stage looks like). Transfer mixture to a pastry bag, cut off 1/2 inch off tip. Pipe 1-inch rounds about 1 inch apart on parchment-lined sheets.
Let dry 30 minutes to an hour and a half until tops are firm and dry. Preheat oven to 350. Bake one sheet at a time for about 14 minutes, rotating once. Let cool completely on wire racks before filling and sandwiching cookies together.