1.Preheat the oven to 300ºF or150ºC.
2.Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. In a clean mixing bowl with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tarter and continue to beat on medium speed. Start adding sugar one teaspoon at a time. Gradually increase the speed to medium high and beat until hard peaks form. Add vanilla (and mint extracts) and food colouring (optional). Beat for a minute or two on medium speed.
4. Sift the almond flour and icing sugar together.
Once again,sift the almond icing sugar together,this time over the beaten egg whites.
5. Very gently fold the mixture together, running the spatula clockwise from the bottom of the bowl, up around the sides and cut the batter in half. The batter will look very thick at first but it will get thinner as you fold. Be careful not to over mix it though. the ingredients should be blended evenly with the egg whites full of volumne.
6. Transfer the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip. Please note: a large, freezer plastic bag works well. Put one end of the bag in a large glass and carefully spoon the batter into the bag. The glass will ensure you can do this without a mess and let the batter pile up on itself. Cut a small hole in one tip -about the size of a nickel- after the batter has been loaded.
7. Pope out rounds to the desired size. Try 2 squeezes of your piping bag. Perhaps 3 might be better.
8. Tap the baking sheet firmly on the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles. (The piping bag also helps with this). (If you don't release the air bubbles, they will expand during baking and crack the beautiful macarons shells.
9. Let the macarons rest and dry for about 20 minutes. On a humid day, it might take longer. To see if they are ready to be baked, lightly touch one. If the batter does not stick to your finger, then it is ready.
10. Bake the macarons for 18-20 minutes. To check for doneness, remove one macaron. If the bottom does not stick, they are done.
11. Or, Place the baking sheet on wire racks to cool for 15 minutes, and then remove the cookies from the baking sheet.
12. Store the cool macarons in an air tight container. They will keep well for a couple of weeks.
13. Shortly before serving, fill with your favourite thick icing. Using a piping bag place a circle of icing inside the macaron edge. There should be a border of un-iced cookie showing. Place a macaron on top and very gently press together. You will notice that your icing oozes to the edges. You can store any uneaten macarons in the fridge for about a week or freeze them.