I ATE SO MANY FRENCH MACARONS THIS PAST WEEK. LIKE SO FREAKING MANY.
It almost made me not want to eat macarons ever again… almost. French macarons are AMAZING (more on how amazing below), but probably the hardest cookie to make, like ever. They are so finicky BUT if I can do it, you can do it! I’ve made French macarons SEVEN TIMES since Saturday. Thank goodness I found a recipe that works and is REPEATABLE. I figured out my final recipe on Sunday then remade it twice this week to ensure it wasn’t a fluke. Guess what?! IT WASN’T A FLUKE. Yayyyy. Baking WIN. Really, I just wanted to make sure that you guys had a reliable recipe, not just pretty pictures. I’ve got your back yo.
So why take so much time just to make macarons? Because they taste like heaven. The French macaron cookies have a light and thin hard shell with a moist, sweet, and slightly nutty flavored meringue center. We smash two cookies together with creamy buttercream (or your filling of choice) and our foodie flavor brains explode. Literally, every time. Well, except when you’ve eaten 12+ in one day and get a stomach ache (me on Sunday). French macarons have such a unique combination of crisp, soft, and chewy. I just LOVE how the outer shell is so crisp but then reveals a soft chewy center with an intense burst of flavor. I can’t talk about it enough! I’m sure y’all already know how perfect they are though 🙂
After reading what felt like a bajillon recipes and watching countless YouTube videos, I learned a few tips along the way to make the perfect French macarons.
- WEIGH OUT YOUR INGREDIENTS. Okay, you’re kind of always supposed to do this with baking to get better results but you HAVE TO DO THIS with macarons. I don’t even include volume measurements in my recipe soooo you have to weigh them out if you want to follow my recipe. Food scales are cheap guys! I have this one. DO IT.
- Age your egg whites! WTF? I know. This means separate them from the yolks at least 24 hours (overnight will work too) before your plan to make your macarons. You can just place them in bowl covered with plastic wrap in the fridge. Also, your egg whites should be room temp! SO a few hours before you plan to make macarons, set your bowl of egg whites on the counter so they reach room temp.
- Double the amount of food coloring you would normally use. The color fades as it cooks, so you want your batter a shade or two darker than you want the macarons to be. I failed at this one my 3rd time with this recipe (see my not so lavender macarons…), whoops.
- Pulse your confectioners’ sugar and almond flour together in a food processor AND THEN sift them together using a fine mesh strainer ( or sieve) into a separate bowl to ensure a really fine powder mixture that will create a smooth and pretty on top to your cookie.
- Folding the flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture (meringue) is probably where 95% of macaron recipes go wrong. I’m 99% sure this is what was wrong with the first 3 recipes I tried. You don’t want to under or over mix. Watch this video (in French but you don’t need to understand the words to see the technique | folding starts at 1:45 mark) or this one (in English) on how to correctly fold the ingredients. I found that it took me about 60-75 strokes with my rubber spatula to get it just right. The batter should drip like a ribbon when scooped up with the spatula.
- Once the macarons are piped onto a baking pan, tap the baking sheet hard on the counter at least 2-3 times to release the air bubbles. This prevents the tops of your macaroons from cracking. Cracking = bad.
- MANDATORY TIP: Let the piped macarons sit out on the baking sheet for 45 minutes to one hour before baking. This will let them dry out slightly before going in the oven. The piped macarons should be tacky to the touch, but not wet or sticky. If you don’t do this step, your macarons will either crack or not develop the trademark “feet” of a French macaron.
- EXTRA: A super awesome french macaron troubleshooting guide, seriously wonderful resource.
- 200 grams confectioners' sugar
- 120 grams almond flour or meal
- 100 grams aged egg whites, at room temp
- a pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (this is near the spices)
- 35 grams superfine sugar (granulated sugar pulsed in a food professor for like a minute)
- food coloring of choice
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
- 4 - 4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a healthy pinch of salt
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats (I personally found that parchment paper yielded better feet).
- Prepare sugar flour mixture: Add weighed out confectioners' sugar and almond flour to a food processor then pulse for one minute, scraping down the sides half way through. Using a fine mesh strainer, sift sugar flour mixture together into a separate medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Make your meringue: To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add egg whites, a pinch of salt, and cream of tartar. Whisk on medium-low for 1-2 minutes or until egg whites are foamy. Slowly add the superfine sugar as the mixer is still whisking, then increase the spread to medium and beat for 4-5 minutes (the mixture should be extra foamy and make soft peaks). Increase speed to high and beat until a creamy, glossy, and thick meringue forms, about 2 minutes (watch the meringue like a hawk at this point). When the meringue is ready you should be able to create stiff peaks with your whisk (guide to peaks here). Add any food coloring you'd like now. Remember the color fade as the macarons cook, so you want your batter a shade or two darker than you want the macarons to be.
- Make your macaron batter: Fold the sifted sugar flour mixture into the meringue. Start by adding 1/3 of the sugar flour mixture to the meringue then gently slide your rubber spatula from bottom to top and from top to bottom, making circular movements. Continue doing this until the mixture is evenly blended. Repeat two more times with the next two 1/3 portions of the sugar flour mixture. The batter should drip like a ribbon when scooped up with the spatula once sufficiently mixed. Let the batter sit for about ten minutes.
- Pipe your macarons: Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip. Pipe rounds slightly larger than one inch in staggering rows on to your parchment paper lined baking sheet. The batter will spread out slightly after piping, this is normal. Video on correct piping here. Once all the macarons are piped, tap the bottom of the baking sheets on your counter to release any large air bubbles. Any bubbles that don't release from tapping, you can pop with a toothpick. Also, if your rounds have slight peaks, just wet your finger with water and tap them down gently.
- LET PIPED MACARONS SIT OUT ON THE BAKING SHEETS FOR 45 MINUTES TO ONE HOUR. Basically until they are no longer tacky to a light touch. If you don't do this, you will not get pretty macarons. Preheat oven to 325F while macarons are resting.
- Bake one tray at a time for 10-14 minutes, rotating the sheet half way through. I know this is a wide time range, but everyone's ovens are different. My macarons took about 12 minutes. SO I would rotate your baking sheet at the 6 minute mark then watch the macarons like a hawk from the 10 minute mark on ward. When macarons are baked enough, they should come off the parchment paper easily. If the tops of your macarons start to brown, you've baked them for too long. Let macarons cool on the baking sheet about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to cooling rack.
- Allow macarons to cool completely before filling. To fill the macarons, match them all up with a pair that's about the same size. Pipe filling on to one cookie then sandwich together with the other to create the most wonderful cookie there ever was: The French Macaron 🙂
- Make your buttercream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes). With the mixer still whisking, add 4 cups confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Increase speed to high and beat until ingredients are well combined and there are no bites of butter showing (about 3 minutes). Add more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or more heavy cream if mixture is too thick.
Leftover macarons will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Total time includes resting, cooling, filling the macarons.
I ended up with three successful batches of French macarons from this recipe!!! HALLELUJAH. That’s why there are pink (first time with this recipe), blue (second time), and muted (because I didn’t listen to my own tips…) lavender (third time) macarons in these photographs.
I have to say that the marbled pink look was totally an accident but such a fun accident! As you should have gathered from this post, achieving the correct meringue and folding the macaron batter are very finicky steps because you don’t want to over-mix. So when I added the pink food coloring powder, I was nervous to mix too much so I just sort of mixed the coloring in but sort of didn’t which basically lead to pink and white marbled macrons… what a beautiful accident. However, I didn’t pipe my pink macarons correctly or tap the little peaks down soooo they aren’t perfect. But I got better with the blue and lavender macarons 🙂
You guys should totally conquer making homemade French macarons this weekend and then bring them to your families for Easter. You mom will love you for it, even if you haven’t called in a month… lol.