Light, airy, meringue-like, beautiful French macarons have been on my baking bucket list for a long time. I have been studying, testing, and driving myself crazy in the kitchen for some time trying to get these things right. Macarons can be temperamental (meringue is the capricious culprit). So here is the recipe that is guaranteed to succeed, just follow the steps described below. And remember, with perseverance comes success!
French macarons are delicate cookies with a crunchy exterior and weightless interior. They have a nougat-like, chewy texture in your mouth and can be filled with anything from frosting and caramel to curd and ganache. If there is one thing to know before beginning French macarons at home, it is this: these cookies are not simple. Impossible? Absolutely not. Requiring both patience and practice? Yes. A kitchen scale is required to make my French macarons.
Accurate measurements equal accurate results. I am actually encouraging you to not use US cup measurements for this recipe, as there is way too much room for error. The base ingredients for my French macaron cookies are almond flour, confectioners’ sugar, and room temperature egg whites. You can make your own almond flour at home by pulsing blanched, skinless, unsalted, raw almonds until fine. However, buying a packet is easier and you get the super-fine texture needed for macaron batter. Almond flour and confectioners’ sugar are blended together in a food processor or blender until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Then, egg whites are beaten until stiff peaks form. Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature (separate them in advance and let them sit out for a few hours or even overnight). This ensures that the whites will reach their full volume when whipped. Always sift the sugar and lightly beat it into the egg whites, then fold in the almond flour/confectioners’ sugar blend. Slow, slow folds. The batter needs to be thick, off-white, glossy, and sticky. The batter is piped onto a baking sheet. I tested macarons on parchment paper, bare non-stick sheets, and silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats were the easiest surface to work with. I found the macarons spread a little more on the bare non-stick sheet surface, as well as the parchment paper. Pipe small rounds – the macaron batter will slightly spread, so start with only a little bit. You want the rounds to be around 2 inches in diameter. Now, let the piped rounds sit. This is crucial to making macarons. During this time, the air will help the rounds set and form a dry shell. Meaning, they will no longer be wet and sticky. I always let mine sit for at least 45 minutes. Then, bake the cookies! The cookies take around 10 minutes in the oven. The tops will be crisp, the bottoms will develop their trademark crinkly “feet.” Allow them to cool, then fill with your favourite fillings/frostings. If you want coloured macarons, add a drop or two of food colouring to the batter, but remember that less is more. Too much addition to the light batter means a change in texture and appearance
- 200g confectioners’ sugar
- 100g almond flour
- 120g room temperature egg whites (around 3 large egg whites)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 40g sifted granulated sugar or caster sugar
- flavouring or colour
- your desired filling
Place the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a food processor or blender and pulse or blend for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Set aside.
In a completely dry and grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch to high speed and beat just until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do not over-beat. Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
On low speed, beat in any flavour or colour at this point. Do not over-mix.
Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the confectioners’ sugar/almond flour mixture until combined. Be very gentle and light-handed while doing so. Once completely combined, the mixture will be smooth, sticky, and glossy.
Let the batter sit uncovered at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile, fit your piping bag with the piping tip. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats (read the explanation above about why these mats are preferred).
Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets– make sure you are holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet. While piping, the batter will slightly spread out, so keep that in mind. You want around 2-inch circles. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on your counter to release any large air bubbles. You can lightly sprinkle a few sprinkles, a dash of cinnamon, or any edible decorations onto the wet round shells at this point.
Let the piped rounds sit for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Bake the macarons for 10 minutes, one baking sheet at a time. Rotate the pan at the 5 minute mark. The tops should be crisp and the macarons should have formed their signature crinkly “feet.” Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling.
Fill and sandwich two shells together to form a cookie.
Leftover macarons keep well covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.