Updated: Nov 29, 2020
French macarons, or Parisian Macarons, as they've become known, are a challenge to make even for the best of bakers. Looking over the recipe, it doesn't look overtly complicated- there aren't a ton of steps, and even the recipe list is rather short.
But the key to making these finicky cookies is to get two things right: meringue and macaronaging.
Meringue is the beaten egg white and sugar mixture. Those attempting making macarons for the first time don't know the consistency it should be, so they tend to either under-whip the meringue (to that the top flops over) or overwhip (they put the speed on too high and trap too many air bubbles.
The key to a good meringue is patience. It sounds cliché, and it might feel like it's taking forever, but what you're doing when you whip the eggs is creating air bubbles in the egg whites. Don't add enough bubbles and your cookies will be pancakes. Create too many, and the cookies will explode in the oven. We've added the speeds at which you should whip your eggs- don't go over!
The second key part of making a macaron is the macaronaging. This is a technique of folding, rather than stirring the batter. What this does is slowly release air bubbles. Stirring will smash up all the good air bubbles you've just whipped into your eggs, causing your cookies to pancake.
Fold your batter with a spatula (not a spoon!) but going first around the bowl and then down the center, gently pressing the batter against the side of the bowl to press out air bubbles. Continue this folding technique until you have the right batter consistency (like lava). This will ensure you have the correct amount of bubbles to get that perfect rise of your cookies and those signature "feet"- ruffles around the bottom- that we love.
Making French method macarons requires fewer tools than Italian macarons, making it the ideal method for beginner macaron makers.
Lots of bakers have their own go-to recipes, and the great thing is that you can vary the recipe based on your preferences. We recommend trying our recipe step-by-step first before making it your own.
You'll find our favorite go-to recipe below. Please note, recipe outcome may vary slightly based on baker. Based on the equipment you use, the altitude of where you live, and the way your oven is, you might have to tweak this recipe to work for you.
Makes: Around 10 macarons
mixer(we use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer works fine)
1 egg white (let sit to room temperature)
30g almond flour
60g powdered sugar
17g granulated sugar
1/8 tsp tartar
food coloring (optional)
This is for a basic buttercream recipe. For more macaron filling, click here.
4tbs butter, softened to room temperature
1.5 cup powdered sugar
3 tbs heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract (or whatever flavor you'd like! We prefer Bakto flavors)
food coloring (optional)
Prepare pipping bag and trays lined with parchment paper before you begin; you'll want to work fast once the batter is ready.
Sift together almond flour and powdered sugar.
Add egg white to mixer, beat on low for 2 minutes.
When the egg white turns frothy, add tartar and increase speed to medium (4 on KitchenAid). Begin incorporating granulated sugar a little bit at a time so it does not deflate egg whites.
When egg whites begin to stiffen, add food coloring (optional) and vanilla extract. Raise speed to 6 and beat until meringue reaches stiff peaks (see video below). This can take up to 10 minutes, so be patient!
Turn mixer off. Add 1/2 dry ingredients to meringue, folding and incorporating into batter.
Add remaining dry ingredients and fold until batter reaches lava-like consistency. Tip: we like to check the flow using the figure-8 method; scoop up a bit of mixture with spatula and try to draw a figure-8 with it. If the batter breaks, it's not ready. Mix slowly until you can easily draw an 8 without breaking the pattern. Stop mixing immediately.
Pipe batter onto baking sheet. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, until shell hardens. You should be able to run your finger over the top and not have any batter stick.
Turn oven on 150C (300F) and bake for 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet completely before removing.
Fill shells with filling and let sit in fridge overnight. For best rests, take cookies out and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before enjoying.
Didn't turn out as expected?
Check out our troubleshooting guide to see what went wrong and how to tweak the recipe.
Add butter to mixing bowl and whip until soft & creamy.
Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. We like using this mixer guard so sugar doesn't fly everywhere (can you tell we learned from trial and error?).
Add vanilla extract
Add heavy whipping cream, whip for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Feel free to add any food coloring to this. We also recommend playing with different pipping tips for effects!
How much food coloring do I add to my macaron?
We suggested using a gel-based food coloring like AmeriColor. For that, you'll only need about 2-3 drops.
Adding too much food coloring to your batted will throw off the consistency, resulting in wet batter that won't dry and will explode when you put it in the oven. For truly deep colors like red and black, try pigment colors.
Can I put flavoring in the cookie itself?
Again, you don't want to make your batter too wet. We have learned that you can add it to the cookie in the meringue stage, but the amount you can add is very small and might not even show through in the cookie flavor.
We suggest adding flavoring to the filling. There, you can go absolutely crazy.