I think that people assume French Macarons are hard to make. I wouldn’t say that they are hard so much as tricky. The recipe is pretty straightforward and uses very few ingredients. Macarons are tricky because the weather can have a big effect on them and every little thing you do has to be done in a very specific way. The worst part about macarons is that you can do everything, literally everything, exactly right and they can still flop. In this post, I’ll be going over the process I use step-by-step, as well as my favorite tools and all my best troubleshooting tips!
What ingredients do I need?
- Powdered sugar
- Almond flour
- Egg whites
- Granulated sugar
Let’s make French Macarons!
Step 2: Using a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar and almond flour until fully combined and rid of lumps. Don’t do this for too long or you will make almond butter. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor you can sift the ingredients together.
Step 3: In a medium bowl, prepare the french meringue. You can use a stand mixer for this, but I prefer a hand mixer or an immersion blender with a whisk attachment for a batch this small. Beat the egg whites on low speed until they get frothy. Increase the speed and slowly add the sugar. If you add the sugar too fast you will deflate the meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form. This is when you pull the beater out and the meringue stands up with a slight curve. It should not fall or jiggle too much if you move the beater. If you want to add food coloring, do it now, but add it sparingly or you will make the meringue too liquidy.
Step 4: Add the french meringue into the dry ingredients and begin to gently fold with a silicone spatula. This process is called macaronage. You will know the batter is ready when the ingredients are fully combined and not streaky. You should be able to hold the spatula above the bowl and draw a figure 8 smoothly without the batter breaking off. A good way to test if the batter is ready is to place a very small amount in your piping bag and pipe it onto your mat. If the batter is stiff and does not spread at all, then it is not ready. If the batter immediately runs out, then you have over folded. The batter should spread slightly and the tops should even out (there shouldn’t be any little tips sticking out), but it should not be runny.
Step 6: Firmly tap the cookie sheet onto the counter 3 or 4 times to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles.
Step 7: Let the macarons rest for an hour. There needs to be a dry layer on the top. You should be able to run your finger over the top without any transferring to your finger. If it is really humid outside this process will likely take longer.
Step 8: Preheat the oven to 280 degrees (F). This is the temperature that I have found works well for my oven, but you may need to play around with the temperature to find what works best for your oven.
Step 9: Place the macarons on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet, bake for another 5 minutes and rotate the cookie sheet again, bake for 5 minutes. 15 minutes in total. The macarons should not have any color to them, and they should peel off of the mat easily.
Step 10: Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Step 11: Peel off of the mat and fill with your desired filling.
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- 1 2/3 cup (200 grams) powdered sugar
- 1 cup (110 grams) almond flour
- 3 large (100 grams) egg whites
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or you can use parchment paper if you don't have one.
- Using a food processor, pulse the powdered sugar and almond flour until fully combined and rid of lumps. Sift the combined dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you do not have a food processor you can just sift.
- In a medium bowl, prepare the french meringue. Beat the egg whites on low speed with a hand mixer until they get frothy. Increase the speed and slowly add the sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. If you want to add any food coloring, do it now, but use it sparingly or you will make the meringue too liquidy.
- Add the french meringue into the dry ingredients and begin to gently fold. The batter should be fully combined and not streaky. When you are able to make a figure 8 with the batter in one motion, the batter is ready. If it is too runny it has been over-mixed.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a piping tip. Pipe 1-inch disks on to the silicone mat.
- Tap the cookie sheet on the countertop 3 or 4 times to get rid of any air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop any remaining air bubbles.
- Allow the macarons to rest for an hour or until the tops of the macarons have dried. You will be able to gently run your finger over them without anything getting on your finger.
- Preheat the oven to 280 degrees (F).
- Place the macarons on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 5 minutes, rotate the pan one last time and bake for 3-5 minutes. 13-15 minutes in total.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the cookie sheet.
- If the macarons were baked correctly they should easily peel off of the silicone mat.
- If the macaron shells are unfilled they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. They can be frozen for up to two months.
- If the macarons shells are filled they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. They can be frozen for up to two weeks.
- If the batter is stiff and has little tips:
- This means the batter was not folded enough. You need to press more of the air out of it next time.
- If the batter is runny:
- This means that the batter was folded too much. Try using a few less folds on it next time.
- If the macaron shells come out lopsided:
- This means the temperature was not evenly distributed around your cookie sheet. Try using a thicker cookie sheet (like this one) or stack 2 cookie sheets.
- If the macaron shells brown:
- This means your oven was too hot. Play with the temperature next time.
- If the macaron shells do not peel off of the mat easily or the tops become spotty when cooled:
- This means they were not cooked long enough. Add 5 minutes to the baking time next time.
- If the macaron shells crack:
- This could mean a couple of things. There might have been large air bubbles that you didn’t pop. They also might not have rested the shells for long enough. Add 30 minutes to the resting time next time. They also may have been mixed too much.
- If the macaron shells don’t rise:
- The shells were probably overmixed. They also might not have rested for long enough.
- If the macaron feet spread out:
- This means the oven was too hot.
My Favorite Macaron Tools
The tools you use are such an important part of macaron success. These are my tried and true products for making macarons.
- Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, Kitchenaid Hand Mixer, or Mueller Immersion Blender with whisk attachment. A mixer is an absolute must for making macarons. You have to make a meringue and a mixer is the best way. Which mixer I use depends on the size of the recipe. If I am making the recipe above, I use a hand mixer or immersion blender. If I am doubling or tripling this recipe, I use a stand mixer.
- Oven Thermometer. Oven temperatures are usually off and having the correct temperature is crucial for macarons. I use this oven thermometer all the time and it has helped my macaron baking a ton!
- Food Scale. I use a food scale every time I bake, but I think it’s even more important to use with macarons. With how finicky they can be it is so important to get the ingredient amounts exactly right each time.
- Food Processor. A food processor isn’t an absolute need for macarons, you can just sift the dry ingredients together, but I like to make sure dry ingredients are as combined and smooth as possible. Processing and then sifting ensure I won’t have any problems with unwanted lumps.
- Silicone Spatula. Folding is the most important part of macarons. It can make or break your final product. I use a silicone spatula that is curved, to get every little bit in the bowl, and stiff, so I can apply the exact amount of pressure I want. (This isn’t the exact spatula I use. I have a Betty Crocker one that I love, but I can’t find it anywhere online. The one linked above looks exactly like the one I use)
- Piping Bag. You can definitely use a plastic bag if you don’t have a piping bag, but I highly recommend using one. I prefer a reusable piping bag like the one linked, but Wilton also makes disposable bags.
- Piping Tip. I use a piping tip every time I pipe macarons. It makes the final product much more consistent than just cutting the end off of the bag. This tip is the perfect size for macarons and always my go-to.
- Macaron Silicone Baking Mat. I have talked about silicone baking mats before, but I cannot recommend them enough for making macarons. If you’re serious about making great macarons you need these stenciled mats. For the life of me, I cannot pipe even macarons (I got called out by my head chef in pastry school for this). Before I had these stenciled mats I would have macarons of all different sizes. This would drive me nuts and was totally unacceptable for macarons that I was selling. These mats changed the game. They have stencils of different sizes, so you can pipe different sizes as needed.
- Cookie Sheet. For a while, all of my macarons came out lopsided. It took me forever to realize that it was because of the cookie sheets I was using. They were thin and didn’t circulate the heat evenly. Cookie sheets like this work fine for other things, but they are detrimental to great macarons! I bought the ones linked above and haven’t had that problem since!
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