Recipes

Easy French Macarons (It’s Not an Oxymoron!)

Easy French Macarons

Easy French Macarons

Easy French Macarons

Ah, the elusive macaron (pronounced with a heavy French accent, “maa-kaargh-roe”). Show up to a party with a box of these soft yet crunchy, deliciously delicate pastel cookies and people will think you must have valet parked your Rolls Royce and left your Chanel handbag on the front seat. Because the macaron is the Cartier of the cookie world.

But macarons are not to be feared! They really aren’t difficult to make–the Man just wants you to think they are so you’ll wait in line at the bakery all morning and pay $20 for 6 cookies. They take precision and practice, but give yourself a few tries and you too will be making macarons for any (and all!) occasions.

The first time I made macarons was for Christmas and I made 4 different varieties. I had no idea how time consuming it was to make them and would not recommend such a large batch on your first try. But they turned out excellent, and by batch 3 I was a pro.

The second time I made macarons was at my Mom’s house and had three difficulties: a broken whip attachment for the Kitchenaid stand mixer, no food scale, and no piping bags or tips. But they still turned out excellent, just not as perfectly round as Martha would like.

The next time I made macarons was for my baby shower with my three favourite women, my sister, my best friend, and my sister-in-law. The four of us really had this down to a science! One measured the ingredients while the other sifted the almond flour while the other timed the whipping while the other folded. And the most extraordinary thing happened when my sister-in-law dropped the pan on the counter for the first time to get out the air bubbles: the sweet baby girl in my tummy was startled and did a huge barrel roll! It’s my favourite macaron memory. My second favourite is the time my husband and I sat on a Central Park bench sharing a box from Lauderée on Madison Avenue before going to the Costume Institute at the Met.  And my third favourite is just the fact that my sister has been there to make them with me almost every time (you can check out her blog here).  See what I mean about these being special cookies!?

The fourth time I made macarons was again at my Mom’s house (I got her a new whip attachment) with my beautiful sister and my dearest grad school friend. We still didn’t have a scale or piping bags, and we foolishly used my Mom’s convection oven instead of the gas. It cooked the outside of the macarons way too fast while leaving the inside too gooey. But as usual, they still tasted amazing and it was so fun for the three of us to make them together.

And now I’ve made them one more time in turquoise! They could have used 30 seconds less in the oven to avoid the slight browning, but oh well! I used one drop blue and half a drop of green paste food colouring from Williams-Sonoma to make the perfect turquoise colour.

Here is the tried-and-true recipe from my Guru, Martha Stewart, edited to include my personal tips and tricks:

Easy French Macarons

INGREDIENTS

71 grams almond flour

117 grams confectioners sugar

2 large room temperature egg whites

53 grams granulated sugar

Smooth jam for filling

Optional: food colouring and flavouring

One: preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the lower third. Measure your ingredients using a digital kitchen scale. If you don’t have a scale, stop what you’re doing and go get one! They are like $10 at Walmart and are a kitchen staple! The eggs have to be from a chicken in a shell, no egg substitutes or liquid egg whites.

Two: shake the almond flour and confectioners sugar in a Magic Bullet for about 1 minute to remove any clumps. Pass this through a fine-mesh sieve. Repeat until your clumps are gone. If you don’t have a Magic Bullet you can use a food processor, but I find shaking the Magic Bullet is the most effective. Don’t skip this step, even if you are using store bought almond flour or you will have ugly lumpy cookies.

Three: whisk the egg whites and granulated sugar by hand just to combine using your whip attachment in the mixer bowl. Then pull out your timer because this part gets precise, and have your food colouring and flavouring close by! Whip using a KitchenAid stand mixer for exactly 2 minutes on level 4, then exactly 2 minutes on level 6, then if you’re not adding colouring or flavouring exactly 2 minutes on level 8. If you are using the food colouring and flavouring, you mix for 1.5 minutes on level 8 and without stopping the mixer you add just a tiny amount (you don’t want to introduce a lot of liquid) and whip for the remaining 30 seconds. If you don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer you could use a hand mixer but just be prepared for 6 minutes of nonstop mixing!

Four: add the sifted dry ingredients all at once and roll up your sleeves for some heavy labour! You may want to just watch the video on Martha’s site, but here’s the explanation for how you fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Imagine your bowl is a clock. Start your spatula at 12:00, then go all the way around the edge clockwise back to 12:00, then cut straight down the middle to 6:00.  It’s all in the wrist and elbow. That counts as one revolution.  Rotate your bowl and do it again 37 times. Seriously, 37 exactly!  UPDATE:  I made a chocolate version and it took way more than 37!

Five: line two baking sheets with a Silat or parchment paper and put your batter into a piping bag with a 3/8″ round tip. You may want to do a youtube search for how to pipe a macaron and practice different styles because everyone seems to do it differently. I do it by making a spiral, going around once on the outside of the circle, then moving in and up going around once in the middle of the circle, then going right to the centre and going around a tiny bit then pulling away to the side. So three rotations to make a 3/4″ circle that will have a tiny little fallen Hershey’s Kiss peak on the top.  UPDATE: I tried to make heart shaped macarons for Valentine’s Day, it did not go so well…check it out here!

Six: lift the cookie sheet up a few inches off the counter and let it fall, releasing any air bubbles in the cookies (if you’re pregnant this may startle your baby like it did mine!). Do that three times. Now leave it for half an hour. No less! The Hershey’s Kiss peak will spread out, they will look dull, and the surface of the cookie will have a “skin” (those are tips I picked up from Anna Olson). If you don’t let them sit for half an hour they will crack when you make them and your batch will be ruined.

Seven: bake one sheet at a time until risen and set, rotating half way through. You don’t want them to brown or for the colour to fade. When I make more than one batch I find that my oven gets hotter with time so the first batch takes 11 minutes but the last batch takes only 8 minutes. Do not use a convection oven (learned that one the hard way).

Eight: cool completely. I always need the pan to make more, so after waiting a minute I carefully slide the Silpat onto the counter and let the cookies cool there. Then I just use a spoon to place a little jam in the centre–enough that it is visible right at the edge but not so much that it spills over. Chunky jam won’t work because the cookies won’t sandwich level. You could also use a piping bag if that’s more your style, and of course there are many other types of fillings you could try, like chocolate ganache!  UPDATE:  Here’s a pumpkin spice filling to try and here’s chocolate berry, delicious!  ANOTHER UPDATE: I made white macarons without any food colouring with sweet cream filling and they turned out amazing!

It’s best to eat them within a day, but they stay moist if you store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Here’s an updated list of all the different varieties I’ve made, let me know in the comments which is your favourite!

Pumpkin Spice Macarons

Heart Shaped Macarons with Chocolate Berry Filling

White Macaron with Sweet Cream Filling

Fool Proof Chocolate Macarons

 

They really aren’t so hard, they’re just technical.  I promise these luxurious cookies are much easier to make than they look, and they are totally worth the trouble!

signature

Aqua Sky KitchenAid Stand Mixer: Crate and Barrel and Bed Bath and Beyond (Aqua Sky is a hard to find colour!)

Goldtouch Cookie Sheets: Williams-Sonoma

Silpats: Williams-Sonoma

Camera: Olympus O-MD E-M10 Mark II with 14-42mm IIR lens

55 thoughts on “Easy French Macarons (It’s Not an Oxymoron!)

    1. Oh gosh Beth, I’ve never tried that but to me it makes sense. I would say try it on a small portion of your batch and see what happens. I can’t see why that wouldn’t work!! Can you comment and let us know after?!

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    1. Hi Jennifer! I made a batch in a convection oven and it ruined them, cooked the outside way too quickly while the inside was still gooey. They got very brown very fast. So I stay away from convection ovens for these babies! Have you tried with any luck in a convection oven?

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    1. I have found that just sifting alone is not enough, the Magic Bullet really helps to get the grains teeny tiny. But I bet if you sifted it all and then sifted it all a second time and maybe even a third time that might just do the trick! You don’t want any lumps or clumps, what a shame to go through all the work then have grainy spotty macarons. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!!

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    2. Ok, I just made some chocolate ones and didn’t have my Magic Bullet handy. So I passed it through the sift three times and they were just fine! There’s a link to the post above!

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  1. I made two batches of these yesterday and they turned out perfect!! Thank you so much for the detailed instructions, I will definitely make these again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, Kanchana, the chocolate macaron recipe is up, there’s a link to it above. It was NOT as simple as just adding cocoa powder, I had to do a lot of experimenting to get them just right. They are so rich and chocolatey, you’ll love them!

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  2. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions! We made two batches and they were wonderful! I was wondering if they are supposed to spread out during the resting time. We piped 3/4 inch circles and they stayed the same size. We had lots of tiny macarons!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay, Heidi, I’m so glad they turned out for you guys, wooho!! No, they don’t spread but they do settle. So, the swirl from piping will disappear but they shouldn’t get any bigger. And they shouldn’t spread in the oven, either; they rise up but not out. If they do spread in the oven it means the temperature is too hot. So the fact that yours didn’t spread means you nailed it!! Piping can be funny even for me. Sometimes I pipe little guys and sometimes they are bigger. So long as you have a matching pair it’s no big deal!

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  3. Hello there, thank you for such a detailed post. Makes this whole process so much easier. I am going to try them tomorrow and I have a question. I have only one solikomat … which I’m guessing il need to use again for the second batch of the macaroons. Once the first batch is in the oven is it ok for the remaining to be resting on the countertop ? Will more resting time do any harm ? And once the first batch is done do I need to wait for the tray/siliconmat to cool before sliding my parchment sheet with macaroons on it? Will passing it on the hot tray do any harm? Would really appreacaite your inputs. Thanks much. 😊

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    1. Ok, Samantha, I’m excited for you to try making these today! Here’s how I would approach only having one Silpat or silicone mat. First option: do you have parchment paper? I’m presuming you don’t have a second cookie tray that you could use for that batch, which is why they’d be resting on the counter. You could put the parchment paper on the counter and pipe your cookies onto it and let them rest there, and then you’ll have to carefully slide that parchment paper onto the cookie sheet once it’s free. By the time you’ve let these cookies rest for half an hour the pan won’t be that hot anymore anyway (because your first batch will be done after about 11 minutes, so there’s about 20 minutes to wait still which allows the tray to cool before you use it again.). If you don’t have parchment paper, here’s option two: make your first batch of cookies and just leave the extra batter in the bowl or piping bag. After they come out of the oven and you’ve removed them from the tray and mat, turn off your oven (so you’re not wasting energy and so it doesn’t get hotter) and wait maybe 10 minutes for your silicone mat and baking tray to cool (take the mat off the tray so they have lots of air touching both surfaces). Then pipe your cookies and wait that half hour for them to rest, turning your oven back on while you’re waiting.

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    2. So that’s what I would do! To specifically answer your questions, I wouldn’t rest the cookies on the counter surface because you won’t be able to remove them, so either use parchment paper on the counter cut to the size of your cookie sheet or wait for the silicone mat before you pipe. More resting time is not a bad thing, I’ve read recipes that want you to wait longer than half an hour. Your mat/tray will be cool enough once your second batch has rested for 30 minutes, so you won’t be putting the cold cookies on a hot tray anyway! Ok?! Good luck, come back and tell me how it goes!

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    1. Hi Norhan, check out step three, it’s all detailed there. Even with a hand mixer, you’re going to do the same amount of time and you are NOT going to stop once you start, so have the colouring open and ready to add when there are 30 seconds left. If you don’t have numbered speeds on your mixer, just use your mixer for 2 minutes on medium, 2 minutes on medium high, and 2 minutes on high, adding the food colouring in at 5 mins 30 seconds.

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  4. I wanted to let you know that your recipe is the only one I use! Check out my Instagram @missmarymacs to see the dozens I’ve baked with your recipe 😍 thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m excited to try this with a friend tomorrow, but we only have an electric (probably convection) oven. Any suggestions on how to adjust the recipe for this?? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kate, how exciting, a macaron baking girls’ day! My oven is electric (not convention) and they are perfect, so if yours is, too, you are golden! If it is convection, and if there is no button to turn off convection, then I would reduce the temperature so that the outside doesn’t cook so fast. I did a quick Google search and found somebody who says 300F in a convection works for her…but I can’t say for sure since I’ve never tried it. It’s so hard to know! Maybe make a tray with just a few on it and see if that lower temp and probably a little longer baking time works out. You’ll have to do a lot of experimenting. But come back and comment what ultimately works, I would love to know (and I’m sure others would, too!).

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    1. Oh no, Michelle, how dissapointig! Sounds to me like an oven temperature problem, you may need to experiment with lowering the temp or decreasing the bake time. The thin problem could be from overmixing, so the batter was deflated and couldn’t rise up.

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  6. This recipe didnt work for me. The egg whites weren’t stiff enough after following the time line. The oven temperature is too high causing the feet to spread and the tops to be bumpy (I do have a thermometer in my stove). Who knows why but it just didnt work for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Patti, that’s too bad. For spread feet, you’re right it could be too hot in your oven, or it also could be that it was overmixed when you were mixing by hand. Bumpy tops are caused by having almonds that aren’t ground down enough (even store bought flour needs to be ground extra and sifted). I hope you’ll try again and they will turn out!

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  7. I’m going to try these tomorrow. Will clear vanilla work? Do you know if the flavor is the same? I can get the clear but not if the flavor will be off.
    Thanks for such a detailed recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

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