How to Make Perfect Macarons Every Time

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Macarons…my baby brother charmingly calls them “angel poops”. Not to be confused with “macaroons”, the coconut-based cookies, these little delights are almond-based and hail from France (although there is also an Italian version). They are indeed a gift from the heavens, but also sugar bombs, so not an everyday food. Today is a special occasion, though: my son’s second birthday! He doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but he will never say no to a macaron, so I am making them just for his special day 🙂

They can be difficult to get right in the beginning because you don’t know what you don’t know. There are so many things that can go wrong (for example, if the weather outside is rainy, they will probably collapse) but I am here to help you! I practiced for a few years before perfecting my technique under a pastry chef, so hopefully with the knowledge I’m going to pass on to you, you will be able to get them right on the first try!

What makes a perfect macaron? The first thing is the “feet” (pieds), the sides that look a little rough instead of shells that are smooth all the way around. That’s a sign that they have puffed up properly. The shells should also be smooth on top, smooth on the bottom with no holes, and not collapse when you bite into them (this is a sign of air bubbles in the batter). There should be no chunks, a uniform shape, and of course not be scorched (brown) on any part.

So let’s get started!

Materials:

-1 stainless steel bowl (I wipe mine down with vinegar before starting to make sure it’s as clean as macarons require)

-1 large mixing bowl

-A stand or hand mixer for whisking (I use this hand mixer and I have tested it next to the most common stand mixer and it was MUCH faster albeit more involved! I use a hand mixer exclusively)

-A flour sifter (not totally necessary, but a good insurance agains lumps)

-A spatula

Piping bag

-Screw-on round piping tip (I use Wilton size 10 which I bought from Sur la Table)

-Parchment paper

-A circle template (such as this free printable 1.5 Inch Macaron Template)

-1-2 baking sheets in great condition (no warping or indentation)

-1 baking sheet in any condition

I prefer to weigh my ingredients for consistent results (I have used a scale just like this for over a decade now) but have listed the volumetric measurements in case you don’t have a scale.

Ingredients:

-4 egg whites at room temperature

-3 1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

-1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar

-1/4 tsp gel food coloring

-7 oz. (1 3/4 cup) confectioners’/icing sugar

-4 oz. (1 1/5 cup) super-fine almond flour from blanched almonds

-Jam of your preference (or other filling, such as my amazing French buttercream recipe)

  • 1. Beat egg whites in stainless steel bowl or bowl of stand mixer until they have a foamy consistency, then slowly add granulated (not powdered!) sugar as you whisk. I used turbinado sugar (as it’s what I always have on hand for my kombucha); however, the darker the sugar, the more it will affect the color of your shells, so use plain old white sugar if this is a concern to you. Mix in food coloring and add more if a deeper color is desired (the color will get lighter with mixing and cooking, so add more than you think you need if you want a rich color).

 

 

  • 2. Stir together confectioners’ sugar and almond flour. It’s a good idea to sift the almond flour to remove clumps, but if you’re using a good-quality almond flour then you can just beat it until you don’t see any lumps (I use a hand mixer).

 

    1. 3. Add the almond flour mixture to the egg white mixture in quarters, lightly mixing each time. Stir about 20 times using broad sweeping motions and scraping the sides of the bowl. Continue stirring until you can lift the spatula and the mixture flows off of it; do not stir any more than this. Test a small amount of batter by setting a drop on a surface and pulling your finger up so it makes a point; the point should “melt” down within one minute. Stir a little more if that’s not the case.
    1. 4. Flip the nicer baking sheet upside-down, set down the baking templates, and cover with parchment paper.
  • 5. Twist the end of the piping bag- as you make the macarons, keep twisting the end of the bag to maintain a constant flow and avoid bubbles Attach piping head to bag, twist the end so the mixture won’t leak out as you pour, then set it inside of a cup or bowl. Pour the mixture in, lightly scraping the bowl- it’s okay and even recommended not to use all of it, as the mixture stuck to the spatula will have a different consistency to the rest.

  • 6. Pipe out the mixture onto each circle. You want to hold the nozzle in the center of the circle and have it hovering just above the surface of the macaron as you pipe.

    1. 7. Once you have piped out all macarons, remove the template and drop the baking sheet from about a foot onto the floor, twice. This will get rid of bubbles and help the macaron develop “feet” as they bake.
    1. 8. Leave the macarons out for one hour until they are no longer wet-looking and have developed what is known as a “skin” (you should be able to lightly touch without making an imprint). Preheat the oven to 300F while you are waiting. Once oven has heated up, put the spare baking sheet on the closest rack to the heat source which will protect the macarons from being scorched.
    1. 9. Once you’ve waited an hour, place the macarons in the oven for 14-16 minutes and rotate halfway through. Remove from oven, carefully slide parchment paper off baking sheet, and allow to cool. If macarons are easily removed from parchment paper after cooling then the time was adequate.
    2. 10. Pair cooled macarons that are approximately the same size and shape (there will always be a bit of variation). Pipe a small amount (about 1/2 tsp.) of jam into the center of one macaron shell, then gently press the other shell onto it.

Voila! Perfect macarons. You can vary the filling once you want to get creative; a great way to use the leftover egg yolks is my French buttercream which is a delicious base for macaron filling. I will do a separate post on my favorite macaron flavors!

I hope you had great success! You should be proud of yourself…this is a very complicated recipe and if you succeeded, you are far ahead of many bakers!

Stay ambitious!

xo Kelin

Comments

    1. Post
      Author
      racyred09

      Thanks Jen! Great question! The shells can be frozen, so if storage is an issue you can simply put them in a large sealed container with parchment paper between the layers, and they can stay in the freezer for about 6 months. Depending on the filling you use, you can even freeze them with their filling (jam would be okay; ganache or cream-based may not be quite the same but it’s doable).
      If you just want to store short-term, in the refrigerator in a sealable storage container is best. In fact, macarons are even better the next day when stored in an airtight container overnight as they absorb their filling a bit. They should be eaten with a few days if kept in the refrigerator, but that’s usually not a problem 🙂

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