Perfect Macarons

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I love everything about macarons-the colors, the flavors, the delicate texture…the perfect cookie!

French macarons were my first baking obsession.  It took me about a year to master these finicky treats.  I had entire trays of cracked shells, uneven “feet,” ones that completely stuck to the baking mat…you name it.  But don’t worry!  All of that frustration is what it took to develop this foolproof recipe.

perfect macarons with flowers

So what makes a perfect macaron?  A smooth top, frilly even “feet”, slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside-yum!

perfect macarons what makes a perfect macaron

Along the way, I figured out lots of useful tricks so be sure to check out my pro tips!

What you need:

perfect macarons ingredients

Almond Flour

Almond flour is the base for the macaron shells.  There are a bunch of different brands available and I have tired many of them-they all work!  Some are ground finer than others.  I prefer the ones that are on the finer side, but it’ll be sifted to remove any bits that are too large to use.  Remember to store it in an air tight container so it stays fresh.

Powdered Sugar

This also gets sifted and whisked into the almond flour to make it even lighter.

Egg whites

Egg whites are whipped up to stiff peaks to form a glossy meringue.

Cream of Tartar

This stabilizes the meringue-so important with macarons!  I make them throughout the year, on dry days and humid days-this is one of the key ingredients to consistent macarons.

Salt

These sweet cookies need a little salt for balance.  I use Mortons Kosher Salt.

Granulated Sugar

This is slowly added in to the egg whites before they are whipped to stiff peaks to form a glossy meringue.

Food Coloring

To color the shells, you need gel food coloring-regular food coloring will add too much liquid to the meringue.  The shells aren’t flavored, thats where the filling comes in.  I always try to get a color that looks like the flavor.

Fillings

This is where you get to be creative!  Some of my favorites are class flavors like lemon, raspberry, chocolate, caramel, and coffee, but there are so many more!

How to make the macarons:

Prepare the egg whites

Separate the egg whites and allow them to come to room temperature.

Pro tip:

Separate the egg whites at least a day before you plan to make the macarons.  Keep them in a sealed container on the counter overnight so it’s at room temperature when you are ready to begin.  This step allows some of the moisture to evaporate, helping to ensure that your macaron shells don’t crack in the oven.  Save the egg yolks for another recipe, like my lemon or raspberry curd (these make perfect fillings!).

Prepare the dry ingredients

Measure out the dry ingredients.  It is important to have everything ready to go before you start whisking the egg whites.  Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine.  Discard the large pieces left in the sieve-they will make the tops of your macarons look lumpy!

perfect macarons sifting

Make the meringue

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on low until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar, salt, then gradually pour in the granulated sugar.  Increase the speed to high and whip until it reaches the stiff peak stage.  Add in the gel food coloring and whisk just until it is thoroughly mixed.  I usually add between 4-10 drops.

perfect macarons meringue

Pro Tip:

If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, start on speed 4.  After you have added the sugar, increase to speed 9.  After exactly 4 minutes the egg whites will have reached the stiff peak stage.

Macaronage

Macaronage is the process of folding the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture into the meringue.  This is the most important step!  Over-mixing or under-mixing will result in cracked macarons shells or shells without “feet”.

Pour half of the almond flour and powdered sugar on top of the meringue.  Gently fold it into the meringue with a spatula.  Once it is incorporated, add the remaining almond flour/sugar.  Continue to mix until the mixture flows off of the spatula like magma.

perfect macarons macaronage

Pro Tip:

What does “flow like magma” look like?  You will know it is at the perfect stage when you can scoop up some batter and it runs off of the spatula in a ribbon, folding onto itself at least four times.

perfect macarons macaronage 2

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch round tip (size 10).  I love these pastry bags-they come on a big roll and hold a bunch.  I use a cylindrical vase to hold the pastry bag upright, so I have two hands free to pour the batter in.  Once filled, firmly grasp the opening of the party bag and shake the batter down to force any large bubbles to the surface.

Pro Tip:

To close the bag, I use a zip tie.  Because it closes so securely, you can apply a good amount of pressure when piping and it prevents any of the batter form leaking out of the top.

perfect macarons piping bag

Pipe the macarons

Pipe 1/2 inch rounds onto a silicone baking sheet.  I like ones that have guides so you know where to stop.

perfect macarons piping

Pick up the tray and firmly tap the on the counter five times, then five times on each side.  If any bubbles come to the surface or pop, use a toothpick to gently fill the areas in.  This will help ensure that the tops are smooth and prevent any hollow shells.

Let the trays rest for one hour before baking so the tops can dry slightly.  The pipped rounds will turn matte when ready to bake.

Bake the macarons

Preheat the oven to 275ºF.  Bake on the center rack of the oven (one tray at a time) for 18 minutes.  Wait 5 minutes before placing the next tray in the oven-this allows the humidity in the oven to level out.  Let the macarons cool before removing from the silicone baking mats or trays.

perfect macarons cooling

Filling the macarons

Pair matching shells and pipe on your favorite filling.

perfect macarons filling

After all of the macarons are filled, cover the sheet trays and refrigerate.  I love these lids that fit perfectly on my sheet trays!.  The macarons are best after 24 hours-the filling and shells meld together for the perfect texture.  After the fillings are set, I transfer the cookies to these containers for storage.  Now you get to share and enjoy!

The perfect macaron!

perfect macarons the perfect bite

Perfect macaron recipe thumbnail 1

Perfect Macarons

Everything you need to know to perfect the French macaron! Pair with your favorite filling for the best pastry ever!
This recipe makes 50 macarons (100 macaron shells).
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 54 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: macarons, pastry
Makes: 50 macarons
Author: Corey Grimsley

Equipment

  • stand mixer
  • Piping bag and 1/4" piping tip
  • Silicone Baking Mats (3)
  • Baking Sheets (3)

Ingredients

  • 200 grams egg whites room temperature (preferably day old)
  • 275 grams almond flour
  • 250 grams powdered sugar
  • 210 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt Mortons Coarse Kosher
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • gel food coloring
  • various fillings

Instructions

PREPARE THE EGG WHITES

  • Separate the egg whites at least a day before you plan to make the macarons.  Keep them in a sealed container on the counter overnight so it’s at room temperature when you are ready to begin.

PREPARE THE DRY INGREDIENTS

  • Measure out the dry ingredients.  It is important to have everything ready to go before you start whisking the egg whites.
  • Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine.  Discard the large pieces left in the sieve-they will make the tops of your macarons look lumpy!

MAKE THE MERINGUE

  • In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on low until foamy (speed 4 on a KitchenAid stand mixer).
  • Add the cream of tartar, salt, then gradually pour in the granulated sugar.  Increase the speed to high (speed 9 on a KitchenAid stand mixer) and whip until it reaches the stiff peak stage.
  • Add in the gel food coloring and whisk just until it is thoroughly mixed.  I usually add between 4-10 drops.

MACARONAGE

  • Pour half of the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture on top of the meringue.  Gently fold it in with a spatula.  Once it is incorporated, add the remaining almond flour/sugar.  Continue to mix until it flows off of the spatula like magma.
  • Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4 inch round tip (size 10).  Once filled, firmly grasp the opening of the party bag and shake the batter down to force any large bubbles to the surface.

PIPE THE MACARONS

  • Pipe 1/2 inch rounds onto silicone baking sheets. 
  • Firmly tap the tray on the counter five times and then five times on each side.  If any bubbles come to the surface or pop, use a toothpick to gently fill the areas in.
  • Let the trays rest for one hour before baking so the tops can dry out slightly.  The tops will turn matte when ready to bake.

BAKE THE MACARONS

  • Preheat the oven to 275ºF.  Bake in the center rack on the oven, one tray at a time, for 18 minutes.  Wait 5 minutes before placing the next tray in the oven-this allows the humidity in the oven to level out.  Let the macarons cool before removing from the silicone baking mats or trays

FILLING THE MACARONS

  • Pair matching shells and pipe on your filling.
  • After all of the macarons are filled, cover the sheet tray and place it in the refrigerator.  The macarons are best after 24 hours-the filling and shells meld together to form the perfect texture. Enjoy!
Did you try this recipe?Let me know how it was!

 

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About me

Corey Grimsley

I’m an artist and art restorer who spends an equal amount of time in the kitchen. Follow along as I put an artisanal touch on all of my bakes!

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