The French Macaron
The French Macaron may not be for the faint of heart, but with a little practice one can perfect them. Macaron is the French word for macaroon, but should not be confused with the coconut-based cookie - Macaroon.
Macarons are elegant little sandwiches that are made with meringue, almond flour and a filling. Even though the French take credit for the macaron, Catherine de’ Medici's Italian pastry chefs likely brought the maccherone to France in 1533 when she brought them with her to marry Henry II.
While many Italian cookbooks in the 16th-century mention almond biscuits resembling the macaron, the earliest known French version of the recipe does not appear until the 17th-century.
Macaron Shell Recipe
French Buttercream Recipe, prepared
Sheet pans fitted with silpat or parchment paper
Piping bag fitted with 1/2" round tip
Macaron Shell Recipe | Yield: about 24 filled macarons
1 cup (100g) Almond Flour
1 cup (100g) Confectioners Sugar
2 (70g) Egg Whites (room temperature)
1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/4 cup (50g) Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) Vanilla Bean Paste
Gel Food Color (optional)
Combine almond flour and confectioners sugar in bowl of food processor and pulse approximately 16x to achieve a finer mixture. Pass through sifter 2x and discard remaining bits of almonds. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment or hand mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, add cream of tartar and continue to beat until lines begin to appear. Slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until medium peaks form. Add vanilla extract and food coloring (if desired). Beat on medium-high speed for one more minute or just until stiff peaks form.
Add the almond flour mixture over the whipped egg whites. Gently fold the mixture. The batter will look very thick at first, but it will get thinner as you fold. Be careful not to over mix. Every so often test the batter to see if it reached the right consistency. To test the batter, drop a small amount of the batter and count to ten. If the edges of the ribbon are dissolved within about ten seconds, then the batter is ready. DO NOT mix again. If you still see edges, fold the batter couple more times and test again. The macaronage step is so crucial, so please make sure to test often to ensure not to over mix the batter.
Transfer the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip. (I use Wilton #12 plain round tip.) Pipe 1.5" circles (template) onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.
Tap the baking sheets firmly on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. If you don’t release the air bubbles, they will expand during baking and crack the macarons shells.
Preheat oven to 300° F. while macarons rest and dry for 30 minutes. On a humid day, it might take an hour or so. To see if it’s ready to be baked, lightly touch it. If the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, then it’s ready.
Bake the macarons for 18-20 minutes. To check the doneness, remove one macaron. If the bottom does not stick, they are done.
Transfer to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, and then carefully remove from the baking sheets.
Fill with Prepared French Buttercream or your favorite filling recipe
Utensils and bowls should be grease free before making the meringue.
It’s best to serve macarons the next day.
Store the filled macarons in airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze the filled macarons in airtight container for up to 3 months.
French Buttercream Recipe | Yield: about 3 cups
6 (108g) Egg Yolks (room temperature)
1 cup (200g) Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup (60g) Water
2 cups (452g) Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) Vanilla Bean Paste
Start by placing your egg yolks into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Turn the mixer on high and whip the yolks for five minutes or until they appear light in color and somewhat foamy.
While mixer is going, prepare your sugar syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a to boil and heat to 238° F.
Drizzle the syrup into the yolks a little at a time. Do it with the motor off so as not to splatter it a onto the sides of the bowl. (Drizzle a little, run the machine, drizzle a little, run the machine...until all the syrup is incorporated. Then continue to whip the sweetened yolk mixture until it has cooled down to room temperature.
Start adding adding butter, a piece or two at a time until it is a in.
Switch to to paddle attachment; on low speed, add your flavorings and/or color and then mix in incorporate.
Coffee Infused - Dissolve 1 tablespoon instant coffee in 1 teaspoon of boiling water. Allow to cool.
If your egg yolk and syrup foam was warm when you start adding the butter it may appear soupy. To fix, just continue to beat mixture on high a few minutes and it will come together.
French buttercream is not suitable for piping.
Trouble Shooting Guide to help you achieve that perfect Macaron with a shiny smooth top, ruffled feet and chewy interior.
Uneven, grainy top with peaks: Dry ingredients weren't sifted. Batter is under-mixed.
Cracked, hollow top: Batter is over-mixed.
Interior too crispy: Shells are baked too long.
Flat shells, spread out too much and/or brown on top: Batter over-mixed. Oven temperature high during baking.
Hollow interior: Meringue is over-beaten.
No ruffled feet: Batter is over-mixed. Shells not rested prior to baking. Oven temperature low during baking.
Soft wrinkly shells: To much liquid in batter. Meringue is under-beaten.