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    Macaron Recipe (Complete Beginner’s Guide)

    Macarons can be intimidating, and rightly so – there is no denying that they’re tricky to make! But don’t worry, this thoroughly tested French macaron recipe will guide you through the intricate steps of crafting perfect macarons right in your own kitchen. From achieving the perfect macaronage to piping perfectly sized cookies, I promise with a bit of patience and attention to detail, you’ll soon master the art of macaron making!

    macarons

    What are macarons?

    Macarons are dainty little cookies originating from France, consisting of two almond flour-based meringue shells sandwiched together with a creamy filling. They have a smooth, crisp exterior and soft, chewy interior. Macarons come in a myriad of flavors and colors, with popular fillings including chocolate ganache, buttercream, fruit preserves or even jams (like my raspberry jam filling!).

    Why are macarons so hard to make?

    It is no secret that macarons are challenging to make. They require a lot of patience and precision due to their delicate nature.

    The process requires making a stiff meringue by whipping egg whites with sugar to the right consistency, and then carefully mixing dry ingredients into the meringue (known as the macaronage stage), until you reach the correct consistency. This is followed by a drying stage to allow a skin to develop on the macaron shells before baking, which is how they get those signature macaron ‘feet’ on the bottom.

    Macarons

    I know – it sounds intimidating, but trust me when I say that mastering the art of making macarons can be incredibly rewarding. It took me soooo long to get macarons right, and once I finally got it, I felt my baking skills had really been taken to the next level! I learnt A LOT along the way, and I hope the tips shared in this blog post and my thoroughly tested recipe will help you achieve perfect macarons much quicker than it took me 🙂

    What are the biggest mistakes when making macarons?

    There are a few different things to consider when making macarons to reduce the chances of things going wrong. These include:

    Meringue Consistency: Achieving the right consistency for the meringue is crucial. Overbeating or underbeating the egg whites can result in a mixture that is either too runny or too unstable, leading to macarons that don’t rise properly or have a dense texture.

    Almond Flour Texture: The almond flour used in macarons must be finely ground to ensure a smooth batter. Most storebought almond flour will get the job done, however I like to process mine in a food processer before using them in the batter. Coarse or improperly ground almond flour can lead to lumpy or grainy macarons.

    Macaronage Technique: The process of folding the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture into the meringue, known as macaronage, requires a gentle but thorough hand. Overmixing or undermixing the batter can result in macarons that are either too flat or have hollow shells.

    Temperature and Humidity: Macarons are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, which can affect their consistency and appearance. Baking in a humid environment or at the wrong temperature can cause macarons to crack, spread excessively, or develop hollow shells.

    Oven Variability: Every oven behaves differently, and achieving the perfect temperature and baking time for macarons can be a trial-and-error process. Small variations in oven temperature can significantly impact the outcome of the macarons.

    Resting Time: Allowing the piped macaron shells to rest before baking is essential for developing the characteristic “feet” and smooth tops. However, the optimal resting time can vary depending on factors such as humidity and batter consistency. It usually takes my macarons about 45 minutes to an hour to develop a film, however in humid conditions it can longer.

    Most common macaron problems and how to fix them

    Making macarons can be finicky, and several common issues may arise. Here are some of the most frequent problems encountered while making macarons and suggestions on how to fix them:

    Meringue Won’t Reach Stiff Peaks

    Issue: Meringue won’t whip to stiff peaks

    Solution: Check that there isn’t any fat residue on your mixing bowl, spoons, mixer attachments or anything coming into contact with the egg whites used to whip the meringue. This can interfere with achieving a strong meringue. Also ensure that you do not add the sugar too quickly, and that you mix for long enough on a medium speed. If you live in a humid climate, it may help to add an acid to your egg whites before whipping (e.g. cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar). This will help stabilise the meringue, making it easier to reach stiff peaks.

    macarons

    Macarons have no ‘Feet’

    Issue: After baking, the macarons are flat with no ‘feet’.

    Solution: Make sure that you’ve let the macarons dry out long enough so that they develop a skin on the top before baking. You should be able to run your finger gently across the top of the macaron without the batter breaking. This allows the trapped air to escape from the bottom of the macaron (as opposed to the top), which is what gives macarons their ‘feet’. Also ensure that the meringue has been whipped to stiff peaks, and that the macaron batter isn’t under or over mixed.

    Flat or Spreading Macarons

    Issue: The macarons spread too much during baking, resulting in flat, irregular shapes.

    Solution: Ensure that the meringue is properly whipped to stiff peaks. Overmixing the batter during the macaronage stage can also lead to spreading, so be gentle when folding the ingredients together. Additionally, check that the oven temperature is accurate, and avoid opening the oven door too frequently during baking.

    Cracked Macarons

    Issue: Cracks or wrinkles appear on the surface of the macarons.

    Solution: Cracking can be caused by overmixing the batter, uneven oven temperatures, or rapid temperature changes. Ensure that the macaronage is done gently, and allow the piped shells to rest until they develop a smooth, dry surface before baking. You should be able to run a finger gently across the top of the macaron without the batter breaking. This will allow the trapped air to escape through the bottom of the macaron shell, giving you those signature macaron feet. Maintain a consistent oven temperature, and avoid opening the oven door too early in the baking process.

    Hollow Shells

    Issue: The macarons have an empty space or hollow pockets inside.

    Solution: Hollow shells can result from overmixing the batter, inadequate resting time, or incorrect oven temperature. Practice gentle macaronage, ensure the batter has the right consistency, and allow the piped shells to rest until a skin forms. Check the oven temperature and baking time to ensure even cooking.

    Hard Shells

    Issue: The macarons are quite hard after they’re finished baking and have had time to set in the fridge.

    Solution: Hard macarons are most likely due to overbaking the shells. Even a minute over can be a minute too much. Check the macarons frequently towards the end of the baking time (every minute) to ensure they aren’t being overbaked. As soon as you can gently touch/move the tops without the feet moving, they’re done. It could also be a problem with your oven temperature being too high. Use an oven thermometer to check the oven temperature to see if you need to reduce it slightly.

    Uneven Feet

    Issue: The “feet” (the ruffled edges at the base of the macaron) are uneven or lopsided.

    Solution: Uneven feet can be caused by unevenly piped batter or inconsistent oven heat. Use a template or guide to pipe the batter evenly, and tap the baking sheet on the counter to release air bubbles.

    Sticky or Moist Shells

    Issue: The macaron shells are sticky or overly moist.

    Solution: Sticky shells may result from underbaking or excess humidity. Extend the baking time if needed, and make sure the macarons are completely cool before attempting to remove them from the baking sheet. If humidity is an issue, consider baking on a dry day or using a dehumidifier.

    Uneven Macaron Shells

    Issue: Macarons have irregular shapes or uneven sizes.

    Solution: Use a template or guide (you can download my macaron template here) to pipe uniform-sized shells. Ensure that the batter is evenly mixed during macaronage, and tap the baking sheet on the counter to eliminate air bubbles and create smooth surfaces.

    Remember, making perfect macarons often involves some trial and error. With practice and attention to detail, you’ll be able to figure out what your challenges are and how to fix them 🙂

    How to make macarons

    Macaron shells

    Begin by lining two large baking trays with parchment paper. Use trays that don’t have a high edge – a little lip on the edges is okay. I would recommend using macaron templates for piping the shells, especially if you are a beginner. You can download and print my 2-inch macaron template here (you will need 3 copies). Place the template under the parchment paper. Set the trays aside for now.

    If using whole eggs, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Ensure you do not get any of the yolks into your whites. Weigh out the egg whites and then set them aside for now.

    macarons

    Place the almond flour and powdered sugar into a food processor (this step is optional, but recommended for a smoother macaron shell). Process for about 5 seconds, give the ingredients a mix and then process again for another 5 seconds. Do not overprocess it, otherwise you will being to release the oil from the almonds, which we don’t want 🙂

    Once processed, transfer the dry ingredients to a fine mesh sieve and sift it. Once you get to the end, use your hands or a spoon to break any large lumps and gently push the remaining ingredients through the sieve. If there are any large bits remaining (this is usually just larger pieces of almond flour), discard it. If you discard a lot of it (more than half a teaspoon or so), add a bit more almond flour to the dry ingredients to make up for this. Set the dry ingredients aside for now.

    Next is the meringue. Place your egg whites in a large bowl and add in some salt. Salt is going to prevent you from overmixing the meringue, and add a bit of flavor.

    Using a hand or stand mixer (use the whisk attachment if using a stand mixer) on a medium speed, whip for 30 seconds until the eggs become frothy. Once frothy, gradually add in the granulated sugar. Once all the sugar is added in, continue to whip until you reach stiff peaks. You should be able to lift up the meringue and the peaks shouldn’t fold over – they should stay upright (see video for demonstration).

    macarons

    Next add in vanilla and gel food coloring if using. Mix into the meringue on a low speed until well combined. Set the mixer aside as the remainder of the mixing will be done by hand.

    macarons

    Next is the macaronage. Add half of the almond flour mixture into the meringue, and using a rubber spatula, gently fold in a ‘J’ motion, sweeping around the egde of the bowl and then cutting through the middle of the batter (see video for demonstration). Once the first half of the dry ingredients is almost mixed in, add in the remaining half. Continue to fold until combined.

    Once combined, begin gently pushing the batter up against the sides of the bowl to remove large air bubbles. As you do this, the batter will become looser in consistency. You know the batter is ready when you can lift the batter up with the spatula and slowly create a figure 8 without the batter breaking. If the batter breaks before you can complete the figure 8, mix a little more. Another sign is checking if the batter sinks into itself for about 10-15 seconds then stops. Keep checking the consistency of the batter frequently to ensure you aren’t overmixing it.

    macaron

    Once ready, transfer the macaron batter to a pastry bag with a 1A large round piping tip on it. Pipe the shells perpendicular to the trays to ensure they’re even. Because the batter will spread a little, pipe the shells slightly smaller than the size that you want. To prevent the parchment paper from moving while piping, place a spoon or fork on the edges to weigh the paper down.

    Once all the shells are piped, carefully remove the templates (and anything used to weigh down the parchment paper) and drop the trays on the counter and then use your hands to bang the bottoms of the trays as well. Any large air bubbles should come to the top, which you can then pop with a toothpick or knife. At this point the shells should be smooth with no tips in the middle. If there is still a tip in the middle, it means the batter is undermixed.

    macarons

    Allow the macaron shells to dry for 30 minutes to an hour, or until a skin forms on the top. You should be able to gently run your finger across the top of the shell without the batter breaking. If you live in a humid climate, it can take up to 2 hours for a skin to form. About 20 minutes into the shells drying, preheat your oven to 150C/300F (this is with no fan function (convection mode) turned on – I prefer baking macarons with no fan).

    Once a skin has formed, bake 1 tray at a time in the middle rack of your oven for 18-22 minutes. You know the macrons are ready when you gently touch/move the tops and the feet do not move. Check at the 18 minute mark, and if the macarons are not ready, check every minute after that as they can overbake very quickly.

    Once baked, allow the shells to completely cool before gently peeling them away from the parchment paper. There should be little to no residue left behind.

    macarons

    Pipe your desired frosting or filling into the middle of a shell (I use a 1A piping tip to do this). For this recipe I used a smaller batch of my buttercream frosting (recipe below). Pipe the buttercream onto the shells, leaving a little space on the edges. Place another shell on top and gently press down to push the filling to the edges of the macaron. Repeat this step with the remaining macarons.

    Store in an airtight container in the fridge to mature for 24-48 hours. Once ready, allow them to come to room temperature to soften before serving.

    macarons

    Buttercream Filling

    Place all the ingredients into a bowl and using a hand or stand mixer on a low speed, mix until the ingredients are combined.

    Turn up the speed to a medium-high and whip for a full 10 minutes, scraping down the bowl half way through. The frosting is now ready to use!

    macarons

    How do you store macarons?

    Macarons can be left at room temperature for a few days, after which it’s best to place them into the fridge. They’ll last in the fridge for a few weeks. If the macarons have a temperature sensitive filling, then they will need to be refrigerated after they’re made. Be sure to let them come to room temperature to soften before enjoying them!

     

    macarons

    Macaron Recipe

    Macarons can be intimidating, and rightly so - there is no denying that they're tricky to make! But don't worry, this thoroughly tested French macaron recipe will guide you through the intricate steps of crafting perfect macarons right in your own kitchen. From achieving the perfect macaronage to piping perfectly sized cookies, I promise with a bit of patience and attention to detail, you'll soon master the art of macaron making!
    5 from 2 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 18 minutes
    Resting time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
    Servings: 17 macarons

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Macaron Shells

    • 3 large (100 g) egg whites - room temperature
    • cups (140 g) almond flour
    • 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar - also known as icing/confectioners sugar
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ½ cup (100 g) white granulated sugar
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract/essence
    • few drops gel food colour - optional - do not use liquid colors

    Buttercream Filling

    • ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
    • cups (187 g) powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
    • ¼ cup (60 g) whipping/heavy cream - room temperature

    Instructions

    • Before beginning, I would highly recommend weighing all the ingredients when making macarons using a digital kitchen scale. Precision is key to getting perfect macarons 🙂

    Macaron Shells

    • Begin by lining two large baking trays with parchment paper. Use trays that don't have a high edge - a little lip on the edges is okay. I would recommend using macaron templates for piping the shells, especially if you are a beginner. You can download and print my 2 inch macaron template here (you will need 3 copies). Place the template under the parchment paper. Set the trays aside for now.
    • If using whole eggs, separate the whites from the yolks. Ensure you do not get any of the yolks into your whites. Weigh out the egg whites and then set them aside for now.
    • Place the almond flour and powdered sugar into a food processor (this step is optional, but recommended - see note 1). Process for about 5 seconds, give the ingredients a mix and then process again for another 5 seconds. Do not overprocess it (see note 2).
    • Once processed, transfer the dry ingredients to a sieve and sift. Once you get to the end, use your hands or a spoon to break any large lumps and gently push the remaining ingredients through the sieve. If there are any large bits remaining (this is usually just larger pieces of almond flour), discard it. If you discard a lot of it (more than half a teaspoon or so), add a bit more almond flour to the dry ingredients to make up for this. Set the dry ingredients aside for now.
    • Next is the meringue. Place your egg whites in a large bowl and add in the salt. Using a hand or stand mixer (use the whisk attachment if using a stand mixer) on a medium speed, whip for 30 seconds until the eggs become frothy. Once frothy, gradually add in the granulated sugar. Once all the sugar is added in, continue to whip until you reach stiff peaks. You should be able to lift up the meringue and the peaks shouldn't fold over - they should stay upright (see video for demonstration).
    • Next add in vanilla and gel colour if using. Mix into the meringue on a low speed until well combined. Set the mixer aside as the remainder of the mixing will be done by hand.
    • Next is the macaronage. Add half of the dry ingredients into the meringue, and using a spatula, gently fold in a 'J' motion, sweeping around the egde of the bowl and then cutting through the middle of the batter (see video for demonstration). Once the first half of the dry ingredients is almost mixed in, add in the remaining half. Continue to fold until combined.
    • Once combined, begin gently pushing the batter up against the sides of the bowl to remove large air bubbles. As you do this, the batter will become looser in consistency. You know the batter is ready when you can lift the batter up with the spatula and slowly create a figure 8 without the batter breaking. If the batter breaks before you can complete the figure 8, mix a little more. Another sign is checking if the batter sinks into itself for about 10-15 seconds then stops. Keep checking the consistency of the batter frequently to ensure you aren't overmixing it.
    • Once ready, transfer the batter to a piping bag with a 1A large round piping tip on it. Pipe the shells perpendicular to the trays to ensure they're even. Because the batter will spread a little, pipe the shells slightly smaller than the size that you want. To prevent the parchment paper from moving while piping, place a spoon or fork on the edges to weigh the paper down.
    • Once all the shells are piped, carefully remove the templates (and anything used to weigh the parchment down) and drop the trays on the counter and then use your hands to bang the bottoms of the trays as well. Any large air bubbles should come to the top, which you can then pop with a toothpick or knife. At this point the shells should be smooth with no tips in the middle. If there is still a tip in the middle, it means the batter is undermixed.
    • Allow the macaron shells to dry for 30 minutes to an hour, or until a skin forms on the top. You should be able to gently run your finger across the top of the shell without the batter breaking. If you live in a humid climate, it can take up to 2 hours for a skin to form. About 20 minutes into the shells drying, preheat your oven to 150C/300F (no fan - see note 3).
    • Once a skin has formed, bake 1 tray at a time in the middle rack of your oven for 18-22 minutes. You know the macrons are ready when you gently touch/move the tops and the feet do not move. Check at the 18 minute mark, and if the macarons are not ready, check every minute after that as they can overbake very quickly.
    • Once baked, allow the shells to completely cool before gently peeling them away from the parchment paper. There should be little to no residue left behind.
    • Pipe your desired frosting or filling into the middle of a shell (I use a 1A piping tip to do this), leaving a little space on the edges. Place another shell on top and gently press down to push the filling to the edges of the macaron. Repeat this step with the remaining macarons.
    • Store in an airtight container in the fridge to mature for 24-48 hours. Once ready, allow them to come to room temperature to soften before serving.

    Buttercream Filling

    • Place all the ingredients into a bowl and using a hand or stand mixer on a low speed, mix until the ingredients are combined.
    • Turn up the speed to a medium-high and whip for a full 10 minutes, scraping down the bowl half way through. The frosting is now ready to use!

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. I would recommend processing the almond flour and powdered sugar if you have a food processer. By doing this, you will achieve smoother tops to your macarons by making the almond flour finer. 
    Note 2. If you over process the almond flour, you will begin to release the oil from the almonds, which we dont want. 
    Note 3. You want to make sure the fan function on your oven isn't turned on otherwise you will overbake your macarons. For more information on convection/conventional ovens, check out this post

    Nutrition

    Calories: 4216kcal | Carbohydrates: 463g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 257g | Saturated Fat: 113g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 44g | Trans Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 458mg | Sodium: 799mg | Potassium: 282mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 425g | Vitamin A: 5420IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 470mg | Iron: 7mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: detailed macaron recipe, easy macaron recipe, french macaron, macaron cookies, macaron pastry, macaron recipe, macaron shells, macaron sweet, macarons
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

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    2 Comments

    • Marilyn Davis

      Hi –
      Do the egg whites have to come from fresh eggs or can egg whites from a carton be used instead?

      Thanks – love your recipes.

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Marilyn! 🙂 Technically you can use carton egg whites, however I wouldn’t recommend it as carton egg whites are more liquidy and have preservatives in them, which make them harder to whip to stiff peaks. If you add in some cream of tartar or another acid to the egg whites this may help, but for best results I would recommend using fresh egg whites. There are some recipes specifically designed for carton egg whites which may be better as they are likely to have adjusted some of the ratios of the ingredients to account for the extra liquid in the egg whites 🙂

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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