French macarons are little delicious treats which are to die for. They really are! Honestly, if you haven’t tasted them then you are definitely missing out. French macarons are cookies made from almond flour, sugar and egg whites. These cookie shells can be filled with buttercream, ganache, nutella or even a simple fruit jam. While these sandwich cookies are delicious to taste, they are quite tricky to bake.
I am not an expert in making french macarons but there are few things that I have learned over time. Each step is critical in making perfect french macarons and your whole recipe can go for a toss if you miss out on any one of these.
So here are few basic points which will help you in baking perfect french macarons.
1. Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar together and don’t sift it once, do it thrice. Yes, you read it right sift it thrice. There’s no way you can get smooth top for these cookies until and unless you sift these two together. As much as I hate sifting, it is essential in this recipe.
2. Eggs should be at room temperature. The recipe won’t work if that’s not the case. In case you forgot to take the eggs out of your fridge, just put them in warm water for 5-10 minutes. They will come down to room temperature. It’s also a good idea to separate eggs when they are cold and then let the egg whites sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours or even more before you start working on them.
3. Wash your hands and your mixing bowl before working with the egg whites. There should be no grease on your hands. The whites won’t beat to foamy froth if there’s any fat on the machine or on your hands. To make sure that the mixer bowl is completely free from any grease, you can wipe it with lemon juice or vinegar.
4. The color of the macaron fade out when it’s baked so add more color to your mixture, a shade darker than what you want the macarons to look like finally.
5. The most important thing is to not under-mix or over-mix the egg whites with the almond-sugar mix. You have to mix until they are well combined. The final mixture should be thick but if you drop it from a spatula it should fall down on it’s own. Be very careful here as under-mixing will result in cracked top and if you over-mix you won’t be able to get those ridges on the macarons. I think somewhere between 55-65 strokes when you are folding the egg white with the almond meal are sufficient. But then again this can vary and is not a fixed number. If you batter is too runny, you have over-mixed.
6. Do not add the entire almond-flour mixture into the egg whites at once. Do it in three parts.
7. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. This is important to ensure that the meringue doesn’t come in contact with any fat/grease.
8. Bang the cookie sheets on your kitchen countertop once you have pipped the batter. Do this twice or thrice to make sure all the air’s out.
9. Once all cookies are pipped on the baking sheet, let them sit out for 30-45 minutes. Do not put the macarons in the oven immediately. If you don’t do this then the macarons will spread in the oven and will not form the ridges which define them.
10. Let the macarons cool completely before you fill them with buttercream or any other filling.
And most importantly, don’t give up if you don’t get them right the first time. They are little tricky and take some practice! : )
* Eggs separate best when cold, so separate the egg whites when you take the eggs out of the fridge and then let them come down to room temperature.
* You can buy one of these macaron baking mats which will make sure that all macaron shells are equal in size.
* Using cream of tartar is optional, it stabilizes the egg whites. If you don’t add it, the recipe would still work, only the egg whites would take little more time to form stiff peaks.
French Macaron: The Basics
- 3 egg whites
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 F degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a bowl, sift together the almond flour and confectioners sugar. Sift the mixture thrice. Set aside.
- Separate eggs and beat egg whites using wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer until foamy. Add salt, granulated sugar and cream of tartar and beat till it forms stiff peaks.This will take around 10 minutes.
- Add the food coloring of your choice to the egg whites.
- Fold the almond flour-sugar mixture into the egg whites. Mix till well combined. Make sure to not over-mix or under-mix the batter. [Read tips above]
- Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with 1/2 inch round tip.
- Pipe the batter onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pipe 1 inch small blobs.
- Bang the cookie sheet on countertop to release trapped air.
- Let the cookie sheet sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
- Bake at 300 F degrees for around 20 minutes.
- Let the macarons cool completely before filling them with buttercream/ganache
French Macarons – The Basics
22 thoughts on “French Macarons: The Basics”
How much macarons does this recipe make?
around 30 sandwich cookies
I love baking but I’m scared to make them because i am at a high altitude it took me three months to tweek my oatmeal raisin cookies will this recepie be good for high altitude baking
I am not sure about high altitude baking, I have never done that. You might need to tweak this recipe to get the desired results!
These macaroons look delicious….
Basically we r vegetarian & my kids love macoroons. Will you please upload eggless macaroons recipe,i’ll be very grateful to you.
Hello Nandini! vegan macarons are made with aquafaba (the water in a can of chickpeas which behaves like a meringue in baked goods)…but I have never tried it.. if I happen to try them, I will definitely share the recipe..
If the batter is to runny, do I have to start over? ?
Unfortunately yes Lisa 🙁 there can me a number of reasons for this…the most common one is not beating the egg whites enough..they have to reach stiff consistency.
I am an established baker for over 30 years. I have tried every recipe that I have come across and not getting the correct feet on my cookies. I think it is all in the final mixing of the whites. They crust over just fine oven temp at 300. Just won’t give me the feet I am looking for. double pans so the edges cook more evenly, i leave they to cool and by the way on silpats I have had no luck getting them off parchment paper no matter how long left to cool. some say place in refrig for few seconds or return to oven all to help un-stick these little darlings. so for now silpat for me. I have been making these cookies for over a month and still have not had tons of consistent success. With the amount of baking and cooking I do these treats should not be a problem.. I have even left the whites out overnight, left in the refrig couple of days to break down protein. Still waiting for the perfect cookie to appear. Video after video watching and still no success.. No if a young girl can make these what the heck is my problem. I have under-beat, over-beat and what looked like the perfect final beat they piped nicely crusted over very quickly but did not have much to speak of feet…. I have lovered the temp on the oven that is definitely not an option nor is rising the heat to 325. 300 degrees I believe to be the right on temp.
Any input would be greatly helpful. Kids are beginning to dislike french macrons with all my attempts. When they see egg whites in the refrig they are like oh no not more macrons. I have resorted to giving them away. the chewiness is there and I do not have air pockets under the dome just no feet or so small not sure I would call them feet.
Hello Mirinda, thanks for writing in! Hmmm macarons are little tricky and sometimes it becomes so hard to get them right. Tell me do you live at an altitude? What about humidity? Try making macarons on a dry day next time, and make sure your kitchen is all dry. Let the macarons sit 1-2 hours before baking, even if they crust in 20 minutes. Also if it still doesn’t work, why don’t you try the Italian Meringue method? I have not tired it personally but some people vouch for it. These link might help – http://www.montgomeryfest.com/italian-meringue-macarons-recipe/ http://www.angesdesucre.com/pages/macaron-myth-buster-french-or-italian-tips-and-hints . I hope you get the perfect batch very soon! Good luck and let me know how they turn out!
I do not live where the altitude is a problem. I went ahead and made the italian version I felt the texture was better but still the feet are a problem. Left them set to dry for over an hour the feet began to produce in the oven and looked pretty spectacular. No in most cases as a baker one would tell someone if the cake falls possible not enough flour or did not leave it to bake long enough. I bake these at 300 degrees for 16 min. I worked with lower temps longer times and higher temps shorter times. 300 seems to be the best temp without browning the top.
When making the Italian version it was a little strange to mix some of the whites into the almonds/pwdr sugar Tant-pour-Tant’ Dough. I have a candy thermometer and the sugar syrup was left on to 238-240 degrees which is softball and should have been fine. barely any feet. Made same version except cooked white with sugar in a Swiss version then whipped as I would my Swiss meringue icing. this was the last batch made and the feet collapsed on me when they were removed from the oven.
where to go next, maybe back to the french and to see if they work. Does it matter the size of the cookie and weather or not there will be any batter left to produce feet. I have seen many videos and many sizes. it looks like a no brainer and pretty simple to achieve especially for a seasoned backer.
Hmm I am sorry the Italian version didn’t work out either Mirinda. I would suggest watching this video, I know you must be aware of all this already but see if it helps! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ636Y8N6E8
I love macaroons, but I have yet to attempt to make them myself, so I really appreciate all your tips and wise words of advice:)
Lily you are such an accomplished baker, you will nail it the very first time!
I must try these!! I have loved them forever but have been too afraid to try…until now!
Annie, please try them once. I’m sure you will be able to make macarons, they aren’t really that hard! 🙂
You won’t just make them once. … hell!!!! LOL I’m addicted! They are so hard but so rewarding and adorable 🙂
haha very true! I cannot stop making them too!!
Are yours turning out? Mine are so cute and delicious! But… my feet are so high!! Hollow yes, some. But the only thing I can think of is my oven temp is too high or too low. I am at 6,500 in elevation.. can you help me any?
Hi Casee! Hihg altitude baking is always a bit different. Though I have no experience in it, yet I have read/seen that the recipes always need to be tweaked a little for them to work on high altitude. Try this reicpe, it calls for baking at a lower temperature – http://www.tastytime.com/recipes/138-High-Altitude-French-Vanilla-Macarons
What’s almond flour? How can we make this at home?
Hi Anam, almond flour is made using blanched almonds. It’s used a lot in gluten-free baking and of course you need it to make French Macarons 🙂 We do get it in stores in US but you can easily make it at home too. Check out this link from another blog on how to make almond flour at home http://premeditatedleftovers.com/recipes-cooking-tips/how-to-make-almond-meal-almond-flour/
And terms like almond flour/almond meal/almond powder are often used interchangeably. They all roughly mean the same thing! Hope this helps.