I baked my first batch of macarons about six months ago, and ever since I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this classic french cookie. But after half a year of research and development I have finally cracked the code to baking the perfect macaron.
This recipe should produce about 22 cookies at 94 kcal each.
For starters, the best way to get the perfect macaron is to weigh your ingredients. Like I said earlier, I’ve been trying to make this cookie for over half a year with little success. But today I decided to weigh the ingredients for the first time and they came out absolutely perfect! So- if you want to recreate this beautiful cookie you MUST weigh the ingredients.
To start, submerge three eggs in a bowl of warm water until the eggs come to room temperature or are no longer cool to the touch. This step helps the egg white separate easily from the yolk. In a large mixing bowl add the three egg whites and beat on medium speed until you reach a very frothy and foamy consistency (1-2 minutes).
Once the eggs are nice and frothy slowly add the 50 g. of white sugar while continuing to beat the mixture on medium speed. I recommend adding the sugar in thirds, making sure the whites completely absorb the sugar before adding more (about 30 seconds in between adding more sugar). Once you have added all the sugar beat for about 1 additional minute on medium, then crank up to high for about 4-6 minutes. This is also a good point to add your food coloring. I strongly recommend using liquid food coloring because gel coloring can alter the consistency of the batter. If this is your first time baking macarons I wouldn’t use any color at all in case your cookies don’t come out properly it’ll be easier to assess which step needs improvement.
After beating for about 4-6 minutes you’ll notice the beaters begin to leave ridges or waves in the bowl. You’ll know it’s time to stop beating once “soft peaks” form at the end of your beater .
Next you must sift the powdered sugar and almond flour into the mixture. Before I begin mixing I like to add these two ingredients into one big measuring cup so I can pour it straight through the sifter and into the mixture.
This is the part where everything can go terribly wrong! If you over-mix the cookies they won’t rise properly and look like ugly burnt pancakes. If you under-mix the batter you’ll end up with lumpy or even cracked macaron shells. The method below has worked most successfully for me. Once you’re at this step it is crucial to move quickly. Make sure you adequately mix the batter and pipe onto your baking sheet as quickly as possible in order to get the best rise and feet (the bottom ridges) on your cookie.
Sift half of the almond flour and powdered sugar mix into the merengue (the egg and granulated sugar mixture). Fold in these dry ingredients with a silicone spatula. Try not to exceed 15 strokes. Now add the remaining flour and sugar while trying to not exceed 15 strokes. Ideally you want to be right around 30 strokes. In my experience it’s far easier to over-mix than under-mix, so just be aware of how many strokes you’re making as you fold the batter together.
You’re almost done! Quickly transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approx. 1.5 inch diameter rounds. I am awful at piping so I always use this handy macaron piping template.
After you’ve piped the batter you’ll want to make sure there are no air bubbles in the cookies. Lift your baking sheet a couple inches from the counter and slam onto the counter top. You’ll notice little holes form in the cookies where the air bubbles have escaped. Do this four times, turning the cookie sheet 90 degrees each time. This will prevent the macaroon shells from cracking once in the oven.
Let cookies sit out for 45 minutes to an hour before baking to form a hard/tacky shell. Again, this helps prevent the cookie from cracking in the oven.
Preheat oven to 300F and cook for 10-12 minutes. If you undercook the cookies they’ll fall flat on the sheet and stick to the paper- make sure you take out the cookies just before they begin to brown. You’ll notice a slight discoloration in the food dye when they begin to brown.
If you’ve followed all these steps correctly you should end up with the perfect macaron cookie! No lumps, no cracks, nice rise, maintain coloration, and get those perfect little “feet” at the bottom.
The best part about macarons is their versatility. You can fill these with any type of frosting, cream, chocolate, or preserves and they’ll taste amazing. However, my boyfriend prefers my strawberry cream cheese frosting in these cookies, so if you’re interested keep reading!
Directions for strawberry frosting
This recipe is much easier than the macaron. Simply add all the ingredients from the righthand column above into a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Those ingredients are:
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 130 g. cream cheese
- 2 tbsp strawberry preserves (jam)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp almond milk (or regular milk)
Feel free to add any food coloring you may prefer and pipe a large dollop on the center of one over-turned cookie. Place a macaron shell on top and gently compress the mixture until the frosting covers the entire cookie. Now give yourself a huge pat on the back for baking one of the most difficult cookies in the world!!!