[Update: Nov. 22 , 2014]
Why the Recipe on Our Blog
This recipe is definitely not typical of the recipes we post on this blog. We focus on creating healthy recipes that are good for the skin (and body too…). because we are a skincare company, specializing in 100% organic products and solutions for skin problems.
However, we made an exception to our normal recipe posting because of the many requests for our macron recipe. For wedding favors, Lisa (with some help from mom) made these fantastic French Macarons and boxed them for some “Sweet Dreams.” Because so many wedding guests loved them and wanted the recipe, we decided it was easier to just post it on the blog. Ironically, it is the most popular post on our blog. And has been pinned on Pinterest by others. We love it. Thank you. Periodically, we update the post to add new things we’ve discovered about making them. Hope you enjoy.
About French Macarons
French Macarons are a delicate french pastry traditionally made with egg whites, almond flour, and confectionery sugar. While they look like a sandwich cookie, they have particular characteristics. A perfect macaron has pied (feet) aka ruffle on the edge of the cookie, a shiny dome shape, and the right texture of crunchy on the outside with chewiness on the inside. And the filling, should not come out past the edges. In fact, a macaron should be able to stand on its sides without the filling coming out of it. Oh, and they are not pronounced macaroons. Macaroons with two “o’s” are made with coconut and rhyme with moon. French macaron has only one “o” and is pronounced mac-a-roan; it rhymes with tone and phone.
About Our Recipe
We adapted our French Macaron recipe from the Regis Hotel’s Adour restaurant in Washington, D. C. Adour’s recipe was first posted on a wonderful blog, We Love DC. For those of you in the D.C. area, the Regis Hotel, home of Adour, offers classes in making macarons.
After scouring the web and bookstores for the best macaron recipes and testing several of them, we decided this was the best and the most foolproof macaron recipe. French macarons have a reputation of being very finicky. Something like humidity can affect them. All the more reason we love this recipe, we made them on a humid and hot D.C. August day.
The difference between this recipe and most other macaron recipes is that the flour/sugar mixture is dried out for a day, and an Italian meringue is used in the batter. Italian meringue is meringue made with the addition of a sugar syrup to the whipped egg whites.
Also, in our recipe we give two types of measurements for some of the ingredients– typical home cooking measurements and measurements in ounces. We do this because some of the ounce measurements require a food scale and many home kitchens do not have food scales. However, because egg white weight varies, it’s better to have a food scale and measure.
We discovered in our testing of other macaron recipes that one pan would bake beautifully and the next be a flat disaster. But, with this recipe they were all beautiful. This recipe does have more steps than some others, but the consistency of the cookies makes the extra steps worth it.
French Macarons are a delicate treat that require a little patience and practice to learn how to make them. But, do not be intimidated by them and everything will turn out fine. One of the important keys to getting a perfect macaron: a stiff, dry meringue. That can’t be said enough.
The Wedding Macarons
For the wedding, we made three different macarons. There was a vanilla macaron with a white chocolate ganache filling; a chocolate macaron with a chocolate ganache filling, and a purple macaron with a blueberry buttercream filling. This macaron recipes is for all three.
Links for Pics and Video
Pictured in this post are our macarons. For even more pictures of the process head over to, We Love DC. Pastry chef, Fabrice Bendano, from Adour, demonstrates on the video below how to make them. I really suggest watching it to get a feel for how they’re made. Hope you all enjoy making French Macarons as much as we did. If you have any questions about the recipe, leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you. Bon Appétit!!
RECIPE: Yum French Macarons with Three Fillings
(Makes about 150 petite sandwich cookies) Adapted from Adour’s Chocolate Macarons.
Piping the cookies requires a medium to large pastry bag with a ½ inch or larger tip (depending on the size cookie desired). The ½ inch tip will pipe about a walnut size cookie.
Almond Flour Batter
2 ¼ cups almond flour plus 2 Tablespoons (18 oz plus 2 Tablespoons)
2 ¼ cup confectionary sugar (18 0z)
Whites from 5 large eggs (6 oz)* – room temperature
Whites from 6 large eggs (7 oz.)* – room temperature
2 1/4 cup sugar (18 oz)
2/3 cup water (5 oz)
Additions for Variations:
Chocolate – Reduce almond flour by 2 Tablespoons and replace with 2 Tablespoons of cocoa.
Colored Variations – Add gel food coloring of choice to the Italian meringue batter–there’s a reminder when to add it. The amount will depend on the color desired. See the section below about using gel or paste food coloring.
Vanilla Flavor – Add the seeds from 1 – 2 vanilla beans or 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract into the Italian meringue–there’s a reminder when to add it.
* For best accuracy, it’s best to have a food scale. The whites from eggs can measure from 1 oz to 1 1/2 oz. From our observation, they average between 1 to 1 1/4 oz.
The DAY BEFORE BAKING THE MACARONS
Almond Flour Mixture:
Blend almond flour, confectionery sugar, (and cocoa if making chocolate) together in a food processor or pulse in a blender for about 20 seconds–until well blended. After blending, spread the mixture on a baking sheet (can place parchment paper on the baking sheet for easier pouring later in the recipe). Leave uncovered on the counter or in a cool oven overnight.
Separate the eggs. Have separate bowls for each set of egg whites (one bowl with 6 oz. and one bowl with 7 oz egg whites) of egg Place covered with a clean kitchen towel in the refrigerator. Label each of bowls with the egg white measurement in them before storing. Some leave the egg whites out overnight.
We leave them out while prepping other parts of the recipe on the day before then place them in refrigerator overnight, and take them out early in the morning the day we make the macarons. So, it’s a combination of the two methods. While this is important, it’s more important to get very stiff peaks when whipping the meringue.
Note: Egg whites do need to be brought to room temperature before using. Leaving out overnight is a personal call.
Remove the egg whites from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature. IMPORTANT: Make sure they are at room temperature before using. Measure the remaining ingredients and set aside.
(Time saver hint: While waiting for the egg whites to come to room temperature, the filling can be prepared, or it can be prepared the day before.)
Step 1 -Italian Meringue Mixtures
Into a saucepan, add the granulated sugar and water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves (stir occasionally) and the sugar syrup reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the meantime while the sugar mixture is heating, place the egg whites from the 7 oz bowl into a mixing bowl and beat until they reach stiff peaks! Remember the egg whites need to have stiff peaks that form when beaters are lifted. Keep the meringue in the mixing bowl with the mixer.
Step 2 – Italian Meringue (Incorporating Meringue and Sugar Syrup)
When the sugar syrup reaches 250 degrees, turn the mixer with the meringue back on high and pour the syrup in a steady stream into the meringue. Continue to whip on high until the mixture begins to cool–about 4 to 5 minutes. This prevents the heat from the sugar water cooking the egg whites. Add food coloring or vanilla beans/extract–if using–to the batter at this point. A toothpick works well for adding gel food coloring. The finished meringue should be smooth, thick, and glossy. Set aside.
Step 3 – Mixing Almond Flour Mixture and Remaining Egg Whites
In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining egg whites (6 oz eggs/5 eggs) and the almond flour/confectionery sugar mixture. Mix by hand with a spatula until well incorporated.
Step 4 – Mixing the Final Macaron Batter
Mix by hand with a spatula a small portion of the meringue into the almond flour/egg white batter. Add the remaining meringue into the batter. Now you will need to use your muscles (or borrow someone else’s…). Beat very vigorously with a spatula the mixture until the batter is fully incorporated–about 1 to 2 minutes. Don’t be shy about beating it; sometimes we get one of the guys in the house to do it :). Do it by hand though, not with a mixer. A mixer will add too much air.
The batter should be thick enough that slight mounds form when piped. Unlike many meringue recipes that require the meringue to be folded into the recipe, this recipes requires thorough mixing/beating of the meringue into the batter.
Step 5 – Piping Cookie Batter and Baking
Suggestion: Since all ovens are different, it may take some experimenting with temperature and the time. So, before piping an entire cookie sheet, test the time and temperature with just a few piped cookies. The perfect macaron will have a glossy dome shape; a ruffle on the edges; be crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. You can check below for solutions to other things that could have gone wrong.
Fill a pastry bag half full with the batter. For petite cookies, pipe about a walnut size of the batter onto ungreased baking sheets. (This is where watching the video from Adour helps).
Tap the cookie sheet a few times against a hard surface to remove air bubbles and flatten the cookies. Allow the piped macarons to rest uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes. This allows the batter to flatten and dry out a bit so that the pied (feet) are created when baked.
Bake at 300° F for 12 minutes.
Step 6 – Filling the Macarons
Match cookies in pairs to similar size and shape. Pipe the filling on the flat side and top with its match. Don’t worry if some of the cookies have holes on the filling side. Match them with solid cookies and pipe a little extra filling into the hole. Filling recipes are below.
Storing French Macarons
Store macarons in a airtight container. Macarons get better with age. Preferably, finished macarons should be refrigerated for at least 24 hours before eating. It gives the cookies time to rest and the result is the perfect crispiness on the outside with the right tenderness on the inside. But, if you can’t wait…dig in. French macarons are best eaten within 4 or 5 days. They can be frozen unfilled or filled for up to 3 months.
Check out the Elmo Macarons we made. We used our recipe above. For the color of Elmo’s skin, we used about 4-5 bottles of Wilton’s No Flavor Red Gel Food Coloring. For the nose, we used Wilton’s white fondant and added yellow food coloring, forming the noses into Elmo noses. The eyes were purchased: Michaels or Paper Mart. For the filling, we used the ganache recipe below. The Elmo Macarons were a huge hit at child’s birthday party.
What Went Wrong?
Oh no! They don’t look like the pictures.
Flat Deflated Cookie – Egg whites were not at room temperature before using, or not separated a day ahead. Meringue was not stiff or dry enough. Ingredients were not properly measured or oven temperature was too low. – Fix: Bake at slightly higher temperature. If that doesn’t work add a small amount of almond flour to the batter.
Hollow Undersides – The cookies were baked too long or in too hot of an oven (Don’t throw them away; they can still be filled.)
Separated Cookies – If the cookies separate while removing them, they were not baked long enough.
Very important to follow directions precisely. Macarons do not like shortcuts.
Runny Ganache – We learned this the hard way. Most obvious is measurements were wrong. However, the most likely thing is the chocolate. Chocolate varies from company to company in butter fat and other ingredients that can affect the outcome of ganache. Try for at least 61% cacao. This is why it’s important to use a high quality chocolate that has high cocoa butter fat.
Remedy: Heat the ganache until it’s hot and then add more chopped chocolate. The amount will depend on how runny the chocolate is. When this happened to us once (maybe twice), we ended up using more than twice the amount of chocolate to get it thick. BTW, it was a Whole Foods Brand of chips I used when it was runny. Now we know, price and quality matters.
French Macaron Fillings
The filling should be of a consistency that is soft and yet firm. It should not spread on its own to the sides of the cookies. The filling should come to just inside the edge of the cookie when the top is placed on it.
(makes about 1 ½ cups)
1 ¼ cup. heavy cream (10 oz)
1 ¼ cup (10 oz) dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate
optional: 2 teaspoons of vanilla
It is really, really important to use very high quality chocolate. (Scharffen or one with at least 61% cacao). The less expensive chocolates do not have enough cocoa butter in them to allow the ganache to thicken. Cheaper chocolate will cause the ganache to be runny, and you will end up adding a lot more chocolate to get it to thicken, which will end up costing you more than if you had just purchased the expensive chocolate.
Pour heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely incorporated. Mix slowly so as not to incorporate air. Add vanilla if using. Allow to cool to room temperature before piping onto macarons. The ganache will harden if placed in a refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature for piping. If the ganache becomes too soft while piping, set it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
White Chocolate Ganache
(makes 1 ½ cups)
1 1/4 cups high quality white chocolate, chopped (10 oz)
1 2/3 cup heavy cream (13 0z)
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Pour heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium low heat. Remove from heat, add the white chocolate, and stir until ganache is smooth. Stir in butter. Cool to room temperature before using. Ganache can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. However, it will harden, and therefore need to come to room temperature before using.
Blueberry Butter Cream Frosting
1 cup softened unsalted butter
3 ½ cup confectionery sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 – ¼ cup milk
1 cup fruit sweetened blueberry jam
purple gel paste food coloring
Beat softened butter until smooth and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until combined with butter about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and milk; beat frosting for about 7 – 8 minutes. Beat in the blueberry jam until well combined. Using a toothpick, mix in just a small amount of the purple food coloring. (Continue to add purple food coloring in small amounts until the right color is achieved.)
About Gel Food Coloring
Color can be controlled better with gel or paste food coloring. Also, deeper colors can be obtained with gel or paste food coloring. Too much liquid food coloring could alter a recipe. With something as temperamental as macaroons, this is very important. A toothpick works well for adding gel food coloring.
Gel food coloring can be bought at stores that sale cake decorating supplies, such as Michael’s or William and Sonoma.
About Almond Flour
Almond flour is flour made from ground almonds. It’s often a staple in homes of people who are gluten intolerant. Bob’s Red Mill is one of the larger suppliers of almond flour. It can be bought at many natural grocery stores or bought online.
You can also make your own almond flour by grinding blanched almonds in a blender, coffee grinder, food processor, or vita mix. While unblanched almonds can also be ground into flour, for macarons blanched almonds should be used. Grinding almonds into flour is a lot less expensive then buying almond flour, but it’s also a lot more time consuming to make your own.
A half a pound of almonds yields about 2 1/4 cup of flour. Grind about 1/2 cup of almonds at a time until you have a fine meal; be careful not to over grind or too much oil will be released, and then it will be more of a paste. After grinding, remove all the ground almonds from the blender and sift the ground almonds through a sieve colander to remove any large pieces. Don’t use a flour sifter because the oil in the almonds will gunk up the sifter. Place large leftover pieces back in the blender and regrind. Continue grinding and sifting until all the almonds are ground. The almond flour should have a very fine consistency. Store in the refrigerator.
Remember: You are the master of the macarons; don’t let them master you!
Please let us know how they turned out for you and leave a picture. If you have any questions, also leave them.
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