Easy Step by Step Macaron Recipe for Beginners
If you think macarons are too hard to make at home, try this recipe! This is the perfect, easy recipe for beginners to begin to understand how these delicious treats come together.
These are not perfect yet (yes, I made those in the pic above)…BUT….they are delicious and not too bad for the third time I’ve made them (ok, four, but the first attempt was such a disaster I don’t count it. I’ll share that story at the end).
Macarons are a tricky little treat and there are SO MANY different recipes and tips out there. I’ve read quite a few and after the first disaster, I tried another version with quite a bit of success. It also impressed my friends and family so hey, I’ll take it!
I thought I would share my journey and process so others will at least give it a try. I promise, it’s not hard, but you do have to FOLLOW THE STEPS.
Here’s my process/recipe. My inspiration is from this pin Patty|Cake. I changed some steps but mostly followed her’s (thank you!). Also remember, everyone’s oven is different, the pan is different, the climate is different, so you may have to adjust as needed. Oh, one more thing…SIFTING is your friend, don’t skip it!
Basic Macaron Recipe
- 1 cup powdered confectioners sugar
- ¾ cup almond flour (see notes on how to make your own)
- 2 large egg whites, room temp
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ¼ cup superfine sugar (see notes on how to make your own)
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- gel food coloring
- Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Make sure ALL of the ingredients are at room temp.
- SIFT together the almond flour and powdered sugar. Discard any lumps in the sifter, do not force through. (tip: your almond flour should be as dry as possible, you may need to spread out on a baking sheet and allow it to dry for 1-2 hours).
- Put room temperature egg whites in a mixer with whisk attachment starting at low speed and moving to medium speed until foamy. And add the cream of tartar. Once you have soft peaks, add the superfine sugar. Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Add the vanilla and food coloring and continue to mix until all of the color is mixed in.
- SIFT the flour and sugar mix once again into the egg whites and discard any lumps in the sifter.
- Fold until everything is combined. I use a silicone spatula and that works very well. Press the batter into the sides of the bowl to get out some of the air to avoid hollow macarons. The mixture will be sticky and should have a lava-like consistency, meaning when you pour it onto itself self it sinks back into the batter with no lines after about a minute or less.
- Put the batter in a pastry bag or macaron dispenser (see photo below, Amazon has a bunch to choose from). Try to get all the air out of the bag before you start. Pipe circles with the bag/tip straight up, you'll figure out what works best for you 😁. I don't use a stencil which is why my macarons are not all the exact same size, but you can if you want to.
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Tap the pans on the countertop…A LOT, you might see bubbles come up and that's what you want. You can also carefully poke any other bubbles with a toothpick before you let the macarons rest. Let the pans sit for 30 minutes and do not touch or tap anymore or you will get cracks or holes. This allows the macarons to create a crust and helps with the feet. You know they are ready when you lightly place your fingertip on the outside and nothing comes off on your finger.
- Bake for 10 minutes, one pan at a time and rotate once after the first 5 minutes. Let the macarons rest on the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, make your favorite filling and place it in a pastry bag with a round tip. Fill a circle around the edge of one half of a cookie and place the second half gently on top. Be careful not to push too hard or you will smash your beautiful creation. Enjoy!
HOW TO MAKE ALMOND FLOUR
- add 1/4 cup raw, blanched (no skin) almonds and 1 teaspoon powdered confectioner sugar to a small coffee/spice grinder or food processor (if you are using a food processor, double the amount).
- Pulse until you have a nice, dry flour-like consistency. Do not over process or you will end up with almond paste!
- You can also buy almond flour, just make sure it’s all white (no skins).
HOW TO MAKE SUPERFINE SUGAR
- Add 1/4 cup sugar to a small coffee/spice grinder and grind until you have a powdered-sugar-like consistency.
- Some silicone mats have a stencil on them and many people swear by these. I like parchment better and you can make your own cirlce on the parchment if you want to (just remember to flip the paper over so no pencil or ink gets on your batter!).
Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling
- 1 large egg white, room temp
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp and cubed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup powdered confectioner sugar (optional)
- gel food coloring
- Make a double boiler and whisk sugar and egg white in a heat-safe mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk by hand until the sugar is melted and when you rub the mixture between your fingers and you can’t feel any granules.
- Place in a mixer and whisk at low speed first, then medium until it's a stiff, shiny ribbon-like consistency. Touch the bottom of the pan to make sure it's cool, then you know it's ready. If it's not cool, your butter will melt and the filling will be runny. Be Patient 😬
- Switch to low speed again and add cubes of butter a little at a time making sure it is combined after each addition.
- Add food coloring and salt and vanilla or almond extract. Increase speed until everything is combined.
- Add powdered sugar if you would like, I found it added a little more substance and made the butter flavor more subtle.
My first attempt story…UGH. When I decided to make macarons, I asked my mom to buy me a macaron baking set for Christmas. Ha! If I had the right tools I was halfway there, right?? So the kit arrived via Amazon and I looked on Pinterest for a recipe, picked one at random, and went for it. I don’t remember what recipe I tried, I thought they were all the same. And I thought, “I make pretty good desserts, how hard can it be?” Boy was I wrong! My first mistake was the almond flour. I went to my local fancy grocery store, saw almond flour and bought it. I think it was like $15 but I was so sure I was going to make amazing macarons I bought it. This is what I bought:
The problem was, it was almond flour from whole almonds with the skin still on. So not only was it heavier, but it had a mixed color, brown and white. I just added it, and it was the beginning of the end. The batter was so lumpy and heavy, it didn’t even form a circle, I just had globs of gunk on the pan. You could see the pieces of almond skin and it wasn’t pretty. I wish I had taken a picture of the disaster because, in hindsight, it’s pretty funny. I still have most of the $15 bag of almond flour in the cupboard, destined to collect dust because I have no idea what to do with it. Maybe I’ll think of something…
Another update 3/7/19, see my post HERE for what I did with this flour, it’s a good one! After that, I gave up for a while, but finally decided I love macarons so much that I had to try again. Thank goodness I didn’t give up, I’m really enjoying trying to get it close to perfect.
Check out my recipe for Pistachio Macarons HERE, just as easy but with added ground pistachios!
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