For a pretty long time, I found the thought of making macarons to be very intimidating. They are just so fiddly and there are many steps involved where something can go wrong. However, as I started baking more regularly, I knew I had to give them a try. I scoured the internet to find a fail-proof recipe and eventually settled on one which uses a French method. I tweaked a few things to suit me and my kitchen, and this is the recipe I use now when I make macarons.
You can play around with the colours and flavours of the shells, and fill them with whatever you like – buttercream, ganache, lemon curd, there are endless possibilities. I have included a French buttercream method in this recipe which is one I like to go with often because it utilises egg yolks, which you will have left over after making the macaron shells.
For the macaron shells
- 2 medium egg whites (approx 55g) at room temperature
- 100g (1 cup) almond flour
- 90g (1 cup) powdered sugar
- 60g (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Optional: gel food colouring
For the French buttercream
- 2 egg yolks
- 100g (1/2 cup) butter
- 20ml (1.5 tablespoons) water
- 50g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
For the macaron shells
- Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. You may use a stencil to achieve uniform macaron sizes.
- Measure out powdered sugar and almond flour and pulse together in a food processor about 20 times (include cocoa or matcha powder other powdered flavours if using).
- Sift the mixture into a bowl.
- Beat egg whites using stand mixer or electric mixer until frothy, then add cream of tartar. Continue to beat at medium speed, gradually adding granulated sugar, then add vanilla extract and food colouring if using. Beat at high speed until you achieve stiff peaks. You know its stiff enough if you have a small triangular peak that stays vertical on the whisk. Also, if you invert the bowl nothing would drop out.
- Add the dry mixture and fold until the mixture is able to fall off the spatula in a figure 8 shape a few times without breaking. Once you get close to achieving this, keep checking after a few folds as you do not want to over mix. Once you can achieve this, stop immediately.
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a round piping tip (about 1cm diameter).
- Pipe circles onto your baking sheet following the stencil if using. Ensure the piping bag is upright.
- Tap the baking sheet a few times on the counter to release air bubbles. Smooth out any bubbles that come to the top using a tooth pick.
- Leave the macarons to dry and form a ‘skin’ on the top before baking. This can take 15 minutes to an hour depending on your climate. To check that it is ready, when you gently touch the top of the macaron, it should feel dry and no residue should stick to your finger.
- Bake at 140C for 15 minutes. I like to bake my macarons in the bottom third of the oven.
- Allow to cool fully before removing from baking sheet.
- To fill the macarons, pipe a blob into the centre of one shell and cover with another one.
For the french buttercream
- Beat egg yolks until foamy in a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
- While the yolks are beating, heat sugar and water in a pot over medium heat until it reaches soft-ball stage (240F or 115C). Remove it immediately and pour into a cup, then add gradually to the egg yolks while it is mixing.
- Once the mixture has cooled down, add the butter cubes one at a time, making sure it has mixed in completely before adding the next cube.
- Place into a piping bag and pipe onto cooled macarons.
- When adding flavours to my shells, such as chocolate or matcha flavour, I will add 1-2 teaspoons of cocoa or matcha powder. I keep my proportions of powdered sugar and almond flour the same.
- If adding colour, use gel food colouring (not liquid) and add a couple of drops at a time until you achieve the colour you want. You will need to add more than you think, as after it bakes the colour fades, so don't worry if you think you have added too much.
- If you live in a humid country like I do, it helps to leave the macarons to dry under air conditioning if possible (this is what I do, and they form a skin after about 20 minutes).
- You can easily double this recipe, which you might find easier when it comes to making the buttercream.