Follow these carefully explained instructions with photographs included for How to Make French Macarons. This tutorial will break down exactly what you need to do in order to achieve success each and every time you make macarons. You can have a taste of France right in your own kitchen!
Macarons are finicky and require accurate measurements and a proper technique. It’s extremely important to weigh each ingredient. And it’s even more important to complete each step with the proper technique.
It takes practice! I began learning how to make French Macarons over 16 weeks ago. Yes, It has taken me this long to learn the basics and perfect the technique. So don’t be discouraged if your macarons do not turn out the first time. Keep at it!
Don’t attempt making macarons on a humid day!! This was my problem when I first began experimenting. It was too humid here in the summer. Winter has offered less humidity. Plus the air inside is drier due to running the heat.
Now that I’ve mastered the technique I can easily whip up a batch of salted caramel ginger macarons anytime the mood strikes.
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If you’ve ever had a French Macaron you know all too well how incredible these delicate cookies are. They are crisp on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside, and when the shells meld with the filling, it creates a delectable texture contrast. So, so good!
The shells are finicky and each step needs to be performed with accuracy. Weighing the ingredients leaves less room for error.
Macarons are made with very standard ingredients. You have the dry ingredients: almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt. And you have the wet ingredients: egg whites, cream of tartar, and regular sugar.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip and pipe 1-inch circles onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat. Let the piped circles sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
The outer surface should feel completely dry before going into the oven. Have the oven preheating while the circles dry. It’s super important that they go into a hot oven.
A few helpful tips for making French Macarons:
√When choosing powdered sugar for macarons, be sure cornstarch is listed on the ingredient label.
√Put the dry ingredients in a food processor and let it run for a good 2 minutes. Not only will this combine the ingredients really well, but it will also grind up the almond flour. You want the dry ingredients to be as fine and grit free as possible. After blending them together, run them through a sifter or fine mesh sieve and discard any large pieces.
√Pulse the regular sugar in a food processor until it turns to a fine powder. This will help it dissolve completely in the egg whites and eliminate any grit. But don’t just sub in powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. Confectioner’s sugar contains cornstarch and you shouldn’t add more since it’s in the dry ingredients.
√Separate the egg whites while they are cold, place them in a glass dish, cover it with a lint-free cloth or paper towel, and let it sit on the counter overnight. This “ages” the egg whites and allows some of the moisture to evaporate.
√Wash and thoroughly dry your mixing bowl and whisk attachment before whipping the egg whites. This extra step will ensure that both are clean of oils which can affect how well the egg whites whip up.
√Stop whipping the egg whites as soon as they reach stiff peaks. If you overwhip and end up with dry styrofoam egg whites, you’ll have to start over. Overbeaten egg whites will cause the macarons to become hollow and crack.
√Do not attempt to tint your shells until you have mastered the technique of making macarons. Adding in an extra component can throw the batter off balance and ruin the shells.
Once you have made a few successful batches, you can begin experimenting with coloring the shells. You can use gel or powdered food coloring and gently fold it into the whipped egg whites. You will want to make it darker than the color you are aiming for because the color will fade slightly during baking.
√It is important not to over or under mix the wet and dry ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients into the whipped egg whites in three stages. Folding only 3 to 4 times with each addition.
After the last addition, fold until the batter comes together into a thick paste. It shouldn’t be too loose or runny. Transferring it to a piping bag and working the batter as you pipe will loosen it, so a thicker batter going in is a good thing. Also, let the batter rest for about 20 minutes in the mixing bowl before you add it to your piping bag.
Also, let the batter rest for about 20 minutes in the mixing bowl before you add it to your piping bag.
√Remove the air bubbles. Air bubbles can cause the shells to crack. After piping the batter into mounds, rap the baking sheet firmly but gently onto the countertop. This will force the air bubbles to the surface. Use a wooden toothpick to pop the bubbles.
√Bake the shells for 15 to 18 minutes at a low heat. They will develop their signature “feet” and brown slightly all over. If the bottoms of the shells start becoming too brown before they are done, add a second cookie sheet underneath the one the shells are on.
√Let the shells cool completely before trying to remove them from the pan. If you try to remove them while they are warm, the feet will stick and possibly tear off.
√Once the shells have cooled completely, fill them with frosting, curd, caramel, or ganache and let them sit overnight. The filling will meld with the shells, creating a soft and chewy texture. It’s worth the wait!
You now have all the essentials for making french macarons!
- Pace the powdered sugar, almond flour, and salt in a food processor and process for 2 minutes, until finely ground and well blended. Sift the mixture to remove any larger bits.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Turn the speed up to medium-high and whip just until stiff peaks form. Take extra care not to over whip. Sift the almond flour mixture into the whipped egg whites in three separate additions, folding only 3 to 4 times after each addition. After the final addition, fold until batter becomes thick and smooth. When folding, cut through the meringue and then fold up and over. Scrape the sides and turn the bowl as you go. Let the batter sit for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line 2 large baking sheets with silicone mats and fit a large piping bag with a 1/2-inch tip. Twist the bag right above the tip and tuck it down inside the tip. This will prevent the batter from leaking out as you fill the bag.
- Fill the pastry bag with the batter, be as gentle as you can with the process. Try not to overwork the batter. Pipe 1 to 2-inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheets. Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter top to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Use a wooden toothpick to pop the bubbles. Let the macarons sit for 45 to 60 minutes, until a thick, dry skin forms on the surface. They should not feel sticky to the touch when going into the oven.
- Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat the to 300ºF. Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for about 15 to 18 minutes, rotating halfway through.The macarons are done when you can just barely separate the shells from the silicone mat. The cookies will brown slightly. If the bottoms begin to get too brown place a second cookie sheet underneath.
- Cool the shells completely on the baking sheet set on a wire rack. Do not attempt to remove the shells from the silicone mat until they are completely cooled or they may stick and break off. Sandwich two cookies together with your favorite filling. Store the macarons in the refrigerator for at least one day and bring them to room temperature just before serving. They taste the best this way.