Fancy Dessert Alert: An Expert’s Guide on How to Make Macarons from Scratch

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If you want to try making macarons but worry they’re too complex, you’re not alone. 

Fear not. This article is for you. Here we share a simple recipe that will help you learn how to make these delightful cookies, answer some macaron FAQs, and give more highlights on this fantastic, fun treat.

Why you’ll love making this recipe

This recipe is excellent for beginners. Compared to other macaron recipes, it uses minimal, no-frills ingredients that are most likely already in your kitchen, with steps that are easy to follow. What’s more, you’ll need no special equipment. 

What’s the difference between macaron and macaroons?

Macarons and macaroons are entirely different cookies. A macaron’s main ingredient is almond flour. It’s a smooth, sandwich-like cookie with a frosting filling and usually comes in bright or pastel colors. A macaroon’s main ingredient, however, is shredded coconut. It’s a cluster cookie with a rough, golden surface that’s sometimes dipped in chocolate.

The tools you’ll need

Two baking sheets

Two piping bags

Parchment paper or two silicone baking mats

Food processor or blender

Flour sieve

Two mixing bowls

Electric egg beater

Spatula

Air-tight container

How to make French macarons

kobeza – stock.adobe.com

This small-batch, vanilla macaron recipe makes 28 cookies. It takes 28 minutes to prepare, 12 minutes to cook, and one hour to set, for a total time of one hour and 40 minutes. You’ll want to make the cookies a day before you plan on serving them, as they take 24 hours to mature.

Ingredients

For the shells

3 egg whites, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup almond flour

For the cream cheese filling

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

5 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature

1/3 cup powdered sugar 

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whipping cream

Directions

For the shells

  1. Separate the whites of three eggs and set them aside in a bowl to come to room temperature while you gather your equipment. You can keep the yolks to use in other recipes by putting them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to four days.
  2. Prepare the baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. 
  3. Place a round tip on one of the piping bags and set it aside. 
  4. Now start putting the recipe together by adding the flour and powdered sugar to the blender or food processor. Run it on low until it produces a fine mixture.
  5. Turn off the blender and carefully run the mixture through the strainer into a large mixing bowl.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl, pour in the egg whites and mix them with an egg beater on high speed until they start to foam. 
  7. Keep beating the eggs while adding the sugar and continue until stiff peaks form in the bowl.
  8. Switching to a spatula, gently fold in half of the flour mixture. 
  9. Add the remaining flour once you’ve thoroughly incorporated the first half.
  10. Gently fold the mixture until it’s slightly shiny and the consistency of honey. You can test this by lifting the spatula to see how it flows from the tip. Do this slowly to avoid overmixing, as it could become too runny.
  11. Once you reach the proper consistency, pour the batter into the piping bag you prepared with a round tip.
  12. Carefully pipe the batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 1 1/2-inch circles. You’ll want to hold the bag straight up and down and space them one inch apart.
  13. After you pipe all the shells, carefully lift and drop the baking sheets on a flat surface four times to remove any air bubbles.
  14. Allow the wet shells to rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes until they’ve set. They should look and feel smooth. They should not be sticky when you run your finger along the top.
  15. Preheat the oven to 325℉.
  16. Place the baking sheets in the oven for 12 minutes. The macarons will form feet, which are the textured bottoms that get placed together. They will also not stick to the parchment paper or the baking mat once they’ve finished cooking.
  17. Allow them to cool completely on the sheets before attempting to remove them.

For the filling

  1. Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature. The time the temperature change takes depends on the temperature of your kitchen, but this could take 30-60 minutes. Avoid leaving the cream cheese out much longer, as it could spoil.
  2. Place them in a large mixing bowl and use a spoon to combine until they’re creamy.
  3. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the heavy whipping cream.
  5. Once the icing is smooth, pour it into a piping bag with a round tip.

Assembling the cookies

  1. Once the shells are cool, work one shell at a time, piping the filling onto the foot and then topping with another to make a sandwich.
  2. Place the completed macarons into an air-tight container as you work and close the lid once finished.
  3. Allow them to sit for 24 hours before serving.

Nutritional values

Calories: 97

Carbohydrates: 11 grams

Protein: 1 gram

Fat: 5 grams

Saturated fat: 2 grams

Cholesterol: 10 milligrams

Sodium: 16 milligrams

Fiber: 1 gram

Sugar: 10 grams

Original recipe: Valentina’s Corner

What is macaronage?

Macaronage is the process for working the batter so that it’s the perfect consistency for piping. Not only is the focus on consistency, but you also want a slight sheen to your batter. During the macaronage stage, you’ll want to make sure you avoid over or undermixing your batter, so your shells are perfectly airy and smooth.

Useful tips

denisk999 – stock.adobe.com
  • The first time you make this recipe, avoid changing the ingredients or instructions for the shells.
  • If you want a lemon or raspberry macaron recipe, you can simply swap out the filling for another flavor.
  • If you need a macaron recipe without almond flour, it’s ideal to find one that accommodates a different flour. Taking a guess can be risky because these cookies can be easy to flub.
  • Avoid using homemade powdered sugar, as the cornstarch in store-bought helps the macarons achieve the desired texture.
  • If you find your oven heats unevenly, cook your shells in two batches, one baking sheet at a time, for even cooking.

Macarons FAQs

Are macarons really that hard to make?

No, making macarons is not difficult. But they do require close attention, time, and a little patience. The most challenging step is the macaronage, but if you take it slow, you’re less likely to overmix the ingredients. Once you make and eat macarons, you’ll see that it’s worth it.

What are macarons traditionally filled with?

If you want to keep it traditional, you can fill your macaron with buttercream, ganache filling, or jam. However, plenty of fillings work well with these versatile cookies.

Have fun

Are you looking to go above and beyond for your dinner guests by serving macarons? Try pairing them with one of these fancy coffee drinks. And if you’re looking for an impressive yet uncomplicated meal, try this homemade lasagna. Gopuff’s food and drink blog offers plenty of recipes, ideas, and inspiration for special occasions or everyday meals. If you need an ingredient or party item in a pinch, you can order daily essentials with Gopuff and have them at your door in a matter of minutes.

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