Kitchen Confidence

How to Make French Macarons

By • May 31, 2012 • 14 Comments

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It took me a while to perfect the macaron. I was plagued by deflated tops, small feet and and cracked shells -- these little guys are tricky to make.

Now, I'm launching my own macaron business. Here are a few pointers that will have you making perfect macarons in no time!

My go-to recipe comes from Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home (Running Press, 2011) by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride. I've included additional baking tips and adaptation for home ovens here.

 

Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Pulse your almond flour, salt and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor four times, for four seconds each time. (If you do it for too long the mixture will get pasty.)

Sift your dry ingredients over a piece of parchment paper. Make sure the holes of your sifter are not too large or it will result in lumpy macaron tops! 

Place your powdered egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tartar and aged egg whites in the bowl of your electric mixer. With a hand whisk, incorporate until everything is combined and a little frothy. Then attach the bowl to the mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until glossy stiff peaks form (about 8-11 minutes).

A good test to check if your meringue is ready, is to hold the bowl upside-down. If your meringue doesn’t slide or move, you are ready to go. You can also tell your meringue is ready when the whisk leaves deep tracks in the bowl when rotating. 

With your spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until you reach what we like to call the “unique macaronnage stage.”

It is important to fold the different components just enough, but not too much, or the macarons will crack. To make sure that you have reached the right point, once the ingredients appear combined, lift some of the mixture a few inches above the bowl with the spatula. If it retains a three-dimensional shape, fold it again. When folded just enough, the mixture should fall right back into the bowl, with no stiffness, in one continuous drip. 

If you are adding food coloring, make sure to add when the dry ingredients appear to be just incorporated.

Pipe the macarons 1 1⁄2 inches apart on a silicon baking sheet. Slam the baking sheet onto a flat and stable surface to remove the excess air (slam six times, from six inches above the table). If you like, you can dip your finger in water and smooth the tops even more. Place a second baking sheet underneath the first and pop them in the oven -- this helps keep the macarons from burning.

 

Next, set the tray aside for one hour, or until the skin forms. This helps form the feet.

Once your skin has formed, place macarons in the oven for ten minutes. (You may need to add a minute or two depending on how large you piped your shells. I make mine two inches, and bake the macarons for ten minutes at 300º).

To test if the macaron is done, carefully try and lift one macaron off the baking sheet. If it just lifts, but sticks a little, your macaron is ready to go. 

 

Cool completely before removing and filling. If the macarons darken too quickly, put a wooden spoon in the door of the oven to prop it slightly open. If you overcook your macaron, don’t fret. Overcooked is better than undercooked -- undercooking leads to sunken tops. If you have trouble removing the macarons from the baking sheet, try placing a few drops of water under the silicon mat. If that still doesn’t work, place the macarons in the freezer for fifteen minutes. They should pop right off.

Then fill them, and enjoy. 

See Dana's recipe for Classic French Macarons with Vanilla Buttercream Filling (and save and print it) here.

Tags: kitchen Confidence, tips and tricks, how-to, French macarons, macaroons, , how-to & diy

Comments (14)

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11 months ago Saf

Hi there, I'm at my wits end, been making macs successfully but my last few batches (read 8-10) are just not working out, they deflate 10 mins before I need to get them out and then they are soggy sort of bendable. I'm due to fill in an order and really need help with what can be wrong. Could it be that I need to change my almond powder to another brand?

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about 1 year ago preciada

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about 1 year ago preciada

Please,
Can you turn cups in grams or kg.and the whites too in kg.?
thank you

11

about 1 year ago Ambitious

Thanks for this! I made them about 5 times and only got it right once! :( So frustrating. I have 2 questions:

- What do you recommend for someone like me who doesn't have a food processor?
- After piping the macarons, what do you do with the remaining batter? Or should I just make very little batter each time so that the remaining batter doesn't deflate?

Thank yo!

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about 1 year ago Ambitious

oops! thank you!

Christinaconte_5535fw

almost 2 years ago Christina @ Christina's Cucina

I made macarons for the first time last week after significant research, and they turned out perfectly. I don't know if it was beginner's luck, but we'll see. Much of what I read said that letting them stand to form a skin is unnecessary, (including David Lebovitz) so I popped them in immediately and they were beautiful, feet and all! I only slammed the tray twice, and there was no need to touch up the tops. In essence, they were SO incredibly easy to make, I could hardly believe it!

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

almost 2 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Excellent post, full of so much useful information. Good luck with your business, Dana! I am certain you'll be wildly successful. ;o)

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almost 2 years ago The Fiery Epicurean

Making French macarons has been on my hit list for quite some time now. In fact, I was so enthusiastic about making them this past holiday season that I received Kathryn Gordon's Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home before Christmas! These delicate sweet perfections are one of my favorite, thank you for providing some additional information! BRAVO!

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Great tips! Question for all the macarons experts out there - almonds are one of a couple types of nuts I can't eat, and I've been wondering for a while, can you make macarons with any other type of nut flour? Or will it just not do?

Jillian

almost 2 years ago jbban

Check out Bravetart's guide: http://bravetart.com/recipes...
Her method is very relaxed and she says you can make macarons with any type of nut.

Ozoz_profile

almost 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

And it is MacarOn....not MacarOOn - a single o: two very different cookies - SORRY! and National Macaron day was weeks ago - well, there could be several celebrated days in honour of very gorgeous but I must confess, fickle cookies! See http://www.kitchenbutterfly....

Pot

almost 2 years ago MotherWouldKnow

I agree with LauriePf - prefer to bit more puff to the macarons, and I would be loathe to prop oven open in the summer. But otherwise, the tips look great, and I'll use them next time I try macarons.

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almost 2 years ago LauriePf

These macarons are very uniform, but a little flat. Macarons should have a bit of puff to them (roundness across the tops). Slamming them 6 times is a bit much. Once will give you a little settling without deflating. Would also recommend not using water as that can cause flattening.

Ozoz_profile

almost 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Thanks for sharing - I'm going to give macs another go, especially with the cream of tartar addition which is new for me.

On filling and eating the macarons, most purists recommend filling the shells and leaving them for a few hours or overnight for the filling to set - this changes the texture completely......The filling fuses with the shells and you end up with slightly crisp outers and creamy centres.