Make Ahead

Classic French Macaron with Vanilla Buttercream Filling

April 23, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 40 sandwiched 1-inch macarons (80 halves)
Author Notes

My favorite culinary instructor, Kathryn Gordon, happens to be a macaron master. She wrote a book with Anne E. McBride called "Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home" (Running Press, 2011). Between these pages you will find tons of sweet and savory macaron shells and fillings. Below are two classics, an excellent place for beginners to start. I've included additional baking tips and adaptation for home ovens.

Copyright 2012 Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride from Les Petits Macarons, Colorful French Confections to Make at Home. Printed here with Permission —Dana'sBakery

What You'll Need
  • French Macarons
  • 1 1/4 cups Almond Flour (Blanched)
  • Pinch Salt
  • 3/4 cup Confectioners' Sugar (packed)
  • 1 tablespoon Powdered Egg Whites
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 cup Aged Egg Whites (from 4 eggs, aged covered in the fridge for 1-2 days) - Room Temperature
  • 4 drops Gel food color (optional)
  • Vanilla Buttercream Filling
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 pinch Cream of Tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
  • 2 Sticks, cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  1. French Macarons
  2. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Pulse almond flour, salt and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor 4 times for 4 seconds each time. Sift 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!
  3. Whip the powdered egg whites in an electric mixer bowl powdered egg white, granulated sugar, cream of tartar and aged egg whites, on medium-high speed until glossy stiff peaks form (about 8-11 minutes). Note: 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.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue until you reach the unique macaronnage stage (and add food coloring, if using it, when the dry ingredients appear to be just incorporated). 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 about 1 inch 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.
  5. Pipe the macarons 1 ½ inches apart on a silicon baking sheet lined (double) sheetpan. Slam the baking sheet down to remove excess air (slam 6 times, from 6 inches above the table). Let macarons sit at room temp for 1 hour (until the skin forms), and then put in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes (time will vary depending on size), until the macarons just come off the baking sheet when you lift them (the centers will have risen, and will not have any dark indentations). If the macarons darken too quickly, put a wooden spoon in the door of the oven to prop it slightly open. 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. Cool completely before removing and filling.
  1. Vanilla Buttercream Filling
  2. Split vanilla pod lengthwise, and using back of paring knife, scrape the beans into granulated sugar (making a vanilla sugar).
  3. Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Bring the vanilla pod, vanilla sugar and 1/4 cup (57 grams) water to a boil in a small saucepan, and cook syrup to 238°F (115°C). Carefully remove the vanilla pod then gradually pour the syrup down the side of the bowl, cool on medium speed about 8 minutes.
  4. Add in the salt, butter and whip on high speed until fluffy and emulsified, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla extract. Note: for the macarons in the photo, I folded in finely minced strawberries for color and flavor.
  5. Now your buttercream is ready to go! Fill a piping bag (or a zippered plastic bag with one corner snipped off) and pipe your filling onto half of the finished macaron halves, then top with the other halves to make sandwiches.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Audrey
  • @cathouze4809
  • Cameron
  • Nora Register
    Nora Register
Photo Editor turned Pastry Chef. Owner of Bringing you classic French macarons with an American twist!! Check us out at!

4 Reviews

@cathouze4809 October 4, 2023
Thank you soo much. Love from Srilanka 🇱🇰
Cameron December 26, 2013
these were really good but, very sweet! i would suggest either spicing them to cut some of the sweetness for example, ancho chile powder, or cutting the syrup in half for the syrup in the buttercream...
Audrey March 2, 2013
Tried. Loved. Perfect! I'm highly allergic to nuts, and have never been able to have macarons even once in my life. That changed about two months ago when I read that you can replace almond flour with a homemade pumpkin seed flour. Since that discovery, I've tried several recipes --including BraveTart's nut-free recipe, which was what first inspired me to make nut-free macarons-- but none turned out so flawlessly as this one. Perfect tops and feet, and the troubleshooting tips in the accompanying article were hugely helpful. The buttercream was rich and easy, too. Thank you!!
Nora R. January 1, 2013
I tried this recipe. It may help to mention that while piping the macaroons keep in mind that the cookies will not rise while baking. What you see is what you'll get; so slamming the tray down will leave you with a flatter cookie. Mine came out way too flat. I think that slamming the air bubbles out is an unnecessary step. After done, I feel the cookies came out way too sweet for my taste. The filling tasted like sweetened butter. If this is the way the French like their macaron, they must like stuff super sweet. I'd rate this recipe a 2 1/2 stars out of 5.