Parisian Macarons

October 22, 2014

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: These are small, sweet almond meringue cookies that, when properly made, puff into a smooth-topped matte round with a craggy ring on the bottom, referred to as “the foot.” The foot is the grand prize of macaron making and, like the smooth, uncracked top, it’s a sign of a job well done. There’s one more sign, which only becomes visible when you break into the cookie: a chewy interior beneath that outer shell.

A word on egg whites: Some pros leave their egg whites at room temperature for a few days before using them—you get a better meringue with old (more liquidy) whites. I leave them out overnight. If that makes you uncomfortable, separate the eggs and leave the whites in the refrigerator for a day or two.

A word on almond flour: The almond flour has to be absolutely free of lumps, so you must sift it or press it through a sieve. Never skip this step—it’s imperative.

A word on measuring: If you have a scale, use it to measure the ingredients for this recipe. You want equal weights of almond flour and confectioners’ sugar. You also want 150 ml of egg whites. That’s about 5 whites. Just turn your glass measuring cup around to the metric side, you’ll have an easy time of it. It’s also easier to use the metric measure should you have to divide the egg whites in half.

A word on tools: Because you have to beat the egg whites and, at the same time, pour hot sugar syrup into the bowl, it’s best to work in the bowl of a stand mixer. You’ll also need a candy thermometer. And while you can certainly bake the macarons on parchment-lined baking sheets, this is a case in which silicone baking mats do a better job.

And finally, a word on timing: Filled macarons need to soften in the refrigerator for at least 1 day. Sorry, it’s the rule.
Dorie Greenspan

Makes: about 45 macarons
Prep time: 27 hrs
Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (200 grams) almond flour (made from blanched almonds)
  • 1 2/3 cups (200 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 5 large egg whites (150 milliliters), at room temperature
  • 1 drop food coloring (optional)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) water
  • Choice of filling: chocolate ganache, white chocolate ganache, salted caramel filling, or jam
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. To make the macarons: If you are going to bake the macarons on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, you might want to make a template. Using a cookie cutter as your guide, trace circles about 1 1/2 inches in diameter on each sheet of paper, leaving about 2 inches between them, then turn the papers over on the baking sheets. If you’re using silicone mats, there’s nothing to do but line the baking sheets with them. Fit a large pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip. (Alternatively, you can use a zipper-lock bag -- fill the bag, seal it and snip off a corner.)
  2. Place a strainer over a large bowl and press the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar through the mesh. This is a tedious job, but much depends on it, so be assiduous. Then whisk to blend.
  3. Put half of the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  4. Add food coloring, if you’re using it, to the remaining egg whites, stir and then pour the whites over the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar. Using a flexible spatula, mix and mash the whites into the dry ingredients until you have a homogeneous paste.
  5. Bring the granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. If there are spatters on the sides of the pan, wash them down with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Insert a candy thermometer and cook the syrup until it reaches 243 to 245° F. (This can take about 10 minutes.)
  6. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold medium-firm peaks. Reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing until the sugar syrup comes up to temperature.
  7. When the sugar syrup reaches the right temperature, take the pan off the heat and remove the thermometer. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the hot syrup, trying to pour it between the whirring whisk and the side of the bowl. You’ll have spatters -- it’s impossible not to -- but ignore them; whatever you do, don’t try to incorporate them into the meringue. Raise the mixer speed to high and beat until the meringue cools to room temperature, about 10 minutes -- you’ll be able to tell by touching the bottom of the bowl.
  8. Give the almond flour mixture another turn with the spatula, then scrape the meringue over it and fold everything together. Don’t be gentle here: Use your spatula to cut through the meringue and almond mixture, bring some of the batter from the bottom up over the top and then press it against the side of the bowl. The action is the same as the one you used to get the egg whites into the almonds and sugar: mix and mash. Keep folding and mixing and mashing until when you lift the spatula, the batter flows off it in a thick band, like lava. If you want to add more food coloring, do it now.
  9. Spoon half of the batter into the pastry bag (or zipper-lock bag) and, holding the bag vertically 1 inch above one of the baking sheets, pipe out 1 1/2-inch rounds. Don’t worry if you have a point in the center of each round -- it will dissolve into the batter. Holding the baking sheet with both hands, raise it about 8 inches above the counter and let it fall (unnerving but necessary to de-bubble the batter and promote smooth tops). Refill the bag, pipe batter onto the second sheet and drop it onto the counter.
  10. Set the baking sheets aside in a cool, dry place to allow the batter to form a crust. When you can gingerly touch the top of the macarons without having batter stick to your finger, you’re ready to bake. (Depending on room temperature and humidity, this can take 15 to 30 minutes, sometimes more.) While the batter is crusting, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.
  11. Bake the macarons, one sheet at a time, for 6 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 6 to 9 minutes, or until the macarons can be lifted from the mat or can be carefully peeled away from the paper. The bottoms will feel just a little soft. Slide the silicone mat or parchment off the baking sheet onto a counter and set aside to cool to room temperature. Repeat with the second baking sheet of macarons.
  12. Peel the macarons off the silicone or parchment and match them up for sandwiching.
  13. To sandwich the macarons: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can use a teaspoon or a piping bag to fill the macarons. It’s up to you to decide how much filling you’ll want to use; some pastry chefs use enough filling to form a layer about half as high as one of the shells and others make the filling as tall as a shell, so they’ve got equal layers of shell, filling and shell. Spoon or pipe some filling onto the flat side of a macaron and sandwich it with its mate, gently twisting the top macaron until the filling spreads to the edges. Repeat with the remaining macarons and filling, then put the macarons on the baking sheet and cover with plastic film. (Or, if it’s easier for you, pack the macs into a container.) Chill for at least 24 hours, or for up to 4 days.
  14. Serving: Macarons are usually served as an afternoon treat with tea or coffee or after dinner or sometimes even after dessert. Take them out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Storing: You must keep the macarons refrigerated for 1 day before serving, and they can stay in the fridge for up to 4 days. They can also be frozen, packed airtight, for up to 2 months; defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator

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Reviews (17) Questions (0)

17 Reviews

Änneken August 25, 2018
These were absolutely terrific. They were seriously the best macarons I had in my entire life...usually, I'd buy them at expensive bakeries, etc. but no more! These tasted a million times better and the texture was exactly how it should be. I can't stop raving about these. Excellent recipe! Thank you, Dorie!
 
Kim May 10, 2018
The first time I tried making macarons in the U.S. after taking a class in Paris, I made the mistake of using almond flour instead of almond meal. The second time I ground my own meal from whole almonds and had great difficulty getting a fine enough powder. Then I discovered in the bulk bins section of my grocery store a bin of almond meal. The third time was the charm! So I am very surprised to hear that people have had success with almond flour rather then almond meal...
 
Suzanne M. January 9, 2018
I love this recipe! I will no longer be afraid of Italian meringue--it takes so much of the guess work out of egg white based desserts. I filled my perfect macarons (don't skip the curing step--it's crucial) with vegan chocolate ganache and cherry jam. They won a holiday cookie contest!
 
Jr0717 December 27, 2016
I tried this recipe, and macarons, for the first time today, and the batter was very loose and runny . The macarons never puffed at all in the oven, either. Any suggestions for re-trying the recipe and maybe getting it right? Thanks!
 
namcor April 14, 2016
That recipe is for "Italian macaroons". Not for French. French macaroons will be made different way. And, if you ask me: French macaroons taste better!
 
Jack December 14, 2016
**Macarons
 
Gizelle J. December 3, 2018
I learned macarons at the Ritz Escoffier in Paris and this is the same method they teach there (Italian meringue and vigorous mixing helps achieve a shiny top). This is actually a more authentic recipe than most you find out there.
 
Sugartoast February 28, 2015
Has anyone used pre-ground almond flour, rather than making it yourself per directions above? I see the pre-ground stuff at Middle Eastern markets all the time and wonder if it would be worthwhile subbing as a time-saving step?
 
augustabeth April 12, 2015
Yes, with other macaron recipes and it works well, don't skip the sift. a note on favorite fillings: salted caramel Nutella is delish and having a ready made filling is a time saver.
 
Sugartoast May 2, 2015
Thanks, I will try to pre-ground stuff next time. The sifting is such a tedious step but I have had such good results that I'm afraid to skip it. I have been playing around with different fillings, last night I made white chocolate with raspberry, and a bittersweet chocolate ganache filings for pale pink cookie shells. Our party guests loved them...<br />
 
Yiwen November 2, 2014
I tried this recipe for the first time a couple days ago and the macaroons turned out perfect. I found it slightly too sweet so opted for a lemon curd filing instead. It was a hit! Thanks for the great instructions as well!
 
Lex October 31, 2014
More questions: has anyone ever subbed out almond flour for another non-tree nut flour (I.e. Coconut/pumpkinseed, etc)?
 
Peter October 24, 2014
Also Alexis, generally you want to dry them until you can (gently) run your finger over the top without having any of the mixture stick to it. I would say if it's a humid day either turn the air conditioning or dehumidifier on or wait for another day! I've done up to 2 hours of drying in semi-humid weather with great results.
 
Peter October 24, 2014
As a macaron baker I can tell you that 5 cups of egg whites is far too much. I believe you guys meant 5 large egg whites, but even that will not equal 500ml (half a liter). That's far too much egg white for 45 macarons. I'd guess giving your proportions you meant 5 large egg whites which is about 200g of egg white.
 
M T. October 24, 2014
Was going to point out the same problem. In her description, Ms Greenspan mentions 115 mls, which seems like the right proportion.
 
Julie M. October 24, 2014
Thanks for pointing this out -- it was indeed a mistake! See above for the corrected ingredient list. Thank you for your patience!
 
Lex October 24, 2014
Question about drying out piped macaroons- can you overdo this process.? I.e. Have them sit too long? If so, what happens?