My obsession with French macarons began when I visited Paris for the first time in 2007. These delicate cookies come in so many pretty colors and flavors. I love biting into the thin smooth crisp outer shell and the slightly chewy flavorful center. To me, it’s the perfect little piece of dessert.
I love to bake but macarons are just so intimidating. This year I finally set my fear aside and learned how to make these perfect little cookies. I did a lot of research and tested many recipes. I am so happy to share with you the recipe and tips that helped me make Parisian-worthy macarons! They’re not hard to make at all. It does require a little bit of practice but you get to eat tasty macarons along the way. Don’t be discouraged by the long recipe. I just included all the tips that were helpful to me. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
Raspberry Macarons (makes about 30 macarons)
Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook with additional tips adapted from Pierre Herme’s Macaron book and Joanne Chang’s video tutorial.
***Please keep in mind that the whole process of this recipe will take 3 days in order to achieve the best tasting macarons. You can do it all in one day like the Martha Stewart recipe but it won’t be as good. Trust me! It’ll be worth the wait.
1¼ cups (160 g) confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups (115 g) almond flour
3 large egg whites, aged and at room temperature
Pinch of salt
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
Few drops of red food coloring
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup raspberry preserves
Day 1: Separate the egg whites and put them into a clean dry bowl. (It’s a lot easier to separate eggs that are cold.) Make sure there are no traces of yolk in the bowl. The egg whites will not whip up properly if there are. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and use a sharp knife to slit a few holes on top. Leave it out at room temperature for at least 24 hours. The egg whites will whip up nicely and easily after it has aged and is at room temperature. Pierre Herme actually recommends leaving the bowl of egg whites in the refrigerator to age for a whole week! I think it’s because they have access to very fresh eggs over there. So age your egg whites for a couple of extra days if you are using very fresh eggs. I never had to go more than 1-2 days with the eggs from the supermarket.
Day 2: Line two flat baking sheets with new parchment paper or non-stick baking mats. (You can usually re-use parchment papers when baking other cookies but the macarons will not hold their round shape and develop even “feet” from the crinkles of pre-used parchment papers.)
Put the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour into the food processor and pulse until they’re evenly combined. This creates a smoother-looking cookie. You can also whisk or sift the two together if you don’t have a food processor. Set aside.
Take the stand mixer bowl and make sure it is clean and dry. Put the egg whites into the bowl and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and add the salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add in the granulated sugar, about a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches stiff peaks. The egg whites should be thick and glossy and hold a straight peak (no curl at the tip) when you lift the whisk from the bowl.
Add a few drops of red food coloring to the egg whites and then sprinkle half of the sugar-almond mixture over the egg whites as well. Using a large rubber spatula, fold until just combined. Add the vanilla extract and the rest of the sugar-almond mixture and again fold until just combined. Be careful not to fold too much. The mixture should be smooth but still a little stiff. When you lift the spatula, the mixture to slowly fall back onto itself.
Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a ½ inch plain tip. Pipe 1½ inch rounds about 1 inch apart onto prepared sheet pans. Keep your piping bag perpendicular to the sheet pan as you pipe and quickly flick your wrist as you finish each round to lessen the peak at the top. Lightly tap the sheet pan onto the table to even out the batter and to get rid of any air bubbles. You can flatten any peak that is left with a damp fingertip.
Leave them out at room temperature for 30 minutes to develop a crust. This will help create the nice domes and “feet” that we all love. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300oF with racks in the upper and lower thirds. After 30 minutes, check to see if the macarons are ready to go into the oven. The rounds should be dry to the touch.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The macaron shells should feel firm and can be lifted off the parchment. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Gently loosen them from the parchment paper with your hands or a small offset spatula and transfer them to cool on the wire rack. Once cooled, pair them up by size first if your shells are slightly different sizes.
Stir your preserves to loosen it up a bit. Spoon about 1-1½ teaspoons of the preserves onto the center of one shell and top it with another. Continue until all macaron shells are filled. You might be tempted to eat them at this point but they will taste their best after they had the time to rest and develop their flavors. (Eat one now and compare it to the ones the next day. You’ll see what I mean.) Store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 24 hours.
Day 3: You finally get to eat the macarons today! Yay! They taste best at room temperature so test your patience a little bit more and let them sit out for 2-3 hours before eating them. Enjoy!
- I like measuring out the ingredients with a scale. It’s so much faster, easier, and more accurate.
- After folding the mixture, you can always spoon just a little bit of it into the piping bag and do a few “test pipes” to see if you have fold it to the right consistency. If you fold your mixture correctly, the rounds should spread out just a little bit and not have much of a peak. If the rounds have very stiff peaks and don’t spread, you can fold it a little further. If it spreads too fast, you have over-folded your mixture. Your macarons will be flat and won’t look as pretty but they will still taste good.
- Joanne Chang did an awesome video tutorial on how to make French macarons. Watch it here. It is very helpful to be able to see all the techniques.
- Keep on practicing. It’s okay if your first few tries doesn’t look as pretty. They will still taste wonderful!
- I will post recipes for other variations later on but you can also try to do it on your own. You can omit the food coloring or substitute it with other colors and fill them with different preserves, curds or your favorite homemade buttercream.