The Best Macaron Recipe
My first ever post on this blog! It’s only fitting that I talk about my favourite item to bake – macarons!. My obsession with making macarons started a month after I started baking for the very first time, my hubby bought me a macaron making class at a popular local French bakery and I learnt how to make French macarons from a French chef. It seriously changed my life as I became obsessed with macaron making ever since. I would practice by making several batches every week, and sometimes several a day
I love macarons on so many levels – both aesthetically and technically. As you probably already know by the barrage of #macaron hash tagged photos seen on Instagram, they are literally the most photogenic food ever to exist (my own very biased opinion of course haha). On the other hand, on a technical level, I love them because I’ve become addicted to the challenge of making them. They are super finicky to get right and it is one of the very few foods that, just by looking at its outer appearance, you will know which techniques were used to make it.
It is different from the Italian method, which involves simultaneously pouring hot syrup into egg whites that are being beaten. If you have no experience making an Italian meringue for other baked goods, this French method is the easier one to start with. Some bakers swear by the Italian method while some the French but both would yeild the same type of magical fluffy cookies that most people would know to be a macaron. (Click here to read the explanation between the two). Essentially, in the French method, we are using a French Meringue and in the Italian method – an Italian Meringue.
A Little Note Before you Begin:
Macarons can be very finicky to bake. If it doesn’t work out the very first time you try to make them, don’t be too upset. Any one of a gazillion factors can affect how your macarons will turn out. Most home bakers often lament on how there must be something wrong with the recipe and is forever in search of a magical recipe which will yield perfect macarons. To be honest, most of the items on the ingredient lists for the shells are very similar to one another because a certain ratio of each (but few) ingredient is needed for their composition. Where you really have to pay attention is whether you are mastering the important techniques at every step of baking these little treats. This includes the mixing of the batter and even how to use your home oven amongst others.
The recipe I’m giving you below includes all the techniques you will need to master at each step. I have also included links to several other posts I’ve written which will help you further pinpoint areas which you may need to tweak in order to bake a successful batch. In my recipe are all the things I’ve learned from my macaron baking adventures in my home kitchen. I can tell you that without a doubt, you will also yield wonderful macarons if you practice a lot – with the right techniques of course. I don’t believe that there is one magical recipe out there, including mine! What’s important is that you learn the proper techniques and then tweak them with what works best in your kitchen and in your oven. Below are all the foundation techniques you will need. Start by following each step carefully and practice, practice, practice! Good luck my dears!
Here’s my YouTube Video Tutorial, it will act as a visual aid. It’s very condensed and fast paced so I highly recommend using it in conjunction with all the information I have provided in this post.
Prepare everything that you will need in advance for piping your macarons because once your batter is ready, it must be used right away.
♥ Wipe down mixing bowls with some vinegar to remove leftover oils. Then use bowls to store egg white for “aging”
♥ Age your egg whites 24 hours in advance
Separate egg whites, making sure that you leave no traces of egg yolks. Water and yolks inside egg whites will make it very difficult to beat your egg whites into stiff peaks. Place egg whites in a very clean, dry, oil-free bowl. Wrap with Ceram wrap and poke a few holes into it. Place it in the fridge to dehydrate until ready to use. Read this post for detailed instructions.
♥ If your parchment paper comes on a roll, flatten it out by laying heaving objects on top. Providing a smooth flat surface for piping your shells will prevent them from spreading into odd shapes.
♥ Print out macaron template and place it underneath the parchment paper on a baking tray. My free macaron templates are available to newsletter subscribers. Please sign up for the newsletter and you will be sent a password to access the members only area. Please remember to confirm your subscription since it is a Double Opt-in process.
You’ll get various sizes of macaron templates in the Member’s Only Template area:
♥ Measure out all your ingredients
♥ Set up your piping bag
Push the piping tip firmly into the bag to ensure that it doesn’t move around when you start piping. Twist the bag and push it into the piping tip. It will act as a seal and stop any batter from leaking out of the tip when you begin to fill it. Set this bag inside a tall glass. Open up the top so that you can have both hands free to fill up the bag later.
♥ Set out egg whites about 20 min. ahead of making macarons to bring them back to room temperature
♥ Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together, mix well
Sifting will allow your macarons to develop smooth shiny shells. Throw away course almond or sugar bits as they can cause the egg whites to deflate and you will end up with a collapsed or uneven macaron. Remember to add back sifted amounts to compensate for the discarded amounts.
♥ Set dehumidifier to bring humidity level in the room below 50
A dryer environment will allow the macaron shells to “rest” after piping. This resting period will help the macaron develop feet.
2. Once the egg whites start leaving trails, add granulated sugar 1/3 at a time
“Leaving trails” refer to being able to see visible tracks in the egg whites.
3. Once all the sugar has been fully incorporated and before reaching stiff peaks, add 1-3 drops of gel colour to your liking. Beat until Stiff Peaks.
The term “Stiff peaks” is derived from how the egg whites appear when you pull the whisk out of it. It should be so firm that it literally stand up vertically and point upwards without falling back into itself. Also, test it by flipping your bowl COMPLETELY upside down. The whites should not slip or fall, instead it stays firm inside the bowl.
4. Test meringue stiffness.
Once it has reached “Stiff Peaks” stop and do not beat any more. The meringue should also start clumping up inside the whisk like this:
5. Pour a third of the almond mixture into the egg whites. Gently fold the egg whites into the almond flour and sugar mixture. Then add the rest of the almond mixture.
DO NOT NEED TO MIX or STIR. Folding properly will ensure that the air bubbles that you beat into your egg whites do not all deflate when incorporated with the heavier dry ingredients. You want to beat out some of the air that was created in the whipping of the egg whites, but not so much that its fully deflated and prevents feet from developing.
6. Stop folding once your batter has reached a “lava” like or honey consistency
Occasionally check the consistency to test doneness. The success of your macarons will depend largely on your ability to gauge when to stop folding your batter.
7. If using parchment paper, dab a little bit of batter on the bottom of all four corners of the parchment paper. Use it as a “glue” to keep the paper attached to the tray while piping. Or use magnets to secure the paper onto the tray. Using the spatula, gently transfer the batter into the piping bag. Pipe the batter to the size of the circle on the template.
Start from the center while holding the piping bag vertically and squeeze while applying even pressure to all sides until the batter has nearly reached the size of the template, swing the tip around back towards the center and pull away, that’s where you want your batter to end. Ideally, if your batter has been mixed properly and is at the correct consistency, any “nipples” or “tails” should sink back into itself. Also, remember to squeeze out the batter from the top of the bag without handling it excessively since you don’t want the structure of the batter near the end to be compromised.
Here’s a post showing you the proper consistency of a macaron batter after piping.
8. Remove the paper template from underneath the parchment paper.
9. Rap the tray several times on the counter.
This will allow any air bubbles to escape and prevents your macarons from cracking during the baking process. Rap it once or twice, rotate the pan and repeat.
10. Let it rest on the counter for 30 min. AND until a “skin” has developed.
Let the piped shells rest under the range hood fan. It will help dry them out. Do not use a fan which blows on an angle since it will cause your macarons to become lopsided. Once the shell looks dull and matte as opposed to glossy like when it was first piped, test on a sacrificial shell. Lightly touch the surface of the shell and if no batter sticks to your fingers, a “skin” has developed. It will be very clear when a skin has developed, you will be able to touch it without the batter transferring to your fingers. It will also not indent easily as well.
11. Preheat your oven to 320 F.
Place an oven thermometer inside the oven to ensure that the temperature is correct. Many bakers assume that their ovens are at the correct temperature when in fact the temperature has increased or decreased during the baking process without their knowledge.
Every oven is different so I suggest using this temperature and rack position as a baseline if it’s your first time making macarons, then make any adjustments you need to perfect them. Click here to read about the different ways to set your oven for baking perfect macarons.
13. Take them out and test to see doneness.
Use a spatula to lightly tap the feet, it should be firm and not push back. Wiggle the top of the shell from left to right, it should not be wobbly. Lightly peel back the parchment paper and the macaron should peel off easily without sticking. (This does not work well on silpats though.) If it doesn’t pass the tests above, put them back in the oven and bake an extra 1 min. at a time.
14. Keep on pan to cool off or take them off.
If the bottoms are just a tiny bit sticky (just a little bit though), keep them on the tray to cool off for about 15 min. If however, the bottoms are already brown, they peel off cleanly or appear over-baked, take them off the hot tray to cool down. Break one open and check the inside, it should be fully set and not overly moist. If it is too moist the cookies will collapse when they cool. Err on the side of over baking rather than under baking as the maturation process will be able to salvage over baked macarons. See step 15
Place the filling in a pastry bag and squeeze a dollop of it in the center. You don’t need too much, you don’t want it to squish out past the shell once you assemble the other side of the macaron shell.
16. Leave them in the fridge in an airtight container and let them mature for 24 hours.
They are best eaten after 24 hours since the flavors will be absorbed into the shell. If your shell is hard/crunchy/over baked, letting them develop will also allow the shells to absorb the moisture from the filling and it will develop that distinctive soft and chewy texture. The maturation process can also be sped up by lightly brushing the bottom of the shells with a syrup that is the same flavour as the filling. Milk works too!
17. After 24 hours of maturation in the fridge, bring them back to room temperature 30 min. before serving. ENJOY!
This Recipe Works!
Below are the work of lovely bakers who sent me photos of their successful macarons using my recipe. OMG! They all did lovely work and I am so pleased to see their results. If you want to share with me, please tag me on IG or send photo via email. Love you all, XOXO Mimi
See more beautiful work from bakers using my recipe by clicking any of the images below:
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March 19th, 2016