Unfairly, macarons -- not macaroons -- get such bad press about being difficult to make. While they may not be the easiest thing to make, they really aren't too bad, as you will see in the following recipe. You just need to bear a few points in mind and before you know it, you will be creating perfect macarons every time.
This easy macaron recipe is a basic one, with a few extra tips to help a beginner on their way. From this recipe, the macarons you can create will only be limited by your imagination. With a variety of colors and flavors for filling -- provided below -- you can make a stunning party dessert or tea time treat that will have your guests asking where you bought them!
If you happen to be a little unsteady with a piping bag, no worries! We recommend creating a template on greaseproof paper, or buying a specially designed silicon macaron mat, if you want even sized macarons.
- 1 cup/100 grams icing sugar (aka powdered sugar)
- 1 cup/100 grams ground almonds (aka almond flour)
- 2 medium free-range egg whites
- Small pinch salt
- 1/4 cup/55 grams caster sugar (aka fine sugar)
- For the filling:
- 2/3 cup/150 grams unsalted butter (softened)
- 2/3 cup/75 grams icing sugar (aka powdered sugar)
Macarons need a steady, lowish temperature to cook properly. Too high, and they quickly burn. Too little and they don't cook through. These temperatures are a guideline, adjust to suit your oven.
Preheat the oven to 300 F/140 C. If your oven happens to have a fan in it, we recommend not to use it if possible. But do not worry if you have no alternative, the results will still be good!
- Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds into a large mixing bowl. Throw any lumps left behind away. Mix the two together.
- In a separate, scrupulously clean bowl whisk the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the caster sugar, a little at a time and continue to whisk until the whites are very thick and glossy (ideally, you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out - go on, we dare you!) Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mix. The mixture will lose some air and become quite loose, don't worry, this is the way it should be.
- Using a piping bag with a 1/3-inch (1 cm) nozzle, fill with the macaron mixture. Place the silicon mat (see note in the introduction) or paper template onto a baking sheet. Pipe small blobs onto the sheet remembering that less is more at this stage because the mixture will settle and form into the allotted spaces.
- Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on the work surface to help the macaron mixture to settle and to break any air bubbles, then leave to dry for 20 minutes - the surface of the macaron will become smooth and shiny
- Bake the macarons in the preheated for 7 to 8 minutes open the door to release any steam, close the oven door and cook for a further 7 to 8 minutes. The macarons are cooked when they feel firm and are slightly risen.
- Slide the mat or greaseproof paper onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool thoroughly. Do not be tempted to remove the macarons from the mat until they are cold or you will break them.
Make the Filling
- Beat the softened butter until it is fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. At this point you can add in any flavorings, you may choose. See examples below.
- Place approximately half a teaspoon of the filling to the flat side of one macaroon and sandwich together with another then twist ever so slightly to create a bond. Continue with the remaining macarons.
- The macarons can be eaten immediately, but will benefit from being refrigerated for 24 hours (that's if you can resist them for that long) as this will make them even more chewy and tasty.
Making Different Colored Macarons
This is the basic recipe for macarons, and you can make colored macarons by (sparingly) using a food coloring paste, rather than liquid food coloring.
Filling Variations for Macarons
For pink macarons, raspberry and strawberry are good matches. For contrast add a little vanilla flavoring to the buttercream.
Green macarons work very well with a pistachio flavored cream. You can use either food additive or finely ground, pistachio nuts.
If you would still like green, but want to add a little twist, we recommend adding a little coconut, fresh lime zest and a tiny squeeze of the juice for a zingy filling.
For creating a purple macaron, we find that blueberry flavor is perfect.
Craving a cream colored macaron? Vanilla extract makes for a wonderful cream colored macaron and provides for an extra creamy taste.
Want to brighten things up and create a yellow macaron? Lemon is a great solution for you!
Whichever flavor and color you decide to make while baking, we're sure you'll fall in love with these macarons.