Macarons get such bad press about being difficult to make. They may not be the easiest, but are not so bad, as you can 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.
Take a look at my top tips for making macarons.
This recipe is the basic one for macarons with a few extra tips to help a beginner on their way. From this recipe, the macarons can then be elaborated on by changing the colors and flavors of the fillings, see the note at the beginning.
It is best to either create a template on greaseproof paper or buy a specially designed silicon macaron mat if you want even sized macarons. My favorite comes from Lakeland in the UK.
Macarons are sometimes called macaroons. Technically this is incorrect, and you can read why here.
- 100g (1 cup) icing (powder) sugar
- 100g (1 cup) ground almonds
- 2 medium, free-range egg whites
- Small pinch salt
- 55g (¼ cup) caster (fine) sugar
- For the filling:
- 150g (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, softened
- 75 g (2/3 cup) icing /powder sugar
This is the basic recipe for macarons, and you can make coloured macarons by (sparingly) using a food colouring paste rather than liquid food colouring. The colour should be added to the egg whites before whisking. However, If you would like chocolate macarons - Chocolate Macaron Recipe
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 140C/ 300F. Do not use a fan.
- 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 / fine 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, I 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 1cm / 1/3" 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 - 8 minutes minutes, open the door to release any steam, close the oven door and cook for a further 7 - 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 approx 1/2 a tsp 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.
Perfect for an Afternoon Tea, or your festive cooking
Filling Variations for Macarons
- For pink macarons: raspberry, strawberry are good matches, or for contrast add a little vanilla flavoring to the buttercream.
- Green macarons work very well with a pistachio flavored cream, use either food additive or finely ground, pistachio nuts. Alternatively, add a little coconut, fresh lime zest and a tiny squeeze of the juice for a zingy filling.
- Purple, blueberry flavor is perfect.
- Cream colored vanilla extract for an extra creamy taste.
- Yellow, lemon works well.