Macarons are my favorite gluten-free dessert to prepare. Elegant, beautiful, delicious, and always a crowd pleaser.
Macarons are light and airy meringue-based sandwich cookies made with almond flour, egg whites, granulated sugar, and confectioners' sugar. Once the macaron "cookie" is baked and cooled, they are filled with ganache, buttercream, or fruit curd for an endless array of flavor combinations.
Macarons, while delicious, can be finicky and delicate to prepare. Do not be daunted by the list of steps, which are detailed to help you prepare these beautiful and festive gluten-free cookies at home.
This recipe is our go-to macaron recipe, our foundation, and blueprint for all macarons we create. You can color them any color you desire and fill them with your favorite flavors. We recommend trying this Vanilla Buttercream, Lemon Curd, and Chocolate-Orange Ganache.
- 4 oz finely ground almond meal/flour
- 7 oz confectioner's sugar
- 4 oz egg whites, aged and room temp
- 3.5 oz granulated sugar
- Pinch cream of tartar
- Pre-heat the oven to 325 F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. (We stopped using Silpats when we bake macarons; we find they peel off so much easier from parchment).
- Add almond meal and confectioner's sugar to a food processor fixed with a metal blade. Run until fine powder forms. Sift four times, discarding any tiny lumps or almond meal “pebbles” between sifting. Set aside. The more you sift, the smoother the tops!
- Using a stand mixer fixed with the whisk attachment, whip the room temperature egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. Once the mixture thickens, stop the mixer. Add cream of tartar, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then turn the mixer back on, increasing speed to high.
- Whip the mixture for about 5 to 6 minutes until a peak at the end of the whisk attachment holds its form. (You can test this by turning off the mixer and checking to see if the mixture at the tip of the whisk attachment doesn’t drip).
- Remove bowl from the stand mixer and set on a counter or table. Add ⅓ of the almond meal-confectioner's sugar mixture and fold gently to combine. Add another third of the almond meal-confectioner's sugar mixture, then fold again. Once incorporated, add the final third as well as the Wilton gel food coloring (liquid coloring will dilute the batter). Fold one final time.
- The batter that forms after three rounds of folding should be firm with a glossy shine. Test the batter by lifting the spatula; if the batter drips very slowly from the spatula like lava, it’s ready. If not, continue to fold the batter for another 30 seconds. Be careful not to overmix.
- Affix a pastry bag with a #12 plain round tip. Fill the bag ¾ with batter. Pipe into 1.5-inch rounds on the lined baking sheets. You want to pipe so that the bag is perpendicular to the baking sheet, not at an angle. After piping a circle of batter, flick your wrist quickly to the side so that a point doesn’t form at the top of the macaron. (If a tip does form, no worries, you can smooth it out with a small spatula later).
- Firmly tap the baking sheet on your work surface to get rid of any air bubbles potentially stuck in the batter. Let the prepared baking sheets sit at room temperature until dry shell forms on the macarons. Test by touching the batter with your fingertip. If your fingertip doesn’t stick to the batter, the macarons are ready for the oven. The “resting” phase can take 20 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on the humidity in the room. It's so important to let the tops dry out, otherwise, they'll crack while baking.
- Bake the macarons, one baking sheet at a time, in the lower third of the oven for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. When done, the tops will be firm to the touch and the center won't jiggle like jelly.
- Remove macarons from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Gently peel the macarons off the parchment paper and transfer to a wire rack. (If you try to do this while the macarons are still hot, they'll come apart). Allow the macarons to cool completely before filling.
- Arrange the macarons by two’s, top side down, making sure to match sizes best you can. Depending on the size of the macaron, squeeze a nickel to quarter size amount of filling onto the bottom of the macaron. Lay the second macaron on top, and very gently, press together so that the filling expands but doesn’t come out the sides. Repeat for all remaining macarons.
Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels to confirm the product is gluten-free. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.