Ooh la la! Master the art of French macarons with our basic recipe. From there, try our variations for lavender-honey, peppermint, and citrus twist.

Jessica Havel
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Gallery

Credit: Blaine Moats

Recipe Summary

prep:
50 mins
bake:
10 mins at 325° per batch
Servings:
45
Yield:
about 45 sandwich cookies
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line three large cookie sheets with parchment paper. On a fourth sheet of parchment paper, use a permanent marker to draw 1 1/2-inch circles, 1 inch apart, to create a pattern.

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Meringue
  • Fill a 2-qt. saucepan with 1 1/2 inches water. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. In metal bowl of a stand mixer combine 3 egg whites, granulated sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Place bowl over simmering water, making sure water does not touch bottom of bowl. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved (about 150°F), stirring constantly with a silicon spatula.

  • Return bowl to stand mixer. Using whisk attachment, beat egg white mixture on high 8 to 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight) and bowl is cool to the touch. Add vanilla and, if desired, food coloring the last 1 minute of beating.

Almond Flour Paste
  • Meanwhile, using a coarse-mesh sieve, sift together almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Discard any larger pieces (up to 1 Tbsp.) that remain in sieve. Add 2 egg whites to flour mixture and stir with spatula until a thick paste forms. (The mixture may seem crumbly at first, but will come together after mixing.)

Batter
  • Fold and press one-third of the meringue into almond flour paste. Repeat, folding and pressing in remaining meringue by thirds. Pressing the mixture during folding helps to release air bubbles. Continue folding until batter falls off spatula in a thick ribbon, and you can draw a figure 8. Batter should be loose enough that it does not hold its shape, but stiff enough that you can still see the figure 8 after about 10 seconds. (It is better to slightly undermix than to overmix.)

Piping and Baking
  • Fit a decorating bag with a 1/2-inch round tip or a coupler. Fill bag two-thirds full with batter (fold tip to point up to prevent batter from flowing out).

  • For each batch, slide parchment pattern under plain parchment sheet on a cookie sheet. Pipe batter onto parchment, stopping just before batter reaches outline of circle. Firmly tap cookie sheet 5 to 10 times on counter to release air bubbles. Using a toothpick, pop any remaining bubbles. Slide out parchment pattern and repeat with remaining cookie sheets.

  • Bake macarons, one cookie sheet at a time, 10 to 12 minutes. Tops of cookies should be firm and not slide when gently touched. Immediately slide parchment paper onto counter; cool macarons completely.

Filling and Assembling
  • Spread Buttercream Filling on bottoms of half of the macarons, using 1 1/2 tsp. for each cookie. Top with remaining macarons, bottom sides down.

Buttercream Filling

In an extra-large bowl beat 1/2 cup softened butter with a mixer on medium to high 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Beat in 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Beat in 1 Tbsp. heavy cream, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and dash salt on low until combined. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups additional powdered sugar just until combined. Beat on medium 5 minutes or until light and fluffy, scraping bowl as needed. Beat in 1 1/2 tsp. additional heavy cream on high 1 minute more.

Christmas Filling

When preparing batter, add 2 Tbsp. red, white, or green nonpareils the last 1 minute of folding. If desired, lightly sprinkle macarons with additional nonpareils before baking. Prepare Buttercream Filling as directed, except substitute 1/2 tsp. almond or coconut extract for the vanilla and tint green using green food coloring.

*Food coloring

Use gel or paste food coloring. Liquid food coloring may interfere with the ratio of liquid and dry ingredients.

To Store

Place filled cookies in an airtight container. Store in refrigerator up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 months.

Lavender Rosemary

Tint the meringue using purple food coloring. When preparing almond flour paste, sift 2 tsp. ground dried lavender buds over mixture. Prepare Buttercream Filling as directed, except substitute ¹/2 tsp. Rosemary Extract (opposite) for the vanilla and tint filling using green food coloringROSEMARY EXTRACT In a small bowl combine 2 Tbsp. vodka and ¹/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed. Let stand 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove rosemary.

Lavender-Honey

When preparing the meringue, tint it with purple food coloring. When preparing almond flour paste, sift 2 tsp. ground dried lavender buds over mixture. Prepare Buttercream Filling as directed, except stir in 2 to 3 tsp. honey.

Citrus Twist

Do not add food coloring to meringue. Prepare batter as directed; divide in half. Fold ¹/2 tsp. orange zest and 1 to 2 drops orange food coloring into one portion of batter. Alternately fill pastry bag with orange and plain batters. Prepare Buttercream Filling as directed, substituting orange juice for cream; stir in 1¹/2 tsp. orange zest.

Birthday Cake

Add 2 Tbsp. nonpareils to batter during the last 1 minute of folding. If desired, lightly sprinkle macarons with additional nonpareils before baking. Prepare Buttercream Filling as directed, except substitute ¹/2 tsp. almond extract for the vanilla and tint filling pink using red food coloring.

Peppermint

When preparing meringue, tint it pink or red using red food coloring. Add 1 drop peppermint oil or extract when folding meringue into almond flour paste. Prepare the Buttercream Filling as directed, except stir in 2 Tbsp. crushed peppermint candies.

Nutrition Facts

99 calories; total fat 5g; saturated fat 2g; polyunsaturated fat 0g; monounsaturated fat 1g; cholesterol 6mg; sodium 34mg; potassium 9mg; carbohydrates 14g; fiber 1g; sugar 13g; protein 1g; trans fatty acid 0g; vitamin a 70IU; vitamin c 0mg; thiamin 0mg; riboflavin 0mg; niacin equivalents 0mg; vitamin b6 0mg; folate 0mcg; vitamin b12 0mcg; calcium 11mg; iron 0mg.
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