French macaron is a delicate and delicious cookie that is sure to WOW all your loved ones! This easy French macaron recipe will help you make a perfect batch of these dainty almond cookies!
These cookies can definitely seem finicky at first but once you get a hold of the technique, you are going to love making them every single time. The trick to making perfect macarons is patience and following the recipe EXACTLY!
It might take a few tries before you get a batch of perfect looking macarons, with feet and without any hollows or cracks. But even during all your tries, worry not if your cookies don’t look as they’re supposed to, they will still taste totally delicious!
P.S. – Sorry for the long article ahead, but I just feel that every recipe is unique and I want to share as much information as I can from my experience.
TL;DR – Jump to Recipe (however I recommend going through the tips and troubleshooting guide first.)
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THESE
TIPS FOR MAKING PERFECT MACARONS
1. Sift Almond Flour Multiple Times
Even though most brands call it “super-fine”, you still need to pass it through a sieve at least 2 times to make it even finer. While you pass it through a sieve, you’ll see some particles that do not pass through on their own, do not force them down by pressing or trying to break them. Just discard those particles! NOTE: This step is very important and should not be skipped if you want your macarons to have a smooth top with no cracks.
2. Sift Almond Flour And Icing Sugar Mixture Together As Well
Most times, confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar has lumps and we need to get rid of that. We want almond flour and icing sugar to be superfine and completely mixed with each other, so it is imperative you sieve them at least 2 times as well.
3. Use Aged Egg Whites
This step is not a must do but I have tried making macarons both with and without aging egg whites and I could tell the difference.
To age egg whites, place egg whites in a clean glass bowl, cover it with a plastic wrap, prick some holes on top and let it hang in the fridge for at least 24 hours. This process dehydrates the egg whites which, as a result, creates a very stable meringue, perfect for macarons!
4. Use Egg Whites At Room Temperature
You shouldn’t use cold egg whites for making macarons, it will just not result in a very stable meringue. So, about 1 hour before making macarons, take out your egg whites from the refrigerator and place them on the counter to let them come to room temperature.
To speed up the process, soak the vessel holding the egg whites in warm water. Be very careful not to let any water get into the egg whites.
5. [IMP] Beat Egg Whites Till Very Stiff Peaks
Having a strong meringue is one of the most important steps to making macarons. So just get this – YOUR MERINGUE NEEDS TO HAVE VERY STIFF PEAKS. It should have a consistency like marshmallow fluff. Your peaks shouldn’t bend from the top, they should stand completely upright. Yeah, they should be happy – OK, let’s call them happy peaks!
6. Add Food Coloring After Soft Peaks Are Achieved
The reason for this step is that you want your food coloring to be fully incorporated in the meringue. So, if you add your food coloring after you’ve achieved stiff peaks, mixing the egg whites any further will only cause them to split and be ruined. Hence, add your food coloring once soft peaks are achieved and then continue to beat your meringue till stiff peaks.
7. Use Gel Food Coloring To Add Color To Your Macarons
Liquid food coloring can increase the amount of moisture in your batter, thereby disrupting the wet to dry ratio. Hence, it is always recommended to use gel food coloring for adding color to your macarons.
8. [IMP] Macaronage – Get The Right Consistency Of The Batter
Macaronage is a step when we mix the dry ingredients with meringue and fold the batter until perfect lava-like consistency is achieved. This step can make or break your macarons! And trust me, it will take a few tries before you fully understand what this “lava-like” consistency should be, but I’ll try my best to explain this process in depth here.
9. Dry Your Macarons Before Baking
After you’ve piped your macarons, don’t put them in the oven to bake right away! First, you need to let them sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes so more so that a dry skin forms on top of them and if you gently touch their tops, your finger remains clean. If they’re still wet after 45 minutes, then let them dry a little longer.
10. Understand Your Oven’s Actual Temperature
So you might have followed all the above mentioned tips – you beat your egg whites till “happy peaks” stage, you folded the dry ingredients into your meringue and got a batter with lava-like consistency, you even let them dry till a skin formed on top of them, but they still cracked or became hollow or didn’t develop any feet!! Well, that’s because your oven temperature wasn’t really what it was showing. It was either too high or too low. Therefore, as I always say, having an oven thermometer always makes the things more foolproof.
So what is Macaronage, after all?
The process of folding stiff meringue into the almond flour mixture in order to form a thick and smooth batter is called Macaronage. When you begin the folding process, at first, the batter will look quite rough and dry but as you continue folding, it will start to become silkier, with a glossy shine and begin to flow off the spatula in a slow and steady drizzle.
The thing we need to keep in mind is that we need to deflate some of the air bubbles from the meringue. So the process I follow is gently folding in all of the flour mixture into the meringue first (in parts of course), and then I begin pressing the batter against the surface of the bowl to deflate some air bubbles. Continue this process of folding and deflating until you get the lava-like consistency we talked about.
Some people give the exact number of folds needed to reach that consistency, but I’ve experienced that temperature and humidity also play an important role here. If it’s humid outside or the temperature is warm then you will reach Macaronage faster than on a cold day. So, really, you only need to understand your batter – continue folding and deflating until it tells you to stop! You’ll see it become shinier and luscious with every fold.
The real trick to test if your dough has the right consistency is taking some batter on your spatula and letting it drop. If the batter falls in a ribbon-like flow and you can make the figure “8” without the ribbon breaking, then voila, your batter is ready!
Once the batter falls in a ribbon-like flow, count till 20 and the trail should start merging back with the rest of the batter.
1. Why Didn’t My Macaron Feet Develop?
Feet may not develop due to a couple of reasons. If your shells weren’t dried enough before they were baked, or if your batter was too wet, or if your oven temperature was too low, then your macarons won’t have that beautiful feet. Let’s see the fixes below:
- Before baking your macaron shells, always gently touch their tops to see if no batter sticks to your finger and your shells are dry enough. If little batter still sticks to your finger, then let them dry for longer.
- A wet batter is usually a result of humidity and temperature of your surroundings. Try to have a fan or a dehumidifier near your work surface if it’s either too hot or too humid. Another reason for having wet batter is using liquid food coloring. This can totally affect the ratio of wet to dry ingredients in the batter. That’s why I always advise on using gel based food coloring.
- If none of the above scenarios happened to you, then your oven temperature was too low. Increase the temperature to allow feet to develop properly.
2. Why Are My Macarons Hollow?
Hollow macarons are a result of poorly beaten or broken meringue, or not reaching the macaronage stage while folding. Let’s see the fixes below:
- Under whipping or over whipping the egg whites – If you under whip the egg whites then your meringue will just not be dry enough and will still have a lot of moisture. If you over whip the egg whites, then your meringue will break! Make sure you check from time to time while whipping your egg whites and stop the moment stiff peaks are achieved.
- Improper Macaronage technique – Macaronage can take a while to master, so worry not and keep practicing. All you need to do is keep checking if your batter falls off the spatula in the form of a ribbon and if you’re able to form the figure “8” without breaking the ribbon. You’ll get there!
3. Why Did My Macaron Shells Crack?
Macaron shells crack if excess air is trapped inside them, if the oven temperature is too high, or if you have a weak meringue. Let’s see how to fix the cracked macaron shell problem:
- Rapping the tray against the counter multiple times after piping is very important. This is the very last step, don’t skip it. Look at all the hard work you’ve done- you followed the instructions precisely, even perfected the Macaronage technique, but forgot to release air bubbles by rapping your tray! And this tiny mistake can ruin all your hard work! So, just don’t skip it, okay? In fact, I’d say rotate your tray and rap it from each side.
- There can be hot spots in your oven that you might not be aware of. That’s why I always recommend on using an oven thermometer while baking.
- I can’t stress enough how important beating your meringue till very stiff peaks is. Having a weak meringue is the reason for a lot of problems.
4. Why Are The Tops Of My Macarons Too Brown?
The tops of your macarons can become too brown if your oven temperature is too high or your shells are too close to the heat source.
FIX – Turn down oven temperature and bake them for longer. I also prefer to keep my baking tray on the last rack to ensure that the shells are not too close to the heat source.
5. Why Do My Macarons Have Points or Nipples?
Macaron shells can have unattractive looking nipples or points due to an under-mixed batter.
FIX – Next time fold your batter a little longer and keep checking for lava-like consistency.
6. Why Does My Batter Keep Getting Thicker While Folding?
This can happen due to incorrectly measured ingredients, over whipping the meringue or gel food color being corrupted or expired.
FIX – It is always recommended to use a kitchen scale for weighing out all the ingredients correctly. Macarons are finicky cookies and approximating the ingredients just won’t do it.
7. Why Is My Macaron Batter So Runny?
Macaron batter can be runny due to under whipped meringue or because of over-folding the batter during macaronage stage. Your batter should not fall off the spatula very fast, it should be a thick and slow flowing batter like honey.
- Beat your meringue till very stiff peaks.
- Keep checking the consistency of your batter constantly during Macaronage stage. Check out this video to see How to Properly Fold Macaron Batter.
8. Why Are My Macaron Shells Sticking To The Pan?
Your macaron shells will stick to the pan if your batter was too wet or due to under-baking.
FIX – Check the consistency of your batter to make sure it’s not too wet or runny. If you under-baked your macarons, then bake them for longer next time.
9. Why Are My Macaron Shells Crunchy And Dry?
Macaron shells can be crunchy and dry to to over-baking.
FIX – You can brush the bottom of your shells with some milk. Then fill your macaron with your favorite filling and let them mature in the refrigerator for 24 hours. They will soften up! But for next time, make sure to decrease your baking time.
1. What is the Difference Between a Macaron and a Macaroon?
The two might sound similar but are completely different cookies. Macaron is a light meringue based cookie, usually sandwiched between a buttercream or a ganache layer. Macaroon, on the other hand, is made from sweetened coconut flakes, egg whites, and sugar. It tastes more like a snowball cookie.
2. What is the Difference Between French and Italian Macarons?
Both are basically two different techniques of making macarons. In the French meringue method, sugar is gradually poured into egg whites as they are whisked and the egg whites are beaten till stiff peaks. On the other hand, in the Italian meringue method, sugar is first heated with water to make a sugar syrup, which is then added to the whipping egg whites. In this method, we don’t get stiff peaks.
Both methods yield the same delicious chewy cookie, but if you’re trying to bake macarons for the first time then this French meringue method is the easier one!
3. Can you Make them on Parchment Paper?
Yes absolutely! I love making my macarons on parchment paper. Silicone mat can be a bit sticky for macarons. They work, no doubt, but it might be a little difficult to take out your macarons from it. Don’t use wax paper or butter paper though.
4. Do we Need Cream of Tartar?
Cream of tartar is a stabilizing agent which helps to stabilize egg whites. It’s not mandatory to add Cream of Tartar though. You can even use lemon juice or vinegar as a substitute. Replace every 1/4 tsp of Cream of Tartar with 1 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar.
Step-By-Step Video Guide to Making Macarons
Make sure to check out this video for a step-by-step guide to successfully make macarons. From perfectly stiff meringue to the right Macaronage technique, you’ll see everything in action!
Easy French Macaron Recipe
White Chocolate Ganache Filling
Serving: 1 Macaron; 35 calories; 4 g fat; 1 g carbohydrates; 0.2 g protein;0 mg cholesterol; 1 mg sodium; 1 g sugar.
Like the recipe? Pin it!