A Beginner’s How-to Guide to Making Macarons (with photos!)

Posted In: Food, Recipes

Hi everyone! If you follow me on Instagram (or Twitter, I crosspost there) you’ll have noticed that I’ve been practicing making macarons at home over the past couple of weeks. My husband is a big fan of any meringue-based dessert and absolutely loves macarons – and they’re so very pretty – so I’ve been eager to learn. My biggest resource in learning how to do it was this excellent how-to site which I must credit for teaching me this recipe!

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I’ve finally nearly-perfected my method of making them and I’m pretty confident now that my batches will turn out decent every time (after quite a few flawed or completely failed batches). I’ve had a couple of requests for the recipe I use so I’m going to share it right here, right now…and I’ll add a couple of tips here and there too.

First off, as far as ingredients go, you’ll need:

3 large sized egg whites (I separate mine myself and use Sunny Queen Farms free-range large eggs, available from Coles supermarkets. I do not use my own hen’s eggs for macarons as their weight varies significantly and it’s best to use standard 50-60g large eggs) – when separating your eggs be careful, you CANNOT allow any egg yolk to get in your mixture!

210g powdered sugar (this is confectioner’s sugar or icing mixture. I use
CSR brand Icing Sugar Mixture. It’s important NOT to use pure icing sugar – it’s good to have corn starch or maize in the mixture and pure icing sugar does not have it.)

125g almond meal (also known as almond flour. Coles does not sell this where I live, so I used Natures Works brand almond meal. Almond meal will be available in any health food store.)

30g regular white sugar (I attempted to use caster sugar but did not personally get favourable results, however some people say they get better results with caster sugar. I personally recommend regular sugar)

Tip: Your egg whites should be aged at least 24 hours in the refrigerator in an airtight container. If you don’t have time for this, you can mimic the aging process by putting them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. I’ve made macarons both ways and had equally good results.

In terms of equipment, you’ll need:

Precise kitchen scales. You need to measure your ingredients very accurately. Personally I do OK going a maximum of 5g over or under, but it’s honestly best to be very precise)

A food processor is very useful for blending your powdered sugar and almond meal together and also making it finer and easier to sift, resulting in lovely smooth macarons. It’s not a complete necessity, just make sure you blend the two ingredients together very, very thoroughly.

A sieve or sifter

A spatula

A stainless steel bowl – spotlessly clean

A large mixing bowl

2 large baking trays that can be layered on top of each other

Baking paper (no wax or silicone mats)

A macaron template (I printed and laminated this one)

Electric whisk/beater (with spotlessly clean whisks)

Piping bag and a tip with a 3/4 inch round opening

Food colour (I use Queens brand liquid food colouring, but have ruined macarons more than once because I used too much and added too much moisture to the batter. It would be much better to use gel colour, which is very vivid)

Now for the procedure

Leave your egg whites out to reach room temperature.

Prepare your baking trays. It’s best to layer two trays on top of each other to prevent the bottom of the macarons from cooking too quickly and it helps make those nice bubbly feet at the base of the macaron. On top of this, you can place a template such as the one I use which is linked above…and then a layer of baking paper. You’ll pipe your mixture onto the baking paper and then carefully slide the template out before putting it into the oven.

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Place your stainless steel bowl in the fridge, it’s better to beat egg whites in a cold bowl.

After you’ve measured your dry ingredients, place them in your food processor and combine them thoroughly for a couple of minutes. Scrape the bowl to loosen any mixture stuck to the sides, then blitz them again for another couple of minutes.

Sieve this blended mixture into your mixing bowl. For me, because I have a very fine sieve, this takes some time and is definitely the most boring part of making macarons! Sieve sieve sieve. You’ll probably be left with some bits of almond that won’t go through, that’s OK – it’s not usually enough to throw your recipe out of balance. I’m usually left with about this much in my sieve that I can’t get through.

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Now it’s time to beat your egg whites. Put your dry ingredients to the side and take your stainless steel bowl out of the fridge.

Place the egg whites in the bowl and start beating them at a medium speed until they become frothy and you can see your whisk leaving marks in the mixture. Now start adding your regular sugar about a tablespoon at a time. Continue beating, with all the sugar added, you should see your eggs becoming white and fluffy.

Keep beating until the egg whites become thick, dense and very creamy. When the egg whites are ready, you’ll see that the mixture makes peaks on your whisk and in the bowl. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the mixture sliding out!

Now we can add some colour to the egg whites. Be slow and gentle as you incorporate the colour. Fold the colour into the egg whites using a spatula – do not stir or whisk! Fold, bringing the bottom of the mixture up to the top and scraping the colour into the egg whites. Keep folding the colour in this way until it’s all blended in. Don’t rush this step, you don’t want your egg whites to go flat on you.

Now you can start adding the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture. Add it in a little at a time – I do it in 4 parts. Use the same folding motion bringing the bottom of the bowl up to the top. Don’t freak out, because when you first start incorporating the dry ingredients the mixture WILL look like it’s going to go wrong, it won’t seem to mix well and can appear to curdle. But it will soon redeem itself! Keep folding the dry ingredients in until the batter is well combined and smooth. Don’t be scared or “too gentle” when doing this, but don’t beat the mixture either – use a firm hand but don’t rush it.

You’ll be left with a pretty glossy and creamy batter.

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Spoon it, or use your spatula, to get the batter into your piping bag. To help the piping bag keep its shape and get the batter right down to the bottom, I fold mine down onto itself half way (so turning it halfway inside out), fill it up to that point, then unfold it and continue filling it if I can.

Now with your piping bag full of batter, place the tip close to the baking paper at a perpendicular angle and squeeze out circular disks (using your template underneath as a guide) by twisting the end of the piping bag to push the batter down and out. When you’ve squeezed out enough, STOP squeezing and quickly lift the tip up and away from the tray. Continue until you’ve filled your pan.

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If you’ve left little peaks where you’ve lifted the tip of the piping bag, or if some of your disks are misshapen, you can use a butter knife or spatula to smooth them out and refine their shapes. To be honest I’ve found it’s easiest to use a clean finger. A bit messy but I have better control over it!

Now – I’ve found this step to be important – lift your baking trays off the table a little and bang them firmly back down a few times. This removes any air bubbles and smoothes out the disks.

And now, after preheating your oven to about 135C-150C depending on your oven (I bake mine at about 140C), we wait. Do not put them in the oven yet! This is extremely important. You will not achieve lovely bubbly feet and smooth caps if you do not do this. You need to let them rest until a thin skin has formed, so that when you gently touch them they’re no longer sticky. This needs to be done in a cool, non-humid environment. I have tried to make macarons in humidity and heat before and it has failed miserably. It normally takes about 30 minutes for the skin to form, but it will take longer if there’s high humidity.

I have attempted to make macarons on a hot day before and I put them in the oven without giving them enough time to develop a skin. My macarons did not have bubbly feet, they were hollow, and the caps were cracked. Big fail.

Now, after sliding your template out from under the baking paper, you can place them in the oven and stay close-by. Don’t open the oven door for the first 10 minutes, but after that you’ll need to check on them and see how they’re going, possibly rotating the tray if necessary. If they’re baking too slowly, do not increase the heat, just bake them for a little longer.

When they’re done, they will have formed nice bubbly feet and the caps will be smooth and firm. When you touch them, you won’t see the batter move or bulge at your touch, they’ll stand firm.

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Take them out of the oven and allow them to cool on a cooling rack (on their baking paper). Let them cool COMPLETELY. Do not attempt to lift them while they are still warm or they could stick and you’ll screw ‘em up. Once cool, they should lift easily.

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Now you can make nice little pairs and ice them as you wish! I’ve tried lots of different combos, you can do whatever you like. I’ve used lemon curd, chocolate ganache, buttercream, raspberry preserve…they’re all good!

The filling on a good macaron should be visible from the outside but not dripping.

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Once you’ve paired them and filled them, you must pop them in the fridge and wait even longer! Let them stay in the fridge absorbing the flavour and some moisture from the filling, they’ll taste so good in 12-24 hours.

Good luck if you’re going to try making your own!

Happy baking!

PS: If you’re wanting to keep up with me, I’m addicted to Instagram and I post at least every day as part of a monthly photo-a-day challenge! I’m ALWAYS trying to find new active users to follow, so let me know if you’re also addicted so that I can follow you!

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  • http://briquettingplantunit.com/profile.html Bio Coal Briquetting Plant

    I’ve lastly nearly-perfected my technique of creating them and I’m fairly assured now that my groups will end up reasonable whenever (after quite a few defective or absolutely unsuccessful batches). I’ve had a number of demands for the formula I use so I’m going to discuss it right here, right now…and I’ll add a number of guidelines here and there too.

  • Sue

    Hi
    May i have the recipe for the macaron filling you use? Mine is always dripping and not able to hold the shells together.
    Thanks

  • Ann

    Hi,

    Just wondering at what speed and time frame do you use to when beating the egg whites using a handheld beater? I failed the last time when gettting the egg whites right.

  • Ed Foster

    When making sweets I use stevia extract. I buy it in a 275g bag and it measures just like sugar, tastes better, is not a GMO (as all white sugar is from GM beets) and has no calories and will not feed yeast (bad gut bacteria)! I find it cheap at Aldi.With stevia and coconut oil, cookies are healthy!

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