French Macarons are colorful dainty cookies with ganache, buttercream or jam sandwiched between two macaron cookies. It can be addicting but they are too sweet. Macarons are always described as finicky, fuzzy cookies that should have feet. For some people who are not familiar with these cookies are probably wondering what the h#$# are those feet. The first time I saw and tried macarons was years ago in downtown Chicago.
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French Macarons became so popular that they were popping up in high-end bakeshops in the US. Now, you see them everywhere even in Costco and they are still expensive.
When we were Paris, it was in our itinerary to stop by Pierre Hermes since they are known for macarons. After a stroll around Notre Dame, we headed to Pierre Hermes a ten minute walk so we can try a few of their popular flavors.
It was good but just like any macarons they were also too sweet for my taste. When we were in Versailles, my niece bought a box of different flavored macarons at McDonalds. Again, it was good but sweet.
Our hotel was close to Louvre and a walking distance to another known bakeshop called Patisserie Stohrer. My brother visited this bakery everyday and came home with bags of desserts.
One day, I walked with them to this place and offered to pay. It was over $100 for all the cakes we bought. So I assumed he easily spent around $500+ for desserts and food at Stohrer for the 4 days we were there.
On our last day, we stopped by Stohrer again and ordered cakes to take for our train ride to Switzerland and my niece bought some macarons to take back to the US.
The funny thing was she hand carried the macarons for two weeks to different countries. They were gifts to family and friends.
The macarons were pretty expensive so she babysat them. Honestly, she was better off getting it in one of the bakeshops in the US or Costco. Anyway, that was our story with these fuzzy Parisian macarons.
I was motivated to make macarons not because I like it. It became a challenge due to all the comments about how finicky it is to make these little pretty cookies.
Another reason, I am drawn to colorful things or food. I enjoy looking at these colorful cookies. If they were not too sweet, I could get addicted to them.
After checking all the ingredients, I gave it a go. If I messed up, there were only a few ingredients that will go to waste.
My first attempt in making French Macarons was a success. It was not perfect but for a first timer it was perfect in my books. I believe I under mixed it or maybe not. Maybe I didn’t bang it enough to get rid of the nipples or air bubbles.
Also, another thing I learned from this batch was once piped do not add more batter on top of it. That was a no - no, the biggest mistake I made. Regardless, it was still delicious.
It became a challenge to make more. To me making macarons is easy but you have to get the macronage right. This is key for a successful macarons.
For a less sweet macarons, reduce the sugar when making your filling.
The next time I made it, I spend a day just making batches after batches with different colors.
Experimented with over mixing, using and combining different colors and doubling the recipe. I doubled the recipe to make 30 cookies at a time and made a total of 120 cookies that I gave away.
I became over confident and started screwing up. Even the over mixed batter turned out pretty good but some had cracks. Practice makes perfect. Not that they were all perfect.
I thank every one that has a recipe online since I read many comments and learned from it.
Here are the things I learned when making French Macarons
a. You don’t need to age the egg whites. I took the eggs out of the fridge and left it sitting on my counter for an hour at room temperature. Another thing I did to make the process quicker was I took the eggs outside the house. It was hot outside and left it there for 20 minutes, then I started making macarons. No problem.
b. When you separate the egg white and yolk, make sure that no yolk gets into the egg white. The egg white will not form a fluffy meringue. Also, use a container free of grease.
c. Before you start, prepare all the things you need.
- Sift the almond flour and sugar in the same container and set aside.
- Prepare the following.
- Ingredients for meringue
- Pastry bag with tip
- Baking sheets with parchment paper (macaron template if you need it)
- Coloring gel
- Spatulas and measuring cups
d. If you are a newbie, use cream of tartar when beating the egg whites. The meringue will form quicker.
e. The 1st time I made macarons, I used a pink gel coloring. After baking, the top turned yellowish/brownish. I googled it and some people commented to put an empty baking sheet on the top rack in the oven. That solved the issue.
f. Straining both sugar and almond flour once in a sieve is good enough. Twice doesn’t hurt.
g. I could be wrong, but in my experiment I would rather under mix than over mix the batter. Yes, I had nipples on some macarons but they looked more like macarons compared to the over mixed ones. Over mixed macarons will spread out with no feet and hollow inside.
h. When making the ganache, make sure it is thick. I took it outside to take pictures and my cream cheese ganache started melting.
i. After making so many batches, I made a mistake of over mixing. I followed the suggestion of others to fold the mixture 50 times and that didn’t work.
It was humid and my AC was working non-stop. Now, I believe humidity also plays a big role in the success of a beautiful macaron. So when humid you do less folding.
j. Watch my video to see the right consistency and when to stop mixing the batter. They say consistency should be lava like. That doesn’t do anything for me. If you watch lava flowing – it can be slow or fast. Sometimes, it flows like a pancake batter which in macarons it means you have over mixed the batter.
The best way is to experiment. Make it a few times. Get the hang of it. After a few batches, you will know the right consistency. I was just lucky the first time I made it.
k. For not too sweet macaron cookies, use less sugar with your filling. This macaron recipe uses less sugar compared to other recipes I have checked.
How to Make French Macarons
Watch my video, I will show you the consistency of the meringue and the almond flour batter. Goodluck!
Check out my next post How to Pipe Multicolor French Macarons inspired by the Northern Light.
Try my Candy Cane Macarons with Buttercream Filling for the holiday give away.
French Macarons Recipe
- 1 cup powdered or confectioner sugar
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 2 egg whites extra large room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- gel coloring optional
Mango Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 8 oz cream cheese 1 package softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons mango jam
- Sift almond flour and confectioner sugar on the same bowl. Combine and mix well.
- Separate egg white from yolk. Make sure no yolk gets into the egg white.
- Beat egg white at low speed for 3 minutes until frothy. Add cream of tartar. Adjust the speed to medium and slowly add a third of the sugar every minute until it forms soft peaks.
- This is the time to add the gel coloring and vanilla. Increase the speed to high until it forms stiff peak.
- As soon as stiff peak is reached, stop beating.
- Add half of the sifted almond flour and powdered sugar mixture to the meringue.
- Fold the mixture clockwise. Starting from the top with the spatula, scrape the side down to the bottom and upwards. Pressing the batter in the center with the spatula. Continue doing this motion until batter turns smooth and shiny. The batter should be thick but not runny like a pancake batter. When you scoop the batter with the spatula, it will fall off slowly forming a ribbon when it falls. This is the time to stop folding. You have over mixed if the consistency is like a pancake batter. If you scoop the batter with the spatula, it flows freely or continuously. (If this description is not clear, please watch my video.)
- Pour the macaron batter into a pastry bag with a round tip or #12.
- If you have a template, insert that in between the baking sheet and parchment paper.
- My template measures 1.5 inches rounds and about 2 inches apart.
- When you pipe the batter, stop before reaching the circle. It will spread out. Pipe 30 cookies.
- To get rid of air bubbles, tap the baking sheets against the counter about 4 times.
- Quickly poke the air bubbles or nipples with a toothpick.
- Let the macarons sit for 20 to 30 minutes until the top surface is dry to the touch. The batter should not stick to your finger. If it does, then let it sit for another 15 minutes and check again. Once dry, it is ready to bake.
- Place an empty baking sheet at the very top rack in the oven to avoid browning of the macarons.
- Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Bake the macarons between 15 to 18 minutes. Mine took 17 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on your oven.
- Leave the macarons on the baking sheets for 15 minutes to cool down. Then transfer to a wire tack to cool completely.
- Pair same sized macarons.
- Pipe or spread ganache on half macaron. Sandwich the filling or ganache with the other half macaron,
- Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate or freeze for about 5 months.
How to Make the Filling
- Combine and beat cream cheese, unsalted butter, powdered sugar, mango jam and vanilla.
- Beat for about 5 minutes or until well blended.
- Refrigerate for a thicker filling.
- Interested in making multi-color cookies, check my Northern Lights French Macarons
coming soon. That would be part 2 of this original post.
- Use whatever filling you like.
- If you like to use this filling, check my post on how to make mango jam.
- Tools and Ingredients I used for this recipe:
Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour
Flour Sifter and Sieve
Adapted from Shinee. Thank you for sharing.