How to make Macarons | French Macaron 101

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Hello everyone! We want to introduce our lovely new guest blogger Jasalyn Thorne from Jasalyn Thorne Photographers! Jasalyn is a super talented, multi-awarded Vancouver-based photographer with a heart for crafting. We’ve always been in awe of her photos – from weddings, to babies and families, even to products! And her down-to-earth and approachable personality completes the package. Enjoy this delicious (and oh-so-very-pretty) post on how to make macarons!

The French macaron has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever attempted to bake. I’ve been making these tiny delights for almost 2 years now and I still kneel eagerly at the door of my oven, with nose pressed hard against the hot glass, in anticipation of watching the macaron’s signature “foot” rise from the batter and then breathe a sigh of relief, success. The key to a successful macaron is all in the mixing. Too much and they’ll come out flat. Too little and they will be too stiff to form an even dome.   These little sweets can frustrate you with their finicky ways but also give you the greatest sense of accomplishment when they come out in perfect form. Here are the tips and tricks which I have learned over the past two years from expert chefs, blog stalking, numerous taste tests of local macarons and trial and error in my own kitchen with HUNDREDS of cookies going into the trash after numerous failed attempts, all in the name of mastering these delicious biscuits.

001

Here’s what you’ll need:

A. 2 Aluminum baking sheets

B. A kitchen scale

C. Parchment paper

D. 3 large eggs

E. 12-14in piping bag

F. No. 11 plain piping tip

G. Powdered or liquid food colouring

H. Stainless Steel bowl

I. 45g berry sugar (or castor sugar)

J. Fine mesh sifter

K. Silicone spatula

L. 175g. icing sugar

M. 90g Almond flour

 

Yield: 16 macarons

002

Preheat oven to 320F for a non-convection. You may have to play with the temperature to get it just right as every oven is different.

Line your baking sheet with the parchment and if needed, use a couple of forks as weights to pin down the edges to prevent it from curling into your macarons. I use a doubled tray to prevent burning on the underside of my macarons.

Use a wand mixer to combine together the icing sugar and almond flour .

Sift the mixture using a fine mesh. If there are any large morsels, use the spatula to press them through the mesh and toss away any which won’t fit. I find this helps to give the macarons very smooth tops.

003

With room temperature eggs, separate the whites into a clean, dry, grease-free stainless steel bowl. For some reason, I find they whip up better in steel than in a glass bowl. If you get some yolk in there, you may be whipping them for a very long time. Best to start over.

Beat on high with a hand mixer or whisk attachment, until they become frothy, like a bubble bath. When the eggs lose the yellowish tint and it starts to turn white, now is the time to add your sugar, a little at a time until gone.

004

Continue to whip the eggs until they get glossy and stick firmly to the sides of the bowl when held on an angle and the whites form stiff peaks which curl slightly at the tips. It usually takes anywhere from 2-6 min. On a more humid day, I find it takes longer to get to this point. You’ll have to go by how it looks.

005

Now is the time to add the colouring. I used a powder colouring but you can use liquid if you add it at the beginning. Adding the powder later will give them a stronger colour.

006

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Mix in the dry ingredients in 3 equal parts, folding the mixture under and over with my silicone spatula until all is incorporated and no dry bits are visible.

008

Now comes the tricky part, the macaronnage (or mixing). We want to stir out some of the air to make the batter have the consistency of running lava. You have to do it by eye. Mix the batter until you can take a scoop and it runs off the spatula in a ribbon-like manner with little to no breaks in the falling batter. The ribbons should disappear back into the batter in a matter of 10-20 seconds and it becomes smooth again. If you mix it too much you will have flat macarons, too little and they will form uneven domes.

009

Prep your piping bag with your No.11 plain tip and use a shot glass or small round object to trace circles on the underside of the parchment as a guide when piping the macarons. Remember to pipe a little less than the template outline to allow the batter to spread when it settles on to the parchment.

010

011

Pipe the macarons onto the parchment and give the piping tip a quick flick of the wrist at the end to help smooth the surface. Don’t worry if there are slight peaks, if you mixed the batter correctly, by the time they go into the oven they should be smooth and even.

012

Give the tray a firm tap or two to help the air bubbles rise to the top and burst. You can use a toothpick to coax the larger bubbles to pop. Set the tray of macarons on the counter and leave them to air dry until the tops are dry to the touch. This is what will make the macarons rise and show the signature little ruffle at the base, called the “foot”. Depending on the humidity, this can take as little as 10min or up to 2hrs.

014

Once they are dry to the touch, place on the middle rack of the oven to bake at 320F for 10 min and then at 285F for 7-8min. If your oven has hot spots, try rotating the try halfway through the first stage of baking to prevent burning. The foot should be visible by the end of 10min. When done, remove the parchment with the macarons from the hot tray and set on the counter to cool. The macarons should lift easily from the parchment. If they are a little sticky, you may need to increase the bake time for the bottoms to cook completely. Some suggest popping the tray of macarons in the freezer and then, using a knife, lift them cleanly from the parchment.

 

013

To make the filling, I chose a simple buttercream. It’s roughly a 1:1 ratio of unsalted butter and icing sugar and then a couple tablespoons of Apricot jam. I like mine a little sweeter so I added a little more icing sugar to taste. In a small glass bowl, use a spatula to cream together the icing sugar and butter, then add the jam to taste. Pipe desired amount onto the cooled macarons. Place the completed cookies in an air-tight container and pop them into the fridge for 48hrs. This helps to soften the macarons and allows the flavour of the filling to permeate the entire macaron.

The finished macarons should have a delicate outer shell with a moist, not chewy interior which may look slightly wet. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. Serve at room temperature.

015

Enjoy!

Love, Jasalyn.

 

About Karla Lim

Karla Lim is a marketing gal by day and a photographer/graphic designer/blogger/webmaster/calligrapher/crafter by night. Follow her on Google+

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29 Responses to How to make Macarons | French Macaron 101

  1. Joanne April 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    These look so good! & it seems pretty simple to do but I know a few techniques need to be mastered for them to look good & taste delicious. & Jasalyn – looks like you’ve perfected them! I’ve always wanted to try making them myself but I’m a bit intimidated by it. I’ll probably need to watch a few youtube videos before trying it out myself.
    Great post! & thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Jasalyn April 10, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    The key is the consistency, the consistency when you whip the eggs and then the macaronnage, beating out the air from the eggs, to get it to that semi-runny state. It’s all by eye so if you try to match it to the photos, you should get pretty close.

    • Joanne April 12, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to remember that :)

  3. Bellena Bistro April 11, 2013 at 12:25 am #

    These look sooo pretty…and are surely delicious, too! Just look at that last photo with the filling showing…YUM! Thank you for the very clear and thorough tutorial.

    • Karla Lim April 16, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

      So sorry that we responded just now to you! Somehow your message got lost! Thank you for your kind comments :)

  4. Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen April 11, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    These are the most gorgeous looking macarons! I love the sound of the apricot flavour too!

    • Karla Lim April 11, 2013 at 7:02 am #

      They are and I just want to reach out and grab one! :) kudos to Jasalyn for perfecting this technique! :)

    • Karla Lim April 11, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      By the way, Rosie. Your blog is amazing. Definitely bookmarking the Key Lime cupcakes. Will try to make them! :)

  5. huntfortheverybest April 11, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    i’m intimidated to make these, but yours look perfect!

    • Jasalyn April 11, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      Best thing is to give them a try, they’re pretty addicting to make!

  6. Rebecca April 11, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Hi there!

    This is a great tutorial. I was wondering, where do you get your powdered food colouring? Also, how much powdered food colouring to put into each batch?

    Rebecca

    • Jasalyn April 11, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      I would suggest getting the food colouring from a kitchen store. Ming Woo sells a gel version which you can also use. I got mine from a baking store. as to how much you put in, it’s up to you, if you would like a more intense colour, add a bunch, for more pastel, just a sprinkling.

      • Karla Lim April 11, 2013 at 10:35 am #

        Thanks for responding Jasalyn! :) We can’t wait to try them on our own too!

      • Rebecca April 11, 2013 at 10:35 am #

        Thanks :) I use gel food colouring in my macarons but I often forget the colour is much more intense and use too much (bubble gum macarons instead of pastel pink haha). I saw the kit you had and was just interested in where you got it. Looks like I’ll just have to buy my powdered food colours individually!

  7. Julia | JuliasAlbum.com April 11, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    What a great tutorial with photos and charts! Love this, I am pinning this in hopes of making this in the future

    • Karla Lim April 11, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      Totally. You should post it too when you try making them! :) We’re looking forward to that!

  8. Karen April 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Oh, these look lovely! I love the look and I imagine the taste! Do you, by chance, sell these? and would they travel well? My daughter lives in Vancouver and is getting married at home in our back yard in Saskatchewan in July. The colours are peach and lavender, with a French picnic in the country kind of theme. I’d like to try making them myself, but with two daughters getting married this summer, I don’t think it’ll get done.

    • Karla Lim April 25, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      Hi Karen, just passing a comment from our guest blogger, Jasalyn. I don’t make them commercially but please try the lovely ladies at Soirette in Vancouver. I would try to make them yourself first though, what a nice hand-made touch for the wedding. :)

      • Karen April 25, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

        Oops. Sorry didn’t read this very carefully the first time through. Now I see that Jasalyn is a guest blogger.
        Ladies, you have a lovely blog. I will be back to look at more!
        And I would LOVE to make these myself. However, I’m now down to 10 weeks to prepare a wedding reception in my back yard and the snow is just melting now. I’ve got SO much to do! Then a 7 week break and another daughter getting married in fall. Yikes! Busy but so fun! I’ll have to see about the macarons! Thanks for the tip on where to buy!

  9. Gayatri August 5, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    These look lovely! I’ve been looking for a step-by-step recipe and this is it! Thank you so much :) I tried making macarons the other day but faced two problems: they didn’t dry out even after staying on the kitchen counter for an hour and I found the ground almonds basically became a paste so I had to use hazelnuts instead.

    How can I avoid these two things happening?

    • Jasalyn January 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      Gayatri, I use pre-ground almonds, the finer ones from Thrifty’s. If you don’t mash them right, they will turn to almond butter, basically. Try a food processor instead or just buy the pre-ground almonds.

  10. Celine August 11, 2013 at 3:25 am #

    Thank you for the macaron recipe I tried these a few days ago and they were delish! Thanks!

  11. Benazir Nasimova October 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Can you please tell me what am I doing wrong?
    I never get the feet, and most times the top cracks and the filling spills out. I did have a batch where they just stayed perfect little half balls with no feet but hollow on the inside.
    I just can’t seem to get it right! I follow the recipe and let them rest till they are dry to the touch.

    • Jasalyn January 13, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      Hi Benazir,
      It’s important to beat the batter down so it is the right consistency before piping them onto the parchment. If they are not beat down enough, they won’t spread and will remain as little balls, not flatter like a coin shape. They need to be dry to the touch in order to rise to get the foot.

  12. Asiyo December 26, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    Hello
    Thank you

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