Is there anyone who hates macarons? Please go away, we cannot be friends.
Okay, just kidding!
The French macarons are undoubtedly one of the most popular desserts around the world. Yet, it is also notoriously known for the confusing steps in order to get it right. That’s why in this best French macaron recipe, I have listed all the key points and tips you will need to know.
And, just to make it clear, we are making macarons, not macaroons. If you haven’t noticed the differences, macaroons are coconut-based cookies. It has a dense, lumpy and chewy texture and can be readily made within 20 minutes. Some of the versions don’t even need an oven in order to make it, so it’s super easy to make.
On the opposite, making macarons is going to have you stressing in your kitchen for hours. Not only precision, the making of macarons require skills, practices and patience. These meringue-based sandwich cookies that are famously known for their delicate and crispy crust and chewy inner texture. They have a signature feet on the bottom and is always deliciously filled with buttercream, ganache or even fruit jam.
Oh, by the way, if you also love meringue kisses, here a recipe of meringue kisses that I published a few months ago, feel free to check it out!
So, you ready? Let’s look at the ingredients we need here!
The best French macaron recipe – Ingredients
For the macarons
- 35g egg whites (at room temperature)
- 100g icing sugar
- 95 g caster sugar
- 95g ground almonds
- 25 ml water
- Gel food colour
For the buttercream filling
- 200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 300g powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbs heavy cream
In this best French macaron recipe, I am using the basic buttercream as fillings. You may also use other types of buttercreams or ganache or even fruit jams.
Tools and equipment
- Food processor (if you have one)
- Two mixing bowls
- Sugar thermometer
- Piping bag and round nozzle (1cm)
- Baking parchment
- Two baking trays
The best French macaron recipe – Instructions
Preparing the paste
- Pour the ground almonds and icing sugar into the food processor (if you have one) to blitz them. Pulse the food processor for 15 times.
- Sieve the ground almond and icing sugar mixture into a mixing bowl to double make sure that all the dry ingredients are fine. Do not press the nuggets through the sieve – discard it.
- Separate the egg whites in two batches. Add one of them into the sugar and almond mix and combine them to form a thick paste. You may add a tiny amount of gel food colouring into the mixture before it is fully combined. Cover the mixture with a cling film and set aside.
Preparing the meringue
- Add the water and caster sugar into a pan and heat it up. Meanwhile, pour another batch egg whites into the mixing bowl of your stand mixer.
- Use your sugar thermometer to monitor the temperature of the sugar syrup. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 110°C, turn your stand mixer on a medium-high speed and start to beat your egg whites. Once the temperature of the sugar syrup has reached 118°C, remove it from heat and slowly add it into your mixing bowl. Do not pour directly on the whisk – let the syrup to slowly flow from the side of the bowl into the egg whites to avoid any spillage.
- Continue to whip the meringue until the meringue reaches room temperature. This will take about six minutes and your meringue should look smooth and glossy.
Incorporate the meringue into the paste
- Fold the meringue into the paste in three batches and combine them. Keep folding until you are able to create a distinct ribbon on the surface.
Piping and baking the macarons
- Preheat your oven to 165°C.
- Line two baking trays with parchment paper and fill your piping bag with a round nozzle.
- Pour the batter into the piping bag and you are ready to pipe. You may use a template to help you with the piping or you can do it by freehand – a classic macaron is about 3.5cm wide. Also, make sure that the piping bag is held vertically to the horizon.
- Once you have done piping, tap the baking tray against the work surface to eliminate the air bubbles in the mixture.
- Let the macarons to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the formation of its ‘skin’.
- Bake the macarons for about 12 minutes and leave them for half an hour to allow them to cool.
Making the filling
- Beat the butter in a large bowl until it is pale, smooth and fluffy.
- Sieve the icing sugar into the large bowl and continue to whip until it is fully incorporated.
- Mix the vanilla extract into it. Add the heavy cream into the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to whip until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.
- Place the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.
- Pipe the buttercream onto a macaron and pair it with another macaron with similar size.
To the perfect macarons
Before leaving you, I think it’s good to explain the meanings behind those actions in this best french macaron recipe so you can get a clear idea about what you are doing.
The first key point you should take note is that you will need a digital scale to weigh out the ingredients you need. As making macarons are considered fine baking, one of the keys to ensuring your success is the precisely weighed ingredients.
Below I have listed the tips you should know in each step, which follows the layout of the instructions above.
Preparing the paste
For example, in the first step of our best french macaron recipe, we blitz the icing sugar and ground almonds into the food processor. This is to make sure that all the lumps are broken down and our dry ingredients are fine and free of nuggets. The finer the dry ingredients, the smoother the macaron top will be.
But, take note that you should not blitz the sugar and ground almond mix more than 15 times as the almond might release oil and you do not want this to happen.
If you do not have a food processor, you may repeat this step for three times so you can get the extra fine dry ingredients.
The same principle applies in the third step too – when you are incorporating the egg whites into the sugar and almond mix, remember, don’t overwork it.
And, always use gel food colouring because you don’t have to worry that you might affect the consistency of your mixture as you would when you are using liquid food colouring.
The purpose of covering the mixture with cling firm is to avoid the mixture drying out before you get back to it.
Preparing the meringue
If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, you may manually check if the sugar syrup is at its softball stage – a flexible softball will be formed when you drop the sugar syrup into a bowl of cold water. It will then flatten in a while if you remove it from the water.
However, I will still advise you to get a sugar thermometer for a greater accuracy – 118°C is the perfect temperature for us to achieve the ultimate chewiness in our macarons.
Incorporating the meringue into the paste
The technique of folding the ground almond and sugar into the meringue is called ‘macronage’. Traditionally, a recipe will ask you to gently fold the ingredients together for about 40 times but actually, you will need to fold quite aggressively so that any remaining air bubbles in the mixture will be removed.
You can use the ‘figure 8’ method to check if your batter is ready – use your spatula to pull up some batter and slowly draw an ‘8’. If the ‘8’ did not melt into the rest of the batter immediately and is able to hold itself for a few seconds before completely melted in, this is when it is ready. We do not want the batter to be undermixed or overmixed, so yeah, keep an eye on it.
Piping and baking the macarons
By tapping the baking tray on your work surface, you eliminate the air bubbles in the batter. This is to make sure that your macarons are going to have a picture-perfect smooth top. If the air bubbles are still trapped, you may remove it with a toothpick.
The amount of time for the skin formation is dependent on your working environment. For example, if the environment is humid, it will require more time for the skin to be formed. The best way to check it is to gently brush your finger on the surface – the surface should be dry.
If your macarons stick to the baking parchment, this is the sign of underbaked. Pop them back into the oven for another minute or two.
Here I have also included a useful video tutorial for you! If you feel like you need a greater clarity, please feel free to check this out!
Cheers to your perfect macarons
The macarons are definitely one of the most challenging desserts to be made but as long as you understand the meanings behind these actions and keep practising, it’s actually not that hard!
We will recommend you to keep the macarons in an airtight container for 24 hours before you take a bite on it – this is to allow the macarons to develop a greater texture and flavour. But, if you can’t handle this temptation (I totally understand this), eat it anyway. This is my best advice!
Anyway, I hope that you have enjoyed this best French macaron recipe I have shared here. If you have any question or want to share your secret tips, please feel free to leave it in the comment section! Cheers!