Simple French macarons recipe for sweet, chewy almond meringue cookies, sandwiched together with ganache, buttercream or jam.
French macarons are one of my most loved cookies. The flavour and colour combinations you can bring to almond macarons are endless. Today we are sticking to an easy macaron recipe, and making a basic French macaron. Once you’ve got this down you can adapt them to make all the combinations you like!
A classic macaron biscuit has a glossy top that cracks when you bite into it. The interior is soft and chewy. The filling in the middle is what gives each macaron a unique flavour.
This homemade macaron recipe is not to be confused with homemade macaroons. Macaroons are made with shredded coconut, and are very different to a classic macaron. (This link here explains the difference between macarons and macaroons quite well!)
A macaron biscuit is similar to meringue, but with more texture. The base ingredients are egg whites, sugar and ground almonds. The almond meals gives the texture and flavour, egg whites are what lift the macarons and the sugar helps to make them chewy.
Making Macarons at Home
Making a macaron biscuit is not hard but there are a few crucial steps to follow. The first is measuring your ingredients correctly. For this recipe I really suggest using the gram amount that I have written to make sure it’s all the same. Cups range in sizes depending where you live, plus how we all fill our cups varies drastically too. Eggs range in sizes too, some are large, some are small….Weighing ingredients takes out all the guess work.
For example, in this recipe I use 85g of egg whites. This is *around* 3 egg whites. Usually a medium egg has around 30g of egg white, which means it would be 90g total for three eggs. However, depending on the size of my eggs, sometimes I get 25g egg white or sometimes 35g.
I have used 85g incase your eggs are on the smaller side and it saves you from having to crack open a fourth egg. (Any left over egg yolks can be used in lemon curd! Lemon curd also make a great macaron filling.)
Ageing Egg Whites for Macarons
Ageing egg whites is something that is often advised when making meringue as older egg whites whip up quicker than fresh. However it can be hard to know at what stage your egg whites are so I add cream of tartar which will help give them the volume you need even if your eggs are fresher. Just ensure the egg whites are at room temperature.
The Macaron Process
Ground almonds are a key ingredient in macarons. You can use blanched or un-blanched almonds, but un-blanched will make a more rustic macaron with the little brown specks of almond skin.
The almonds, though already ground, are put in a food processor again along with icing sugar (powdered sugar) and blitzed until smooth. It’s then sieved and blitzed again if there are any lumps.Getting a very smooth and fine almond/sugar powder will mean your macarons won’t look as grainy.
The Egg Whites
The egg whites are whipped with the cream of tartar until just holding a soft peak. Then some white sugar is added, a tablespoon at a time until the egg white has firm, glossy peaks and sugar grains can no longer be felt when a little egg white mixture is rubbed between your fingers.
Stop beating once it gets to this stage and don’t over beat the egg whites.
Now, the almond mixture and egg white mixture is folded together, gently but well so that there are no clumps of dry almonds. You don’t want to beat it, and loose all the egg white volume, but it should all be well incorporated. If you lift your spatula out, you should be able to create thick flowing ribbons in the bowl.
It is at this stage that colours can be added should you wish to.
The macarons are piped onto baking paper or a silicone sheet. Aim for circles of about 2.5cm (1 inch). Free hand them or draw an outline on the underside of the baking paper.
Then the baking tray is whacked a few times on the bench to remove any large air holes in the batter. This batch makes enough to fill two baking trays.
To helpget that crispy macaron shell, let the macaron sit out and form a little bit of a skin. Initially if you touched just piped macarons, they’d stick to your finger.
Leave them to sit for about 40 minutes (or longer if it’s a humid day) until they no longer stick to your finger when touched. I like to pipe a little extra macaron to do this stickiness test on.
Macaron Oven Temperature
Once the stickiness has gone, they can be baked. You’ll use a very low oven temperature so the egg white doesn’t brown. The macarons will rise, their tops will harden and they should form ‘feet’.
Keep an eye on them while they are baking. If they are browning too fast or the ‘feet’ are spreading out too much then your oven may be too hot and you should turn it down a little more.
The Macaron Feet
Macarons are baked in a really low temperature oven. As the macarons rise, they rise up in height and if mixed properly, they will form ‘feet’. The macaron feet are the ruffled edges of the macaron biscuit.
You’ll need to test your own oven and find the exact perfect temperature that works for your oven. Macarons are temperamental little things! In a standard oven a temperature of around 140°C-150°C / 284 °F-300°F is what you’re aiming for. In a convection oven, start lower, at 130°C / 266 °F.
Leave the cooked macarons to cool before carefully peeling them off the baking sheet.
Now the fun starts, filling the macarons!
I find a whipped chocolate ganache a good option as it’s not as sweet as buttercream. A basic ganache can be made with just cream and chocolate.
Basic Macaron Ganache
150ml pouring cream
200grams chocolate (dark, milk or white chocolate)
Break the chocolate into chunks and place it into a heat proof bow. In a saucepan heat the cream until just starting to simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring it together. Once stirred, place it in the fridge to cool. Removing it every 15 minutes to stir it will speed up the cooling process.
Once it is very thick and scoop-able, it can be piped on one macaron shell, then sandwiched together with another macaron shell.
The macarons can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Have you made these simple French macarons? Tag me and let me know! @home_grown_happinessnz
Simple French Macarons
- 90 grams ground almonds
- 200 grams icing sugar
- 85 grams egg whites About 3 medium sized eggs
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 50 grams white sugar
- In a food processor, combine the ground almonds and icing sugar and blitz until smooth.Sieve into a bowl. If there are a lot of large ground almond bits remaining blitz and sieve again.
- Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add in the salt and white sugar, a tablespoon at a time and keep whipping until stiff peaks form and you can’t feel grains of sugar when you rub a little between your finger.
- Sieve the almond mixture once mor into the egg whites and use a spatula to fold it together until it creates a sticky and well-incorporated batter. If you lift your spatula out, you should be able to create thick flowing ribbons in the bowl. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium sized round tip.
- On baking paper or a silicone baking sheet, pipe little circles that measure about 2.5cm (1 inch). Once piped, bang the tray on the bench a few times to remove any air bubbles.Leave the macarons to sit out for about a 40 minutes until they are no longer sticky when touched.
- Preheat a standard oven to around 140°C -150 °C / 284°F – 300 °F (if using a convection/fan-forced oven, start lower, at 130°C / 266 °F). You’ll need to test your own oven and find the exact perfect temperature that works for your oven. Macarons are temperamental little things!
- Bake the macarons for around 15 minutes. Do keep an eye out as they bake, and tweak the oven temperature if needed.
- Once baked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool before peeling off the baking paper.
- Sandwich together with your favourite filling. (See a basic ganache recipe in the notes below). Macarons can be stored in the frigde for up to a week.
Basic Macaron Ganache150ml pouring cream
200grams chocolate (dark, milk or white chocolate) Break the chocolate into chunks and place it into a heat proof bow. In a saucepan heat the cream until just starting to simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring it together. Once stirred, place it in the fridge to cool. Removing it every 15 minutes to stir it will speed up the cooling process. Once it is very thick and scoop-able, it can be piped on one macaron shell, then sandwiched together with another macaron shell.