This post comes with a warning: macaron is one of the most delicate and difficult pastries to make successfully. Well, in my humble opinion anyway! There’s a whole lot of precision and patience required and practice definitely makes perfect, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t succeed on the first try. After too many failed batches to count, I think I’ve a good grasp of this: what works, what doesn’t, what’s important, and what’s not. If anything, this post is meant to inspire you to try and try again!
The best macarons I’ve had were from Laduree, Dalloyau, and most recently, Pierre Herme (which my sister kindly sent some back from Paris – thanks Carol!) They have a wonderful crisp shell with chewy center, authentic flavors, and are very pretty to look at!
I took a macaron making class at Sur La Table few years ago, and I found that their recipe is pretty fail proof. The macarons have puffed up appropriately (and not too much),have “feet”, and the texture is chewy with a crisp exterior. Just the way it should be!
There are many factors that may affect the end result (ie: climate, ingredients, oven temperature). If you have questions, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Here is a free macaron template you can print out and slide under the parchment paper to use as a guide for piping the rounds.
Some more of my favorite kitchen tools for macaron making success:
- Finely ground almond meal
- Gel food coloring
- Disposable pastry bag
- Non-stick sheet pan
- Non-stick silicone baking mat
- 3.2 oz egg whites, room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
- 2.8 oz granulated sugar
- 5.6 oz confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3.2 oz almond meal, sifted
- Yellow food coloring
- 3 large egg yolks
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp lemon zest
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- Whisk egg whites until they begin to foam, about 1 minute. Slowly add in granulated sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form (mixture should be thick and glossy; you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out).
- Add sifted confectioners’ sugar, almond meal, and food coloring to the mixture. Using a spatula, fold until it is well incorporated and the mixture has a consistency of molten lava. To test, scoop up a spoonful of batter and drop it back into the mixture; it should flatten and disappear into the batter in about 15 seconds or so. If it doesn’t, continue folding the mixture. It should take about 50-60 strokes for the batter to reach the right consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with large round tip, and pipe small rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with a template underneath. The rounds should be no larger than 2 inch in diameter with at least ½ inch of space between.
- Gently tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air, then let the macarons dry on the counter for about 30 minutes until a skin is formed on the surface (the batter shouldn’t stick to your hand when you touch it).
- Place the macarons in a 350F oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes until the shells harden. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.
- In the top of a double boiler filled with 2 inches of simmering water, combine egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and zest. Cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Strain the curd into a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until completely cold.
- Match the macaron shells in pairs. Pipe a small round of lemon curd (about half a teaspoon) on the flat side of a macaron shell and sandwich together with a matching macaron shell. Repeat with the remaining macarons.
*I leave the egg whites on the counter for three days, cover with plastic wrap, leaving some space for the moisture to escape.