One of my all-time favorite memories is going to Paris for the first time with my best friend. For years, we swooned when Carrie Bradshaw was wondered around Paris shoe shoping and dining in fashionable restaurants. As we watched we fantasized about one day galivanting down those same streets. This was finally our time to go to our dream city and what better way to spend our time than EATING our way through Paris. We ate nonstop for a week, and through the food-drunken haze of French cuisine, one memory cuts through all of them, and that was going to Ladurée for the first time! The store was a pastel dream, and the macarons were perfect, soft, fluffy, and a beautiful balance of flavors.
This year, I was not able to go abroad, so I decided to bring Paris to me and thus began my journey to the perfect macaron! It took many tries, falling down several “YouTube macaron rabbit holes”, and a lot of courage to finally get the perfect cookie. I am here to encourage you on your journey by sharing mine! Maybe watching me face my fears can help you with yours ❤ Here’s the recipe, and don’t forget to make every-daylicious!
Ingredients and equiptment
For the cookies
- white sugar 100g
- powdered sugar 130g
- almond flour 140g
- egg whites 100g
- salt 1/4 tspn
- vanilla extract (or extract of your choice) 1/4 tspn
- cream of tartar 1/4 tspn
- gel food coloring (optional)
For the icing
- butter 2 sticks (1 cup)
- powdered sugar 2 cups
- vanilla extract 1/4 tspn (or any flavor you want! You can even juice some berries and use that!)
- milk 1 tbs
- Food coloring (optional)
- Mixer (it can be a hand mixer, but it will be an arm workout!)
- food processor
- scale (I tried to skip the scale and use a measuring cup. It didn’t work for me.)
- flat baking sheet
- macaron mat (you can use parchment paper but it will be MUCH harder to get them perfect!)
- piping bag
- round piping tip
Now Let’s do This: Making the Cookies!
Step 1: Dry ingredients
Add 140g of almond flour and 130 grams of powdered sugar to the food processor and pulse it several times. You want it to be really fine, but be careful because if you pulse it too long, you will make almond butter! Run this mixture through a sieve, discarding the big almond bits caught in the sieve. Do not force the bits through. Repeat this twice more (I tried to skip this, but I got cracks and an uneven texture.) Set aside the mixture for later.
Step 2: The Meringue!
Add 100g of ROOM TEMPERATURE egg whites to your mixer. If you do not use room temperature eggs, your meringue will not whip! With the whisk attachment, begin to whip your egg whites on a medium speed until it begins to froth. Then add 1/4 tspn of cream of tartar and 1/4 tspn of salt. Next, continue to whisk the mixture on high until it is white. Once white, drizzle in the 100 grams of white sugar while the mixer is still running. Do this very slowly as to not pop the air bubbles and deflate your meringue! After the sugar is fully incorporated, continue to whip on high until you see a soft peak (That is when your meringue forms a peak, but it isn’t stiff enough to stand on its own. See picture to the right.
Once you have reached the soft peak stage, now is time to start adding your flavoring and coloring. You can use any extract of your choice. I used vanilla in mine! For coloring, make sure you use gel food coloring. Liquid coloring can change the consistency of your meringue.
Once you have added your flavor and color, whip your mixture on high until you get hard peaks. That is when your batter can stand on its own, and you can turn your bowl upside down without anything falling out!
Step 3: Macoronage (The fancy name for mixing the batter!)
Now that we have both part of our mixtures ready, it is time combine them! Transfer the meringue to a mixing bowl and grab your spatula. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the almond flour powdered sugar mix from step one onto your meringue. FOLD the dry ingredients into the meringue until fully incorporated. Then add in the rest of the batter and begin to fold the mixture. This is where you need to take your time and pay close attention. You should mix until the consistency is like flowing lava. If you are like me and have never seen lava before, you can use the figure 8 test. Once you can drip the batter off your spatula and create a figure 8 without your batter breaking, it is ready. DO NOT MIX ANYMORE! If you under mix your mixture you can get cracks or hollow cookies. If you over mix, you will not get the lovely macaron feet (the bubbles at the bottom of the cookie that characterize a macaron). It is easier to judge consistency after seeing it, so I included a video bellow. Once the mixture is ready, transfer your batter to a piping bag with a round piping tip.
Step 4: Pipe, Drop, and Wait
On top of your flat baking sheet, place your macaron mat (or parchment paper.) With your tip straight up and down, pipe an oval filling the smaller circle of the template (if you are using parchment paper, that is about 1.5 inches across). After you have piped all your macarons, it is time to drop the tray (literally!). Pick up the tray and bang it on the counter a couple of times! Seriously, don’t skip this step. This brings all the air bubbles from the bottom of the tray to the top, so they don’t crack your cookies. If you are feeling extra type A today, you can grab a toothpick and pop any of the smaller air bubbles you see. After you drop the tray, you must wait! Let the cookies rest until a skin forms on top and you can rub your finger over the top of your cookies without indenting them. This will help your cookies rise vertically, and get those signature feet we were talking about earlier.
Once your cookies have formed a skin, preheat your oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius). Bake your cookies for 13-15 minutes. Be sure that you only put in one tray at a time. Macarons are selfish and want their own space. They are the diva of cookies; they don’t share a dressing room hunty! Once fully baked, take them out of the oven, let them cool, and then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.
Making the filling!
Now its time to work on the filling. Macarons are traditionally filled with all types of things. The possibility is endless. I favor a tart filling to balance out the sweetness of a macaron. My favorite is a Lemon curd, but for the purpose of this recipe, because we are focusing on perfecting the cookie, I am including the recipe to a simple American buttercream. You can always add raspberry sauce that has been ran through a sieve, or lemon juice in place of vanilla extract for a better contrast of flavor!
Step one: Cream the Butter
Put two sticks (1 cup) of room temperature butter into your mixer (you can also use a hand mixer). I have used both salted and unsalted butter, and it didn’t make much of a difference to me. Beat the butter on high until it turns lighter in color.
Step 2: Add Powdered Sugar
Pause the mixer and add int 1 cup of powdered sugar, beat until sugar is fully incorporated. (HINT: start on low so that the powdered sugar doesn’t explode all over your kitchen.) Pause the mixer again and add the second cup of powdered sugar. Whip until everything is fully incorporated and the batter is a pale white!
Step 3: Add in all the fixins!
Add in the 1/4 tspn of vanilla extract (Here is also where you can add juices, flavoring, sprinkles, or any other cool stuff you can come up with!). Add milk in 1tbs increments until you reach a silky consistency. And there you have it, buttercream! Add it to a piping bag to fill your cookies!
Take one of your cookies, and pipe on your butter cream to the flat bottom of the cookie! You can have as much or as little icing as you like! Take another cookie and place it on top of the piped buttercream to create a sandwich! There you go, you have macarons.
Thank you so much for reading! I really loved facing my fears and bringing a little piece of French fabulousness to my everyday life. I especially loved sharing it with you. Please share if you try the recipe! Remember, persistence is key with these cookies, and remember to make everydaylicious!