Easy Macarons for Beginners

With Valentines Day around the corner, I’ve been thinking of what desert to make and share with you guys. French Macarons kept coming to mind because I think they’re just so elegant, timeless and remind me a lot of love.

I have avoided making macarons for years because everything I’ve always seen has said how finicky they can be to get right. But I felt like this was the day to embrace the challenge and finally figure out how to successfully make them. And well, I did!

The steps and recipe I am sharing here are based off of my second try. My first try was honestly not horrible but there were some things noticeably wrong with my macarons that made me want to try again. I was able to correct my mistakes the second time and now in return can share common mistakes to avoid and best practices to follow.

I know they can seem intimidating but if you follow my recipe and steps down to the tee, you too can make these at home and feel like you’ve been transported to a café in Paris!

Easy Vanilla Macarons for Beginners

Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Macarons
Servings: 14 macarons

Ingredients

Macaron Shells:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar aka regular sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream Filling:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Tools:

  • Mixer standing or hand held
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking Sheet(s)
  • Fine Mesh Sieve
  • Pastry bag or quart size zip loc bag

Instructions

Making the Macarons:

  • Combine your almond flour and your powdered sugar into a bowl and lightly whisk it together until it’s mixed together.
  • Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve while pressing down on the clumps to break them down. Whatever does not pass through the sieve is too large to use so either discard or save for another use.
  • In a large bowl of a stand mixer or using your hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed for about 2 minutes. They will first get foamy and then begin to form soft peaks. This just means that the egg whites have been beaten with enough air that they now can hold their shape a bit when you remove the mixer. (* see notes)
  • Add the granulated sugar and beat on high for another 2 minutes until you get glossier, stiff peaks forming. The texture reminds me of a melted marshmallow or marshmallow fluff.
  • Add vanilla and beat on high for another 30 seconds.
  • Now add the dry ingredients (the flour and sugar we mixed earlier) into this bowl and fold it into the egg white mixture. Fold gently until you see no more dry ingredients and the mixture is smooth and shiny. The right consistency should be lava like. It should run off your spatula but slowly and still be a little thick. If it’s not flowing off of your spatula, it’s too thick so keep folding. If it gets too runny, you’ve overfolded. (** see notes)
  • Grab a pastry bag or Ziploc bag and fill with your batter. You can either use a ½ inch round tip at the end or you can simply snip off a small opening at the end of your Ziploc bag with a scissor to create a small opening no bigger than ¼ inch.
  • Line baking sheet(s) with parchment and begin to pipe your batter into about ¾ of an inch circles. Right after piping, they will spread a bit so do not make them much larger. Also be sure to leave 1 inch of space between each macaron so they do not accidentally touch or mix together.
  • Grab your baking sheet and firmly tap it against the counter. This will release any air bubbles. Do not skip this step. It was the biggest mistake I made in my first batch and I ended up with lumpy macarons and large holes in some of them caused by air pockets. Do not be afraid to tap FIRMLY against the counter a few times. (*** see notes)
  • Let the macarons rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. They will begin to harden a bit a form a “skin”. You know they are ready when you can touch them and the batter does not stick to your finger and feels slightly more solidified. (**** see notes)
  • While your macarons dry, preheat your oven to 310 degrees F.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes just until the cookies have risen and set. You can tell that they are ready by touching them. If the top begins to move separate of the feet, they aren’t ready. They are ready when you can touch them and nothing moves or when you try to life them from the parchment paper and they easily come off. Do not wait until they begin to brown. Macarons should not be brown or turn golden in the oven. These are overbaked.
  • Let them cool completely while you work on your filling.

Filling & Sandwich:

  • Put your butter in a bowl and begin to cream it using either a hand mixer or stand mixer. Creaming just means mixing until it gets soft and smooth.
  • Add your powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Keep mixing until buttercream is light and fluffy.
  • Grab a pastry bag or zip loc bag and transfer your icing into it. You can use a round tip at the end or snip off about ¼ inch to a ½ inch of the tip to create a small opening.
  • Flip half of your macarons over so that the feet and flat part are face up. Pipe a swirl or a good size dollop of frosting onto your shells.
  • Use the remaining half of the macarons to sandwich the cookies together. Be sure you don’t have too much frosting in them as when you sandwich the two cookies together, the frosting will spread out and can overflow from the sides.

Notes

* The way you treat and beat the egg whites is crucial to a successful macaron. For starters, you need to be sure you don’t have any yolk in your egg whites. Be VERY careful when separating the whites. Any bit of yolk will prohibit the egg whites from forming peaks. Also, do not rush the beating process. Be patient and allow your peaks to form and your egg whites to stiffen up a bit. You also do not want to over mix because this can cause hallow macaron shells. You know when to stop when a small peak forms upwards upon removing the mixer.
** This is another crucial step to successful macarons. You must FOLD the mixture, not mix it. You are not using your hand mixture or even a whisk to combine the egg whites with the dry ingredients. What you need to use is a spatula and basically start pulling mixture from the bottom of the bowl and folding it over to the top. What this does is keeps the air in the egg whites and stops your batter from deflating. Do NOT overfold as you’ll end up with a runny mixture.
*** Do not skip this step. It was the biggest mistake I made in my first batch and I ended up with lumpy macarons and large holes in some of them caused by air pockets. Do not be afraid to tap FIRMLY against the counter a few times.
**** This is another step you cannot skip. Allowing the macarons to dry creates the skin or shell which is what creates the “feet” on the macaron. Feet are the rough, crumble looking bottom of the macaron that are a staple to the desert. These feet form because the “shell” prohibits the air in the batter from escaping upwards when baking and is instead forced to escape downward, creating this texture.

Other tips: These are basic vanilla macarons but you can add food coloring to color your shells whatever color you want. You can also add different fruits into your icing to make flavored buttercream. There are endless amounts of flavor combinations and fillings you can make for macarons but this is an excellent base to work with!

Let me know if you tried making them and how it went!

Xo,

1 Comment

  1. Rita Torres February 12, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Thank you so much, can’t wait to try them!

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