Easy French Macarons

I’ve always loved macarons. They’re dainty and so decadent! Crunchy shells with a soft, sweet almond centre and smooth buttercream frosting. Such a delicious treat!

Confession time…I used to be terrified of making macarons. Every recipe I found made them seem so complicated. It was daunting for a novice baker. But my years of experience have given me confidence, so a couple of months ago I decided to give them another go. And finally, after some research and experimentation, I have a killer recipe to share with you all!

Now there are a few different methods for making macarons, which all come down to the way you make the meringue. For this recipe I’ve opted for the French method, which means whisking sugar into egg whites to achieve those signature glossy peaks. It also makes the process much easier, and keeps the washing up to a minimum! 

*TOP TIPS*

Food colouring:

Use gel food colouring, rather than liquid. Liquid food colouring can alter the consistency of your meringue and ultimately ruin your macarons. It’s also worth noting that macarons tend to lose some colour in the oven, so you might want to add a touch more food gel than you would for other baked goods.

Folding your ingredients:

This is an important stage. I’ve found that the best method is to scrape a spatula around the bowl, then through the middle of the batter in a figure eight motion. Continue folding until the batter falls off your spatula in a ribbon shape. The mixture should have a lava-like consistency, not so stiff that it holds its shape, but not too thin that the ribbon immediately disappears. 

Experiment with your oven:

It took a lot of research and a fair few attempts until I was happy with my macarons. A lot of it came down to temperature, which is why I’d recommend experimenting with your own oven. I’ve found that 140°C works for me, but oven temperatures tend to vary, so it may take a couple of batches until you find your ideal temperature.

INGREDIENTS

Macarons: 

75g egg whites, room temperature

75g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

100g ground almonds

80g icing sugar

2 tsp food gel (optional)

Buttercream:

100g unsalted butter

250g icing sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 140°C (284°F, gas mark 1) and line a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper. If you have them, I’d recommend using non-stick macaron mats. 
  1. Start by measuring out your egg whites. I’ve found that three medium eggs roughly equals 75g. Crack the eggs and separate the egg whites into a large bowl, making sure not to get any yolk in the whites. 
  1. Using a hand-held or stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on a medium-high speed until foamy and doubled in size. Add the sugar, 1tbsp at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Whisk into firm, glossy peaks. If you want to colour your macarons, add your food gel and whisk until fully combined. 
  1. In a separate bowl, measure the ground almonds and icing sugar. Sift the dry ingredients into your meringue mixture and gently fold together until the batter falls off your spatula in a ribbon. 
  1. Fit a piping bag with a round trip piping nozzle and fill with the batter. Pipe 1.5 inch rounds of batter onto your prepared baking sheets, then tap the sheets on the counter a few times to pop any trapped air bubbles. Bake the macarons straight away, for 15 minutes. 
  1. Take the macarons out of your oven and cool for 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. While your macaron shells are cooling, make your buttercream. 
  1. Using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat the butter on a low-medium speed for a few minutes until it goes pale and gains some volume. Sift in the icing sugar and add a couple of tablespoons of milk. Add the vanilla extract, and give it one final mix.
  1. Spoon your buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Once your macaron shells have cooled, pair them up and pipe a small dollop of buttercream onto the bottom shell. Place the top shell over the buttercream and gently press together until the filling spreads to the edges. Your macarons are now ready to serve!

If you’ve got any leftover macarons, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 

What macaron flavours would you like me to make? Leave me a comment below!

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