French Almond Macarons

These cookies have a crisp exterior and a slightly chewy center. Make all three versions for a festive dessert buffet.

  • Yield: Makes about 30
French Almond Macarons

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2005


  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) sliced almonds, finely ground, or almond flour
  • All-purpose flour, for dipping
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sift confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Whisk in almonds; set aside. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats (such as Silpats), and mark circles using a 1 1/2-inch cutter dipped in flour.

  2. Put egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy, then beat in salt. Beat in granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, until medium-soft peaks form. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

  3. Using a rubber spatula, fold half the almond mixture into the egg white mixture until just incorporated. Fold in vanilla and remaining almond mixture until just incorporated. Firmly tap bottom of bowl on counter to eliminate air pockets.

  4. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe mixture into marked circles on prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until macarons are slightly firm and can be gently lifted off parchment (bottoms will be dry), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer macarons on parchment to a wire rack; let cool completely.

  5. Spread 2 teaspoons buttercream on flat sides of half the macarons, then sandwich with remaining halves, keeping flat sides together. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes, before serving.


Strawberry Macaroons Variation -- Follow instructions for French almond macaroons, adding 4 drops red food coloring to the egg whites just before you add the sugar-almond mixture. Proceed with the recipe. For the filling, use only 1 teaspoon vanilla, and fold 1/3 cup strained strawberry preserves into the Swiss meringue buttercream after you mix in the butter. Chocolate Macaroons Variation -- Follow instructions for French almond macaroons, sifting 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder with the confectioners' sugar. Proceed with recipe. Instead of the Swiss meringue buttercream, make a ganache filling: Place 5 ounces finely chopped semisweet chocolate in a small bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream just to a simmer in a small sauce-pan, and pour over the chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, and stir until chocolate has melted. Let ganache stand until thick enough to spread. Use to fill cookies.

Cook's Notes

Macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to two days.


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