How to Make French Macarons: Our Step-by-Step Guide
It's tough to resist a treat that looks as good as it tastes—and in the case of macarons, there is no reason to try. With their colorful shells and dainty size, these photogenic French sandwich cookies seem made for the age of Instagram. We think their appeal is truly timeless.
Nowadays, you can find them in many bakeries and coffee shops (or, if you're feeling fancy, even order them from the famed Ladurée Paris). But we love a DIY around here, so we recommend making a batch at home.
Baking is a precise discipline, and delicate macaron cookie shells made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar are temperamental—just like meringues and caramel. Between achieving the ruffle-like "foot" at the base and nailing the ultra-light texture, things can go awry—but if you can master the technique, you'll feel like a true pastry chef or pâtissier.
From there, assembly is simple: sandwich two cookies around a swipe of buttercream, jam, or chocolate ganache. After a brief rest in the refrigerator, they're ready for you to enjoy! Between all of the possible flavors, colors, and fillings, the combinations are nearly endless. There's no better way to delight your friends than by passing around a box of these homemade treats. As an added bonus, they're naturally gluten-free, meaning even more of your loved ones can enjoy them.
Ready to get your macar-on? Follow our step-by-step guide for perfect French macarons every time. Just don't call them macaroons—those ooey-gooey, often coconutty mounds, while equally tasty, are a different treat entirely
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in lower third. Place 2/3 cup blanched almonds in a food processor; process until as fine as possible, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup confectioners' sugar; process until combined, about 1 minute.
Sift Dry Ingredients
Pass almond mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Transfer solids in sieve to food processor; grind and sift again, pressing down on clumps. Repeat until less than 2 tablespoons of solids remains in sieve.
Whip Egg Whites
Whisk 2 large egg whites and 1/4 cup granulated sugar by hand to combine. Beat on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid) 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high (6) and beat 2 minutes. Then beat on high (8) 2 minutes more.
The beaten egg whites will hold stiff, glossy peaks when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. Add flavoring and food coloring, if desired, and beat on highest speed 30 seconds.
Fold in Almond Mixture
Add dry ingredients all at once. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press flat side of spatula firmly through middle of mixture. Repeat just until batter flows like lava, 35 to 40 complete strokes.
Prepare to Pipe
Rest a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip (Ateco #804) inside a glass. Transfer batter to bag; secure top. Dab some batter remaining in bowl onto corners of 2 heavy baking sheets; line with parchment.
With piping tip 1/2 inch above sheet, pipe batter into a 3/4-inch round, then swirl tip off to one side. Repeat, spacing rounds 1 inch apart. Tap sheets firmly against counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles.
Bake, Fill, and Refrigerate
Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until risen and just set, 13 minutes. Let cool. Pipe or spread filling on flat sides of half of cookies; top with remaining half. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate