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

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Cook's Notes

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

Variations

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.

Reviews (25)

215 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 61
  • 4 star values: 67
  • 3 star values: 53
  • 2 star values: 25
  • 1 star values: 9
Rating: 3 stars
07/19/2018
They came out pretty nice, but I did get some tips on another website. I let mine sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour for the "skin" to develop. Surprised that ole MS didn't include that tip.The texture and taste were good.
Rating: Unrated
08/03/2013
My new go-to recipe for French macarons! Actually the simplest macaron recipe I've found. And! I colored them pink ;)
Rating: Unrated
06/14/2013
I am not going to even try this recipe. I love most of Martha's recipes. But looking at this recipe, is a no go for me. I am surprised at this one, as she is so detailed oriented. I got my baking diploma at Cordon Bleu, but wanted to see an American version so I checked on line. Most were like the ones I have. All have you REST after you pipe for at least 15 minutes. And once you pipe you should tap your sheet pans to eliminate your air bubbles. Not tap when batter is in bowl. Sorry Martha
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Rating: Unrated
09/15/2012
I wanted to come up with something exciting and elegant for my daughter's baby shower - and I've always been curious about the macaron's but didn't have the courage. Martha's recipe is not only easy, it is tasty! They were so good I decided to try the Swiss Merengue and OMGoodness - perfection! My son (the pickiest child of all time) can't get enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Rating: 2 stars
08/06/2012
I'm not very fond of this recipe. I've attempted it twice now and the macaroons have been nothing of the consistency that they should be. To be fair I've always had a bit of a problem with baking and I do not have an electric mixer. This is not an easy recipe.
Rating: Unrated
04/29/2012
These are amazing! When do you add food coloring to make them colored??
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Rating: Unrated
08/23/2011
@juliabobulia92, do you even know what slander means? I guess this recipe "spoke" to you...LOL! Baking and cooking take technique and a multitude of trial and error, this one may be on the difficult side (in order to get it right the first time around).
Rating: Unrated
07/29/2011
This recipe is full of LIES and SLANDER. Not only did it only make about ten macaroons, they were enormous based on the instructions provided, and they were not fluffy and delicious. LIES. Do not attempt.
Rating: Unrated
04/14/2011
prettypatty: hitomi22 IS correct!
Rating: Unrated
04/14/2011
To hitomi22: I do believe the correct wording should be: whomever, not whoever. Since this a correction of the recipe, shouldn't the grammar be correct, too?
Rating: Unrated
12/01/2010
I made these with hazelnut flour because I couldn't find almond flour and they were AMAZING.
Rating: Unrated
09/24/2010
THe cookies take a little practice to make but it's worth it. I made all three varieties for a party and they were great. I had no problems with them sticking to the parchment paper, but the key is to make sure the egg whites are beaten just right (my first batch was too stiff and the cookies weren't flat, the last batch I made was just right). Give the recipe a try and even if they don't look great they will still taste great.
Rating: Unrated
05/16/2010
While this recipe's good, I'm a bit disappointed with whoever wrote the title of the recipe - isn't it supposed to be macaron and not macaroon? There's a huge difference between the two. And also, traditional French macarons are not filled with buttercream, but should be filled with a bit of cream or butter!
Rating: Unrated
12/12/2009
Once the cookies are done, if you remove the parchment (with cookies on it) from the hot pan, place a wet dish towel on the pan, and then replace the parchment on top of the dish towel, it will create a steam which will loosen the cookies beautifully.
Rating: Unrated
12/11/2008
According to Bruce Healy in the French Cookie Book, you need to bake the macarons on newsprint and on two sheet pans ("glue" the newsprint down in the corners with some of the batter before piping the cookies) and as soon as you take them out of the oven, put the pan in the sink on a slant and lift up a corner of the newsprint; pour a half cup of water under the newsprint immediately and it will, according to him, steam off the macarons- let cool til you can handle and gently slide them off.
Rating: Unrated
10/31/2008
These are modernised french macaroons, Martha.. Swiss Meringue Buttercream is never used in the middle! It's a flavoured creme! =b
Rating: Unrated
09/19/2008
Well, I've tried making these twice, and it's been a disaster both times trying to take the macaroon off of the baking sheet, even with parchment paper. The cookie is baked all the way, tastes great, but it falls apart and won't keep its form when I try to remove it from the sheet. It's so frustrating because I've wanted to make these for so long when I have parties, but it never works out.
Rating: Unrated
04/19/2008
Here's a link to Martha's "Parisian Macaroons" with the flavor variations. I haven't tried either recipe yet but am planning to this weekend.
Rating: Unrated
04/11/2008
I was wondering the same thing myself, but then i realized that the outside part of the cookie just needs to coloring adjusted, so for example if you wanted to make green ones then you just add green food coloring and put pistachio paste in the buttercream instead of almonds.
Rating: Unrated
03/28/2008
Did I miss something? How do you make the chocolate ones and the pink ones? The writeup by the photo says all three batches, but the instructions are for only one kind of "batch".
Rating: Unrated
03/16/2008
Have not made these cookies yet but I will.
Rating: Unrated
03/16/2008
Have not made these cookies yet but I will.
Rating: Unrated
03/16/2008
Have not made these cookies yet but I will.
Rating: Unrated
03/16/2008
Have not made these cookies yet but I will.