How To Make Perfect Macarons At Home

French macarons are notoriously tricky to make.  There are so many things that can go wrong.  They can crack, sink, be hollow, bubble , and and just  flat out fail.

But with a little practice, and trial and error, you to can make perfect macarons at home every single sime.

In the mean time never fear, after 462 batches of macarons, I am here to share with you all I know so you can perfect your macarons asap.

My macaron nifty tips can be broken down into getting 3 simple thing right.  These being:

  • Equipment
  • Ingredients
  • Process
pink salted caramel macarons

Make sure you use the right equipment


You’ve heard it before, cooking may be an art, but baking is most definitely a science.

With no other recipe is this more true than macarons.
You can buy kitchen scales on amazon from as little as $10 or $20.  There’s nothing worse than investing an hour into a bake and having it flop.  Your time is worth more $10 or $20, if those scales save you just 1 failed bake, it was a worthwhile investment.  Trust me, just buy some damn scales.

Electric Mixer

All macaron recipes involve making a meringue (that is whipping egg whites with sugar until they are light and fluffy and hold their shape).  If you have ample time and arms like Popeye The Sailor Man, go ahead and have a go doing this by hand.  Personally my arms are more like Olive Oil’s than Popeyes, so I’ll be using electricity to whip my eggs.

I should note though, you don’t need a stand mixer like this.  An electric hand mixer like this will do the trick just fine, cost less and take up less bench space.

Food Processer

The secret to a smooth finish to your macarons is making sure your almond flour is extra fine.  The secret to extra fine almond flour is to take regular almond flour and make it smaller using a food processer.

This recipe calls for both the icing sugar and almond flour to be blended together.  The benefit of this is that the icing sugar will absorb any oils released by the almond flour as its breaking down.  This will reduce your chances of over-blending the almond flour and ending up with almond butter.

The right sized sieve

The first secret to having extra fine almond flour is to blend it.  The second secret is to sift it using a fine sieve.  By doing this you’ll be making sure only the smallest, finest pieces of almond flour makes it into your bowl.  Discard any grains of almond flour do not easily fit through your sieve.  These are the devils grains that will make the surface of your macarons all bumpy.  You don’t want them in your batter. 
If you find you’re rejecting a lot of almond flour, either put your batch back into the blender and give it another blitz, or measure the weight of your discarded almond flour and sift out some more almond flour straight from the bag to replace with those discarded bigger grains. 

A template

Macarons are a heavenly sandwich, made by using 2 almond cookies as the bread to surround a divine filling.  This works best if the 2 cookies are about the same size, and using a template as a guide will help you pipe cookies that are more or less the same size.
I make circle macarons all the time, so to save time I use these silicone mats that have the circles printed on them (that way I’m not forever printing off circle templates).  However, know that if you use these types of mats you will need to bake the macarons for longer and potentially reduce the temperature of your oven (to reduce the tops from browning).  With these silicone mats I find the best baking time is 22 minutes at 110 degrees Celsius.

Piping Bag & Tip

There are some recipes that will let you get away with using a zip lock bag in lieu of a piping bag. Macarons is not one of them.  A piping bag and piping tip will give you control over how much, how fast, and what shape the macaron batter falls onto the parchment paper.  This is important to help you get 2 cookies that are the same shape, which as described above is what will allow you to make the best macaron sandwich.

Prepare your ingredients like a pro

Aged and Room Temperature Egg Whites

Aging egg whites is the process of separating the egg yolk from the egg white and leaving the egg whites in the fridge for at least 24 hours so that they dehydrate slightly.  This step makes it easier to whip up a nice fluffy meringue (which is the first step to making a macaron).  Its not 100% necessary, but as a macaron beginner every little thing that will help you get a better result is worth it.  Skip this step at your own peril.
Also remember to take the egg white out of the fridge and let them come back up to room temperature before you whip them.  Once again, this step will help you achieve a nice stable meringue.

Use the right food colour

When choosing food which food colour to use, make sure you choose a gel food colour.  I use these wilton gel food colours.  
Reason is, gel food colours are more concentrated than liquid so you won’t need to use as much and adding the colouring is less likely to effect your batter.
Also, definitely DON’T use oil based or chocolate food colour.  These gel colours are magic for tinting buttercream or candy melts, but nothing will destroy your perfect meringues faster than a couple drops of oil food colour.

Almond Flour vs. Almond Meal

No, almond flour and almond meal are not the same thing.  Almond meal is made from raw and unpeeled almonds.  Almond flour is made from peeled almonds, has a much finer texture and is lighter in colour.
Almond meal tends to be cheaper, than almond flour so it can be tempting to swap the almond flour for almond meal, but be aware that your macarons will have a different texture and mouth feel vs. what you would get if you used almond flour. 
They will also likely have a rough appearance.
Macarons are a lot of effort, do yourself a favour and splurge on the almond flour.

Get your process down pat

Wipe down all equipment with vinager

Another step that will help you get a nice meringue.  Nothing will ruin a meringue faster than oil.  Any residual oil in your bowl or beaters will basically guarantee you will struggle to whip your meringue to a stiff peak.  To make sure there is no chance of oil coming into contact with your egg whites wipe down anything that is going to come into contact with your unbeaten egg white with a paper towel that has a dash of either vinegar or lemon juice on it.
Also, in case your wondering, egg yolks are a source of fat (aka oil).  If there is even the tiniest chance that some egg yolk has made it into your egg whites while separating them, discard the egg white and start all over.

Stiff vs. Soft Peaks

Do you know the difference between soft and stiff peaks?  If you take a spoonful of meringue that is at soft peak stage it will be fluffy and mashmellowy, but if you point the tip of the meringue upright it will fall over.  However if you continue to whip your meringue it will eventually reach stiff peaks, at this stage when you hold your spoon so the tip of the meringue is upright it will not flop over.  Here’s a helpful video that demonstrates the difference between stiff and soft peaks.

The Art of the Macaronage

This is the process of using your spatula to remove some of the air from your batter.  It is a process.  And it takes a while to do and it some practice to master.  If under mix, you won’t remove enough air, your macarons will be hollow and have a rough surface.  If you overmix, you’ll remove too much air and your macarons will spread too much on your baking paper and will not grow feet while baking.

It can take a while to learn exactly how far you need to take your batter along the macaronage road, and this is the step that I personally have found the most difficult to master.  Here’s a video to help you get your macaronage just right

Treat all macaron recipes as a ratio recipe

In a ratio recipe, you want to slightly adjust your ingredients so that their amounts stay in proportion to each other.  
(Note: you only need to do this for macaron cookie ingredients.  It’s really not a deal breaker if you have a little more or less filling).

How do you do this?

Step 1: Measure the amount of egg whites you have.
Let’s say for example after seperating 3 eggs you have 90g of egg whites.

Step 2: Calculate the multiplication factor
To do this divide the amount of egg whites you have by the amount the recipe calls for.
So say the recipe calls for 100 grams of egg whites, but you have 90 grams. In this example you would divide 90 by 100 (90/100 = 0.9)

Step 3: Multiply remaining ingredients by multiplication factor
So in this example, say the next ingredient the recipe calls for is 140 grams of powdered sugar.  Instead of using 140 grams of powdered sugar, you would use 126 grams (because 0.9 x 140 = 126).

You will need to do step 3 for all ingredients that are required to make the macaron cookies.

And that's it!

Like I said at the start, macarons can be a little tricky to get the hang of, but with a bit of practice you will have them mastered.  Plus most “failed” macarons still taste delicius (they just look a bit ugly) so enjoy the delicious failures!

I hope these tips have been helpful for you, and I’d love to hear how you go with your next batch of macarons and if you would like any further tips.

You can get in touch with my via my instagram or by leaving a comment below.

Happy baking!

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