Equipment You'll Need
Let’s start off with the list of equipment you’ll need to make these Nutella French macarons (or any French macarons for that matter).
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- Scales: The most accurate method of measuring your ingredients is to measure them by weight using kitchen scales.
- Electric mixer: Doesn’t need to be a stand mixer, a hand held mixer will do the job just fine.
- Food processer
- The right sized sieve: Size 40 is best.
- Piping Bag & tips: To give you more control so you can create even sized and shaped macaron cookies.
- Baking tray: lined with either parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Optional: a template to help guide you to pipe perfect macarons.
Nifty Tips to nail this recipe
The first step to beautiful macarons is to Master the Meringue
The first step to any macaron is to whip egg whites with sugar to form a meringue with stiff peaks. Stiff peeks means the meringue is fluffy, has texture of marshmallow and when you take a spoonful and hold it so the tip of the meringue is upright, it will not flop over.
When creating your meringue with stiff peeks, do the following for best results:
- Age your egg whites: This is the process of separating your egg whites and placing them in a container overnight in the fridge to dehydrate slightly.
- Wipe down your equipment with vinegar or lemon juice: The tiniest bit of oil contaminating your egg whites will guarantee your meringue will fail. Wiping your mixer and bowl down with vinegar or lemon juice will prevent any residual oil contaminating you egg whites.
- Cream of Tartar: Without getting too technical, a touch of cream of tartar adds a little acidity to the egg whites, helping them to whip up nice and fluffy.
- Caster Sugar: Also known as superfine granulated sugar. Sugar adds structure to the meringue. A fine sugar grain will dissolve more easily in the egg white. As the grains of caster sugar are smaller than regular white sugar, using caster sugar limits the risk of deflating the egg white as you add it to your mixture.
Want smooth tops? Use Superfine almond flour
The secret to a smooth finish to your macarons is making sure your almond flour is extra fine. To guarantee a smooth finish on your macarons, make sure you:
- Buy fine almond flour: try a few different brands until you find one that works for you. And do not use almond meal (almond meal is not the same as almond flour).
- Blitz the almond flour it in a food processer: To make the almond flour grains even smaller. Blitzing both the powdered sugar and almond meal together will absorb any oils that are released from the almond flour, so that you do not end up with almond butter.
- Use a sieve: This is your last line of defense against larger grains of almond flour. Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar before adding it to the meringue and disregard any large pieces that can’t easily be sifted. For best results use a sieve with a size 40 mesh.
Treat all macaron recipes as a ratio recipe
Macarons by their nature are sensitive little biscuits. This recipe calls for 100 grams of egg whites, so in the case that you have a little more or less, its best to adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
(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).
To adjust your other ingredients, follow the below process:
Let’s say for example after separating 3 eggs you have 90g of egg whites.
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 the remaining ingredients by this multiplication factor
So in this example, the next ingredient the recipe calls for is 140 grams of powdered sugar. Instead of using 140 grams, you would use 126 grams of powdered sugar (because 0.9 x 140 = 126).
You will need to do step 3 for all ingredients that are required to make the macaron cookies. Unless you are making a half batch of macarons, there is no need to adjust the ingredients for the filling, as it really doesn’t matter if you have a little more or less filling.
Well rested macarons will develop a skin over the top of the cookie.
When rested macarons are baked, the batter will rise and create “feet” at the base of the macaron. (These feet are the ruffles around the edge of the cookie shell). Macarons that have not been adequately rested will expand at the top of the cookie when baked, causing the shell to crack.
French macarons can take a few tries to get a hang of. Everyone’s oven is slightly different, and things totally out of your control like weather can effect the resting time.
Check out my blog on how to make perfect macarons at home for more tips and tricks. Otherwise, enjoy experimenting with my recipe below for delicious chocolate nutella macarons.
How did you decorate these macarons?
These macarons have been drizzled with a little white chocolate and sprinkled with Christmas Sprinkles. The gingerbread sprinkles are made by Wilton and available on Amazon (linked here).
I love a decorated macaron. Not only do they look cute and a bit special, adding decorations is a great way to hide any imperfections in the macaron shell. A quick Pinterest search will unearth a million and one ideas to decorate your macarons.
What's the best way to store my macarons?
Best practice to freeze macarons is to place un-decorated macarons in a single layer in an airtight container. When you’re ready to eat them, move from the freezer to the fridge and allow to thaw for 24 hours before eating.
It’s best to let your macarons defrost in the container they have been frozen in. This way any condensation that forms will fall on the container, not the macarons. If condensation forms on the macarons they can get soggy.
I recommend only freezing undecorated macarons, as the condensation caused by defrosting the macarons may cause the dye in your decorations to bleed.
The thing with Christmas is that there is A LOT of things to organise. Gifts, cleaning, cooking, the list is endless. One of the great things about macarons is that since they can be frozen for so long without effecting their taste, they can be made well ahead of time. You could theoretically make these macarons in October and eat them on Christmas day!
You can either freeze assembled macarons or just the shells and assemble them with ganache after they have been defrosted.
Substitutions for dietary Needs
Special dietary needs are so common these days, that you are almost guaranteed to know someone with special dietary needs that should to be considered. Below are some suggestions of how to cater for some of the more common dietary requirements:
- Vegan: This recipe contains food from animals in the form of eggs, cream, chocolate and Nutella. Although I personally haven’t tried it, some bakers have had success making macarons with Aquafaba in lieu of eggs. Here is one such recipe. To make vegan ganache, substitute the cream for coconut cream, and make sure to use vegan chocolate. There are also vegan nutella alternatives available. For example this one linked here.
- Gluten Free: This recipe is suitable for people who cannot tolerate gluten. Just make sure to check for any warnings of trace gluten in your ingredients.
- Dairy Allergies: The ganache in this recipe uses chocolate, cream and Nutella – all of which contain dairy. A vegan style ganache filling as described above would be a suitable substitution for people who cannot tolerate dairy.
- Nut Allergies: Although some bakers have had success substituting almond flour for another but based four (e.g. hazelnut), unfortunately I am unaware of a macaron recipe that does not require any nut based flour at all.
Nutella Chocolate French Macarons
- electric mixer
- Food Processor
- A fine mesh sieve
- piping bags and tips
- A template
- Baking Tray and baking paper (or silicone baking mat)
Chocolate Macaron Cookies
- Dash Vinegar or Lemon Juice
- 100 grams Egg Whites (approximately 3 eggs)
- 110 grams Powdered Sugar
- 140 grams Almond Flour
- 25 grams Cocoa Powder
- 90 grams Caster Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 75 grams Nutella
- 25 grams milk chocolate
- 40 grams cream
The day before baking: age egg whites
- First step is to age your egg whites. Separate the egg whites from the yolk and place the egg whites in a clean airtight container (that has been wiped down with a little vinegar or lemon juice). Store in the fridge overnight.
Make the Ganache
- Place the cream, chocolate and Nutella in a plastic microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 20 seconds.
- Once heated, remove the bowl from your microwave and stir to combine. The chocolate should melt and combine with the cream and nutella to form a ganache. If needed microwave for a further 10 seconds and stir again. Repeat this process until the mixture combines to form a silky, shiny ganache.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge to cool.
Prepare your macaron making equipment
- When your ready to make the macaron batter, remove egg whites from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the equipment & dry ingredients.
- Next prepare your baking tray & piping bag by lining a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat. Put the baking tray to the side. Next place a piping tip into your piping bag, and snip off the end of the bag. Place this to the side also.
- Wipe down a fresh bowl and your electric mixer with vinegar to remove any possible traces of oil.
Make the Macaron Cookies
- Place the icing sugar, cocoa powder and almond flour in a food processer and blitz for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a fine mesh sieve and gently sift the mixture into a bowl. Discard any pieces of almond flour that do not pass through the sieve. If you are discarding a lot of almond flour weigh the amount that is being discarded and replace with the same amount of finely sifted almond flour.
- Place egg whites the bowl that was cleaned with vinegar/lemon juice and begin to whip on low speed using your electric mixer.
- Once the eggs start to look frothy, add the cream of tartar.
- Continue whipping until the eggs look foamy, then gradually add the caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition until all the sugar has been incorporated.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high and continue to whip the meringue until it reaches stiff peaks.
- Double check that all the sugar has been dissolved by carefully rubbing some of the meringue between your fingers. If you feel any grains of sugar continue whipping the meringue and test again. Repeat this until the meringue is smooth to touch.
- Once the meringue is ready it is time to combine it with the almond flour/icing sugar. You want to do this while keeping as much air in the meringue as possible. Best method is to add half the almond flour to your meringue and gently fold in - aka use your spatula to scrape around the outside of the bowl until this first batch of almond flour has been mixed in). Then, fold in remaining almond flour using the same technique.
- Now it's time to perform the macaronage. In this stage we are trying to remove some of the air from the meringue. To do this use your spatula to gently spread the batter around the sides of the bowl, pressing it slightly as you do so. Continue doing this until your batter reaches the consistency of hot lava. Check out my blog post on how to make the perfect macarons at home for more information about how to perfect the macaronage.
- Once your batter is at hot lava stage, transfer it to your prepared piping bag.
- Place a dap of macaron batter in between the baking paper and tray in each corner to hold the baking paper in place, then pipe batter onto your prepared baking tray.
- Bang the tray on your counter a couple of times to bring and any air bubbles to the surface of the macarons, then use a toothpick to pop any visible bubbles and smooth the top of the cookie.
- Rest the macaron cookies by leaving the trays on the bench until the tops of the macarons feel dry to touch. The amount of time this takes will depend on the weather in your area. Where I am in Melbourne, it takes about 20mins. You'll know the macarons are ready to bake if they feel smooth and dry to touch.
- Preheat oven to 110 degrees. Transfer the tray of macarons to the oven. Bake at 110 degrees Celsius for 18 minutes (or a little longer if you are using a silicone mat instead of baking paper). You will know when the macarons are cooked because they will peel easily off the baking paper. Leave the macarons on the baking tray until they have cooled completely.
- Once cool, sort through macaron cookies to match them up into similar size/shaped pairs.
- Check the ganache is still soft, if it is too firm to pipe place the bowl in the microwave for 5 seconds to soften it slightly. Give it a good stir, then transfer to a piping bag.
- Pipe a layer of ganache onto the underside of one cookie, than place the second cookie on top to make a sandwich.
- Decorate with melted chocolate and sprinkles.
- Place macarons in an airtight container and store in the fridge. For best results allow them to sit in the fridge 24 hours for 24 hours to "ripe" before serving.Macarons can be kept in the fridge for up to a week or stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. See the paragraph above for more details of how to best store your macarons.
Have you have tried this recipe? Leave a rating and review and let me know in the comments below.
Better yet, take a photo and post it to instagram. Don’t forget to tag me and use the hashtag #theniftybaker