Friday, March 15, 2013

How to make macarons

With Easter coming nearer, I thought you might enjoy my macaron recipe.. they make such a bright and happy spot on every Easter table.

The ingredients for making macarons are simple, the key is to mix them in the exact proportion, and to bake them for the exact time.

Egg whites do not come in standard sizes (they usually vary between 33g and 36g per egg), which is why I developed my recipe with the weight of the egg whites as a starting point, from where I then calculate the rest of the ingredients.

Egg whites: two make about 14 macarons. This time, they weighed 69g (2.42 oz) in total. The other ingredients are therefore as follows:
Ground almond (almond powder): Total weight of egg whites multiplied by 1.26 = 87g (3.07 oz)
Icing sugar (confectioners' sugar): Total weight of egg whites multiplied by 2.07 = 143g (5.04 oz)
Caster sugar (regular white sugar):Total weight of egg whites divided by 3.6 = 19g (0.67 oz)

The first thing to prepare is the 'tant pour tant', which is nothing other than sifting icing (confectioners') sugar and ground almonds together through a fine sieve (a tamis is perfect)to obtain a fine powder (because the oil in the almond powder is not sufficient to just stir them together). A quick and easy alternative is to whizz them together in a food processor. It takes a fraction of the time and effort and works equally well (at least for me).
Tant pour tant mix

Then, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Continue to beat while adding the caster sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, add a drop of food coloring and beat until the color has evenly mixed through.

With the help of a spatula, fold the 'tant pour tant' (one-third of it at a time) into the stiff egg white mixture. Work swiftly but gently until you have a smooth paste. 


Fill the paste into a pastry bag/piping bag fitted with an 8 mm (size 8) tip 

Cover a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment, and squeeze out small dollops (approx. 4 cm /1.5" diameter) of the mixture, leaving at least 4 cm (1.5") distance between them.

The picture below is a good illustration of the desired consistency of the mixture. It should not be too liquid (it must not run out of the piping bag like thick liquid) and not be too solid either (when squirted onto the parchment, it should still be liquid enough to spread itself out a bit, and not like a solid blob with little peaks on top).  Weather conditions (humidity) and the oil content of the almond powder can influence the delicate balance of the ingredients, but you can always correct these by adding more/less of the 'tant pour tant' to the stiff egg white mix.

Leave the uncooked shells for half an hour to dry before putting them into a preheated oven (120˚C/F250˚).

Bake for a minimum of 8 minutes, and then start to watch them closely. The baking time can be anywhere from 9-14 minutes and depends on the size and height of the dollops you've made. Take also into account that each oven behaves differently. The first sign of them being ready is when the kitchen starts filling with a heavenly scent. If the colour gets a hint of brown, or small cracks appear on the surface, they have been in too long. Usually, the colour change or cracking happens to just one of them at first, which is a sure sign that all of them are ready. Often, I wait for this moment... having one mishap macaron in the batch is a small sacrifice for knowing that the rest will be perfect. Taking them out too early means they will still be liquid inside, even though they might already look good from the outside.

My favourite filling for the pink macarons is a very simple and light fruit filling:
Combine 100g (3.52 oz) raspberries or strawberries (fresh or frozen), 55 g (5.2 oz) jam sugar and 1/2 tsp of lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, while stirring continuously. Continue to stir and boil for 5 minutes.

Once the mix has cooled down, fill it into a piping/pastry bag and place a dollop on the centre of every other shell (let the shells cool off completely before removing them from the parchment). Place a second shell on top, and press down while turning it lightly (like closing a screw top)

An alternative with green food colouring... if you look closely at the bottom left picture, you can see that this batch has been a little bit  too long in the oven: in the first and third row, you can see two macarons with cracks on their surfaces (they still tasted delicious!)

Coffee macarons are the personal favourites of DH and DS...

For these, I prefer coarse ground almond powder, which results in a slightly speckled look of the shells. Instead of food colouring, I use liquid coffee extract, or 1 tsp of strong espresso (you can also dissolve 1 tsp Nescafé with a little boiling water instead) Any hot coffee needs to cool down before adding it to the stiff egg whites. The coarser almond powder seems to absorb the extra liquid, and there is usually no need to add more of the 'tant pour tant' mix to compensate for the coffee.

Coffee butter filling:
60g soft unsalted butter (2.1 oz)
35g icing (confectioners') sugar (1.2 oz)
40g almond powder (1.4 oz)
coffee extract or espresso (Nescafé) to taste
Beat the butter until creamy and fluffy, then add the icing sugar and continue to beat until well incorporated. Add the almond powder while still beating. Then, add the coffee or coffee extract. Refrigerate the coffee mousse for at least two hours. Assemble the macarons in the same way as described in the fruit version above.

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  1. Oh far too advanced for me, I shall just admire yours, they are all the more beautiful for being home made.

  2. I've never tried to make coffee macarons. But seeing yours makes me want to give them a shot. My favorite ones are probably pistachio macarons. With a "ganache ivoire". Yummy! ;-))
    Thank you for this delightful post dear MT.

  3. Merci pour les differentes recettes de macarons.
    Ils sont magnifique et donne vraiment envie.
    Ladurée et hermé n ont qu a bien se tenir .
    Je viens de dejeuner mais la devant le pc je salive
    Non contente d etre belle et tous classe et chic vous etes patissiere bravo bravo
    Trés bon weekend en esperant que le mistral cesse.
    Trés amicalement MYRIAM

  4. Hello gorgeous! What a way to start the day! Now I am starving as I drool over these beauties with my morning tea! Doubt if I will endeavor to make but may hop over to my fav chocolatier to pic some up! He brings them in from Paris. Somehow my Greek yogurt and fruit do not seem to match up this morning;) Happy weekend dear friend, T xx

  5. Wow- I can't wait to try making these. The fruit filling looks so light and yummy. THanks- Tara

  6. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I am going to give them a try this weekend and make a batch at Easter too! They always look so gorgeous. I would like to try lavender too - I had these 20 years ago in Grasse.

  7. Dearest MaiTai,

    These look so wonderfull, even nicer than the well known ones begining with L.

    Thank you for sharing the recipe and fab pics with us.

    Have a great weekend
    Jane x

  8. Waouuw! Je me réjouis d'essayer ces merveilleuses recettes!
    Mille mercis et amitiés.

    1. Frederique j adore votre blog dommage je ne peux laisser de commentaire par contre je ne suis pas d accord pour les foulards
      En tous cas bravo bravo!

  9. These look fabulous MT! Thanks for sharing your recipe. SAx

  10. They are looking lovely, dear MaiTai. I've wanted to try to bake macaroons for the longest time, but was always put off.... I think, I'll give them a try now...Are you using a special food coloring or just the ones one can get in a supermarket?

    1. I have many different food colorings at home, and for me, they are all fine. Some are special, but only because I could not find such specific colors elsewhere (for instance the blue for DS' Spiderman birthday many years ago..) Have fun baking!

  11. Dear Mai Tai your pictures going with the receipts are such artistics than its already a pleasure to imagine to eat them. Too complicate or too lazyto make them but I really appreciate to have the recipe as well explained than the way of knoting the scarves . We never know ? I completely agree with Myriam you are many things together : chic, classe and pretty and at the enf vous etes patiissiere! Do you cook also good food??? For sure yes! Spend an excellent week end. Monica

  12. look fabulous!

    you are v. talented. x

  13. Wunderbar, auch wenn ich sie lieber fertig kaufe. Leider gibt es sie bei uns nicht mit diesr köstlichen Fruchtfüllung, sondern immer nur mit (kalorierenreicher) Creme. Schönes Wochenend und herzliche Grüße - S

  14. They look wonderful and actually something that I could do. One question, tho: What is "icing" sugar. Is it what Americans call "confectioners" sugar - a non-granular, very soft, almost flour-like sugar (used with butter and a few drops of vanilla to make icing)? thanks.

    1. Yes, icing sugar is the same as 'confectioners' or 'powdered' sugar (in France it's called 'sucre glacé'). Wishing you the best of luck!

  15. Beautiful. You never cease to amaze me. Jan xo

  16. I'm very impressed and glad that a local bakery here in Zionsville, Indiana makes wonderful macaroons so I don't have to try. I think yours are prettier though!

  17. Mai Tai, I certainly hope that DH and DS worship at your feet! Although I'd love to have a crack at making these lovelies, I'll just enjoy looking at yours. Luckily Laduree has opened in NYC (Philadelphia being about 1 1/2 hr away, and I intend to head there as soon as I can walk properly! (Pistache lover par excellence)
    Have a splendid weekend~

    Barbara A

  18. Oh...forgot to ask, is there an Hermes scarf that is particular only to the Paris venues? My friend wants to bring me back a scarf...perhaps something that's not found here in the U.S.?

    Barbara A

    1. The 'Rendez-vous Rive Gauche' might be a perfect souvenir from Paris, as it depicts scenes from everyday life in the left bank. It was issued for the opening of the Rue de Sevres store in 2010.

      The original CWs are only available in Paris (if they still have them). I remember a pale pink and a white/turquoise/blue CW.

      For the SS2012 collection, the design has been re-issued in several CWs. Those are/were avaiable world wide. Mine is marine/turquoise/caramel.. to see pictures, please click this link:
      RdV Rive Gauche

      Hope this helps!

  19. These are gorgeous! You are a far more ambitious baker than I am. I will head into the city to Laduree after seeing this post. Have a great weekend!

  20. You are amazing, my dear MaiTai! 'Simply the best' as once Macs wrote. You can do everything so gracefully and with such style and elegance.
    Your macarons look divine and I am sure they taste like heaven!
    Thank you so much for the detailed recipe. I may give it a try one day though I am not sure I'll achieve the same result as you did. Sending you the sweetest hugs and wishing you a lovely Sunday, M xx

  21. Dearest MaiTai: Thank you so much for doing all of the experiments and taking the guess work out of this recipe for your mouth-watering macarons. They look absolutely perfect! I'll give these a try soon.
    I covet your stove/oven combo.

    Warm hugs,

  22. very festive! you make it look so easy... though I am a coward and get mine from ladurée. x

  23. Thanks so much for for the lovely comments, everyone! Happy you enjoyed the post. Have fun with macarons, (whether baking, enjoying or both!) and a great week ahead xx

  24. Dearest MaiTai,
    Wow! These beautiful macarons look so perfect and absolutely delectable. There certainly is no end to your many amazing talents, dear MaiTai. Thank you so much for all the work you've given in sharing your wonderful tried and true recipes - with the best culinary photography. I've never tried making macarons, but you have so inspired me to give it a try. Much love with big sweet hugs to you xxx

  25. Dear MaiTai, my wife and I discovered your recipe for macarons here last week - we have made quite a few different online recipes and this has to be our favourite. They turned out beautifully and were absolutely delicious. My wife then spotted your scarves and loves your marvellous fashion and now both of us have taken to reading your blog in the morning as it is so wonderfully uplifting! Thank you very much for all your posts, they are so appreciated.