Macarons are quickly becoming one of my favourite things to bake and I have had so many questions that I thought it was about time I created a guide to making the perfect Macarons.

What are Macarons? Macaron v Macaroon

Okay, so this post is about macarons, not macaroons. A macaron is made of two round cookies made using almond flour. A macaroon is a cookie made with shredded coconut and is dipped in chocolate.

Macarons are made by whipping up egg whites and caster sugar just like you would for meringues, then you add icing sugar and ground almonds, pipe them into little circles and leave them to rest.

Once the macarons bake, they have little feet at the bottom. These are like little ruffles around the bottom of the macaron and are the tell-tale sign that they are well baked. The macaron should be crunchy on the outside and soft and mallowy on the inside.

Different Types of Macarons

There are different ways to make the perfect macarons. I make macarons using the French method but there is also the Italian and Swiss method to making macarons.

The French method is created by whipping up the egg whites and gradually adding sugar until they form stiff peaks. I find this the easiest way to make macarons, once the stiff peaks have formed, add in the icing sugar and ground almond mixture and fold until the batter flows like lava.

The Italian method is slightly different, and it doesn’t produce the same taste and texture as a French macaron. To make the perfect Macarons using the Italian method sugar is dissolved in water and brought to the boil, to create a syrup. The syrup is then slowly added to the stiff egg whites and whipped until the mixture forms stiff peaks and cools.

The Swiss Method is slightly different again. To make the perfect macarons using the Swiss method sugar and egg whites are whisked together over heat. After the mixture reaches 50C it is removed from the heat and whipped until it cools and forms stiff peaks. This method is quite like the Italian method with just a few slight differences.

Essential Equipment

Scales

Sieve

Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer

Spatula

Oven Trays

Silicone Mats

Macaron Template

Food Processor

Piping Bag

Piping Nozzle

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Where do I start?

The best place to start to make the perfect macarons is by whisking up your egg whites. I use the balloon whisk on my KitchenAid, if you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer. When the egg whites start to become frothy begin to add 1 spoonful of sugar one at a time, giving a minute or so in between each addition. Once the mixture reaches stiff peaks stop mixing and leave to one side.

For the icing sugar and ground almond pop them into a food processor and blitz them for 2 minutes. I know this is quite specific but trust me. Once it has been blitzed sieve the mixture into a large bowl. Don’t force through any lumps once you have sieved the mixture pop it back into the food processor and blitz for another 1 minute. Again, once it has been blitzed, sieve it into a large bowl.

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Pink Sprinkle Macarons

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Malteser Macarons

It is super important that you set a timer when you blitz the almond and icing sugar, I know it is a bit faffy, but it is super worth it. I found that when I blitzed the mixture together and I didn’t know how long I had done it for the results were quite inconsistent. The only way I have managed to get consistently good results is by timing how long I blitz for.

If you want to make chocolate shells replace some of the icing sugar with cocoa powder and then pop them into the food processor and follow the steps as normal.

Next, add the meringue mixture into the almond mixture and fold. Again, I have done this the opposite way and added the almond mixture to the meringue, and I didn’t have the best outcome so I would recommend adding the meringue to the almond.

Macaronage

Macaronage is a French term that means mixing your macaron batter in a certain way. You want to fold the mixture together and press it against the sides of the bowl until it flows like molten lava.

When you are folding the batter, you do want to be careful and gentle but at the same time, we are trying to knock some of the air out. I start by folding the mixture together carefully until all the almond mixture and egg mixture are completely combined. Now you need to press and wipe the mixture off the side of the bowl. This is a little tricky to explain, so hopefully, it makes sense. By doing this you are deflating the meringue slightly and making the mixture runny.

You want the mixture to be runny but still thick enough to hold its shape so when you pipe it onto your macaron mat it doesn’t just run everywhere.

Coloured Macarons

Colouring macarons is simple. You do need to use powdered, gel or oiled based food colouring. I wouldn’t recommend using a food colouring that is water-based or one that you can buy in the supermarket as you tend to need a lot of the colouring and it can also leave a funny aftertaste.

Once you have whipped your egg whites to stiff peaks add in the food colouring next and mix again. I would recommend using a little food colouring at a time and mix in between each addition. Just remember though the colour will lighten slightly when you add the icing sugar and almond mixture. So, I always make the egg whites a brighter colour than I want and when I add the remaining ingredients, they are the perfect colour.

Piping, Resting and Baking

Once your macaron mixture flows like molten lava add it to a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Pipe the mixture onto your silicone baking mats. I put the baking mats on my flat oven trays upside down. I know this sounds ridiculous but hear me out. Most oven trays have a little lip or an edge so by turning them upside down they are completely flat. It also helps for the air to circulate around the macarons.  

Once you have piped the macarons bang the tray on the worktop a few times and if there are any air bubbles on the top of the macarons gently pop them with the tip of a skewer. This will ensure that your macarons have a lovely and flat top.

Leave the macarons to rest for 45 minutes to an hour. You know they are rested when you touch the top and they are completely dry. This might take slightly less time or slightly more depending on the humidity and temperature in the room. I would start checking them after around half an hour.

Towards the end of the resting time preheat your oven. When the macarons are ready pop them into the oven and bake.

It can be quite difficult to tell when they are ready, I normally do the ‘wiggle test’ if the macarons only move a tiny bit when I wiggle them then they are ready if they move a lot then pop them back in for 2-3 minutes and then repeat.

Where else can I go for help?

Perfect Macarons can be tricky to get right, but please don’t give up. There are so many resources out there to help you perfect them. There are so many great videos on YouTube and some fab Facebook groups including Macaron Resource and Info Group and All Things Macarons – Tips, Tricks and Techniques. If you are still struggling, you can send me an email at sarah@aspoonfulofvanilla.co.uk and I can answer any questions or help with any problems you have.

Storage and Transportation

Macarons are best stored in an airtight container. You can then pop them into the fridge where they will last for around 3 days.

You could also freeze your macarons. They will last frozen in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

Troubleshooting

My Macarons Are Cracked

There are a few reasons why your macarons may have cracked. The first is that the egg whites are under mixed. This would cause you to have air bubbles in your macarons which when baked the air bubbles expand and crack your macarons.

Another reason for cracked macarons could be not allowing them to rest enough to develop a skin before putting them into the oven.

My Macarons have No feet

If your macarons have no feet it could be because the mixture was too wet. This could be because the macarons haven’t had enough time to rest and develop a skin.

It could also be because your oven temperature was too low when baking.

My Macarons Are Flat

Your macarons might be flat due to being over-mixed. It is possible that you have over mixed your batter. Remember you want it to flow like molten lava but also still be able to hold its shape.

My Macarons are Hollow

There are a few reasons your macarons might be hollow. It should be that your meringue has been either under whipped or over whipped. When you are whisking your egg whites, they should form stiff peaks and the mixture should ball up inside of the whisk.

Your macarons might also be hollow because you have underbaked them. Just remember and do the wiggle test before removing them from the oven.

My Macarons Have Uneven Feet

This is normally from not piping your macarons properly. When you pipe them, you want to hold the piping bag straight when piping. If you hold the piping bag at an angle, then your feet will be uneven.

It could also be because the baking temperature it too high, or you left your macarons to rest for too long. You want them to just have developed a skin when you pop them into the oven, I wouldn’t recommend leaving them while you go out of the house or move onto another task just in case you leave them too long.

Pink Sprinkle Macarons

Sarah Mark
These Pink Sprinkle Macarons have a pink Vanilla Macaron Shells decorated with the brightest sprinkles I could find and sandwiched together with vanilla buttercream.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 35 Macarons

Ingredients
  

For the Macaron Shells

  • 200 g Icing Sugar
  • 100 g Ground Almonds
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 75 g Caster Sugar

For the Filling

  • 100 g Icing Sugar
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions
 

To Make the Macaron Shells

  • Add the icing sugar and almonds to a food processor and whizz for 2 minutes.
  • Sieve the mixture into a large bowl.
  • Put the almond mixture back into the food processor and whizz for a further minute.
  • Re-sieve the mixture into the large bowl and leave to one side.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they start to form soft peaks. I did this using the whisk attachment on my KitchenAid but you could use a hand mixer too.
  • Gradually add in the caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Leaving a minute or so in-between each addition.
  • Once all the caster sugar has been added continue to whisk the meringue until they form stiff peaks and are glossy and shiny.
  • Add in the food colouring a little at a time until you get the desired colour.
  • Gently fold the egg whites into your almond mixture until it is fully incorporated.
  • Press the mixture into the sides of the bowl. This is called macaronage and you are trying to get the mixture to be as smooth as possible. You know it is ready when the it flows like molten lava from your spatula.
  • Add the mixture to your piping bag with a small round nozzle and pop to one side.
  • Line your baking trays with a macaron mat or baking parchment.
  • Pipe the batter onto the mats or baking parchment. You need to hold the piping bag completely vertical or you will end up with wonky feet. Pipe the macarons around an inch or so apart so that they don't touch.
  • Tap the trays on your work top to knock out any air bubbles. If you see any air bubbles on top gently pop these with a skewer.
  • Sprinkle over the sprinkles and leave the macarons for 45 to 1 hour so that a skin is formed and they are completely dry to touch.

To Bake the Macarons

  • Towards the end of the 45 minutes – 1 hour rest time preheat your oven to 150C (130C Fan). Bake the macarons for around 20-25 minutes until they have risen and have 'feet'. You can tell when they are ready if you touch them they are just starting to peel away from the mat or are a little wobbly if you move them from side to side.
  • Leave the macarons too cool fully on the mat.

To Decorate

  • Once they shells have cooled, carefully remove them from the tray and make your filling.
  • Mix together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla extract until thick and creamy. If the mixture is too thick add 1tsp of milk and mix again. Repeat until the mixture is the desired consistency.
  • Pipe the buttercream onto half of the shells.
  • Sandwich the macarons together.

Malteser Macarons

Sarah Mark
These Malteser Macarons have a delicious chocolate shell, malt buttercream and a hidden Malteser spread centre. Macarons are such a delicious but tricky treat.  I have been trying for so long to perfect these and I have finally managed it.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Resting Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings 35 Macarons

Ingredients
  

For the Macaron Shells

  • 190 g Icing Sugar
  • 10 g Cocoa Powder
  • 100 g Ground Almonds
  • 3 Large Egg Whites
  • 75 g Caster Sugar

For the Filling

  • 90 g Icing Sugar
  • 10 g Malt Powder
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter
  • 50 g Malteser Spread

Instructions
 

To Make the Macaron Shells

  • Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and almonds to a food processor and whizz for 2 minutes.
  • Sieve the mixture into a large bowl.
  • Put the almond mixture back into the food processor and whizz for a further minute.
  • Re-sieve the mixture into the large bowl and leave to one side.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they start to form soft peaks. I did this using the whisk attachment on my KitchenAid but you could use a hand mixer too.
  • Gradually add in the caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Leaving a minute or so in-between each addition.
  • Once all the caster sugar has been added continue to whisk the meringue until they form stiff peaks and are glossy and shiny.
  • Gently fold the egg whites into your almond mixture until it is fully incorporated.
  • Press the mixture into the sides of the bowl. This is called macaronage and you are trying to get the mixture to be as smooth as possible. You know it is ready when the it flows like molten lava from your spatula.
  • Add the mixture to your piping bag with a small round nozzle and pop to one side.
  • Line your baking trays with a macaron mat or baking parchment.
  • Pipe the batter onto the mats or baking parchment. You need to hold the piping bag completely vertical or you will end up with wonky feet. Pipe the macarons around an inch or so apart so that they don't touch.
  • Tap the trays on your work top to knock out any air bubbles. If you see any air bubbles on top gently pop these with a skewer.
  • Leave the macarons for 45 minutes to 1 hour so that a skin is formed and they are completely dry to touch.

To Bake the Macarons

  • Towards the end of the 45 minutes – 1 hour rest time preheat your oven to 150C (130C Fan). Bake the macarons for around 20-25 minutes until they have risen and have 'feet'. You can tell when they are ready if you touch them they are just starting to peel away from the mat or are a little wobblily if you move them from side to side.
  • Leave the macarons to cool fully on the mat.

To Decorate

  • Once they shells have cooled, carefully remove them from the tray and make your filling.
  • Mix together the icing sugar, malt powder and butter until thick and creamy. If the mixture is too thick add 1tsp of milk and mix again. Repeat until the mixture is the desired consistency.
  • Add the Malteser Spread to a heatproof bowl and soften in the microwave for 10 seconds.
  • Pipe the buttercream onto half of the shell. I piped around the edge of the macaron to create a little dam or well in the middle. I then filled this with the Malteser spread.
  • Sandwich the macarons together.

If you do have any questions about this Guide to making the perfect Macarons or any other recipes on my blog you can contact me either by sending me a DM on social media or an email. You can find all my details on the right-hand side of this page. 

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