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  • Writer's pictureIssy

Tips and Tricks: the Perfect French Macaron

Updated: May 7, 2020

French macarons are world-wide famous cookies. They appear on the windows of every patisserie shop in France. Macarons come in different colors and flavors, mouth-watering combinations of tastes that would satisfy everybody's sweet tooth!

Preparing French macarons is an art by itself. Years ago, when I first started making them, I was fascinated by the amount of work and care one needs to put into the process. Indeed, preparing proper French macarons is a challenging task even for experienced bakers. However, it gives you a great pleasure and satisfaction. Learning how to master the preparation of the French macaron took time for me, but now I can honestly say I enjoy the process more than I enjoy eating the macarons themselves! I like preparing them for my loved ones and now I want to share the joy with you! Here are my tips and tricks I learned over the years for preparing foolproof French macarons. I hope this article proves useful to you and inspires you to give the French macaron a try at home! And a surprise is awaiting you - I conclude this article with my recipe for mint-flavored macarons!

Let us first begin with looking at my base recipe for French macarons.

For the shell:

  • 1 egg white

  • 40 g almond flour

  • 65 g icing sugar

  • 15 g sugar

For the ganache:

  • 100 g dark chocolate

  • 100 ml coconut milk

Preparation and Tips:

  1. During the preparation of the macaron, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the accuracy. Weigh all your ingredients and be as precise as possible. Macarons are quite tacky and correct measurements are key!

  2. The egg white should be at room temperature. That helps it aerate better.

  3. Add a pinch of salt to the egg white to stabilize it.

  4. First, beat the egg white using a mixer at low speed until foam forms and the egg white doubles in size. Then, add sugar gradually and increase the speed to high.

  5. Beat the egg white until firm peaks form (from 2 to 5 minutes, depending on your mixer). Egg whites can be easily over-beaten, so try to check the formation of peaks regularly. If you under-beat the egg whites, the feet (ridges) of the macaron will not appear, whereas if you over-beat them, the shell will not rise as much and the macarons will become flat.

  6. Combine the icing sugar and the almond flour together and sift them (twice if necessary). That would prevent any lumps from appearing on top of the shell. In contrast, we want the shell to have a smooth and glossy surface.

  7. Next, add half of the sifted dry ingredients to the beaten egg. Use a rubber spatula to mix them gently while trying not to deflate the egg whites. Once the egg white and the flour start to come together, add the rest of the flour mixture. Fold the flour into the egg white very gently - this is essential!

  8. Keep folding and mixing gently (with the spatula). You should check regularly if your mixture has the consistency of a molten lava - that's when you know it is ready to be piped. Make the following experiment: take some of the mixture with your spatula and let it fall freely from it - if the mixture starts spreading gradually in the next 3-4 seconds, the consistency is the right one. In contrast, if it spreads too fast, the batter is probably too thin to pipe. It is important to avoid over-mixing. During the mixing, the almonds release oils that can thin out the batter.

  9. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe it in circles (leaving a space between them) onto a baking sheet or a special silicon mat. Keep in mind that silicon mats would hold the moisture for longer and that's way the baking time may increase slightly.

  10. Tap the baking sheet on a flat surface to release air bubbles.

  11. Next, leave the macarons to rest and dry out. This is a mandatory (and another extremely important) step for achieving the characteristic feet of the macaron. Most people recommend a resting time of 1 to 2 hours. However, in my experience, that amount of time has hardly ever been enough. In contrast, I let my piped macarons dry for at least 8 hours, i.e. overnight. Once the time elapses, the macarons no longer stick to the touch and are rather firm. This firmness ensures the creation of the ridges, so be patient!

  12. Note that the resting time also depends on the air humidity and the temperature of the place you live in. If you experience a very humid climate, you can always leave the macarons to dry out for more than 8 hours, to guarantee your success.

  13. When you are ready to bake your macarons, preheat your oven to 150 degrees C. I have used both conventional and gaz ovens, both of them worked equality well. The sole difference consists of the amount of baking time.

  14. Bake your macarons for 12 to 18 minutes (depending on your oven). I would recommend checking on your macarons after the first 12 minutes. Try to slowly lift up one side of the baking sheet to see if a shell comes out easily. Along with that, check the top of the shell to verify that it is dry and firm to the touch. If both of these conditions are satisfied, you can take the macarons out of the oven. Please note that if you are using silicon mats, the macarons need to be baked 3 to 5 minutes longer.

  15. Allow the macarons to completely cool down before removing them from the parchment paper (silicon mat).

  16. In the meantime, you can start preparing the chocolate ganache. The instructions for the chocolate ganache are described in another one of my recipes: Vegan Strawberry Chocolate Tart. The ganache needs to be left in a cool place for half an hour to one hour in order to thicken up. Keep checking on it and stirring it regularly.

  17. Once the ganache is set, use it to sandwich the macarons.

  18. Transfer the sandwiched macarons into an air-tight container and leave them in the fridge for at least one night. That way, the ganache will have the time to soften up the interior of the shell and the flavors of the ganache and the shell will come together. Trust me, it is worth it!

  19. Finally, you can enjoy these delicate mini cookies with your afternoon coffee or tea!

  20. [recipe alert] Check out my recipe for mint-flavored macarons below!

"After Eight" French Macarons

For the shell:

  • 1 egg white

  • 30 g almond flour

  • 10 g matcha powder

  • 65 g confection sugar

  • 15 g sugar

For the ganache:

  • 100 g dark chocolate

  • 100 ml coconut milk

  • 5 drops of mint essential oil

To prepare these delicious mint-flavored macarons, follow the aforementioned instructions! Keep in mind that adding any essential oil to the ganache will make the ganache set faster, so keep an eye on the it! The recipe yields approximately 15 medium-sized macarons.

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