How to make French Macarons: cookie recipe ideas and tips

by on December 13, 2011

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Looking for new cookie recipes for your cookie exchange, gifts or dinner party? Our resident videographer asked me to share one of my favorite cookie recipes, and I picked French Macarons. In this video, you’ll find tips and techniques for baking these delicate cookies, which aren’t as difficult to make as one might think. The key is finding the right recipe and following each step I share–from sifting techniques and preparing your ingredients in advance to whipping the perfect macaron texture to piping precise cookie shapes onto baking sheets. Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living. (If you’re curious about the difference between macarons and macaroons, click here.)

Recipe: French Macaron Cookies
SummaryThese delectable cookies in soft, sherbet-toned hues make a beautiful addition to any holiday dessert ensemble. Create an endless array of flavors and colors by simply adding different fillings and colorings. Recipe adapted from a Martha Stewart Living favorite.

Ingredients ~

For the cookie:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (regular flour cannot be substituted)
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch cream of tartar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup super-fine sugar
For flavoring (choice of):
  • Food coloring (for strawberry macarons, pictured)
  • Flavored extract (pistachio used in green macarons, pictured)
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon (for cinnamon macarons, pictured)
  • 2 Tablespoon TCHO cocoa powder (for chocolate macarons, not pictured)
For basic meringue filling:
  • 6 egg whites, large
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions ~

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. The key to this recipe is in the preparation – have all ingredients measured and ready before you begin. Separate the eggs whites and keep at room temperature until ready to incorporate.
  2. In a food processor, pulse powdered sugar and almond flour. (If making chocolate or cinnamon macarons, the cocoa powder or cinnamon should be pulsed with the sugar and almond flour.) Sift combined mixture 2 times. Whip the room-temperature egg whites on high with a mixer until foamy and then add cream of tartar. Slowly stream in superfine sugar and whip until stiff and shiny, about 2 minutes on high.
  3. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in desired food coloring and/or flavor extract, sugar and flour mixture into whipped egg white mixture. (Only a few drops of food coloring or flavor extract are needed. Add one drop at a time with the mixer on until the whites reach the color you want; the color and number of drops will not affect the recipe.) Fold the ingredients as little as possible until it is smooth, shiny and slightly runny. If it holds its form, it is under mixed. Scoop into piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
  4. Pipe onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, holding the piping bag in one place while applying pressure. Release pressure when a 1” cookie has been formed and gently swirl the tip out of the mixture without forming a peak. This will allow the cookie to remain smooth on top. Let stand at room temperature 30-40 minutes.
  5. Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 5-10 minutes, until cookies are firm and crisp. Be sure to keep a close eye on the cookies – they should not brown on top. Remove cookies from oven and cool.
  6. For a basic meringue filling, place egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, whip on high speed until mixture is cool and stiff peaks form, approximately 6 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. Use immediately.
  7. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon meringue, flavored buttercream or other desired filing. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap well in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.


Preparation time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12 (makes 36 cookies)

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  • ray

    Do u add the food colouring while its whipping or do u fold it by hand?

  • lisamattson

    You should fold in the food coloring with a rubber spatula after the egg whites are whipped…trying not to over mix. Hope that helps.