How to make French Macarons
A step-by-step recipe from Ladurée
Macarons are the new muses of French pastry. They’re among the most delicate sweets, and this is also probably why they’re so difficult to make.
I’ve been making macarons for more than 5 years, I’ve tried many different recipes and my all-time favourite is Ladurée’s.
You’ve probably heard of Ladurée. Ladurée is a French luxury bakery and sweets maker house created in 1862 in Paris by Louis-Ernest Ladurée. It is one of the world’s best-known premier sellers of the now inevitable macarons.
A few years ago, I bought their famous book “Sucré”. I freaking fell in love with it. I had no idea I could develop such strong feelings for a cookbook lol Not only is this book marvelous – I’m in love with that green velvet, it’s also full of detailed recipes along with mouth-watering pictures.
Anyway, the key to making perfect macarons is bloody patience. To be good at making macarons, you need to be very patient and methodical. These little bastards are attention whores. So be careful.
Yields approximately 50-60 2,5 cm (1″) cookies
- 275 g (2 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp) ground almonds (almond powder)
- 250 g (2 cups + 1 tbsp) confectioners sugar (powder sugar)
- 6 + 1/2 (210 g) egg whites – keep the 6 egg whites and the half egg white separated
- 210 g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) granulated sugar
- Food colouring
Whatever filling you like ! This article is all about the shells.
Preheat your oven to 140°C with an oven rack in the lower third (if your cookies tend to burst, move the rack higher. If your cookies tend to brown, move the rack lower).
Combine almond powder and confectioners sugar together in a food processor and blend thoroughly. Sift the mixture through a medium gauge sifter to remove any lumps or large pieces of almond and repeat until fine. Like, very fine. Isn’t the third picture mesmerizing? That’s how fine the powders have to be. This will help make very smooth shells.
In a large clean dry mixing bowl, beat your 6 egg whites until foamy and then slowly add the granulated sugar beating on medium speed. Add the sugar third by third. Once the sugar has disolved, increase speed to medium high and beat until a thick glossy meringue forms. When you lift the whisks, beaks form. Add the food coloring and beat briefly to combine.
Now take your remaining half egg white and beat until foamy. Set aside.
Now we’re going to hit the nail on the head: the infamous macaronnage. This is a tricky part so pay attention. With a large flat rubber spatula, fold one third of your sifted almond/sugar into the 6 egg whites until combined. Repeat, until you’ve added all the almond mixture. Incorporate the half egg white to helpt the mixture deflate a bit. How much mixing beyond incorporation is the tricky part to describe. If you don’t deflate the batter during mixing, your shells may have nipples or crack. So here’s the right motion: first, when you start incorporating the powdered mixture, you should lift the batter in a circular motion, from the bottom to the top. When you’ve incorporated all the almond mixture and you’re adding the remaining half egg white, the motion changes. You need to gently push the batter to the walls of the bowl to deflate it. Your mixture is basically ready if, when you lift it, it falls into a continuous ribbon. If your appareil à macarons is too airy, your shells will crack or have nipples. If it’s too runny, your shells won’t rise. So yeah, be suuuuper meticulous.
Pipe 2,5 cm (1″) cookies onto parchment paper (and sprinkle with light topping if you feel like it) and then allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before baking. This process will help the shells harden so they won’t crack when in the oven.
Bake one sheet at a time for 15-16 minutes. To prevent hollows, I recommend snatching one cookie from the oven and breaking it open prior to removing the cookie sheet. If the insides are still overly moist or molten, leave the cookies in the oven for 1-5 minutes longer until the insides are set. This will prevent the insides from collapsing during cooling and forming hollows. This step really depends on your oven’s personality (lol) so you’ll know the exact baking time and temperature when you’ve made macarons a few times. TIP : when the feet of the shells start to appear, slightly open your oven so that the shells don’t collapse.
Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.
Fill the cookies and arrange in an air tight container. Refrigerate the cookies for a minimum of 24 hours to mature. They’re crazy yummy after 24 hours so the suspense is definitely worth it. Then bring to room temperature and serve.