You know what’s terrifying? Making your own macarons.
The delicate french confection is crisp and light, yet soft and fluffy. It has a soft filling that somehow manages to be sweet but also delicate and flavourful. Macarons are baking perfection, and for far too long I was terrified to make them. As a self taught home cook, I couldn’t even imagine where to begin. Are they more like meringues? Whoopie pies? Cookies? Cakes? Tarts? What’s my starting point?
Making them even more intimidating, I found tons of recipes online that were incredibly intense with tons of steps and techniques that I had never heard of. I tried my hand at a few batches and finally stumbled onto a Nutella macaron recipe that used techniques I understood and ingredients I could buy at a local grocery store. I had to modify things a bit for the average home cook (ie. turning weighted ingredients to cups and tsps) and shift some ingredients and steps around. But finally, after many attempts and failures, I’m happy to share a macaron recipe that ANY home cook can make.
I broke this recipe down as much as possible to make it simple. I tried to think of myself and what I would want to see out of a macaron recipe if I had no idea where to begin. Hopefully this will make it less intimidating for you too, but as always email me or comment if you run into any challenges!
Before we get started
- Make sure you have measuring spoons and cups ready to go. There are some strange measurements and unfortunately when you’re translating a recipe from grams to cups that’s the way it is sometimes.
- This recipe takes time! You won’t be working for all of it but you do need to budget time for your macarons to settle. The combination of prep time, rest time and cook time is about 4 hours.
- Don’t skip any steps or substitute ingredients. I’ve tried to simplify this recipe as much as possible already and unfortunately making macarons is quite a process.
- They’re even better on day 2!
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar (do not use granulated sugar here)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 egg whites
- pinch of cream of tartar (less than 1/8 tsp)
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar
- One – Pour flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a blender (yes a blender). Getting rid of chunks and large pieces is THAT important. Blend until most of the large chunks are gone, this shouldn’t be more than 30 seconds.
- Two – Sift the contents of the blender into a large clean and dry bowl. Even a tiny bit of wetness can create chunks so ensure the bowl is very dry and clean with no oil residue. If you don’t have a sifter, use a mesh strainer. Try to get as much of the flour mixture as you can through the sifter, but set aside any large pieces that don’t make it through. Don’t be afraid to use your fingers or a spoon to gently press and shake the flour mixture to help it get through the sifter. Now is a good time to marvel at how smooth and fine your mixture is (I always do!).
- Three – If you have a stand mixer, put your egg whites into the bowl along with a pinch of cream of tartar. If you don’t and will be using a hand mixer, put your egg whites into a tin or steel bowl with a pinch of cream of tartar. It takes some muscle to beat the eggs with a hand mixer but you have more control and can get a better feel for the texture and how light they are. I tend to overbeat more with a stand mixer and usually opt to start off with a stand mixer and switch to a hand mixer. Whatever works best for you!
- Four – Beat the egg whites until they’re foamy. Add in the sugar and beat until stiff glossy peaks form. You’re not going to like this, but this is hands down the most important part of this recipe. If you overheat the eggs, you’ll be left with flat macarons, if you under beat them you’ll end up without the nice poof that you’d hope for with macarons. This is where having a hand mixer can make this easier since you can see when the peaks form by pulling your mixer up and see how the eggs react. A good way to test this is to dip a whisk into the egg mixture and flip it upright, if the peek is droopy then it’s too soon, if it’s very thick, you’ve over done it (give it a quick search on google images and you’ll see lots of photos of exactly how it should look).
- Five – Carefully fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until well combined. Be careful as your egg whites are delicate.
- Six – Transfer batter into a piping bag and pipe small rounds that are about the size of a toonie (about 1.5 inches in diameter) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once your baking sheet is full, lift up and drop the cookie sheet on a hard surface a few times. This is an attempt to get rid of any air bubbles. Let your piped batter dry undisturbed on the counter for at least an hour, or until the surface is dry.
- Seven – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then immediately before you put the macarons in, decrease the temperature to 300. Bake for 15-17 minutes.
- Eight – Let the macarons cool completely before removing from baking sheet and completing.
Traditionally a ganache is used in a macaron but I opted to use a thick Nutella icing instead using milk, butter, Nutella and icing sugar. Since chocolate is an easy flavour to work with, you could take any icing recipe and reduce the liquid content and increase the icing sugar content. Next time I make these, I’m thinking I’ll go raspberry in the middle. Let me know what flavour works for you in the middle of these.
Nutella Macarons ingredients from Culinary Couture.