Happy November friends! Sharing a macaron recipe with you has been a long time coming… if you know a bit about macarons, you’ll know they can be finicky to make, and I’ve been playing around with various recipe compilations for years, looking for the easiest and most foolproof recipe to share with you. The challenge was one I’ve enjoyed but have also experienced frustration with… all worth it in the end though… I can’t tell you how satisfying and rewarding it is to assemble (and eat!), these most adorable, delicious things – the ever charming French macaron. I’m sharing my recipes for these Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream Filling and Cherry Buttercream Filling, along with some of the tips which helped me have the most success in making them. Enjoy!
There are different methods of making macarons – the “French method”, the “Italian method” or “Swiss method”. Without going into too much detail, the method I use doesn’t involve a simple syrup (boiled sugar water), I use the “French method” which I find fastest, easiest and the most foolproof.
There are all kinds of debates about the process of making making macarons, among which is whether or not to use fresh egg whites. Some bakers like to age the egg whites in a covered container overnight as it may reduce the moisture content etc. I honestly found it fine to use fresh egg whites, taken from the fridge, separated and used right away. I would often run out of the aged egg whites or forget to separate them the day before, so I’m happy to share that I don’t bother with it anymore and the method I use seems to work without that step.
One thing that has improved the overall success of the appearance of my macarons is baking them on a Silpat Mat. You can see photos of it below.
The template is so helpful, the Silpat doesn’t wrinkle and warp the macarons and the mat can be used over and over again.
The one I have is the Silpat Silicone Perfect Macaron Mat from Williams Sonoma Canada. Thanks to them for sponsoring this post and for also sharing this top grade quality Goldtouch Pro Corrugated half baking sheet. Such thick and excellent quality, their baking sheets never warp, helping ensure beautiful macarons every time.
The beautiful Trisha Yearwood Gwendolyn Platter the finished macarons are sitting on are also from Williams Sonoma (Thank you!).
I will be sharing some tips and tricks to help troubleshoot should you encounter some roadblocks, but rest assured, even if your macarons don’t look perfect the first time you make them, they will taste DELICIOUS, and my neighbours didn’t seem to mind if I brought them less than perfect macaron meringue cookies… I’m sure you and your recipients will still enjoy them no matter what too!
Although I’ve experimented off and on for years with these, I don’t consider myself and expert and still have room for improvement, but hopefully you find my tips below helpful!
Above and below are a few photos of what the meringue looks like before you fold the almond flour in. Your meringue should hold a stiff peak.
Macronage is a french term meaning the action of mixing the final batter a certain way. It’s best to fold the mixture, be delicate and the texture should look something like this, below. It should gently flow like lava and if you lift the batter and let it drop, it should almost disappear in about 30 seconds.
Below is a photo of the macaron shells after they’ve been baked. Make sure you peel them off only after the tray has completely cooled.
For the filling, leave some room for the filling to spread when you place and gently press the top macaron shell on.
Weighing your ingredients gives you a better chance at success. A digital scale helps make sure you don’t over or under measure your ingredients.
Even a tiny film of grease (from the butter of your buttercream for example), on your mixing bowl and utensils can hamper the whipping up of the egg whites. Making sure your bowl and utensils are washed with hot water and dish soap and then even wiped down with white vinegar (and dried), will cut any grease residue.
If your macarons spread too much and are runny when you pipe them, the batter has been over-mixed.
If your macarons have very large feet (the base of the macaron shell), the oven temperature was too high or the baking sheet was in a hot spot too long. Try reducing the oven temperature or moving the baking sheet to another spot in the oven.
And finally, before I move on to the recipe, you don’t need to do this, but how fun it was to give the macarons away in little gift boxes! I got these boxes from Creative Bag some time ago, but you can also find lots of options on Amazon if you’re not in Canada.
Chocolate Macaron Recipe
- Mixer bowl, white vinegar for wiping mixer bowl and whisk attachment.
- Food processor
- 1 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar or confectioner's sugar) (or 140 grams)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (or 35 grams)
- 3/4 cup almond flour (or 100 grams)
- 2 tsp avocado or canola oil (or 6 grams)
- 3 fresh egg whites (or 90 grams)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (or 75 grams)
- 2-4 drops brown food gel coloring Optional. Do not use liquid food coloring.
- Line two baking sheets with silicone macaron mats.
- Wipe the inside of the mixer bowl and whisk attachment with white vinegar.
- Fit a piping bag with a coupler, no piping tip.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, almond flour and avocado OR canola oil. Process for 30 seconds or until well blended. Sift the ingredients onto a sheet of parchment paper, then pour them in a bowl and set aside.
- Place the egg whites and the granulated sugar into the mixer bowl. Beat on medium-low speed for about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat for about two minutes – until the meringue has some volume. Turn the mixer up to high and beat until the meringue holds a stiff peak, about 2-3 more minutes. (The meringue will stand straight up if you dip a spoon in and lift up). Add the food gel if you're using it, and beat until just combined.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and fold in 1/4 of the almond mixture. Once barely mixed in, add another quarter of the mixture, fold in, and repeat until all the almond mixture has been folded in. Make sure to scrape the spatula down on the rim of the bowl once in a while to help prevent clumps from forming. Continue to fold until the batter has deflated and become softer, but be careful not to over mix. To test if the batter is ready, lift the spatula and let some of the batter drizzle down; it should flow gently like lava and almost disappear in about 30 seconds. Another test – if you lift your spatula and let the batter drip, the batter should be loose enough that you are able to just barely draw a figure 8 with it. If it's too thick, it won't drizzle enough to draw that 8.
- Fill your piping bag with the batter. Hold the piping bag upright, with the tip hovering over the mat about 1/2 inch, and squeeze out the batter onto the center of the circle template, stopping a bit before you get to the edges of the lines.
- Once all your batter has been piped, gently rap the baking sheet on the table 3-4 times. This helps pop some of the air bubbles.
- Allow the macarons to sit at room temperature for about 3o minutes. They should develop a "skin" or not be wet to the touch, when you bake them.
- While the macarons are resting, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).
- Place the macarons in the oven and bake for 9 minutes. Then rotate the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom. Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Allow the macarons to completely cool before removing from the mat.
- Remove the macarons by gently and slowly lifting them off the mat. It can help to lift the mat and peel it away from the macaron.
- Keep the macaron shells in an airtight container for 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months or fill and serve them right away.
Chocolate Buttercream or Frosting Filling
Note that this makes a lot of chocolate buttercream. You can halve the recipe or freeze the remaining filling to use for more macarons or cupcakes in the future. Ok in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Easy Chocolate Frosting Recipe
- 2 cups (1 lb, 454 g) butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (4.5 oz, 128g), cocoa powder, sifted *Use the best quality cocoa powder you can
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk *preferably at least 2% milk
- 10 cups (40 oz, 1.13kg) icing sugar, sifted *a.k.a. confectioner's sugar, powdered sugar
- In the bowl of stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, whip butter and cocoa powder together until well incorporated.
- Add icing sugar, stir, and slowly pour in milk until mixed. Add in vanilla extract and mix.
- Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and whip on medium speed until light and fluffy (approximately 1 minute).
Cherry Buttercream Icing or Filling
Depending on which type of measurements you use, you may like to refer to my baking conversions chart.
You can find Cherry Extract on Amazon or your local baking supply store.
Cherry Buttercream Icing or Frosting
- 2 lbs powdered sugar (icing sugar, confectioner's sugar) (or 907 grams)
- 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature (or 454 grams)
- 1/3 cup milk (or 78 mL)
- 1 Tbsp cherry extract
- 1/4 cup cherry jam
- Sift the icing sugar onto a sheet of parchment paper.
- Add all ingredients to the mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and blend well together.