Master the French Macaron

January 26th, 2011  |  264 Comments

Ahh, the macaron. So beautiful, and fragile, like a Faberge Egg. And so elusive, it is.

Or is it?

The day I learned how to make them, the chef gave me a demonstration, and then I made them on my own. They came out well. No drama. And since they were on our daily petit fours plate, I had to make them every day. Sometimes it was pouring rain outside, and the kitchen was swamp-humid. Sometimes it was the thick of summer, and the temperatures rivaled Death Valley. But still, I made them. Once in a while they didn’t work, but most of the time they did. And on those few occasions they didn’t behave, I wasn’t phased. I just made them again.

For me, the trick to it all was that no one told me how impossible they were, how one false breath could mean failure — one extra stroke of the spatula, and you might as well pack it in. To me, it was just another recipe, and I didn’t have any baggage about it before I even broke out the almond flour. No one psyched me out.

Now, as I read all the talk around the blogosphere, I think that’s exactly what’s happening. The macaron fear has spread far and wide. And there’s no reason for it. Especially when the base recipe has just 4 ingredients. You sift the dry stuff, whip a few egg whites, fold it all together, and pipe it on a sheet tray.

I really, really want everyone to master the macaron, to be swimming in as many as they want. Once you understand the basic recipe, you can modify it to any flavor you can think of. All it takes is a batch or two of practice, and then it’s locked in forever. Like riding a bicycle.

So I started working on a post. I was testing, then testing some more. Before I knew it, the whole project grew, becoming more than just a quickie tutorial. I wanted to include as much helpful stuff as possible  — the basic recipe, some troubleshooting tips, how to make flavor variations, and a few fillings to get started. It became longer — a primer, of sorts. And so I put it all together into one fat pdf format that you can download, totally FREE. I hope you find it helpful.


In Master the Macaron, I cover:

  • The almond macaron — the master recipe
  • Vanilla Buttercream Filling for the Almond Macaron
  • Troubleshooting
  • Chocolate Macaron with Chocolate Ganache Filling
  • Coffee Macaron with Nutella Filling
  • Lemon Macaron with Lemon Curd Filling
  • Coconut Macaron with White Chocolate Raspberry Filling

I hope you enjoy this primer, and have success with your macaron-making. Please let me know what you think. We’d even love to see some pictures if you give it a go. And pass it on!

Get your FREE copy of Master the Macaron:






264 Responses to “Master the French Macaron”

  1. Jan says:

    Irina, thank you so much for letting me upload the tutorial. My sister has a small store overseas which sells women appareal. She is thinking about adding a tiny tiny shop on the corner and sell cup cakes and cookies. I gave her the idea of including macarons. I am going to start practing using your tutorial and then teaching her. Thank you again.

  2. jim says:

    the master the french macaron was very very well prepared. thank you so much for your hard work and sharing of it.

    jim

  3. Laura says:

    Hi Irina..thanks a lot for the tutorial..tried it this evening. Followed your recipe and instructions to the dot but mine came out a little bit flat; they were yummy though. thanks again. I’ll try to add flavor next time. thanks again :-)

  4. Andrea says:

    WOW I just read your tutorial and I want to start now! The one time I tried making macarons I ended up with a flat sea of melted egg white. They look awesome!

  5. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much for making this fantastic tutorial available! I downloaded it and made my first batch following your recipe and techniques and they turned out wonderful!! I made raspberry macarons and took your advice and colored the batter with a paste food coloring and they turned out a beautiful pink. I filled them with raspberry jam and everyone loved them. Thank You, Thank You!

  6. Burcu Derkunt says:

    Irina!! Thank you sooooo much for the recipe! I love your recipes and I will be trying many others! :)

  7. Nora says:

    Thank you very much for free upload of macaron tutorial. It’s very useful for me. Thank again

  8. Jitney says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I got the batch right on my first try (with your recipe – I’ve failed with others).
    Here’s a link to my post/photo: http://www.white-engine.com/2011/07/time-to-play-vivaldis-spring-concerto.html

  9. Joanne says:

    *sigh* I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! I downloaded your ‘how-to’ and it’s amazing. I’m on my third batch now, and it looks exactly like yours does everytime, up until piping. My batter is too thick, and I can’t understand why. It just ends up as thick little mounds with peaks. After it sits for a while, I’m able to sort of smooth out the peaks. But after they’re baked, the texture is more like a cakey-cookie than a delicate meringue. I have no problem making meringues, I make them all the time – the only difference here is my almond flour, and I think that must be the culprit. I had a ton of almonds in my freezer, and I didn’t want to spend extra on almond flour when your site showed me exactly how to make my own almond flour. So I blanched them and ground them and sifted them, just like you say to. It looks exactly like the almond flour in your pictures, but I can’t think what else it could be. Any ideas? All your trouble shooting was about runny batter – I WISH I had that problem!

  10. PastryPal says:

    Hi Joanne — Thanks for such a detailed description. It does help pinpoint the problem. You’re right, it sounds like the blanched almonds. If you blanch them yourself, they must be very, very dry before you grind them. Normally this means laying them out on a cookie sheet, and drying them in a very low oven or dehydrator (about 125 F degrees) for 24-48 hours before grinding them. Otherwise all that moisture will get in the way of the recipe. You may have better luck not bothering with the blanching and just grinding them as they are.

    To really confirm that it is indeed the ground almonds, I suggest you try making them once with store bought almond flour, and if it works, then we can surely say it’s the blanched almond flour you’re working with at home.

    If the peaks still persist when you pipe, it means you need to fold the batter for 5-10 more turns before you load up your pastry bag. This will loosen the batter a bit more.

    Let me know how it goes…

  11. Joanne says:

    You’re right. I was grinding the almonds immediately after blanching them and there was too much moisture in them. I’m sure that’s the problem now. I’m drying out the rest of the almonds I blanched today, and I’ll try the recipe again in a few days – and I’ll definitely keep you updated! Thank you for the advice!

  12. PastryPal says:

    Joanne — Great, at least now we know what to tackle :).
    I’m not sure where you live, but I wanted to clarify that I meant 125 degrees Fahrenheit and not Celcius :) (fixed it in my previous reply.)

  13. Putri Dahlia says:

    Hi Irina! I’m from Malaysia. I had been searching the method for making macaron for a while and finally I found this. The tutorial is really great! Thank you so much! Can’t wait to try it! =)

  14. Roziana Rashid says:

    Putri,

    Take it from a fellow Malaysian macarooner…follow Irina’s tutorial, print them out and laminate them to compare the step by step looks with your own ‘hasil’ (output)…you can’t go wrong!

    And more importantly, don’t give up should the first time after following the tutorial, your macs don’t come out as good looking!

    Irina, friends have started to order my macs…yippeee!

  15. Joanne says:

    I’m determined to get this right. I’ve made 2 more batches since you suggested I dry the almonds more. One batch I used the almonds that I dried thouroughly (3 days!) and ground myself. The other batch was with store bought almond flour. The texture on both batches was absolutely perfect, as was the taste. However, both batches still had tiny peaks – although not as noticable as before. I took your other bit of advice and folded the batter several more times until it looked more liquid-y than the previous batches, but I think it needs even more. I’m starting to wonder if it has anything to do with our weather? I live in the Phoenix area, and there is virtually no humidity. I wonder if since everyone else seems to have more humidity, that maybe the recipe unknowingly takes that into account? Our climate is perfect for meringue making, but it seems like it’s making macarons a bit trickier. What do you think?

  16. PastryPal says:

    Hi Joanne — Big applause for your determination :). Sounds like you’re almost there. I think the Phoenix weather shouldn’t be a problem, and it’s probably an advantage.

    You might try folding them a few more times so they’re more liquidy. Once you pipe them, they should sort spread a few millimeters and flatten themselves out in a couple of minutes. You can also practice a piping technique where you pipe the batter, and then kind of rip the piping bag away to the side, like this video. You can also see how his macarons even out.

    Another trick some people use is, after piping, dip a finger in some water and glide it over the top to smooth out any peaks. I find this adds a big, annoying step though, so it’s best to just get the piping right to begin with.

  17. nysya says:

    Hi Irina.. I managed to bake my macaron perfectly last sunday after a month of shying away from it. Thanks for ur book

  18. marie odtohan bolland says:

    hi irina! thank you for the lovely macaron tutorial..The pictures are very clear, instructions precise and everything looks yummy..Thanks for the hardwork and sharing with us your macaron knowledge..:)

  19. Noura says:

    Hello Irina! thank you so much for this helpful and easy-to-follow guide. I have been searching all day to find out more about this tasty little cookie and was lucky enough to find your blog and notes. I look forward to a mini macaroon adventure this weekend with your notes as my guide.

    Many thanks…

  20. Becky Kasten says:

    Thank you for taking the fear out of these sweet treats! My 2nd batch won 1st place at the cookie contest today!!! (even with the rain! Had to use a hair dryer to get the shell!) .

  21. PastryPal says:

    Becky, Congrats on both the win, and your resourcefulness.

  22. Hi Irina
    Thanks for your step by step guide to making macrons. I got it right for the first time after countless attempts. They disappered before I could put them in a container. I would like to make pistacio ones, any guidance?
    Thanks
    Zarina

  23. Lydia says:

    Irina, what a fabulous job you did on this. I meticulously read the recipe, over and over again and finally dared to try it and I was delighted that I was successful. I wanted to master the macroon before I tried the fillings or variations — great great recipe. Thank you for sharing. Now, I can make the much raved about cookiie. How about an Amaretti recipe?

  24. PastryPal says:

    Zarina — all you need to do is replace some of the almond flour for pistachio flour, add a little green food coloring, and find a pistachio filling (on google.) Good luck!

  25. PastryPal says:

    Lydia — Compared to macarons, amaretti are very easy. Perhaps I’ll make some one of these days.

  26. Lynn Colvin says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful tutorial. I was just in London and tasted the incredible macarons at the Laduree shop there. It was life-changing! I knew I had to figure out how to make them. I’m waiting for a few flavorings that are coming from your sources and then I will begin. Thanks again for being willing to share some of your knowledge. I’ll check back in after I try it :-)

  27. Jessica says:

    Your reciepe works perfectly. The first time making these and they came out perfect!

  28. Rani says:

    Hi Irina,
    What you have done here is just fantastic. I made your butter icing but the sugar didn’t become liquid enough and I ended up with sugar clusters. Do I need to add more water when this happens? The sugar was starting to get brown so i had to pour it as is. Thanks again for such a great tutorial on how to make these delicious morsels of heaven!!

  29. PastryPal says:

    Rani — Glad you’re finding it useful! It sounds like you had a sugar crystallization problem. This can happen with the least provocation, when even the tiniest foreign residue clings to the inside of a pot and sugar crystals might start to form around it. Or it can even happen from too much stirring. Next time you try it, you can put a lid on your pot in the beginning of cooking the sugar syrup, so the condensation will run down the sides. This will wash away any crystals that are tempted to form around the edges and everything should remain clear.

  30. Vidaur says:

    Irina, Greetings from Mexico. I am new to your blog and LOVE IT!! I am extremely happy that your teaching a beginner like me. I’ve downloaded your tutorial Master The Macaron. I definately can’t wait to try the macarons soon. Your explanations and illustrations are very precise and easy to follow. I look foward to all your posts. Thank you once again for sharing your knowledge with your readers.

    Vidaur

  31. PastryPal says:

    Vidaur — Thank you for taking the time to drop me a note. I very much appreciate you reading the blog!

  32. Michelle says:

    I am new to your blog, but I love it!!!!!!!! I love the step-by-step instructions for the macarons.

    Thanks for sharing

  33. fatima says:

    Hi
    Thank you so much for your detailed instructions on macaroon making.
    I made macaroons for the 1st time and they turned out great. The next day I decided to try them out again,but this time I made 2 different flavours in 2 batches. The 1st batch which was vanilla flavour turned out perfect, but the second batch which was chocolate flavour turned out a disaster. Every single macaroon had cracks on the top. Please tell me what caused this..
    Regards
    Fatima

  34. PastryPal says:

    Hi Fatima — I wouldn’t worry too much about it, as it happens to all of us. It could just be that the batter was folded with a few too many strokes. As you keep practicing, you’ll get a stronger feel for them, and they’ll come out crack-free more and more often.

  35. Christine says:

    Dearest Irina,
    Your gorgeous blog impressed me a lot.
    I came to know your blog 2 days ago. I finished browsing the complete blog in one day. Last night I baked the macarons according to your recipe in order to prove to everyone it really works before sending my sincere thanks to you.
    I successfully baked 30 perfect macarons (larger shells) under the high humidity of 80% in Hong Kong.
    So no one should hesitate to start a try.
    Your detailed demonstrations with self explanatory photos, your concerns of all beginners’ wonders, your replies to readers’ queries help everyone achieve the success easier.
    You deserve everyone’s applause.
    Please keep on your wonderful sharing in baking and or more!!!!

  36. Jessi says:

    Irina, first of all i would like to thank you!, I am a food lover, specially cooking sweets because Im still kind of afraid of cooking meat, chicken, fish… but since I am the sugar in person! I don’t complain that the best things that I can cook are desserts, cookies, pies and cakes.
    I don’t even know how I found your blog, but I fell in love (by the way sorry for my english, it’s not my native language), I love the way you explain everything step by step, the pictures are so professional and everything its just so pretty! Today I tried to do the Macarons (the basic recipe) and I failed soo badly! I think my problem was that I didn’t let the egg grow the way that it was supossed to grow, I didn’t wanted to throw the ingredients away so I spread it on the tray and made square bars with sliced almonds on top, I baked it for 8 minutes and then I broiled it to get the crunchy texture. Everyone in my family loved it, the flavor is just delicious!, Im not completely happy about the results because I wanted to get them like in your pictures, so I promise you that tomorrow I’ll try again, and I’ll be more pacient with the eggs!
    Thank You sooo much!!
    If you have a book, let me know I’m so interested on getting it!!!!!!!!!
    Greetings from Costa Rica!

  37. Sa says:

    I love your guide and definitely will try it this weekend. I tried this 5 times and I think I had problem with my baking part. Do I need to preheat the oven then turn it off for few minutes before baking? Where should I put the tray in (in top, middle or bottom rack)?

  38. PastryPal says:

    Sa — Once you preheat the oven, don’t turn it off. Just bake the tray like any other cookie. Place the tray in the center so air can circulate best.

  39. diana says:

    hi irina!

    can you send me a copy of the master the french macaron? i’ve accidentally deleted the copy you sent me. thank you very much. God bless…

  40. Lin says:

    hi, i subscribed for the recipe but did not get in in my e mail. could you re-send me a copy?
    Thanks a million!

  41. Our upcoming Mastering the Macaron class will definitely make a reference to this guide for those who seek more instruction – thanks for the resource!

  42. Poonam says:

    Hi! I really wanna try making macaroons, but I’m still scared about not making them right. :-) I have a small oven and my baking tray will hold only a small batch. How do i keep the mixture while one batch is baking? I’ll have to wait till one batch is baked and then remove them from th baking tray before I can pipe the next batch.

  43. PastryPal says:

    Poonam — Unfortunately, you can’t keep the batter. What I’d suggest is getting anther sheet tray, and piping them all. They all have to rest anyway for an hour or so to get the skin to form. You can bake one tray and then bake the next tray that’s already piped and waiting.

  44. Poonam says:

    I guess i’ll have 2 get another baking tray then. :-) Thanks for help. Can’t wait to try them.

  45. Cassandra says:

    I have tried the recipe but mine came out alittle cake like?? Also they dident have “feet” at the bottom? Is their any reason this might have happended? Thank you sooo Much!

  46. Tina says:

    Irina’s method WORKS! I think that says it all.

  47. meg says:

    I took advantage of a cool, low humidity day here and used your tutorial to make my first ever macarons. Although I probably could have baked them a minute more, they still came out beautiful and tasty. I can’t wait to try another variation. Thanks!

  48. Lin says:

    Hi, i subscribed for a copy but did not get it in my e mail, can anone forward me a copy?
    theraphyneeded@yahoo.co.uk
    Thanks in advance

  49. Aqilah says:

    Hi! for the first time i baked the macarons, it didnt turn out so great. they were all cracked on top and no “feet”. So im going to make the second one tomorrow and i’ve searched for more tips so i’ve found this website. i think this is the best details ever about macarons, as well as their recipes and the troubleshooting of making macarons, the guides etc so i really hope tomorrow my macarons will be improved. thank you :)

  50. Anette says:

    Thanks for the amazing tutorial, it’s super helpful and really easy to follow! :)

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