Macaron or the more widely mispronounced, macaroon, is a delicate French cookie. A macaron is a meringue-based cookie made with two shells sandwiched between your choice of filling. The shells are extremely delicate. It's crisp on the outside and crumbles when bitten into. The inside of the shells is light and airy.
I love making macarons because they are so colorful and beautiful. You can make all sorts of flavors. They are the perfect cookies for an elegant presentation and great for gift-giving.
Macaron is made with almond flour. There is no substitution when it comes to the flour. If you don't have almond flour, you can grind up your own from raw almonds. You will need to sift it a few times to get it really fine. If you do decide to ignore the warning and make macarons out of all-purpose flour, what you'll end up with are tasteless regular cookies, which I have unfortunately made. They literally went from tray to trash.
The macarons are very finicky. I must admit it took a few tries to get it correct. I made a batch where the shells were very bumpy. I made a batch where there were no feet, the ruffled edges at the bottom of the shells. I read all the blogs and articles on how to make the perfect macaron prior to my first attempt and I still failed. To get the perfect macaron, you simple need to practice, practice, practice.
I have detailed instructions in the below recipe in hopes that you can avoid the most common mistakes in making macarons. My recipe also reduces the amount of sugar typically found in macarons. I'm not a big fan of super sweet treats and macarons are ranked high up there on the sweetness scale. The recipe below cuts out a lot of sugar and I think it still taste wonderful. Hopefully this recipe suits your palate as well. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Macaron Shells Recipe:
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sifted almond flour
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon sifted pumpkin pie spice
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/4 cup caster sugar (also known as super fine or baker's sugar).
- Orange gel food coloring
- In a bowl, mix together the almond flour, powdered sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Set the mixture aside.
- In a mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy.
- Once frothy, slowly add in the caster sugar while mixing.
- Add in the gel food coloring until you get the desired color.
- Continue to beat until you get soft stiff peaks. If you hold the bowl upside down and the beaten egg whites doesn't drip out, then it's ready.
- Incorporate the flour mixture into the egg whites a third at a time. Each time, gently fold the flour mixture into the egg whites. Do not over beat or over fold.
- Pour the batter into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the end sniped.
- On a baking tray lined with a baking mat, gently pipe dollops of batter. Space them out by half an inch.
- Let the batter rest on the baking tray for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Rotate the baking trays for even cooking half way through cooking.
- Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the trays. Very important to let the cookies cool completely. Do not rush this process. The shells are extremely delicate and can break easily if they are not cooled.
Macaron Vanilla Cream Cheese Filling Recipe:
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup powered sugar
- Combine everything in a stand mixer.
- With a paddle attachment, mix together until light and fluffy.
- Put the filling into a piping bag or Ziploc bag with the end sniped.
- Pipe a small dollop onto a shell.
- Take another shell and place it on top.