First baked in Italy during the Renaissance, the macaron, now known as the French macaron, was introduced in 1533 by a noblewoman from Florence, Catherine de Medici, who later married Henri II, the future king of France. King Louis XIV of France is said to have munched on macarons at his wedding in 1660.
The original was a plain, crisp almond cookie. It wasn’t until the late 1890s that Parisian confectioners began sandwiching a diverse array of scrumptious fillings between the cookies.
If you have never tasted homemade, baked from scratch macarons, your taste buds are in for an incredible treat. Macarons have a crisp and crunchy exterior filled with anything from cream cheese to lemon curd or fresh raspberry jam. Macaron recipes may utilize a fruit, custard, buttercream, salted caramel, or chocolate ganache filling.
Thomas Vaccaro, Dean of Baking and Pastry Arts from the Culinary Institute of America states, “I believe the macaron to be the perfect treat. It offers opportunities to add a lot of flavor combinations that are unusual. On top of which, it offers great texture when you eat it: It’s crunchy and chewy at the same time.”
So without further ado, here are some of our favorite macaron recipes to try out in your own kitchen.
Basic Macaron Recipe
If you are looking for a recipe to impress the girls at the bridge club or serve with afternoon tea, this basic French macaron recipe is one of the easiest to make, and the cookies are simply delicious.
Vanilla Macaron Recipe
If you’re looking for macaron recipes that are pretty close to the real thing, check out this traditional French vanilla macaron recipe. This recipe is a great place for beginners to start, then you can try out more flavor combinations once you’re used to the process.
Coffee Macaron Recipe
If you like macaron recipes that offer more than something sweet, consider this coffee macaron recipe. The sweetness from the chocolate and the bite from the coffee make this a well-rounded dessert.
Earl Grey Macaron Recipe
And if you’re not a coffee person, may we suggest an Earl Grey tea macaron?
White Chocolate Pistachio Macaron Recipe
While pistachios are a crunchy, delicious snack, they also work well in a variety of different desserts, including macaron recipes. White chocolate rounds out the overall nutty flavor that the pistachios bring.
Chocolate Macaron Recipe
If you prefer a chocolate-flavored snack, this version will satisfy your craving.
Salted Caramel Macaron Recipe
If you’re craving macaron recipes that satisfy both your sweet and salty tooth, these caramel macarons are the best of both worlds. You can finish these off with a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkle of salt if you want to take the flavor to the next level.
French mint macarons, flavored with a hint of fresh mint are fabulous served with an espresso after dinner.
Related Post: The Many Varieties of Mint
As for the filling, this recipe offers two different options: white chocolate and Bailey’s ganache.
Blueberry Cream Cheese Macarons
On a cold and rainy morning, what is more cheering than a fresh brewed cup of coffee and a plate of blueberry cream cheese macarons?
- 1¾ cups almond meal, finely ground
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Three egg whites, or two duck egg whites, no yolk traces, warm to room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 12-ounce package frozen blueberries, defrosted
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8-ounce package cream cheese
- 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheets with parchment baking paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. Fit a silicone pastry bag with a round pastry tip. Set aside.
- Combine confectioners sugar, almond meal, and salt in a food processor. Blitz several times until finely ground. Set aside.
- In a glass mixing bowl, combine cream of tartar, egg whites, and granulated sugar. Using an electric mixer, whip to stiff peaks.
- Stop the mixer and immediately add optional food color and almond meal/confectioners sugar mixture. Blend gently. Avoid over mixing as that will make the batter runny. The mixture should be thick, and pour-able.
- Fill a pastry bag with mixture and pipe mounds onto a prepared cookie sheet, spacing an inch apart.
- Allow the cookies to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before baking in a preheated oven.
- Bake cookies for 15 minutes, or until firm and golden brown.
- Remove cookie sheets from the oven and place on a baking rack to cool. Allow cookies to cool on the sheet.
- Meanwhile, put together the filling. Gently blend confectioners sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. Do not over mix to prevent filling from becoming too soft. Set aside.
- Remove cookies from cooling rack, flipping half of them upside down.
- Place cream cheese filling in a silicone pastry bag. Pipe a circle of cream cheese on flipped over cookies. In the center of the cream cheese ring, place a dollop of blueberry filling.
- Top with another cookie.
- Store refrigerated in an airtight container.
Enjoy a tasty treat without the guilt. If you are watching your weight, this version is adapted for the ketogenic diet.
Strawberry Macaron Recipe
If you’re looking for the opportunity to use some homegrown, garden-fresh fruits in macaron recipes, consider this recipe that calls for strawberries. If you don’t grow strawberries, strawberry emulsion also makes the flavor really pop.
Fruit And Nut Macarons With Buttercream Frosting
Nuts and freeze-dried fruits provide sweet flavor and exquisite texture to these quick and easy macarons. The flavor combinations are endless. Apricot and pecan, raspberry and walnut, and blueberry and almond are sure to please favorites.
- Three large egg whites, or two duck egg whites at room temperature, no trace of yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated superfine white sugar
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- Food coloring, optional
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter. softened
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla, almond, lemon, or orange extract
- 1 cup freeze-dried blueberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, or raspberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans (your choice of nutmeats)
- Place egg whites in a glass mixing bowl and whisk at medium speed until foamy.
- Add cream of tartar and granulated sugar. Whisk until mixture forms stiff peaks.
- Add a couple of drops of food coloring to egg white mixture if desired.
- In a separate mixing bowl, sift together almond flour and confectioners sugar.
- Add almond flour mix to stiffened egg whites.
- Using a pastry bag, pipe mixture into rounds, spacing an inch apart.
- Allow the macarons to rest and set up for 30 minutes or until tops harden.
- Bake macarons at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a baking rack to cool.
- Place your choice of freeze-dried fruit, nuts, and confectioners sugar in a food processor.
- Blitz several times until fruit pieces and nuts are finely minced.
- Using a hand mixer, cream together butter, extract, nuts, and fruit/sugar mixture until consistency to be soft enough to pipe, but remain firm between the cookies.
- Thin the mixture as needed by adding additional heavy cream, a teaspoon at a time.
- Pipe buttercream on cookies, decorate as desired.
- Store macarons refrigerated in an airtight container overnight to allow the magic to happen as the flavorful fruit and nut filling soaks into the crisp cookie. Enjoy.
Lemon Macaron Recipe
If you like a tart kick in your macaron recipes, check out this lemon macaron. The filling is vanilla with a bit of lemon zest.
Raspberry Macaron Recipe
While some macaron recipes can be super sweet and rich, this raspberry macaron recipe is the perfect combination of tangy and sugary.
Red Velvet Macaron Recipe
If you can’t get enough red velvet cupcakes in your life, consider trying that same flavor in macarons.
Matcha Macarons With Mango Filling
If you’re the type of person who can’t get enough matcha in their life, consider this recipe for matcha macarons. The recipe calls for a mango filling, but you could easily customize it for vanilla or strawberry buttercream.
Creme Brûlée Macarons
Now here is a fancy recipe for all you macaron aficionados. The crispy bits of sugar from the creme brûlée filling add a lot of texture that you don’t typically find in more traditional recipes.
Helpful Tips For Making Macarons
Unless you have made macarons before, they can be a bit tricky. Not to worry. Patience and a bit of practice makes perfect. You will likely have to bake several batches until yours are just right, but they will be absolutely delicious.
Macarons require a somewhat complicated preparation and more time than some cookie recipes, but because they have such an exquisite taste and texture, they are worth the extra effort.
Don’t Skimp On The Ingredients
If you have purchased macarons at the bakery, you might have noticed that they were rather spendy. Quality macarons are expensive to purchase because they are made from expensive ingredients such as almonds, fresh fruits and berries, and farm-fresh eggs. The baker’s craft of making macarons focuses on making a perfect product in both taste, texture, and appearance.
Because macarons from the bakery are so expensive (and I love them), I set out to learn how to make them at home. Friends that bake told me “If you can make whipped cream, you can make macarons.” I found it was certainly doable, but not quite that easy.
To make a perfect macaron is a challenge, but it is a fun challenge, requiring skilled preparation, precise baking, and skilled filling and decorating. However, if you love to bake, it is a skill you will be pleased to have acquired, and you will love the compliments you receive when serving them to family and friends.
Age Egg Whites
Making macarons requires a little advanced planning. It is important to age the egg whites for a few days before you plan to bake. Separate eggs and place egg whites in a sealable glass container.
Allow them to age in the refrigerator for two or three days before use. Aging your egg whites dehydrates them so they will be perfect for making macarons. When you are ready to start baking, allow the egg whites to warm to room temperature before use.
Meringue Must Be Stiff
When making macarons, the meringue has to be briskly whipped until it stands in stiff peaks. When making meringue, add a pinch of cream of tartar, then add the salt, and gradually add the sugar until the egg whites reach the soft peak state.
If you wish to add a touch of color to your macarons, wait until the meringue starts to thicken. If you prefer not to use artificial food coloring, there are several natural choices that produce lovely shades.
- Add the juice from strawberries, cherries, or raspberries to the meringue or frosting to achieve a lovely pink tint.
- A teaspoon of freshly grated lemon or orange zest will enhance the flavor of macaron as well as produce a pale yellow or peach colored tint to either the meringue or the frosting.
- Use a pinch of turmeric or saffron for a brighter orange coloration, or add a dribble of blueberry juice to confectioners sugar to make for a lovely lavender frosting.
Almond Meal Or Almond Flour
For baking the best macarons, only the best quality ingredients will do. Be sure to choose a high-quality almond flour that is fresh and finely ground. You will grind it even finer in the food processor. Combining almond flour with a quarter cup of powdered confectioners sugar achieves a light and airy base. For a change of taste, pistachio flour can be substituted for the almond flour.
Sift, Sift, Then Sift Again
Almond meal or almond flour must be finely ground in a food processor to avoid lumps and bumps that mar the surface of the macarons. After processing, repeatedly sift, and discard larger particles.
Use Precise Measurements
Once you have processed the dry ingredients, measure the sugar and flour mixture precisely. Not enough, or a little too much flour or sugar, can significantly alter the texture and taste of the baked cookie.
When folding the flour into the egg whites, it is important to be gentle so as not to break up the air bubbles. When folding, use a circular motion, folding from the bottom of the bowl to the top. The mixture should be frothy with a thick consistency like liquid lava.
Place batter in a piping bag. The bag should be fitted with a medium-size round tip. These cookies are small, not much more than a mouthful, so you want to create 1-inch rounds.
Pipe slowly, as the batter will spread somewhat. Place rounds on a parchment paper, spacing them 2 inches apart.
Take Your Time
Before baking macarons, allow the baking sheet of piped batter to sit for 40 to 50 minutes until they set up and begin to form that desired crisp and crunchy crust. The fine texture of the finished product is worth the wait, and they take less than 15 minutes to bake.
Macaron Baking Tips
When it comes time to actually bake your macarons, there are a few important details to keep in mind.
- When baking macarons, use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Do not use wax paper or a greased baking sheet.
- Monitor baking time and temperature closely. When done, macarons should be firm and a light golden brown. If baked too long, the cookies will be extremely brittle and break easily.
- When baking macarons, bake one sheet at a time with the rack placed in the lower tier of the oven. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through the baking time after cookies have risen and set.
How To Store Macarons
Around our house, a batch of macarons does not last long enough to require storage. However, if you are making them for gift giving or for a dessert to serve dinner guests, keep in mind that French macarons are fragile and extremely sensitive to moisture in the air. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Experienced macaron bakers suggest that macarons taste best after being stored chilled for 2 to 3 days.
Homemade Macarons Make A Great Gift
Macarons are fun to make, and there is no limit to the filling and frosting combinations you can create. I enjoy experimenting with my family and friends’ favorite fillings. Dad loves cherry filling; my sisters prefer blueberry cheesecake.
Macarons are the perfect blank canvas for demonstrating creativity. Dainty, pretty, bite-size sweets, frosted, and decorated — macarons make delicious homemade gifts for every gift-giving occasion.
A Low-Calorie Sweet Treat
After all, they are cookies, so they are not exactly “healthy” but they contain far fewer calories than many other sweets. It seems I, like many Americans, am always on some type of weight loss diet.
One of the reasons I love macarons is if my sweet tooth gets the better of me, I can have a couple of macarons for less than 200 calories. The average cupcake has more than 400 calories, and a donut can have 600 calories or more. Another plus is macarons are gluten-free and low in cholesterol.
What Is The Difference Between A Macaroon And A Macaron?
Macaron or macaroon? It can be confusing as they are both a type of cookie or biscuit popular in the pastry world. However, the macaron is quite different from the macaroon. The word macaron derives from the Italian word, maccarone or “delicate dough.”
While a macaroon is a firm, chewy sweet made from different combinations of shredded coconut, nuts, dried fruits, egg whites, and flour, the macaron is a light, airy, meringue-like paper-thin Parisian cookie made from egg whites, almond flour, and sugar.