I have been obsessed with finding The Best Basic French Macaron Recipe for what feels like an eternity! These little gems are now my favorite cookie, and I’m happy to say that I mastered baking them.
I hope that you aren’t intimidated by the meringue and you try baking these delicious macarons.
I wasn’t a big macaron fan until I took a class from a San Francisco French baker. Once I tasted his amazing freshly baked macarons, I was hooked. My niece, who took the class with me, had the same experience, and now she loves them too.
So, today I want to share the recipe that worked best for me. The buttercream filling is to die for and is the best I have ever tasted.
I think the key to baking these cookies is patience. I like to make them in stages so I don’t feel too overwhelmed.
Here are a few of my other cookie recipes you may enjoy:
- Delicious Almond Cookie Recipe
- The Best Crunchy Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Brown Butter Sugar Cookies
I’m sure you have any questions, so let’s dig in before starting the best basic French macaron recipe.
1. What is the difference between a Macaroon and a Macaron?
A Macaroon is a chewy coconut-based cookie, whereas a French Macaron is an almond flour with a meringue-based cookie.
2. What is the difference between the French, Italian, and Swiss Meringue?
The big difference is all in how the sugar is added to the whipped egg whites.
French meringue is when the sugar and egg whites are mixed to form soft peaks.
Italian Meringue is when the sugar and water are boiled to 240 degrees Fahrenheit and then added to soft peak egg whites. Since the sugar is boiled, it is a more stable meringue.
Swiss Meringue is a denser meringue, and both the sugar and egg whites are heated over the stove before whipping.
3. What is the history of the macaron cookie?
According to Goldenrod Pastries,
“The word macaron is derived from the Italian word, maccherone, meaning fine dough.
It’s believed that the macaron cookie was born in Italy and brought over to France as early as 1533 by Catherine di Medici, a noblewoman from Florence who married the future King of France, Henri II. The first macarons were very simple cookies made of sugar, almond flour, and egg whites.”
The French adopted the macaron, and in 1890 and they started to sandwich buttercream, ganache, and jam in between two cookies. And the rest is history!
4. Why are Macarons so expensive?
Well, the process of making these yummy cookies is a little bit more labor-intensive than, say, a chocolate chip cookie, but they are so worth their money. Also, almond flour can be somewhat expensive compared to regular white flour.
5. What is the foot of a macaron?
Yes, I had never heard of this baking term! The macaron foot is a textured ring around the shell base, which forms as moisture in the macaron turns to steam and rises.
6. How do you get a macaron foot?
This took me a while to achieve, and now I know-how.
To ensure feet, you must leave the piped shells out on a cookie sheet until the top forms a smooth and not tacky skin. Then, touch the top of the raw macaron, and if your finger doesn’t stick to the outer layer, the skin is formed, and it is ready for the oven.
Of course, there is a bit of discourse on this theory, but the best basic French macaron recipe that I’m sharing with you today dries for an hour, and they have feet and no cracks in the meringue.
The Best Basic French Macaron Recipe
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There are a few important things I learned about baking these wonderful cookies.
1. Measure your ingredients with a scale.
No way around it. Weighing your ingredients is really accurate. So, bite the bullet and buy a scale.
2. Don’t forget to use room-temperature eggs and butter.
If you are in a hurry and your butter is cold, cut them into small cubes and place them on parchment paper. This will rush the process by quite a lot.
3. How you fold the meringue into the flour mixture is important.
To avoid collapsing your egg whites, fold the meringue in by scraping your spatula around the bowl. Now and then, fold the mixture into the middle.
4. After piping the macaron, bang the cookie sheet to get rid of air bubbles.
Yes, banging the cookies brings air bubbles to the surface. Next, take a toothpick to poke and release the air bubbles. This step prevents cracks in the meringue when baked and ensures that your cookie will have the sought-after foot.
5. How to tell when your meringue is fully mixed.
So, your meringue is fully mixed when you lift the spatula, and a ribbon-like (not a V-shaped) dough comes off of it. The ribbon should puddle in your bowl and stay in place for a bit before melting into the batter. Over the years, I had issues with this since I was paranoid that I would over mix, so I ended up under mixing. When you don’t mix it enough, you get lopsided macarons!
6. Leave your macarons out for about an hour before baking.
Forming a skin on the top layer of the macaron ensures you’ll get feet on your cookies.
7. How do you pipe a perfect circle?
Practice is probably the best answer, but there are a few options if you need a great template.
I recently bought a Macaron Silpat baking sheet. It’s designed with macaron piping patterns and measures to help you create the perfect batch of matching macarons.
If you don’t want to spend the money, draw circles with a pencil or pen on a piece of parchment paper and then turn over and pipe your macarons. The pencil marks will show right through to the other side of the paper, making it easy to see your circular macaron patterns.
- 72 grams egg whites room temperature
- 205 grams powdered sugar
- 190 grams fine almond flour
- 1-5 drops food coloring this varies depending on the color you desire
- 72 grams egg whites room temperature
- 190 grams Baker's sugar or castor sugar
- 60 ml water
French Sabayon (Macaron Filling)
- 3 egg yolks whisk lightly
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter cubed and room temperature
- Place all your dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse 16 times
- Sift dry ingredients. This step will isolate the big pieces of almond which you will discard. If you use fine almond flour this step is not necessary.
- Add egg whites to the almond and powdered sugar mix. Combine thoroughly and add your food coloring in at this time. Your dough will have a paste-like consistency.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let sit while you prepare the meringue.
Egg White Meringue
- Place your egg whites into a mixing bowl. Attach the whisk paddle to the unit.
- Meanwhile, mix the Baker’s Sugar and water in a small saucepan.
- Heat the sugar over a low to medium flame.
- Place a candy thermometer into the hot sugar sauce, stir until the temperature reaches 110 degrees Celcius.
- Once it hits this temp, whip egg whites at medium speed.
- Continue to heat the sugar to 116 degrees Celcius.
- When your sugar reaches 116 degrees, your egg whites should form soft peaks.
- Remove sugar from the stove and slowly add it to the egg whites. Continue to whip the mixture.
- Whisk the sugar and egg meringue at a higher speed.
- Whip for about 5 minutes and check to see if you have soft to hard peaks. Here is how you tell if you have soft peaks, you can place your whisk paddle into the batter and when you turn it upright the top tip of meringue with flop over on itself.
- When you reach soft to hard peaks on your meringue, add about a third of it to the almond paste.
- Mix the meringue and almond paste thoroughly together making sure the paste loosens up a bit.
- Mix the rest of the egg whites into the almond paste.
- Fold the dough with the spatula moving it along the outer part of the walls of the bowl. Now and then fold mixture into the middle. This will ensure that you don’t collapse the egg whites.
- The dough should come off the spatula with a ribbon-like texture, and it should puddle in the bottom of your bowl.
- Once you get the ribbon status, your dough is ready to pipe.
- Place your piping bag in a tall glass and fold the top over the outside of the glass. This little trick keeps the dough from getting on the outside of the bag. Btw, I don't use a pastry tip, and I use my bag that has an opening about 1/2 inch in diameter.
- Insert the dough into your bag.
- Pipe a circle on your parchment lined cookie sheet. If you want to make a template of circles, trace a half dollar circle on the parchment paper and flip it over when piping. Also, make sure to leave about an inch in between circles since the dough will spread while drying.
- When piping your macarons make sure to hold your piping bag perpendicular to the macaroon.
- Once you pipe a cookie sheet of macarons, lift the sheet about 6 inches from the counter and drop back down on the surface. This procedure helps bring the air bubbles to the top of the surface so you can pop them with a toothpick. Eliminating the air bubbles prevents cracking on the top surface of the macarons.
- Allow your piped macarons to dry and form a surface. You’ll know when it has this surface by touching it, and the dough does not stick to your finger.
- Once the macaron shell is ready, place in a preheated 329-degree oven — Bake for 13 minutes.
- Take cookies out of the oven and transfer the parchment paper and macarons to either the cooling rack or countertop. Let cookies cool before transferring to rack. If you take them off the paper while warm the bottom of the macaron will stick.
- Whisk the egg yolks in a medium-size saucepan.
- Add sugar and milk to the yolks.
- Place your saucepan over medium to low heat.
- Stir frequently with a rubber spatula. To test if the filling is done, there is a little trick. Take your finger and run it on the spatula, and the mixture should not run into the line.
- Take off the stove and let filling cool. It should settle into two layers.
- Transfer the filling to a mixing bowl and white it is cooling mix the two layers. Then add in small chunks of the room temperature butter.
- The filling should thicken like buttercream. If it is runny, keep mixing for 8-10 minutes. As the butter cools, it thickens.
- Place in pastry bag and pipe on the bottom of a macaron. Then place the second macaron on top with the two feet sandwiching the filling.
Thank you, Ashley, for taking this beautiful photo for me! I’m so lucky that she lives one town over, and she was able to stop by and snap this photo!
Well, I’m so happy that I’m shouting it from the rooftops that I finally have a basic French macaron recipe on my blog!
I now can take a deep breath and enjoy these wonderful little cookies and marvel that I didn’t get lopsided macarons. I’m so thrilled to share this recipe and my tips with you, and hopefully, you’ll try making a yummy batch for yourself and your family.
By the way, the French Sabayon (isn’t that a fancy word?) is TO DIE FOR!!!!!
Happy Baking, my dear friends,