Pretty in pastel macarons are bite-sized French cookies that pair every bit as well with coffee and tea as they do with champagne. They are adored as much for their look that borders on impressionism art--think Monet's Water Lilies--as their exquisite texture and taste combinations. A macaron is comprised of two crunchy baked meringue, sugar, and almond flour cookies that sandwich a silky smooth flavored buttercream. The idea of making macarons may be intimidating, but the most difficult thing about them is getting the uniform size (and there is a fabulous silicone baker's mat designed just for that if your kitchen and budget allow for such a luxury). A bit of patience and practice and this may just become the most impressive and requested dessert in your baking repertoire. We opted for some simple, but classic combinations that relied on easy to find liquid extracts for flavoring the buttercream: blue cookies flavored with almond extract, lemon-flavored sunny yellow macarons, pistachio green cookies and raspberry flavored pink tinted macarons.
cuisine French
difficulty Moderate
makes 24 cookies
season Spring & Summer

Ingredients for the Macaron

  • 100 grams egg whites, room temperature (about 3 large eggs)
  • 140 grams almond flour
  • 90 grams super fine sugar
  • 130 grams confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

Ingredients for the Buttercream Filling

  • 2 sticks (226 grams) unsalted European Butter, softened
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons each almond, lemon, pistachio, and raspberry extracts

Directions for the Macarons

  1. Sift the confectioners sugar and almond flour into a bowl three times, discarding any chunks or balls of almond flour. Divide this mixture into two bowls (weigh for accuracy).
  2. Add the egg whites ito the bowl of an electric stand mixer and whisk the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and then add the sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time.
  3. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until very stiff peaks form.
  4. Remove from the electric stand and gently fold in the food coloring until it reaches the desired color.
  5. Add the dry ingredients from one bowl, 1/3 of it at a time to one color. Repeat with the other bowl and color.
  6. Spoon one color mixture into a piping bag with a medium round piping tip. Spoon the other color into another piping bag, also with a medium round tip.
  7. dot the corners of the parchment with the meringue mixture to keep the corners from rolling up. Pipe 1" dollops onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Tapping the baking tray on the counter several times release air bubbles.
  9. Allow the cookies to sit for about 40 minutes before placing in the oven. 
  10. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 12 to15 minutes, rotating the tray after 7 minutes.
  11. Allow the shells to cool completely before removing from the baking tray.
  12. To assemble the macarons, pipe your filling onto the back of half the shells. Form a sandwich and repeat. Place the filled macarons in the refrigerator overnight and up to 48 hours for softer, chewier shells.

Directions for the Buttercream Filling

  1. Combine the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Place the egg yolks in a the bowl of an electric stand-mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until they are thick and foamy.
  4. Cook the sugar and water syrup until it reaches 240 degrees F. Immediately remove from heat.
  5. With the electric stand mixer running, slowly drizzle the sugar syrup into the bowl with the egg yolks.
  6. Continue mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch and the yolk mixture has cooled to room temperature.
  7. Add in the butter one cube at a time allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next.
  8. Add the vanilla, and the salt.
  9. Continue mixing until the buttercream is smooth and creamy, about five minutes. Divide the buttercream into two bowls.
  10. Add the food coloring and flavor extract to match the shell, mix to combine and cool for 15 to 20 minutes in the refrigerator before assembling the cookies.