Making macarons has been on my list of culinary projects for a very long time! They are quite intimidating, because small details in the preparation can ruin them. Even experienced bakers often share stories involving feet-less macarons  (can you imagine the horror?), cracked macarons, and many other types of monstrosities. Even though I did not list cooking projects for 2014, I was set on not letting another year pass by without attempting them.  Then, the perfect opportunity shaped up: our friend Cindy came up for a visit with her husband, and we decided to tackle this challenge together.  We had so much fun, I highly recommend that you consider inviting a friend over and doing the same. I’d been collecting recipes, tips, advice, and after consulting with my expert patissier friend Gary, we focused our efforts in two sites: Gwen’s Kitchen Creations and Joanne’s Eats Well With Others. They both definitely know their ways around the tricky Parisian macarons.


(adapted from Gwen & Joanne)

for the shells:
3 large egg whites, (95-100g), aged overnight
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar (50g)
pinch of salt
2 cups powdered sugar (200g)
1 cup almond flour  (120g)
for the filling:

(makes a lot, you can reduce the amount, if you prefer)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
salt, to taste
1 tbsp cinnamon, plus more for dusting

 Sift the salt, powdered sugar, and almond flour into a large container. Discard any clumps in the sieve. Using a whisk attachment, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar in 3 batches. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add gel food coloring, if desired, whisk again.
Add 1/3 of the almond mixture into the egg whites. Fold until incorporated – about 15-20 turns. Then add another 1/3. Fold again. Repeat one last time. It will take about 65 folds for the right consistency.
Draw circles with a pencil on a sheet of parchment paper, then place the sheet with the drawing side down on a baking sheet, so that you can see the lines through. Pipe small circles using a pastry bag, making sure your hand is vertical, at 90 degrees over the center of the circle.
Let rest until a skin forms. It should no longer be sticky. 30-60 minutes.
Bake at 275F for 17 minutes. Let the shells cool completely before attempting to peel them off.

Make the filling: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and powdered sugar, mixing on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the cream and vanilla and beat on medium-high for 3 minutes. Mix in the cinnamon until completely combined, as well as salt to taste.

Pipe the buttercream onto the flat side of half of the macarons and then top them with a second, similarly sized macaron. Refrigerate in an airtight container overnight. Dust with cinnamon before serving.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: Very few culinary projects will confuse you as much as macarons. If you read cookbooks or advice online, you will find conflicting info almost for every step. Do not over-beat the egg whites… It’s impossible to over-beat the egg whites, beat a couple of minutes longer after you think they are done… don’t over-dry the shells…. it’s impossible to over-dry the shells….  sift the flour at room temperature…. roast the flour to dry it completely…  don’t even think of making macarons with regular meringue…  Mind blowing, my friends, mind-blowing.  At some point you will have to settle on a recipe for your first time, take a deep breath, and see how it goes. I think for a first time we did pretty good, actually.  Aren’t they cute?

From what I gathered around the many sources, it is VERY important to age the egg whites, so make sure to do that. Crack the eggs the day before, separating the whites and let them sit over the countertop overnight.

Since this was such an involved process, I’d like to share a few photos of our adventure…

Sifting… it was by far the most painful and boring step of the whole recipe. We took turns, but sifting the almond flour took a loooong time. Cindy did a much better job than me, she is patient and thorough. Moi? Not so much… (sigh)

We made a nice template for the shells, using the top of shot glasses….

Egg whites were beaten until shiny, smooth-looking peaks formed…

Here are the results of our labor of love, shells piped and drying….

Here are our baby-shells after baking, most with nice little feet…..

All in all, we had a great time, and learned a lot that day… We assembled the best looking ones, and some of the ugly ducklings were consumed right away by our partners in the name of aesthetics.

The advice to wait to savor them next day is also spot-on: there is a definite improvement in texture, so these are perfect to make in advance and show-off your baking abilities at a get together.

Next time I will try Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, that uses an Italian-type meringue, in which the sugar-egg white mixture is stabilized by heat. I thought it was too involved for our first time, but from what I’ve been reading, it might be a better approach.

Cindy, thanks for joining me in this challenge,
I definitely could not have done it without you!

ONE YEAR AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

TWO YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce



FIVE YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night


  1. Does ageing the egg whites overnight mean leaving them out overnight? Do you cover them with plastic film? If you live in a warm humid (tropical/subequatorial) environment what would you recommend? Thanks.


    • I am looking forward to trying them again, but knowing me, it will take a while… still, it was fun fun fun!
      I want to make purple macarons with perhaps a lavender buttercream….. Joanne just posted on Champagne macarons a couple of days ago, that woman rocks!


  2. Your macs are ADORABLE!! Such perfect feet. I’d say this was awesome, especially for a first attempt! To be totally honest, I never age my egg whites. In my opinion, the most important steps are getting the batter to the right consistency and then letting them dry for long enough! I’ve also heard good things about the italian method yielding much more consistent results, though I haven’t tried it. you’ll have to report back on how it goes!


    • Oh, you are sweet! YOU complimenting my macrons… no better way to end the year!

      Now, the ageing… there goes my only MANDATORY tip… down the drain! 😉

      see? it’s hard to get a consensus going, macarons are as tricky as immunology!


  3. Beautiful. Forget the little feet. On my first attempt I would have been happy if they hadn’t ended up looking like meringues with ground almonds in them. I keep intending to try them again. I even have a template drawn on parchment paper to pipe them sitting on top of my baking sheet in the gadget drawer under the oven.


  4. Your macarons look fab! Well done you! : ) I’ve been wanting to make them for ages too… so many recipes, so little time. : ) I wouldn’t have been sure about ageing the egg whites… perhaps the eggs simply need to be left out at room temperature, per when making a sponge cake or pav? The King of macarons in Australia, Adriano Zumbo, makes no mention of ageing the whites in his recipes… see


  5. I also made them this year with a friend. The first time out of 3 recipes only 1 recipe turned out. We purchased silicone macaron mats from China and the first two recipes they stuck to it. The third was good as we only used parchment paper. The week after I tried Red Velvet macarons…they were delicious then tried with the Thermomix which was disaster but they do have a good recipe and I used it with my mixer; they were delicious with a chocolate ganache done in the Thermomix. My friend found macaron templates on-line (3 sizes) which I printed; you put it under the parchment papper and after you pipe them you slide it out….a great tool. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make them again…but my family and friends loved them.


    • Red Velvet Macarons… WOW, just the thought of it… makes me want to make them instead of the purple ones I dream about

      I will definitely consider the printed out template, nice idea and definitely better than my attempts with the pencil 😉


  6. I have had fantastic wins on macarons and a few where I’ve had to scoop them off the sheet with a spoon. Once you know the right texture, it’s not so difficult. The successful ones are much ‘soupier’ than I originally thought. I love these snickerdoodlies!


  7. Being in the kitchen with a friend is such a pleasure. I don’t recall being the better sifter but I definitely recall you being a better piper.


  8. Yay!! Macarons are fun and ever since i took the first plunge ive been a fan!! Yours look so pretty!! Now im curious to try the italian meringue version you mentioned.


    • I am afraid of the Italian meringue due to past nightmares in the kitchen. Long before blogging days. It was chaos. It was a war zone of sorts. I am not ready to talk about it.


    • Well, Mike… let’s say that the angle of the photography was carefully chosen, and also the specimens picked to be in the scene. But, I know my next time will be better. Practice makes puuuurfect!


  9. Those look fabulous! I wish I wasn’t such an avid eater but reluctant baker! You and Cindy have been doing great and challenging things in the kitchen for a long time now — distance shmistance!


    • I am the opposite, I love to bake (although I am a wimp for most stuff not related to bread) but don’t care for the eating part that much, so I have to rely on my faithful department friends to help me out 😉


  10. I love macarons although I confess I have never made them. Thanks for the recipe, Sally! When I make mine, I intend to use your recipe since you learned all the useful tricks from Gwen and Joanne. And yes, this is a great activity to make with a friend. Imagine all the fun and joy making, chatting, and eating together these beauties!
    Happy belated birthday to Phil! Wishing you, Phil, and your family a very happy and healthy 2015!


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