Some people say macaroons, but I always think of macaroons as the coconut cookie (which I also love). I like to use the original French word and spelling “macaron” when I refer to this magnificent sandwich cookie.
My friend Jessica showed me how to make these years ago. They really are so fun to make, but more fun to eat. These cookies can be $2 a piece (or more!!) at fancy shops, so it is a treat that always feels special.
Naturally Gluten FREE
In December of 2018, my daughter was diagnosed with a severe gluten allergy. Since then, we’ve figured out that our favorite gluten free foods are things that never needed gluten anyway instead of using gluten substitutes.
Macarons naturally don’t have any gluten, because the cookies have always been made with almond flour instead of wheat flour. Because of this, macarons are tied for our favorite Cookies to make. (Of course Monster Cookies are the other favorite and also naturally gluten free!)
Tools you may need –
Here is a list of all the tools I think will be helpful:
- kitchen scale
- pre-cut parchment paper
- macaron silicon baking mat (I’ll use these to fill a cookie sheet by putting a piece of parchment paper on top. You can see the circles through the paper, fill up the cookie sheet, then pull the mat out from underneath and use it on the next cookie sheet.)
- handheld mixer
- piping bags (no piping-tips needed for this recipe, you can just snip the end off the bag and squeeze)
The recipe –
The recipe itself can be a little picky, so instead of fudging the recipe a little like I do with other recipes, I follow this one EXACTLY! The kitchen scale is a must to measure the ingredients to be sure they’re precise.
Homemade French Macarons
- 100 g ground almond flour
- 200 g powdered sugar
- 100-110 g egg whites (about 3)
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- ~ food coloring (gel or powder) OPTIONAL
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Prepare the pans with parchment paper. To create uniform circles, use macaron mats that already have circle outlines or take time to draw uniform circles on the backside of your parchment paper. (Or you can wing it for the circles, but you'll still definitely need parchment paper either way.)
- Mix powdered sugar together with the almond flour until mixed well, then set these dry ingredients aside.
- In medium-large bowl, whip the egg whites with a handheld mixer to begin creating the meringue. As the egg whites start foaming, add the granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue whipping until the mixture is glossy and stiff. (Check to complete: When you pull the mixer out, it should create a small peak in the mixture that holds its shape. Also, if the bowl was upside down, the meringue will not slide out.)
- Add the dry mixture into the meringue. This is also when you will add food coloring if you choose to do so. (I did not use food color in the cookies pictured.)
- Using a spatula, fold the dry mix into the meringue. Move your spatula in a circle around the edge of the bowl, then pull the spoon down through the middle gently. You will continue this folding motion until fully mixed. (Check to complete: Pour the mixture from the spatula, it should flow like a ribbon. It's important to not over or under-mix. If you drop a bit of the mixture on parchment paper, it should slowly flatten instead of keep its shape.)
- Fill piping bags with macaron mixture, then fill in the circles on the parchment paper. Leave room between the cookies, because they'll flatten a little.
- Leave the cookie sheets out in room temperature for about 1 hour, so the cookies will form a dry skin. (This is what makes the cookies puff up in their signature way instead of flattening more while they bake.)
- Heat the oven to 300 F. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies are done when they don't jiggle and they are slightly golden brown. Let them completely cool before removing the from the baking sheet.
- Slowly melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Gently stir in cream until you have a thick, creamy ganache that is pipe-able. Fill a piping bag with the ganache.
- Arrange the cookies in pairs upside down on the parchment paper. Put a good size dollop of ganache on one of each pair. Then, sandwich the two sides together.
- Refrigerate to help the middle solidify. Also, cookies will last a while in the refrigerator when covered. This is just a theory, though, because everyone loves these and eats them too fast to really know how long they'd last.
Peek into the process –
These pictures are from our Christmas baking on Christmas Eve last year. Santa got fancy cookies!
My daughter was helping me make these. Of course, she wants to try all the piping and “fun” steps. They’ve got to learn somewhere!
Here are the cookies waiting an hour on the counter. We were making other treats while these waited. Those almonds are on the counter because we were making coconut macaroons. We had both macarons and macaroons! Ha! Not confusing at all.
Without food coloring, it is a lot easier to see that the cookies are slightly golden brown and finished.
I like to group the baked cookies in pairs before I add the ganache center. We try to pair cookies that are similar shapes and sizes, but they’re all so close in size when we use that mats. I know we are just being picky. It’s fun, though!
The casserole dish behind these pans was where all the cookies were going to serve. When I set them out, they very steadily disappeared all day. Everyone loves these and it is impossible to eat just one.
I hope you give these cookies a try and enjoy them as much as my family does. I’ve made them for all kinds of parties through the years. They are a crowd pleaser everywhere they go!
You can totally make these at home! Let me know how it goes!