Total time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (includes cooling)
For best results, use a scale to measure these ingredients in grams.
200g confectioners' sugar (close to 2 cups)
100g almond flour (close to 1 cup)
120g room temperature egg whites (around 3 large egg whites) *
1/8 teaspoon salt
40g sifted granulated sugar or caster sugar (3 Tablespoons)
Flavoring or color **
Your desired filling ***
Kitchen scale (great options here, here, and here)
Food processor or blender
½ inch tip (e.g., Ateco 806 (size 6) tip)
Place the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a food processor or blender and pulse or blend for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined and fine in texture. Set aside.
In a completely dry and grease-free bowl, beat the egg whites and salt together on medium speed for 1 minute. Switch to high speed and beat just until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do NOT overbeat. Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted granulated sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
On low speed, beat in any flavor or color 2 at this point. Do not overmix.
Using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the confectioners' sugar/almond flour mixture until combined. Be very gentle and light-handed while doing so. Once completely combined, the mixture will be smooth, sticky, and glossy.
Let the batter sit uncovered at room temperature for 10-30 minutes. Meanwhile, fit your piping bag with the piping tip. Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Fill the piping bag with the batter and pipe evenly sized rounds onto the baking sheets--make sure you are holding the bag vertically and close to the baking sheet. While piping, the batter will slightly spread out, so keep that in mind. You want around 2-inch circles. Gently tap the bottom of the baking sheets on your counter to rid any large air bubbles. You can lightly sprinkle a few sprinkles, a dash of cinnamon, or any edible decorations onto the wet round shells at this point.
Let the piped rounds sit for at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour. This is crucial to making macarons! The air will will help the rounds set and form a dry shell. They should not be sticky going into the oven.
Preheat oven to 325° F (163° C). Bake the macarons for 10 minutes, one baking sheet at a time. Rotate the pan at the 5 minute mark. The tops should be crisp and the macarons should have formed their signature crinkly feet. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet before filling.
Fill 3 and sandwich two shells together to form an iconic French macaron cookie! Leftover macarons keep well covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
*Age your egg whites. This is so important! Separate them first. Then, let them sit out at room temperature for a few hours; overnight preferred.
**When coloring or flavoring macaron batter, remember that less is more. Too much addition to the light batter equals a change in texture and appearance. I find a half teaspoon of any flavor extract is enough for the entire batter, as well as only 1-3 drops of liquid/gel food coloring. You can also use food coloring paste. I used ½ teaspoon almond extract in the pictured macarons. I also tinted one batch peach with 1 drop pink liquid food coloring and 1 drop yellow liquid food coloring.
***Filling ideas: I used very vanilla frosting in these photos. To get blue, I tinted with 1 drop blue liquid food coloring. You can also use regular vanilla frosting, strawberry frosting, raspberry frosting, jam, salted caramel, marshmallow frosting, lemon curd, milk chocolate frosting, dark chocolate frosting, coconut frosting, butterscotch sauce, apple butter, chocolate ganache, white chocolate frosting, whipped cream, strawberry whipped cream, etc.
Adapted from Les Petits Macarons and Mad About Macarons.