How to Make French Macarons | Marie Asselin | Skillshare
Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
15 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. How to Make French Macarons: An Introduction

      1:51
    • 2. Project Description

      2:10
    • 3. The Anatomy of a Macaron

      1:54
    • 4. The Do’s and Don’t of Macaron Making

      1:30
    • 5. The Equipment You Need

      1:48
    • 6. The Ingredients You Need

      1:14
    • 7. Preparing the Almond/Sugar Mixture

      3:03
    • 8. Making the Meringue

      3:08
    • 9. Macaronnage: Incorporating the Almond/Sugar Mixture Into the Meringue

      3:12
    • 10. Piping the Macaron Shells

      4:28
    • 11. Baking the Macaron Shells

      2:07
    • 12. Making a Basic Buttercream Filling

      2:12
    • 13. Filling (and Storing) Macarons

      0:54
    • 14. Get Creative! Flavor Inspirations

      0:47
    • 15. Final Thoughts: Let's Get Baking!

      1:23
39 students are watching this class

About This Class

ClassTitle_PromoBanner.jpg

LOOKING FOR THE CLASS RECIPES AND PRINTABLES? You'll find everything you need in the "YOUR PROJECT" section of the class.

--

French macarons are delicious and cute, but they are also notoriously finicky to make at home. The elegant meringue-based cookies, made popular by Ladure in Paris, require method and patience to make, but they can be done in a home kitchen, and you don't even have to be an expert baker!

I've been making macarons for almost 7 years, and I've been advising budding macaron makers through my blog FoodNouveau.com for over 5 years, so I have in-depth knowledge of what can go wrong when you attempt to make them at home for the first time. This course describes the essential equipment you need, the important steps to follow, the techniques to master, and the potential pitfalls to avoid.

Skill level: This class is perfect for novice bakers who want to learn new skills, as well as for experienced bakers who are seeking to master a new, and impressive dessert.

--

Important Note: This class demonstrates the French method (as opposed to the Italian meringue method) for making macarons.

Transcripts

1. How to Make French Macarons: An Introduction : Hello, I'm Marie. I'm a food and travel writer and translator, and I'm also a passionate baker. I like to take on all kinds of baking projects, but usually, the more ambitious, the better. Some of my favorite things to make include French specialties such as madeleine, eclairs, choux, and, of course, macarons. I've been making macarons at home for almost seven years now. Like many of you, I'm sure I first tasted them in Paris, and I fell in love with them at first bite. A friend of mine taught me how to make them at home, and they've been a classic of mine ever since. I would even say they're my signature dessert. My friends and family love when I make them, of course, but the readers of my blog do to. In fact, the post I wrote on the topic, since 2010, have been viewed millions of time. This shows macarons are more than a trend in that food lovers worldwide are still curious to learn how to make them at home. Macarons have a reputation for being hard to make, but I'm here today to show you that you can in fact make them, and you don't even have to be an experienced baker to succeed. To make macarons you need three things: you need the right method, the right equipment, and lots of patience. In this class, I will provide you with essential tips to help you prepare, including the do's and don'ts of macaron-making, details about the equipment and the ingredients you need, I will also do a demonstration to help you visualize the key steps in macaron-making, and also provide advice to allow you to avoid potential pitfalls, and finally, I will give you fun ideas to get creative once you've mastered the main recipe. This class is perfect for novice bakers who want to learn a new skill or for expert bakers who are seeking to master a new and impressive dessert. 2. Project Description: After watching all the class videos, you'll be ready to make your very own French macarons. Let me give you more information about the class project and how to share your progress with fellow bakers who are also enrolled in the class. First, I'd like you to share how and where you've heard of macarons for the first time. If you've ever tasted macarons, tell us where it was and how you remember the experience. Share a picture if you have one, use our community section of the class to do so. Then I'd love you to share why you want to make macarons, is there a special occasion? Is it because you want to learn a new skill? You want to impress friends? Or is it just because. I'm very curious to learn more about your motivations. Your third task will be to choose a filling for your macarons. While it's essential for you to master the basic macaron recipe before switching things up, when it comes to the filling you can be as creative as you want. Think of your favorite flavor or your favorite desert as a child and use that as a starting point. If you're making the macarons for someone else, find out what is their favorite sweet treat and start from there. In fact, when it comes to macaron filling, you can pretty much use anything from jams to hazelnut spread, as long as it's not drippy. You'll find inspiration in a class project section. But I want to get your wheels turning right away. Then comes the real work. Make your first batch of macarons. Assemble the equipment and ingredients you need, and make your first batch. Use the community section of the project to share any difficulties you encounter along the way. If you can share a picture along with your questions and I'll do my very best to help. Finally, when you're done, share a picture of your assembled macarons in the project gallery so we can all cheer along with you. Get started by downloading the documents linked in the class projects sections, so you have the recipes at hand. If you've never made macarons before, I highly recommend you to master the basic almond macaron shells before attempting any of the variations, because any small change to the basic recipe can throw your macaron making skills off balance. Now, if you're ready, let's get started. 3. The Anatomy of a Macaron: Let me say a few words about what macarons are in case some of you are not familiar with the treat. First, French macarons or so-called Persian macarons should not be confused with macaroons. Macaroons spelled with two o's are small cake like cookies typically made with shredded coconut, this is not what we are making today. The French macaron, spelled with one o is a meringue based cookie. The shells are made with egg whites, ground almonds, and sugar. To create macarons, two shells are assembled with a filling, which can be a butter cream, a ganache or jam. So what makes the perfect macaron? If you've never tasted macarons before, it's hard to know what to expect. Let me provide you some guidelines. The shells should be slightly shiny and quite thin, showing two visible parts. The crust is like a smooth and flat dome, and the foot is a textured ring around the base of the shell. When you bite into a macaron, the shell should provide some crunch. The shell shouldn't be so soft that they melt into the filling, or so hard that it creates a good crunch when you bite into it. The interior of the macaron that is the filling and the inside of the shell should feel slightly chewy, but not so much that it sticks to the teeth. What creates the wonderfully intriguing and addictive texture of the macaron is an extra step, which I'll admit is a bit annoying. Once filled, you should let the macaron rest in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours before eating them. I know you've worked so hard and can't enjoy a treat. Yet you really must try and be patient because the day after is when macarons are truly perfect. This waiting period is what allows some moisture from the filling to penetrate the shells, softening them just to create a contrast between the crispy crust and the creamy center. 4. The Do’s and Don’t of Macaron Making: Let's review the do's and don'ts of macaron making. Do plan in advance. Making macarons is not a last minute project. You should free up at least three hours in your schedule to give you time to make the shells, let them rest, bake them, let them cool, and fill them. Feeling rushed when making macarons is usually a recipe for a disaster. Then, do consider the weather. This may sound surprising, but if it's super hot and humid in your kitchen, it will probably be much harder to make macarons. For example, the pipe shell need to rest and dry before they're baked, which is key to form the feet around the base of the shell. If it's super humid, it will take much longer to dry the shells if they end up drying at all. Finally, do make sure you have all the equipment and ingredients you need before you start so you don't have to stop halfway through. Now for the don'ts. Don't rush. Making macarons takes time and patience. When making macarons for the first time, especially, choose a day when you can take your time to read through the recipe and follow the steps at your own speed. Also, don't skip steps. While you may be skeptical that some steps are really necessary, by experience, let me confirm that skipping any of them will change the result you get. Finally, don't skimp on the quality of ingredients you're using. You need few ingredients to make macarons. So the freshness and quality of each ingredient you use is key to the taste. 5. The Equipment You Need: Here's the equipment you need to make macarons. First, you need a stand mixer to whip the egg whites. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer, but make sure you have a stainless steel or a glass bowl to mix the egg whites into because it mix for fluffier egg whites. Then you need a food processor to blend ground almonds and sugar together. You also need a scale which is very important to precisely measure the ingredients. You need a second mixing bowl and a sieve because you're going to sieve the ground almonds and sugar mixture into it. You also need sheet pans to bake the macaron shells. I like to use parchment paper to cover the sheet pans because I find that silicon mats are a little tricky when making macarons because the shells are very delicate and they tend to stick to the silicon whereas I have very good results with the parchment paper. I also like to use macaron templates because it allows me to easily make shells that are roughly the same size. I'm going to provide the link in the class project so you can download a printable version of this template and use it at home if you want. You also need silicon spatula to combine the sugar and almond mixture into the egg whites. A pastry bag to pipe the macaron shells equipped with a round pastry tip with a half inch opening. I like to use disposable pastry bags because they're easier to handle and they're disposable too, so it makes for an easy cleanup. Finally, you need food coloring if you want to make colored shells. I like to use gel food coloring because the coloring power is higher, so you don't need to use a lot to get the color you need. 6. The Ingredients You Need: Here are the ingredients you need to make macarons. First, you need three large egg whites, and they must be separated a few days in advance. The reason why you must separate the egg whites in advance is that some of the water will evaporate from the egg whites and allow the protein to concentrate, which will produce stiffer egg whites and smoother macaron shells. You also need 210 grams of powdered sugar, which is also called icing sugar, or sometimes confectioner's sugar. You need a 125 grams of ground almonds, which is also called almond flour, and 30 grams of granulated refined sugar, or just a regular white sugar. Finally, of course, you need some food coloring if you want to make colored shells. Remember to take the egg whites out of the fridge at least an hour before making the macarons because they need to be room temperature when you start making the recipe. To assemble the macarons, you will also need a filling of your choice. In this class, I will be making a simple white chocolate and vanilla bean butter cream, but feel free to get creative. In the class project section, you will also find a variety of filling recipes. 7. Preparing the Almond/Sugar Mixture: I'm going to measure out the 210 grams of powdered sugar into the mixing bowl. Make sure you heat the exact measurement you need, don't go over. In the same bowl, I'm going to measure the ground almonds, 125 grams. In another bowl, I'm going to measure up the granulated sugar, 30 grams. The very first step is to combine the powdered sugar and the ground almonds together in the bowl of a food processor. The reason why you're doing this is that it's going to first thoroughly blend the sugar and almond mixture together, which is very important, and then also get rid of most of the bigger almond bits that may exist in the almond flour you use. So you want to process the mixture about 30 seconds to a minute. Then we're going to transfer this mixture back to the sieve over the first mixing bowl to make sure we get rid of all remaining almond bigger bits. Transfer about half the mixture first, and then use a spoon to push the mixture through the sieve. In the end, you're going to see just the bigger bits remaining in the sieve. So don't push them through, you don't want these into your macaron shells because it's going to make for us smoother shells. So just get rid of the bigger bits like that, you can just throw them away. The remaining sugar and almond mixture. Again, throw away the bigger bits that remain in this sieve at the end of this sieving. You can set this mixture aside and we're going to whip the egg whites now. 8. Making the Meringue: Pour the egg whites into the bowl of the stand mixer. You're going to need to be on medium high speed until they start to get foamy. When they do, slowly pour the granulated sugar into the bowl. Keep on beating until the egg whites are opaque white, super glossy and form stiffs. I'm going to show you exactly what they should look like once they're done. It's important to be able to recognize when the egg whites are sufficiently whipped. For example, I'm going to show you right now. They're pretty liquid still and very soft, so this is definitely not enough. I need to keep on beating a little more. As you can see, they're pretty stiff right now. You need to be careful not to over beat them so they become almost hard and they look like they're going to break apart. These are almost done but you can see that the peak is still a little soft so I'm going to keep on beating a little more. These are perfect. You can seen now that the peak is not curving at all, it stays really upright but it's still creamy. What you don't want it to as I said before, you don't want it to become so stiff that it looks like it's going to break apart but this is the absolute right stage. It's at this point that you want to add the food coloring if you wish to do colored shells. Today I'm going to use some purple food coloring. What I suggest is to start by using just a few drops because you don't want to go overboard and then mix a little and then check if you need any more food coloring. Right now I'm going for a pale lilac shade so I'm going to use just a few drops. Then you don't need to be fussy about incorporating the food coloring. You can just whip it at a pretty high-speed until the color looks evenly distributed. There you go, the color looks good. 9. Macaronnage: Incorporating the Almond/Sugar Mixture Into the Meringue: Now comes the crucial step, incorporating the sugar and almond mixture into the whipped egg whites. This technique is called the Macaronnage. Although the word sounds a little bit fancy, the technique really is pretty easy. Pour about half of the sugar and almond mixture over the whipped egg whites and use the silicone spatula to fold it in. You want to push the spatula to the bottom of the bowl and bring it back up. No need to be too delicate about it because what you actually want is to deflate the egg whites a little. Make sure you scrape the spatula all around the bowl. When the first half of the sugar and almond mixture is fully incorporated, pour the second half of it into the bowl. Fold again to incorporate. Now is when you need to pay really close attention. At first, you'll notice that the butter looks a little bit curdled, but as you fold, it's going to become more homogeneous and looser. The more you fold, the looser the butter gets. Right now the butter is very stiff, and as you can see, it doesn't really fall off the spatula, or it takes a long time to do so. What you want is for the butter to drop off from the spatula in a continuous ribbon. It's very essential that you learn how to recognize when the butter is ready, because if the butter is too stiff, the shells might not form fit. But if it's too loose, the shells will spread unevenly and they will probably crack when they bake. You can see that if I drop some of the butter on top of the remaining butter in the bowl, it keeps its shape. It doesn't melt into the rest of the butter. That means I need to keep on folding a little more. But you can see right now that the butter has changed appearance quite a lot. It's much looser and we're getting there. Keep folding and do some tests regularly. You can see that it's much looser now. It needs just a little more folding and it's going to be ready. There's the ribbon you're looking for. You can see that it drips continuously from the spatula and into the bowl. That means the butter is ready. 10. Piping the Macaron Shells: Get your piping bag, and insert the piping tip into the bag, and cut just enough of the tip of the bag, so the piping tip comes through. Twist the bag right above the piping tip like that. This is going to prevent the batter from coming out of the tip while you're filling it. To help you fill up the bag, I suggest you use a measuring cup. You can place your bag like this, fold the top of the bag to form a cuff like that. This is going to hold the bag straight while you pour the batter into it. Pour the batter into the piping bag, unfold the cuff, and pick up the bag while making sure that the tip remains twisted, so the batter doesn't come out. Twist the top of the bag just to close the piping bag, and then you can rest it upside down into the measuring cup while you go reach the baking sheets. Now you're ready to pipe the batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Note that the sheet pans should be lined with parchment paper. Cut out exactly the size of the insides of the sheet pans. If the parchment paper comes up the sides of the pan, the paper won't be as flat, and your macaron shells could be warped. Also, at this point, if you want to use the macaron templates, slide them under the parchment paper. The hand controlling, the flow of the batter is the top hand. The other one is close to the tip to control it, and move it from one spot to the next. Start pushing the batter towards the top until it reaches the tip like that. But make sure you keep the bag upside down because the batter will flow out of the bag if you turn it right away. Slowly invert the piping bag, getting the tip close to the parchment paper. Then slowly twist the top of the bag while turning the bag fully perpendicular to the baking pan. Make sure to keep the tip close to the sheet, that's what is going to allow you to create perfectly round shells. You turn the bag, push, then pull up quickly. Turn the bag, push, then pull up quickly. Repeat for all the shelves. This technique will require practice. You'll need to find your flow and push just enough to create perfectly sized shells. If your shells are not exactly the same size at first, don't worry. The important thing is that they're roughly the same size, so they bake evenly. Once you've pipe the full sheet of macaron shells, remember to slide that template off of the baking pans if you've used them, and then you need to put the macaron shells to rest. Like I explained before, this resting period of 20-30 minutes is really important because this is what allows the macaron shells to form feet. Then pipe the second sheet of macaron shells. 11. Baking the Macaron Shells: While the shells are resting, set a rack into the middle position and turn the oven on 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people like to bake their macrons at a higher temperature, but I like to keep a lower heat ceiling because it allows me to keep a better control over the baking process. Now, all events are different, some over heat, some under heat. It's very important for you to figure out where your oven stands because it makes a big difference in the baking time. An oven thermometer is very helpful to make sure your oven is always at the right temperature. After 10 minutes, rotate the pan so the shells bake evenly. To find out if the shells are done, crack open the oven door, gently grab a cell and try to move it from side to side. If it still wobbles, it means it needs a little more baking time, maybe two to three minutes, but these look pretty solid so we can take them out of the oven. You'll need to let the shells cool 45 minutes to an hour before filling them. Make sure they are completely cooled before putting the filling in. Once the shells are completely cool, use a small icing knife or another thin and super spatula to carefully scrape the shells from the parchment paper. You want to be very careful because some of the under parts of the shells can be a little sticky. So do it very carefully just to make sure that you don't break the shells. I wanted to give you also my foolproof method to remove the shells from the baking sheets. Just place the entire pan into the freezer for about 10 minutes before removing them from the paper. This is going to harden the shells and make it really easy to unstick them from the parchment paper without breaking any of them. 12. Making a Basic Buttercream Filling: Today I'll be making white chocolate and vanilla bean butter cream. To make this butter cream, you need a stick of unsalted butter, that's a half cup softened to room temperature, six ounces of white chocolate melted and cooled slightly, a cup of powdered sugar, and the seeds from half vanilla bean. To make the butter cream, place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixture and beat until it's light and fluffy. Once the butter is creamy, add the white chocolate and vanilla seeds to the butter, and beat until it's incorporated. Then add the powdered sugar and beat at a slow speed first, just to incorporate the sugar into the white chocolate and butter mixture. Then increase the speed and beat until the butter cream is very light and fluffy. The butter cream is done, it's as simple as that. Now that it's finished, just transfer it to a piping bag and you're going to be ready to fill the macarons later. 13. Filling (and Storing) Macarons: To assemble the macarons, match shells that are exactly the same size, and place them side-by-side, upside down to prepare to pipe the filling into the shells. Remember that the big shells are very fragile, so make sure to always manipulate them very carefully, so you don't crack the top of the shells. Grab your piping bag with the butter cream in it, and pipe some butter cream onto half of the macaron shells. Assemble the macarons by gently pressing the top shell onto the butter cream until the butter cream reaches the sides. 14. Get Creative! Flavor Inspirations: Once you've mastered the main macaron recipe, it's time to get creative. When it comes to assembling the macarons, you can mix and match different colored shells like this. Or of course, use all different fillings such as butter creams, or chocolate spreads, or homemade jams or jellies inside. You can also decorate the shells. For example, you can sprinkle some cocoa powder over the top, or cocoa nibs, or maple sugar, or even chopped nuts. There's even edible glitter that you can sprinkle or brush over the shells once they're baked. In other words, the sky is the limit. It's up to you to challenge your imagination and create something really beautiful. 15. Final Thoughts: Let's Get Baking!: We're almost done. I hope this class will inspire you to make macarons. I find them truly addictive, not only to eat, but to make. Once you master the basics to a recipe, I find going to the motions of making them is actually relaxing. Plus I never tire of seeing the look on everybody's face when I serve them. Let me remind you the few key tips. Take your time. Mastering macarons takes time and practice, but everyone can do it. If something goes wrong when you are making them for the first time, make sure to post your questions and pictures in the community section of the site so I can help you out. Also make sure to practice and master the basic amend macarons shell before attempting any of the variations. Practicing with a basic recipe will allow you to get to know your equipment by heart, so you'll feel more comfortable straying from the base technique later on. Finally, be creative with the filling. To quote my favorite macaron maker, [inaudible] , it's the feeling that provides most of the flavor in a macaron. Also, make sure you're filling packs a punch. Concentrated flavors will create the biggest impression. That's it. You're ready to get baking. Remember to share about your experience in the community section and to post your finished macarons in the project gallery. I can't wait to see what you'll create.