Chocolate Macarons


I have a rather fearless nature in the kitchen.  Almost any time I find a recipe that is complicated, time-consuming and involved?  I see it as a challenge – and a fun one at that!  However, for a long, long time, I have been extremely intimidated by French macarons.  These delicate little sandwich cookies are très chic and many people think of them as the next cupcake as far as food trends go.  They can be made in any number of flavors and colors, and every time I see them I yearn.  But these little babies are not exactly known for their easy-going nature and so I have put them off.  I was ridiculously nervous that I would fail because so many things could go wrong.  The wonderful thing about the food blogging world is that you can learn from the expertise and failures of many other people.  I’ve read lots and lots of entries about macarons (particularly those by Tartlette, the unofficial queen of macarons) and finally decided it was time to go for it.  At the rate I am saving various flavor combinations, I really need to get going if I want to try them all in my lifetime.  So, this year for Mother’s Day, my gift to myself was conquering macarons.

It was a difficult decision even deciding what type to try first, but eventually I concluded that before I start investing in various powdered food colorings, I should successfully make a basic macaron and so, I chose chocolate.  (You are all shocked, right?)  I have to say, for all my worrying, everything went perfectly.  I attribute my success entirely to the fantastic advice and pointers of Helen (Tarlette) and Jen.  I took pictures along the way to hopefully help anyone who decides to try these.  And you should…because believe me, you’ll be seeing a lot more macarons around these parts soon and you’ll want to keep up!

Ben and I found these sweet little bites totally irresistible.  Most of the treats I bake are quickly shared with friends, family and coworkers but these were kept at home for ourselves and they disappeared in an embarrassing amount of time.  In fact, I actually had to employ the trick I use with my beloved caramel corn and put them on a really, really high shelf so I wouldn’t eat them before dinner.

Note: You’ll notice all the measurements for this recipe are listed by weight.  A kitchen scale is, in my opinion, an essential and is necessary for making macarons.  Attempting to make these by volume measure would likely be a waste of time and ingredients so volume measurements are not provided.

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso Ganache Filling
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Ingredients:
For the macarons:
110 gm blanched slivered almonds
200 gm minus 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred)
100 gm egg whites (from about 3 eggs), aged at room temperature for 12-24 hours
50 gm granulated sugar

For the espresso ganache:
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
4 tbsp. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ tsp. espresso powder

Directions:


Pulse the almonds in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground.


Add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to the bowl and process until blended.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.



Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms.


Add the ground almond mixture to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain.  You want to achieve a thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted.


Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.  Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip.  Pipe into small rounds on the prepared baking sheets (each round should be about 1-1½ inches in diameter), spaced about 1 inch apart.  Let sit at room temperature for about an hour to develop a hard shell.

Preheat the oven to 300˚F.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size.  Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before moving the cookies.

(Look, they have feet!)

While the cookies are cooling, make the ganache.  Combine the cream, butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.  Bring the cream mixture to a simmer, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk gently in small circular motions until the ganache forms.  Blend in the espresso powder.  Let the mixture cool until it is thick enough to pipe.  (To speed chilling, transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator and let cool, stirring every 10 minutes, until thickened.)

Macs baked on parchment paper – a few had less than perfect bottoms.

Baked on the silpat – all were perfect!  (Hence, I have now invested in a second silpat.)


Once the cookies are totally cooled, match them up by size.  Pipe a layer of ganache onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair.  Sandwich together with the remaining cookie, pushing the filling to the edges.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Use Real Butter, who adapted it from Tartlette

81 Responses

  1. wow I am so impressed that this was your first try! They came out PERFECT! Mine have yet to come out well!

  2. I’ve not only never made macorons, but I’ve also never even tried them! They’re all over the food blogging websites, but like you, they intimidate me. I’ve got to try.

  3. When in Paris lately…I was on the hunt for the best macaron.
    Many caloric pounds later…hubby and I realized how addictively exhilarated we were just gawking over the beautiful multitude of colors they were highlighted in.
    I too, have been keeping away from baking these sought after cuties.
    I still can’t answer why? How can I compete with some of the most amazing Parisian patisseries?
    With time…and with the great tutorials between yourself and Tartelette…I know for darn sure…these will one day be baked in my kitchen too.
    Thanks for your continued inspiration and dedication to the craft ;o)
    Flavourful wishes, Claudia

  4. Absolutely gorgeous! Congrats on conquering the macarons 🙂 Your process photos are wonderful – I made macarons once last year so this was a nice refresher!

  5. Beautiful! I make similar ones but I add ground coffee to the shells and make pure chocolate ganache. So it’s also chocolate-coffee but the other way round:)

    Like your blog a lot!
    Greetings from Poland!

  6. These look absolutely divine! But I think a little too advance for me at this point, I just started baking and cooking last year. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to tackle these, especially after I invest in a kitchen scale too. Great job on such perfect looking macaroons!

  7. Gorgeous, Annie!! I really want to try these soon!

  8. They came out so beautiful on your first try. I’m impressed. Why do the egg whites have to age?

    • The egg whites need to age to create the crisp outer shell, and so the texture of the cookie is just right.

  9. Congratulations on mastering the macaron on your first run! Appreciate the step by step photos. These look amazing. You’ve inspired me to tackle the recipes I find intimidating.

  10. These are everywhere, I really need to just get over my own fear of making them & give it a try. I mean worst case the kids get a lot of macarons to eat & I never tell anyone I attempted, LOL 🙂

    Yours look great & thanks for the silpat v. parchment info.

  11. what can i say, they look PERFECT!

  12. I’m inspired to give these tricky little cookies a try! Your photos are gorgeous!

  13. Those look absolutely perfect. I have also been avoiding making macarons due to intimidation, but I think you just inspired me to get in the kitchen and give it a try! Thanks!

  14. They look amazing! SO light and airy, yet chocolaty and delicious. Good for you for tackling such a complex recipe. I can’t wait to try them myself!

  15. these look super yummy and easy too. i love easy and tasty at the same time!thanks for sharing!

  16. I love the step by step pics you posted- now I know what my process SHOULD look like, even if it will be way more chaotic in my kitchen!

  17. Wooow, your macarons look excellent!! Great job 🙂

  18. Congrats on your awesome looking macaroons! I also suffer from a fear of making these but your beautiful work has made me want to test it out!

  19. Oh wow Annie, these look fabulous. You made these look easy, I can’t wait to see the other flavor combos that you’ll make. My fave place to get macarons is from the Bouchon bakery…oh my gravy – the pistachio, dulce de leche, and vanilla bean…these will make you yearn for them for days!!!

    Beautiful post yet again!!!

  20. Yours came out great! I love macarons and have attempted to make them a few times, but the feet weren’t very pretty. Tartelette has an excellent chocolate/peanut-y (I think she calls it Snickers) one on her blog that is super yummy!

  21. Go girl! Fearless indeed! Macaroons are definitely one of the few recipes I’m just not ready to attempt yet, but you give me hope! Thanks so much for making it look approachable (but still very difficult. hehe). I can’t wait to see what other flavors you do, but it will be frustrating seeing something so yummy that I can’t yet make myself. Hehe. Good luck on your future macaroon endeavors! I hope you’ll continue to share the tips you’ve learned!

  22. These look so cute! Thanks for the step by step photos. They make everything “seem” easier!(: Now, I got to invest on those silpats too!

  23. Congratulations! I am big fan of macarons and these are perfect! An amazing result for your first try!! I made them once and I have to confess that it was a real mess! But now that I found your blog and read your recipe I feel more comfortable with the idea of trying to make them again! Thanks for the inspiration 😉

  24. These are so gorgeous!

    I laughed when I saw your post because I braved macarons for the first time last night (after being very intimidated) I used a kitchen scale, measured carefully, took the time to age my egg whites and my mixture was too thick. I’m thinking I may have overbeaten the egg whites??

    I am definatley going to try again!

  25. You definitely make them look easy – I have them on my list to try too. I’ve actually never eaten one before either – but I know I’ll love them. 🙂
    Awesome photos too!

  26. Just perfect! As beautiful as any I’ve seen in the best patisserie

  27. These look great! I could probably eat the whole bowl of that ganache filling!

  28. Beautiful! I’ve been intimidated by macarons too..They’ve been on my list for so long.

  29. I am a huge fan of Tartlett’s tutorial on Macarons. I made them a few times and they were wonderful. Yours look totally perfect and delicious!!! Your piping skills were awesome…perfect circles!!!

  30. Oh my gosh… I could hug you! I literally just got back from Paris and while there became obsessed with the macaron! I am a little nervous to give it a go…. but very inspired by your attempt. They are gorgeous. By the way, my favorite was from Pierre Herme. Sigh…

  31. Aw they look great! Isn’t it addictive, to try something so feared and watch them turn out with the little feet and everything? I’ve only made them once but I’m just looking for a chance to make them again.

  32. Hi Annie,

    Great job on the chocolate macarons. I am so glad they turned out so well. Now you can explore the endless possibilities. The step by step photos are terrific. Have a good weekend.

  33. These look divine! I’m from Columbus, OH and I too have noticed macaroons are the next big thing! I love your blog, Annie!

  34. Are you sure it is your first try ? I’m jealous. Did you count how many times you fold the mixture before piping ? I have a hard time getting the right “lava” batter. It seems that the more you fold/mix the batter, the thinner it becomes and it really spread out after piping. The temperature you used is on the low side. i’m surprised to see the feet at that low temperature.

    • Mei,
      I do whatever Tartlette, queen of macarons says. If she says 315, they bake at 315. And it looks like she was right! As for the folding, counting wouldn’t really be a reliable method. I just fold until the dry ingredients are incorporated and there are no streaks. I actually made my second batch (different flavor) this week and they turned out great as well.

  35. ahhh… the silpat is the secret! i’ve got to get a few of those!

  36. Oh my gosh, that is your first time making macarons, I am astonished, they are absolutely perfect! My first time went okay, but my macarons were the farthest thing from perfect! Great job on yours! 🙂

  37. Wow, these look beautiful. I’m impressed at how successful you were on your first try. Congrats! Mine did not turn out quite as pretty, but I will be trying your recipe to see if that makes a difference.

  38. Annie, those are just perfect! I’ve made successful macarons twice before, some time ago. Every time I try to make them again, they have no feet. . . You’ve inspired me to get back in the kitchen and try again. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  39. Wow, you had nothing to worry about with these–they turned out beautiful. Thanks so much for the wonderful picture tutorial as well!

  40. Wow! That first picture with the pink background is tooo cute! Great job!
    How many macarons did this recipe make?

  41. Gorgeous, Annie! I’m also intimidated by macarons, but you’ve inspired me to take the plunge. Now I just have to decide on my flavor combo…

  42. those look so very tasty and your images are beautiful!!
    Congratulations on making the Food Buzz Top 9!! Very much deserved, you do such great work!

    Cheers
    Dennis

  43. wow, you make these look relatively easy to make! I may have to add macarons to my list!

    Random question though – I know you’ve mentioned before that your backdrops of your photos generally are napkins, placemats and even cardstock…. when you use cardstock what size do you use? I’ve been having difficulties setting up my shots so that the entire frame consists of just the food/backdrop.

  44. Annie, I am flabbergasted! you’re like a pro macaron maker! They look delicious and I’ve been pining to make these for a while, but it always seemed like a daunting task. I hope to buy a kitchen scale soon and that my future macarons look as good as yours.

  45. Macarons seem to be pretty hard to make. It is still one of those things that are on my list of things I should try to make at some point. It will happen soon 🙂

  46. Gorgeous macarons Annie! They look asbolutely perfect!

  47. They look GREAT 🙂 I was wondering if you have any recipes on how to make pink macarons? Strawberry flavor? I am addicted to the color, pink!

    • Katherine,
      This was my first shot so I don’t have any other macaron recipes yet. However, they are on my list to try very soon.

  48. Wow ~ they look perfect and love your photos as well. I had to have a few tries with macarons before I could perfect them!

  49. French macarons are indeed a difficult treat to make ! Even here in France everyone try to make perfect macarons, just like you did, they’re gorgeous !

  50. Very impressive! It was interesting to see the different results between baking with the silpat and the parchment paper – Thank you for including that comparison! These are perfect.

  51. My cookie part turned out perfect but the ganache never set up…still in liquid form even after being refrigerated over night. I’ve made many ganache’s and never had this happen. Are the measurements accurate in your recipe and if so what may have happend?

    • Yes, the measurements are correct. I have no idea what went wrong for you. I chilled mine in the freezer, stirring every 15 minutes or so. It did take a while but it set up eventually.

  52. Congratulations on conquering macs!!!!! I’ve still to take the plunge!

  53. Wow, they look so perfect for a first try! My very first batch of “macarons” didn’t even have feet, haha.
    But I made these a few nights ago though, and they came out perfectly (for the first time! And that was probably my 8th or 9th try?). I was jumping for joy — finally figured out what works best in my oven, temperatures, baking time, and all. Most of my success probably came from my new silicone baking mats too. 😀 Parchment paper just never worked good with my oven..

  54. Hi Annie,
    I love your website and love reading your day by day activities and recipes.
    I have a question about the macarons…I made them 2 times but the bottom never gets hard. The tops get crunchy but when I take them out , let them cool, and try to take them off the silipat…the bottom is still wet…any ideas?
    I let them sit out an hour before baking them too…they do have the little feet but they do not get nice and hard ike your pictures show…love to see if this happened to you at all and what you did.
    thanks,
    happy baking/cooking!

    Michelle VZ

    • Michelle, I have not had that problem myself – if I did, I would have included that in my post. I’m guessing they need to bake for a bit longer and it likely has to do with variations in humidity where you live. This might be a question better put to Tartlette because she understands the science behinds macarons and I haven’t made them enough to know all the ins and outs yet. Good luck!

    • I have had that problem and cooking longer + lower rack in the oven help, one of the most forgiving aspects of macarons is that you can continue to cook them much longer than called for (I almost cooked mine for 20 minutes). Also some recipes call for doubling pans if you do not have industrial cookie sheets, I did this and the bottoms did not cook at all, so actually a thinner cookie sheet (or parchment over a silpat) might help you out.
      Good luck!

      • thanks Annie and Caroline. I did end up making them again and cooked them probably for 20 minutes and had much better results this time. Look forward to trying another flavour now.!

  55. Hi! I love your blog! I loved the Cheesy Enchiladas and have a few other of your recipes in my list of things to try. I am now trying to conquer the Macarons. I have tried this recipe 3 times. Mine come out looking great, feet and all, but they don’t come off of my silpat very well. How do I tell for sure they are done? BTW- mine also look more like cookies and cream in color? Any thoughts?

    • Hi Erica,
      It sounds like they need to bake longer but I’m not sure of a good way to tell that they are done other than trial and error. That’s probably a better question for Helene of Tartlette. As for the coloring, it sounds like the mixture wasn’t blended well enough. They should be evenly colored.

  56. This recipes is so good!! I made macarons for the first time yesterday and was lucky enough to have them turn out well. My first batch wasn’t using this recipe and they cracked badly (what the recipe said should happen, which is silly) but my second batch followed this one and worked almost perfectly!! My only problem was that the feet protruded sideways rather than keeping a nice round shape but it wasn’t too bad – they just look a little messier than they should. Apparently the cause of this is too hot an oven, but I’d welcome other solutions…
    They taste amazing too! I’m not too keen on coffee so I didn’t do the espresso ganache, rather made my own chocolate ganache.

  57. Hi Annie,
    Do you think I would get the same results if I halved the recipe than if I didn’t?
    Thank you!

    • Bittersweetbaker,
      Normally I would say sure, but here I can’t say for sure. I’m not sure the mixer would reach the ingredients well enough to get them thoroughly mixed. Also, since macs are so finicky to begin with, I think it’s best to make the full batch in case some fail.

  58. Beautiful! It’s taken me quite a few tries to get them even half as pretty as yours! The one question that I cannot seem to figure out an answer to is how do you know when the macarons are done? I have made many batches of sticky underdone macs and a few batches of overdone… any tips? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately I haven’t made enough batches to know the answer to that question yet. Asking Tartlette (Helene), the queen of macs would be much more helpful 🙂

  59. Wow those look fab ! I tried some bought macarons once and was not impressed, they didn’t taste good and not being an almond fan doesn’t help. I wonder how almondy these taste ?

  60. Wow They look perfect! I tried them twice but failed >.<
    How long did you age the egg whites? And should I age them in a closed container?

  61. Today was my 4th attempt making macarons, but instead of chocolate I used saffron. But they didn’t turn out well but they tasted soo yummy! here take a look at it http://plixi.com/p/48867999

    I think it has to do with my oven, not sure though.

  62. Tried these for the first time today: failure! I wound up with 3 pans (I did a bad job of piping and they spread a bit too much)… 2 pans looked perfect, had the cute feet and everything! The other entire pan cracked on the tops. Almost all of them (even the ones that looked perfect) wound up sticking to my silpat, leaving me with a lovely macron shell and a gooey, stick mess on my silpat. Any suggestions about what might have gone wrong? Thanks!

    • I’m no macaron expert yet by any means, and I don’t really understand the ins and outs. You should ask Helene of Tartlette, she has great insights and to me, is the queen of macarons!

  63. Beautiful, Dr. Annie! 🙂 These are on my list to try next week. After reading so much about macarons, it is now a new pet peeve when I see them referred to as “macaroons.” I know that must sound so weird! Anyways, thank you for taking the time to provide such detail about them.

    And, hey, these don’t even have butter in them…that makes them a healthier cookie, too! 😉

  64. …well, butter in the cookie portion, at least!

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