I think I had my first french macaron when I first visited San Francisco a decade ago. It’s one of those cookies you never forget. Crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. It’s a dream! I’ve always wanted to learn how to make them so I asked Mindy Cone, author of the fantastic book, Gourmet French Macarons, to come on across the bay bridge and give me some one on one instruction (and taste testing of course).
I was warned before how detail oriented you need to be to make these tricky cookies (hmmm, not always my strength). No measuring cups here, only scales allowed! Even the slightest deviation can result in a sub-par french macaron. Consider yourself warned! Luckily Mindy has made these to perfection hundreds of times. We were safe as long as I was just looking over her shoulder most of the time.
Keep reading for the recipe and step by step instructions from the expert herself…
Photography by Liz Stanley. Assisted by Sara Albers
Here is her recipe and detailed instructions below:
Chocolate French Macarons
100g of egg whites aged at room temperature
Pinch of Cream of tartar
35g of superfine sugar
110g of Almond flour
200g of Powdered Sugar
10g cocoa powder
MAKES: About 4 dozen 1.5 in shells (two dozen sandwiched macaron cookies)
1. Measure out all ingredients using a gram scale to ensure accuracy.
2. Prepare the baking sheets by lining them with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Slide a printed 1 ½ inch template sheet underneath and set aside. Prepare piping bag (use a 16 in bag with a round tip) to be filled and set aside.
3. Sift powdered sugar, almond mixture, and cocoa powder together two or three times through a sieve and set aside.
4. Place the egg whites in a large bowl or in stand mixer with wire whisk attachment. Whisk on low until egg whites become foamy. Add the pinch of cream of tartar. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the superfine sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, scrape down the sides with a spatula.
5. Turn your mixer on medium-high and continue to whisk until you reach a stiff meringue.
6. Sift 1/3 of the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder mixture through the sieve and into the meringue. Fold the dry mixture into the meringue. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, the batter will be thick and have a dull shine. Continue to fold. As you do so, the batter will loosen. Stop folding when the batter has a glossy sheen, a “lava-like” consistency, and falls in a ribbon like manner off the spatula.
7. Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 1½ inch rounds on the parchment paper following the template.
8. When all of the rounds are piped on the parchment, tap the sheet pans evenly on work surface a few times. Remove templates from below your parchment paper carefully. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 20-40 minutes.
9. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes rotating the pan half way through.
10. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
11. Match up similar size shells into pairs and sandwich with filling.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cups brown sugar
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. almond milk*
1/4 cup chopped chocolate chips or mimi chocolate chips
Cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar together.
Add remaining ingredients one at a time and mix until combined.
*Plain milk will work as well. Just be sure to keep the filling refrigerated until consuming.
1 cup unsalted softened butter
3½ cups of sifted powder sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. water
¼ tsp. salt
Mix butter and powder sugar together on low speed. Add Cocoa powder and continue mix on low speed.
Add vanilla bean paste, almond extract, water, and salt. Mix on high speed until smooth.
Salted Caramel sauce
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. water
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
4 Tbsp. unsalted room temperature butter cut into 1 in. pieces
Heat cream and vanilla bean paste in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce head to low.
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, salt, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Continue to cook without stirring for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture is amber color. Then remove from the heat. Watch closely as it can burn very quickly.
Slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. Use caution as the caramel will boil furiously at first and increase greatly in volume.
Once the mixture simmers down whisk until smooth and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and add to the caramel one at a time whisking after each addition until caramel is cool.
Store bought substitution ideas:
For these recipes you could easily substitute store bought items such as nutella, chocolate frosting, or dulce de leche. You could also easily change up the flavor profile by using store bought items such as marmalades, peanut butter, marshmallow spread, fresh fruit, or even ice cream!