My First Attempt At French Macarons

My M&S mini-macarons

Deep breath, I decided to make French Macarons for the first time ever today. I’d never even tried them before but they’ve always really intrigued me, so I bought a twelve-pack of mini-macarons from Marks & Spencer and they were the nicest things I’ve ever eaten! So light, crispy but spongy on the inside, and the vanilla ones were my absolute favourite, so I decided to make them for myself. There were also chocolate and raspberry, but I thought that for my first attempt I’d keep it simple, and then maybe next time I’d experiment with different flavours, or even try to make vegan French Macarons, which I’ve heard is a possibility…

I looked up so many different recipes (and videos) to ensure I got them as good as possible, but these were the ones I ended up following; I used the recipe from this website (though I’ve changed a little, like the icing, I thought it would be easier to provide a recipe for a more simple ‘butter’ icing), and I watched this video a few times just for good luck – they were actually easier than I thought to make, just a little complicated and lengthy. I’m so happy that I finally tried them though, I’ve wanted to for absolutely ages, and it’s my birthday coming up in a few weeks, so I’m going to make them again (hopefully even better next time) for all my friends, who are coming over for cakes and cocktails :)

I’m so proud of how they turned out! They were really quite yummy considering it was my first attempt; they didn’t have ‘feet’, and they were a little cracked, but they tasted great, so if you’re thinking about making Macarons, but you’re too nervous, then I say go for it! Put aside a few hours to make them though, they’re really time consuming, so perfect for a rainy day! I also took a few photos that go through the key stages, so you can see what they should look like at certain points.

Also, I didn’t buy enough icing sugar to make the ‘butter’ icing, so mine are filled with chocolate spread, raspberry jam or lemon curd, but I’ve put a recipe for it on anyway :)

French Macarons

Ingredients

For the Macarons

85g of ground almonds

150g of icing sugar

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

65g of caster sugar

One teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the ‘Butter’ Icing

140g of vegan margarine, softened

280g of icing sugar

One to two tablespoons of dairy-free milk (I used almond milk to compliment the ground almond Macaron cookies)

One teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method

  1. Cut sheets of baking paper to fit two large baking trays.
  2. Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together thoroughly to make a sort of ‘flour’, then set aside.

    After mixing the egg whites and caster sugar

  3. Beat the egg whites with an electric beater until they are foamy. Gradually add the caster sugar to the egg whites and beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, about one minute. Add the vanilla and stir lightly. When the meringue is stiff, firm and has a glossy texture, it is done.
  4. Add half of the sifted ‘flour’ mixture from step two, fold it with a spatula, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl. Add the rest of the flour and fold it lightly while forming a circle. When it’s all incorporated, you should have a light, sloppy batter.
  5. Attach a one cm tip to a piping bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly, this prevents the batter from leaking out. Place the piping bag, tip first, inside a deep measuring cup and pour in the batter. Hold it tightly at the top, and squeeze the batter onto the trays to make circles. Make small circles since the batter tends to spread.
  6. Rap the baking sheet firmly against the counter or other flat surface. This helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied, or little “foot,” to form.
  7. Let dry at room temperature, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. A slight crust should form on top. If the batter circles do not stick to your finger when you touch them, the drying process is complete.

After piping the Macarons out

Baking the macarons

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
  2. Put one tray on the top shelf, and one on the bottom, and bake for 7 minutes, then swap the trays over and bake for a further 7 to 12 minutes, until they’re a very light golden brown.
  3. Place baking sheets on wire racks to cool. When the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the baking sheet.
  4. For the ‘butter’ icing, beat the margarine in a large bowl until soft. Add half the icing sugar and beat until smooth, then add the remaining icing sugar with one tablespoon of the almond milk, adding more milk if necessary, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Lastly, mix in the vanilla.
  5. Pipe a small amount of the icing onto half of the Macaron cookies, then sandwich them together to make traditional French Macarons!

Makes 16 Macarons (i.e. 32 cookies, to make 16 finished Macaron sandwiches)

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49 thoughts on “My First Attempt At French Macarons

  1. Hi Emily, I experimented with macarons for months. They’re finicky little things.

    The French macaron method is good for home use, but most commercial bakeries will use the Italian meringue method as it yields a more stable macaron with more consistent results. This recipe has never failed me. You will need a food thermometer though. I’ve blogged about it here http://akitchencat.com.au/tag/about-macarons/ – and of course, you can change the flavours as you want. Good luck! Drop me a line if you have any questions!

  2. thanks for the comment Emily! These look great! I just tried again and my second attempt had a lot of cracks similar to the ones you have going on here. I would’ve thought that 190 C would be too hot but yours turned out lovely!

    also can I say.. after spending 5 months in London I never knew that M&S had macarons?!?! I usually just saved up my money and splurged on Laduree once in a while.

    I’ll be checking out your second macaron post soon – Thanks again!

    Lindsay

  3. Pingback: Rose & Raspberry French Macarons | Emily Cooks Vegan

  4. I saw a chef demo these yesterday…apparently the true French way is to use almond flour instead of ground almonds (not that I’ve come across almond flour anywhere!)…and to leave the macaroons to dry out for something like a day. Apparently older eggs work better than fresh ones too. But I have never made them myself….so I can’t really comment! Really want to give them a go though xx

      • Oh! Ohhh! Haha, so I finally lokeod at the recipe and realized what these actually are. I really like these! I haven’t had them often, but they’re tasty. :) I’m used to seeing coconut macaroons and those are what I associate the name with (they also appeared a few times in The Famous Five novels. Boy those kids ate often and well. I always snacked when I read those books), but I’ve also had versions more like the ones you’re making. I guess I just never knew what they were called.

  5. I just tried french macaroons the other day for the first time and they were SOOO good! I need to try to make some too. good thing they aren’t TOO easy though, my hips are thankful for that!

  6. I recently made macarons for the first time too, and was pleased with how they turned out. I’m definitely going to keep on experimenting, and hopefully improving! They’re absolutely delicious.

  7. I am going to give this a shot! My boyfriend and best friend are both French and every Thursday we head down to this French bakery for macaroons. I bake a lot but never tried makin’ them because they always seemed so complicated. You’re an inspiration, I am going to try these.

  8. Very nice! These are tough to master but once you find a recipe you like and get into a ‘groove’ with it you get consistent results–yours look lovely!

  9. Macaroons look cute and yummy, but have never tried them. I want to try a bought one first from somewhere that knows what they are doing, so I know what they are supposed to taste like. Good effort, yours look yummy. Kat :)

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