Velvet Dessert has taken the guesswork out of the deceptively difficult patisserie beauties – French Macarons. You will learn tips and tricks to make foolproof macarons at home!
I am so so excited to share this post with you today! I have always wanted to learn how to make French Macarons, but was too intimidated to make them on my own because they are so finicky and deceptively difficult! Last weekend I had the opportunity to take a private French Macaron class at Velvet Dessert. Velvet Dessert is a French pastry shop located in Chicago and run by the incredibly talented and classically trained Maggie O’Brien.
First of all, MAGGIE O’BRIEN. Yes, we are both O’Briens! Serious bonding happening over here. And we both love sweets, so it was no surprise that we hit it off right away. Maggie was trained at the French Pastry School of Chicago and opened Velvet Dessert in the spring of 2015.
Maggie operates out of and manages Lakeview Kitchen and Market, a shared commercial kitchen and retail market. It was here that she shared with me the tips and tricks to making the perfect macarons! Over 30 companies use the commercial space and you can get LOTS of goodies at the retail market, including Big Fat Cookie!
Looking at the recipe, French macarons are simple – minimal ingredients and minimal steps. But these tips can make all the difference!
- The Great British Baking Show will tell you macarons can be made in 90 minutes. DON’T believe them! In order to get the best macarons, the process is 3-5 days.
- Day 1: Prepare your ingredients – Age your egg whites. Separating your egg whites into 6 ounce portions and letting them sit out overnight will help extra moisture to be evaporated, which will create a more still and sturdy meringue. Check out those stiff peaks! Process the almond flour and confectioners sugar. Even though both of these ingredients are super fine, processing the two together and then sifting will eliminate and clumps and incorporate them into one mixture.
- Day 2: Make your macaron shells. They key to the shells is the French meringue. And the key to the French meringue is making sure your sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees C before being added to the whipped egg whites. The meringue is then folded in to the dry ingredients. After folding in the meringue, you must macaronage the mixture. This is essentially when you quickly and forcefully beat the mixture back and forth in the bowl to press all of the air out of the batter. Seriously, don’t be shy.
- Pipe your shells onto an oiled baking sheet covered with parchment paper and let them rest. It is important to oil the sheet before the parchment is added because any little air bubble between the baking sheet and the parchment can cause your macarons to rise unevenly. Then, they need to rest for at least 1.5 – 2 hours. You can tell when the shells are ready because they form a skin on top and your finger will not stick to the shell when touched.
After the shells are baked, let them chill for day before filling. Macarons can be filled with anything – buttercream, jam, curd – and it can be sweet or savory! Maggie and I made a classic vanilla bean buttercream that she was using the following day to fill the raspberry shells.
- Because this is a multi-day process, she had previously made strawberry rhubarb macaron shells (omg HEAVEN) and buttercream for us to assemble!
I know that was a TON of information, so let’s hit the key points.
- Don’t try to make macarons in one day. Just don’t.
- Age your egg whites.
- Make sure your sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees C.
- Process your dry ingredients.
- Oil then line your baking sheet – and make it a double.
You can do it!
P.S. You can buy gift boxes of 4 or 6 macarons and I hiiiiighly suggest getting a box with at least one purple one – it’s lavender honey and just phenomenal.
P.P.S. How perfect would a gift box of macarons be for your mom this Sunday?! Maggie sells hers at Lakeview Kitchen and Market and you can find them at farmers markets across the city!
And make sure to keep an eye on my Instagram – I will be hosting a GIVEAWAY with Velvet Dessert next week!
If you make these French Macarons, post a picture on social media and use the hashtag #imhungrybynature for a chance to be featured!Print
For the Macarons:
- 1 pound almond flour
- 1 pound confectioners sugar
- 1 pound sugar
- 4 ounces water
- 12 ounces egg whites, divided
For the French Buttercream:
- 453 grams sugar
- 113 corn syrup
- 3 grams salt
- 170 grams egg yolks
- 14 grams vanilla
- 907 grams butter, at room temperature
For the Macarons:
- Combine almond flour and confectioners sugar in a food processor and grind. Then sift together.
- Place 6 ounces of egg white in the bowl of your mixer and whip on medium speed.
- While eggs are whipping, place sugar and water in a pot and cook until it reaches 118 degrees C.
- Slowly add sugar syrup to egg whites and whip until medium/stiff peaks form.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour mixture and final 6 ounces of egg whites. Mix until combined.
- Add the meringue to the almond flour mixture and fold in.
- Macaronage the mixture.
- Pipe the macarons in equal circles.
- Let macarons dry for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They should form a ‘skin’ and will not stick to your finger if touched.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 16 minutes rotating halfway through.
For the French Buttercream:
- Whip egg yolks on medium-high speed.
- While the yolks are whipping, cook the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and a little water until it reaches 118 degrees C.
- Slowly add the sugar syrup to the whipping egg whites.
- When the mixture reaches room temperature, add butter.
- Add vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.
- Assemble! Pipe a small amount of buttercream onto one shell and top with another to create a sandwich.
- Store macarons in the fridge. The flavor is the best after chilling in the fridge for one day.
Don’t forget to pin this for later!