Simple Macarons

These light, nicely chewy meringue/nut cookies are sandwiched around your choice of a wide array of fillings. Unlike our classic macaron recipe, this simpler version doesn't require preparing sugar syrup.

Note: This recipe requires you to line your baking sheets with parchment or non-stick foil; if you don't have either, don't make these cookies; they stick like glue to an unlined pan.
Prep
25 mins
Bake
25 to 30 mins
Total
2 hrs 50 mins
Yield
20 to 22 filled cookies
Simple Macarons

Instructions

  1. Process the almond flour and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar in a food processor for 20 seconds. Sift to remove any large pieces and to aerate the mixture.
  2. Separate the eggs and put the whites in the bowl you'll use to whip them. Be sure your bowl is very clean and grease-free, without even a speck of egg yolk. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and cream of tartar (or Bakewell Cream). Beat on medium speed using the whisk attachment until whites are foamy.
  3. Sift together the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and the 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Add to the meringue a bit at a time, slowly increasing the speed of the mixer to high.
  4. Continue beating until the meringue is smooth, glossy, and forms soft peaks.
  5. Fold in the almond flour/sugar until everything is evenly combined, then start stirring. This will thin the mixture. Stir until the batter runs in ribbons that disappear back into the mass in 10 to 20 seconds. Test frequently, and stop stirring when you reach this point.
  6. Use a teaspoon cookie scoop or a pastry bag to deposit a generous teaspoon-sized round blob of batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or non-stick foil. The batter should flatten out, rather than remain in a tall blob. If it doesn't spread, stir the batter some more; your goal is a disc-like, fairly flat cookie.
  7. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. Since the cookies won't spread as they bake, you can position them fairly close together.
  8. Allow the macarons to rest in a dry place with good air circulation (your counter is fine) until you can gently touch the tops and they're not sticky, about 2 hours. Towards the end of the resting time, preheat the oven to 275°F.
  9. Bake the macarons for 25 to 30 minutes, till firm on the top.
  10. Remove the macarons from the oven, and cool completely on the baking sheets. Use a thin spatula to carefully separate them from the parchment or non-stick foil.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Flavor variations: It's easy to vary the flavor of macarons by your choice of filling, and the nut flour you use. For example, we found it difficult to get raspberry flavor using an extract or oil; but filling the cookies with raspberry jam, and coloring the batter with a drop or two of gel-paste or powdered food color works well.
  • For coffee-flavored macarons, process 2 teaspoons espresso powder with the almond flour and sugar.
  • For pistachio macarons, use 3/4 cup almond flour and 3/4 cup pistachio flour, adding a drop or two of gel paste green food coloring and pistachio flavor, if desired. Add the color and flavor when whisking the nut flour into the meringue.
  • For hazelnut macarons substitute 3/4 cup hazelnut flour and 3/4 cup almond flour for the 1 1/2 cups almond flour, proceeding as directed.
  • For chocolate macarons, sift 1/4 cup cocoa with the 1 cup confectioners' sugar you'll be processing with the almonds. Cut the amount of almond flour to 1 1/4 cups. Process as directed.