Vanilla Bean French Macarons
Classic French macarons flavored with vanilla bean, filled with fluffy chocolate buttercream.
All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.
Baking Sheet + Parchment Paper
Double Boiler (saucepan and metal heatproof bowl)
Stand Mixer + Whisk Attachment
Piping Bag + Tip #2A
- 100 grams super fine almond flour
- 100 grams powdered sugar
- 100 grams egg whites (3 large egg whites)
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ⅓ cup unsweetened, Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp meringue powder
- ⅛ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
- 1 tbsp milk or cream, if needed
Mise en PlaceThe first task of making macarons is the mise en place, which means set everything up. Organize your tools, weigh your ingredients, and clean your equipment before you begin. Clean EquipmentMake sure that the bowl you'll be using for the double boiler as well as the bowl and whisk attachment for your stand mixer is scrupulously clean. Traces of fat, grease, or even egg yolks in your whites, will prevent your meringue from whipping into stiff peaks. For extra insurance, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and wipe down the bowls and whisk. Sift the Dry IngredientsUse the mesh strainer to sift the almond flour and powdered sugar into a bowl. Discard any large bits of almond flour that don't easily pass through the strainer. Dissolve the Sugar in the Egg Whites over a Double BoilerCombine the egg whites and granulated sugar in the bowl you'll be using for your double boiler. Bring a saucepan filled with a few inches of water to a simmer, then place the bowl over the hot water. Heat the mixture gently, whisking together the egg whites and sugar, just until the sugar is dissolved – feel it with your finger to check that it no longer feels gritty. This should only take about 2 minutes, and the egg whites shouldn't get hot. Immediately remove from the heat. This step helps to create a more stable meringue. Whip the Meringue to Stiff PeaksPour the egg whites/sugar mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on medium speed (#6 on a Kitchen Aid mixer) until frothy, then add the cream of tartar. Continue to whip the meringue, increasing the speed to high (#8) until your meringue forms stiff peaks. This could take 5-10 minutes. Fold in the Dry IngredientsNow remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the vanilla, and 1/3 of your dry ingredients, folding everything together with a spatula until combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients.Continue to fold the batter using the correct macaronage technique, making sure to also press the batter against the side of the bowl (to remove excess air and prevent hollow macarons), until the batter is ribbony, flows slowly like lava, and you can drizzle a figure 8. Count 30 seconds to see if the batter starts to disappear into itself after you drizzle the batter into the bowl.This video showing how to fold macaron batter in real time is the best demonstration for learning how to master this technique. Pipe the MacaronsOnce your macaron batter is the correct consistency, immediately scoop it into your piping bag fitted with a #2A piping tip, or another medium-sized round piping tip.Holding the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, pipe the batter onto your template until it doesn't quite fill the template, releasing pressure and giving the bag a little swirl to release.Depending on how big you pipe your macarons will determine how many you get. I piped about 54 macaron shells, for 27 filled cookies. Bang the PanOnce you've piped all the macarons, lift the pan about 12 inches above the counter, hold it level, and let it drop back onto the counter. Do this about 4-5 times to release any bubbles in the batter.If your batter is the correct consistency, any little swirls of batter on top of the macarons should disappear. Rest and Dry the MacaronsSet the pan out of the way and let the macarons rest for 30 minutes. You want the surface of the batter to dry a little and form a skin, so that when you gently touch it, it doesn't stick to your finger.Avoid washing dishes in hot water (which creates a steamy, humid kitchen) while making macarons. Also, don't use a fan to dry them, which can make them lopsided. If your kitchen is humid, turn on the range hood fan over your stove, or use a dehumidifier. Bake and CoolPreheat the oven to 300. Bake the macarons on the center oven rack (1 pan at a time) for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The macarons are done when you touch one and the top of the shell doesn't jiggle from the "feet".Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before filling.
Buttercream & Assembly
With an electric mixer, mix the ingredients on low to combine, then beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes until very light and fluffy.Scrape the bowl down occasionally, and only add the milk if needed for desired consistency.
Now inspect your macarons, separating the best ones from the less-than-perfect ones. The pretty ones can be used for the tops, and any that may have cracked, or have little bumps, etc, can be used for the bottoms.
Match up your tops and bottoms, according to size. Pipe the buttercream onto one half, then press the other cookie on top. Store the filled cookies in the refrigerator or freezer.
Recipe Adapted from Broma Bakery
- Let your egg whites “age” a bit by separating the yolks from the whites and storing the whites in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for a day or two. This step will dehydrate the whites a little, allowing for a better stiff meringue.
- Unlike every other recipe on my site which uses American volume measurements, I’ve only included weights for the ingredients in this recipe. This is because precision is crucial to the success of macarons. A kitchen scale isn’t very expensive, but if you don’t have one, you can look up the weight-to-volume conversions of the ingredients. If you must. But I don’t recommend it.
- Sift the almond flour and powdered sugar through a mesh sieve. If you don’t, you could end up with lumps in your batter, which don’t make for a pretty macaron.
- Watch the consistency of your batter carefully after you mix the almond flour and powdered sugar into your meringue. Do not under-mix or over-mix; the consistency should be very viscous, like slowly-flowing lava.
- After piping your macarons, do not skip the step of banging your pan several times on the counter to pop the air bubbles. Not just a gentle tap; give it a hard bang. Then let them dry at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.
- Once the cookies are baked, cooled and filled, they should be stored in the refrigerator. Cold from the fridge, they’re wonderfully soft and chewy. They can even be made in advance and frozen for later.