by Jocelyn Gillies
Director of Sales
When Culinary Crafts opened the Tasting Room in Salt Lake, Mary asked me to make French macarons that we could give as favors to our guests.
I’d made macarons plenty of times before; in fact, I’d taught macaron classes when I was a young pastry chef. Still, they are notoriously tricky to make. Macarons are both the pride and bane of pastry chefs because they are so easy to mess up.
I baked a batch for Mary, and they turned out good, but not great. Mary took one look at them and said, “These are not acceptable.” It was quite a punch in the gut, but I knew she was right. I had to start over. I worked and worked, trying dozens of recipes and fine-tuning details right up until the day of the event. Mary looked at my macarons and announced that they were acceptable, but still not the quality she really wanted.
Now it was personal!
The Quest for the Holy Macaron
I decided I was going to learn to make perfect macarons—and do it consistently—even if it killed me. I tried countless variations and techniques, looking for the secret. My breakthrough finally came when my assistant pastry chef Rebecca showed me a recipe she had brought from the New York pastry school where she’d taught. After a few small alterations to her recipe, I finally hit on a way to make flawless macarons. I practiced and practiced until I could hit the mark every time, and then I went to Mary, Ryan, and Kaleb to show them what I’d found. Ever since then, Culinary Crafts has used that recipe, and macarons have been a staple for our clients.
The best thing about this recipe is that I’ve taught it to people of all ages and skill levels, and it works for all of them. Their macarons may not be absolutely perfect without a lot of practice, but they’re very, very good…maybe even good enough for Mary Crafts. And that’s saying a lot!
Macarons(makes 32 cookies)
Note: the measurements must be exact, so I'm listing them in grams.
- 165 grams sifted almond flour
- 165 grams powdered sugar
- 58 grams egg whites (for whipping)
- 58 grams egg whites (stay liquid)
- 38 grams water
- 125 grams granulated sugar
- 10 grams powdered egg white
- 4-6 drops gel food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 305° F.
- Sift together powdered sugar and almond flour. Add egg white powder and sift with whisk until combined.
- Rinse a small, deep metal pot with hot water. Dry completely. (Make sure there are no fuzzies or debris from the towel left in the pot.) Pour granulated sugar into pot and add water. Gently stir with clean spatula or hand.
- Cook sugar on medium/high heat. DO NOT STIR.
- When the sugar reaches about 220°, pour the liquid egg whites for whipping into the clean bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on medium/high until your egg whites are at medium peaks.
- Cook the sugar to 234°. Remove from heat and pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl. Finish the meringue by continuing to whip 2-3 minutes, until medium-firm peaks have formed.
- Pour remaining liquid egg whites into almond flour/powdered sugar mixture. Add food coloring.
- Add the whipped meringue one third at a time into the flour mixture. Gently fold until the mix lightens and makes a smooth batter.
Pro Tip:It’s important to fold the different components just enough, but not too much, or the macarons will crack or fall. To be sure you are at the right point, once the ingredients appear to be combined, run the spatula through the mixture. It should slowly come back together, looking like lava.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a tip, pipe the macarons 1½”-2” apart on a silicon or parchment-lined baking sheet. Smack the baking sheet sharply on the table a few times, evenly, to remove excess air and help smooth the macarons’ surface.
- Let dry at room temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour until a skin/crust forms.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate pan 90 degrees and bake another 6 minutes. Check macarons for doneness by pressing slightly on the center. The feet should move slightly and be mostly set.
- Cool completely before removing and filling. Fill with desired buttercream, ganache or jam. ENJOY!
Note: Macarons can be made up to two weeks ahead and frozen with or without filling. If you’re making them a day ahead, you can refrigerate or leave them at room temperature, wrapped tightly in an airtight container. Before you freeze them, wrap them tightly in an airtight container with multiple layers of plastic wrap.