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8 Easy Macaron Recipes For Beginners (With NEVER FAIL Tips)

8 Easy Macaron Recipes For Beginners (With NEVER FAIL Tips)

You’ve seen them everywhere, with their vibrant colors, lightly crunchy shells, and creamy fillings. They line the bakery shelves of grocery stores and have even inspired their own gourmet shops. That’s right, macarons. First brought from Italy to France in 1547, the macaron was perfected in France, and lately these bite-sized treats have taken the world by storm.

Macarons contain just a few simple ingredients, usually some combination of almond flour, sugar, egg whites, and water. Despite this simple ingredient list, macarons are known for being difficult to bake. To achieve the picture-perfect, uncracked shell with the right glossy sheen takes exact measuring, mixing, baking, and drying. If you’re just getting started with macarons, though, don’t lose heart! With these six helpful tips, even a beginner can make gourmet macarons like a pro.

No-Fail Tips for Making Beautiful Macarons

1. Have a helper.

If possible, recruit a helping hand to assist you in the kitchen. Baking with a friend or family member not only helps you mix the ingredients smoothly and at the correct pace, but it also makes the process more fun. If you’re going it alone, use a stand mixer instead of a hand mixer so that you keep one free hand. Marie from Food Nouveau also recommends making sure that your stand mixer’s bowl and utensils are cold, which keeps ingredients from sticking.

2. Invest in a kitchen scale.

Though many recipes give cup and teaspoon measurements, Sally from Sally’s Baking Addiction swears by her kitchen scale for delectable macarons. Scales are a much more accurate way to measure ingredients and will make your life much easier when making these difficult treats.

3. Watch out for humidity.

Humidity in the kitchen, particularly within the oven, makes it difficult for the macaron shells to dry properly. Do yourself a favor, and only make these cookies on a dry day. If you have a dehumidifier laying around, put it in the kitchen while you prepare, and leave the oven door slightly ajar to avoid trapping humidity inside. You’ll be impressed the difference that proper drying has on the shells’ texture and shine.

4. Make the macaron recipes ahead of time.

Prepare the macaron shells and their filling a day or two ahead of time. Put them in the fridge, or better yet, freeze them. Just remember to remove them about three hours before you plan to serve them. Making them ahead of time not only saves stress on the day of your party, but it also gives you some wiggle room in case the shells burn or the dough gets dropped.

5. Do what works for you.

There are many different beliefs about the proper way to make macarons, even among the French. The best advice is to do what works for you in your kitchen and with the amount of time you have. Even the baking pros like Audra the Baker Chick adjust macaron recipes to fit their needs. While traditional recipes call for aging of the eggs before mixing them into the dough, Audra skips this step altogether. If you don’t have time to make a homemade filling, just fill the shells with anything you’d like! The most traditional fillings are light ganaches and preserved fruit, but you can also add frosting, Nutella, peanut butter, or caramel.

6. Start simple, and have fun practicing.

Like anything worthwhile, making the perfect macarons requires a lot of practice. The first few batches may not turn out exactly like the pictures, but you’ll learn new tricks every time. Plus, even if the shell is cracked or the color is a little off, your macarons will taste delicious. Start simple before moving on to the fancier recipes, and remember that even the best chefs need time to master the macaron.

Eight Easy Macaroon Recipes

Now that you have these helpful tips in mind, start practicing your French baking skills with these eight easy and enticing macaron recipes. These recipes are simple enough for beginners to try but delicious enough for pros to make again and again.

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1. Easy Macarons

Colored macarons

    Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, ground almond, egg whites, salt; For the filling: unsalted butter, powdered sugar

    Make these basic macarons in about 30 minutes. While the oven preheats, pour the powdered sugar and ground almonds through a sieve and into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until the mixture peaks, add sugar slowly until the mixture thickens, and add the sugar and almond mix from the other bowl. Using a piping bag, pipe this mixture on to a baking sheet, let them dry until shiny, and then bake for about 16 minutes.

    While baking, beat the butter and sugar together to create the filling. After the shells have completely cooled, fill them with the butter and sugar mixture. Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate before serving.

    Tip: Be sure that your mixing bowls are very clean before using. Add gel food coloring if you’d like a brighter pop of color.

    2. Chocolate Macarons

    Chocolate macarons

      Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, ground almond, egg whites, salt, chocolate; For the meringue: egg whites, lemon juice, sugar; For the ganache: cream, chocolate

      To make this chocolate macaron variety with ganache, follow the same instructions for the basic macaron shells. Once the egg white and sugar has peaked, mix in melted chocolate. Make a meringue by whisking together egg whites, lemon juice, and sugar syrup with a hand blender. Carefully mix the meringue into the chocolate shell dough mixture. Pipe the dough, and bake as directed.

      For the ganache filling, boil the cream and chocolate together, and pipe into the baked and dried macaron shells. Serve, and enjoy!

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      Tip: Use this chocolate mixture as a cake base for a fun, oversized take on a macaron.

      3. Raspberry Macarons

      Pink macaron

        Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, ground almond, egg whites, salt, rose water, pink gel food coloring; For the filling: raspberry jam

        For these beautifully delicate pink macarons, follow the same basic shell-making steps, adding the rose water and food coloring right after the egg whites and sugar have come into peaks. Once baked and dried, fill the macaron shells with raspberry jam or marmalade for a fresh and sweet taste.

        Tip: Let the egg whites come to room temperature before mixing them.

        4. Salted Caramel Macarons

        Salted caramel macarons

          Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, ground almond, egg whites, salt; For the filling: heavy cream, fine sugar, fleur de sel, butter

          These macarons are a breeze! Just make the macaron shells following basic recipe. For the salted caramel filling, boil the cream and sugar separately and then mix together. Let the mixture cool slightly, and then fold in the butter and fleur de sel. Let it cool again, beat it until smooth, and fill the macaron shells to your delight!

          Tip: Fleur de sel is a gourmet sea salt from France.

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          5. Macarons Without Almond Flour

          Macaron no almond flour

            Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, pumpkin seeds, egg whites, salt, malt powder, cocoa powder, vanilla bean; For the filling: vanilla buttercream, barley malt syrup

            This macaron recipe is perfect for those who suffer from nut allergies, and they taste just as delicious as traditional macarons. To make the almond flour substitute, blend the pumpkin seeds, sugar, malt powder, and cocoa powder in a food processor. Then use this mixture to complete the basic macaron shell-making steps, including beating, piping, and drying. Use a mixer to beat the buttercream and barley malt syrup together, and then pipe the filling into the baked and dried cookies.

            Tip: Add food coloring or other flavors to give a little zest to these nut-free macarons.

            6. Chocolate Nutella Macarons

            Chocolate nutella macarons

              Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, ground almond, egg whites, cocoa powder; For the filling: Nutella, heavy cream, bittersweet chocolate

              These amazing macarons are sure to please the whole family with the familiar and delectable taste of Nutella. Make the macaron shells normally, adding the cocoa powder into the almond flour and sugar mixture before beating it with the egg whites. For the Nutella ganache, lightly heat the heavy cream, and add in the Nutella and bittersweet chocolate. Let the filling thicken and cool in the fridge, and then pipe it into the macaron shells.

              Tip: If you’re in a hurry, just use plain Nutella as the filling. The texture won’t be as light and fluffy, but the taste will more than make up for it.

              7. Pina Colada Macarons

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              Pina colada macarons

                Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, ground almond, egg whites, shredded coconut; For the filling: egg yolks, pineapple juice, sugar, cornstarch butter

                These pina colada-inspired macarons have a traditional cookie shell with shredded coconut and a pineapple curd filling for a tropical taste. Make the macaron shell according to the basic recipe, adding the shredded coconut on top just before baking. To make the pineapple filling, mix all the ingredients together on the stove top, and let cool before filling the macarons.

                Tip: Be sure to let your filling cook long enough so it is not too runny.

                8. Red Velvet Macarons

                Red velvet macarons

                  Required ingredients: For the shells: powdered and fine sugar, ground almond, egg whites, salt, red food coloring; For the filling: cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, vanilla extract

                  These red velvet macarons are a delicate twist on the classic dessert. Make the macaron shells as normal, adding in just a touch of red food coloring after the egg white, sugar, and flour mixture has attained glossy peaks. To make the traditional cream cheese filling, blend all the ingredients together in a stand mixer, and fill the baked and dried macaron shells.

                  Tip: Don’t add too much food coloring, or the peaks will weaken and lead to a crumbly, cracked shell.

                  Do you know what pairs well with macarons? Coffee! Check out these surprising health benefits of coffee that will make you feel good about having your coffee and dessert.

                  Featured photo credit: Lelivingandco via flickr.com

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                  11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                  11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                  Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

                  Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

                  1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

                  Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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                  Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

                  3. Improved Sleep

                  Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

                  4. Appetite Control

                  Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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                  5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

                  When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

                  6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

                  Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

                  7. Mosquito Repellant

                  Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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                  8. Pain Relief

                  While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

                  9. The New Anti-Viral

                  Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

                  10. Improved Cognitive Function

                  Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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