This is an all-purpose macaron shell recipe, which includes different ways to flavor your mac shells! Pictured are my dark chocolate blood orange macs.
Here is the main recipe I use for a plain, unflavored macaron shell (yields about 30 filled macs):
100g / egg whites (about 3 large), room temp
90g / granulated sugar
1/4 tsp / cream of tartar
140g / almond flour
120g / powdered sugar
- Sift together almond flour and powdered sugar 2 times into a large bowl and set aside.
- Clean mixing bowl and whisk attachment of your stand mixer with white vinegar to make sure there are no trace fats on either- if you skip this step your meringue may not form. Add room temp egg whites to the bowl and whisk on medium until they begin to foam. Right when they start foaming, add the cream of tartar. Whisk on medium high and gradually add in sugar. (Do this VERY slowly to make sure you do not deflate the meringue). Turn up the mixer to the highest setting. Continue whisking on the highest setting until you have stiff peaks.
- Take the meringue off the mixer, and gently fold in dry ingredients. Start with only half, then gently fold in the rest. If you want to add gel food coloring to the macaron, now is the time. Continue to mix in a folding motion until the consistency is of “flowing lava” or very wet sand. You should be able to make a figure 8 with the batter without it breaking. Once you reach this consistency stop mixing and do not over-mix.
- Scoop batter into a piping bag with a round tip.
- Place a silicone mat or parchment paper on an upside down baking sheet. A silicone macaron mat is the easiest (here’s the one that I used), but you can also print out macaron stencils and slide them under the parchment paper. If you do this option, make sure to “glue” all corners of the parchment down with macaron batter to prevent sliding. Pipe out 1 inch dollops of batter. *Do not pipe in a circle, have your piping bag perpendicular to your surface and pipe without moving the bag until a 1 inch diameter mound forms. This will spread and make that macaron shape! Repeat until all batter is used.
- Tap (or really, drop) your baking sheets with the piped macarons on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Do this about 4 times, rotating the sheet after each drop. I also popped all visible air bubbles with a toothpick, but this is optional. Let the macarons sit out at room temp for about 45 minutes, or until you can touch the tops of them and they feel smooth and no batter comes off. They should be firm, not squishy.
- During the last 10 minutes of resting, preheat your oven at 300° F. (Note: yes, the baking sheets must be upside down with the macarons on top! This makes for a super flat surface). Bake one sheet at a time for 16-17 minutes. You will know when they’re done when the “feet” have formed and when you touch the tops, they should not move on its feet. Repeat with the other sheet, and let both cool completely before taking off the mat. They should peel right off after they have cooled all the way.
Flavoring shells with extracts:
If you want to flavor your macarons with vanilla, almond, lemon, rum, or any other liquid extract, just add 1 tsp to the meringue when you get soft peaks. That’s it! The one thing to keep in mind for extracts is that an extract and an oil are different. Do not use oil based flavorings, as they are going to ruin your meringue. Make sure the extract you use says EXTRACT on it and that it is alcohol based.
Flavoring shells with flavored sugars/ drink mixes:
This is a less common method, but one that I now use for my guava macarons! I use a powdered guava drink mix (similar to Kool Aid) to flavor the shells. First, I will sift out the big sugar crystals from the mix, and add the fine powder to the meringue after I have added all of my granulated sugar. I add 25g of the sifted drink mix to the main recipe. If you use any sugar-based powder as a flavor, I highly recommend adding it to the meringue and not in with the dry ingredients, since you will get a much better flavor this way.
Flavoring shells with different nut flours:
I use ground pistachios (pistachio flour) for my pistachio macarons, but this method works with hazelnut flour/ground hazelnuts too! I substitute 50g of nut flour for almond flour in the main recipe. (ex: if I were making pistachio macarons, it would be 90g almond flour + 50g pistachio flour). If you are making your own nut flour, I suggest pulsing the nuts with a bit of powdered sugar to keep it from forming a paste. You still want to sift the nut flour after making it to make sure it is as fine as possible!
Flavoring shells with spices, cocoa powder, and other dry ingredients:
When I make cinnamon, coffee, or tea flavored shells, I usually just sift 1-2 tsp in with the dry ingredients. This is all to taste, and I have even added up to a tablespoon of spices! When it comes to making chocolate shells, I replace 20g of the powdered sugar with cocoa powder. It is important to note that chocolate macarons will take 2-3 more minutes to bake because of how dense they can be due to the cocoa powder.