French Macarons

French macarons: not as hard as you think.  Relax, don’t stress, and maybe you’ll be really lucky, too.

I don’t really get the macaron craze. Cute little bakeries and pastry shops all over D.C. seem to sell them for an arm and a leg, much like the cupcake craze, and, much like cupcakes, I have no desire to pay an exorbitant price for them. And also much like cupcakes, I don’t even particularly like macarons.

But I’ve read countless food bloggers discuss how difficult they are, so I figured I’d give it a shot.  To say I half-assed this recipe would be generous; really, at best, I quarter-assed this.

I read lots of blogs with all sorts of tips and tricks from fantastic bakers who failed over and over again at getting the macarons to rise. You’re supposed to age your egg whites on the counter for three days, sift your almond flour and sugar together three times so it’s smooth, absolutely positively weigh your ingredients, etc etc.

I ignored every little tip. I used my eggs straight out of the refrigerator (the horror!). I don’t even own a sifter or a sieve, so obviously my almond flour and sugar were used as-is, clumps and all.

These are filled with just a simple chocolate ganache, but there are of course a million flavor and color combinations to choose.  I don’t have an answer as to why experienced bakers struggle with French macarons, and I’ve now made them three times without a struggle, but my best advise to those looking to make their own macarons is: don’t stress or sweat the small stuff!

Just dive in, start piping, and maybe you’ll be as lucky as I am.

French Macarons

French macarons: not as hard as you think.  Relax, don’t stress, and maybe you’ll be really lucky, too.


  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 egg whites, room temperature (-ish)


  1. Preheat oven to 200F.
  2. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the egg whites using a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
  4. Sift (or not) a third of the almond flour into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Do not overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (or, for the truly frustrating experience, snip the end off a ziplog bag). Pipe one-inch sized mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake the macarons for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375F. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and back for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
  7. Cool on a rack before filling.