Strawberry macarons, made at home! Yes. you. can. With a bit of practice — and my kitchen-tested tips and tricks — this recipe proves you can make French macarons successfully at home in your own kitchen! This post includes step-by-step instructions for making the delicate vanilla bean French macarons shell, and strawberry buttercream filling too.
Vanilla Bean French Macaron Shells
- 1 ¾ cups plus 3 tablespoons (231 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 ½ cups (144 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Super-fine Almond Flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (120 grams) egg whites, room temperature (about 4 whites)
- 3 ½ tablespoons (42 grams) granulated sugar
- 2-3 drops Gel food colouring of your choice
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) vanilla bean paste
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 2/3 cups (450 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup (115 grams) strawberry preserves
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
VANILLA BEAN FRENCH MACARON SHELLS
- Line (2 - 3) rimmed baking sheets with non-stick baking mats or parchment paper. On a piece of parchment, using a permanent marker, create a template by drawing 1 1/2-inch circles 1-inch apart on parchment paper.
- In the work bowl of a food processor, process Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt until well combined, then sift through a fine mesh sieve. Alternatively you can pass the dry ingredients through a fine mesh sieve twice, discarding any large pieces.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until they start to foam, 1 minute. Gradually add granulated sugar, then whisk on high until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes (see notes on meringue consistency). While the meringue is mixing, add in any colourings, if using, along with the vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture.
- Add the remaining dry mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side.
- Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking.
- Fit a large pastry bag with a small to medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #802. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment or silicone mat over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template.
- Finish off each piped circle with a little flick of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it may still form a small one but this will disappear with the banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.
- Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. Add sprinkles if using.
- Repeat the piping and banging process with the remaining macaron batter. Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 275°f / 135°c. About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons onto the preheated sheet in the oven.
- Bake the macarons one pan at a time, for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pan every 5 minutes, until the shells are firm to the touch. Your baking time will vary depending on the weather and the size of the shells - start checking them for doneness at 14 to 15 minutes.
- To see if they are done, press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Let cool completely on pans. If you are not filling straight away, store in an airtight container.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt at low speed until smooth. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar (about 1 cup at a time), alternating with jam and cream (about 2 tablespoons at a time), beating until smooth. Continue adding confectioners’ sugar and cream in this manner until smooth and combined.
- Once all sugar and cream are incorporated, increase mixer speed to medium, and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla extract, and beat to combine. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a french star tip (such as an ateco #865).
- Pair up each macaron shell with another of equal size. Pipe a circle of buttercream onto one shell and sandwich with a second shell, pressing down lightly to adhere. Ideally, leave the macarons to mature overnight in the fridge in an airtight container then bring to room temperature before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted with permission from Bake From Scratch
Keywords: Macarons, gluten free, french macarons, strawberry, american buttercream, macaron