To say French macarons are the new cupcakes is an understatement. These precious works of art are popping up everywhere. And with fine establishments such as Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery and Francois Payard’s New York Bakery championing their presence stateside, we have a sweet, sneaking suspicion they are here to stay.
Of course, renowned chefs and bakers aren’t the only ones having all the macaron-making fun these days—home cooks have been creating their own note-worthy creations in droves. And baking beautiful French macarons from the comforts of your kitchen is much easier than you may think. One of the masters of this at-home art is Kim H. Lim-Chodkowski, who just released her debut cookbook, Macaron Fetish.
Kim’s macarons vary from classic to crazy (Bailey Buttercream and Salted Butter Caramel Macarons anyone?) and take on a variety of shapes and shades. All her recipes begin with a basic shell method, which is super easy to recreate. Find her photographed step-by-step below, and then give her to-die-for recipes for Chocolate and Earl Grey Macarons a go.
How to Make French Macaron Shells
Get your tools ready. Put the tip in the piping bag, and stuff a part of the bag into it.
Beginners should place the bag over a container and secure the opening. This makes pouring the mixture into the bag easier.
Finely blend the almond flour, powdered sugar and food coloring. Sift into a bowl and set aside.
With a hand beater, beat the egg white until frothy. Slowly incorporate half of the superfine sugar. Beat until the egg white forms soft peaks.
Add in the other half of the sugar, and continue beating until the egg white forms stiff peaks. The egg white should hold up like a bird’s beak.
This is how a stiff-peaked meringue should look—smooth and shiny.
Add the dry ingredients and start folding gently. This should take 50–60 strokes, using a “lift-turn-fold-press” motion.
The mixture is ready when it flows like lava and makes a thick ribbon when lifted. It should also sink back slowly.
The mixture should be smooth and shiny. Any lines created when lifting it should disappear within30 seconds.
Pour the mixture into the prepared piping bag. Pull out the tip, and slowly press down the bag. Twist the top of the bag, and start piping onto parchment paper lined over a baking tray.
Gently press the piping bag. Then, release the pressure and make a quick swirl to finish. Repeat until all of the mixture is used up. Tap the bottom of the baking tray to release any large air pockets in the macarons.
Let the piped shells sit for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 °F (150 °C). Put the macarons in the oven and bake for 10–15 minutes. Allow the shells cool before removing them from the paper.