There is a little-known secret in the macaron world about how to achieve perfect macarons, every single time. This one little trick takes them from finicky to perfect results on the first try. I learned it from one of my baking idols, Anne Thornton. She used to have her own Food Network show, and I’m still sad about it being cancelled. She shared this trick for perfect macarons, and I’ve been a devotee ever since.
Anne’s trick is to add 1 tablespoon of meringue powder for each egg white. The meringue powder stabilizes the egg whites, and helps them thicken properly so that you get perfect macarons, even on your first try. I’m serious! Go check out the comments on all of my macaron recipes–they’re full of people in shock that the recipe worked.
Last week, I decided that this trick meant I was ‘cheating’ at macarons, so I tried another well-known recipe on the internet. It failed so miserably. Twice. And I used the f-word on instagram because of it. It was a dark, dark week.
However, I’m back to only using this recipe for macarons, and now I don’t need soap for my mouth.
I actually doubled the recipe the other day, just to see if it holds true. It does. Even though meringue powder requires a special trip to the store, it’s a lot closer than my local patisserie. Meringue powder is essentially just dried egg whites. It’s easy to find at a hobby or craft store because cake decorators make fondant and royal icing with it.
You can scale this recipe up or down, just make sure to add 1 tablespoon of meringue powder for each egg white.
Speaking of egg whites, they should be old. Separate your egg(s), cover the whites, and age them in the fridge for at least a week. When you’re ready to bake, let them come to room temperature on the counter for a few hours.
For Christmas, I bought myself a macaron kit. (Yes, I always buy myself gifts, and I see nothing wrong with it). The kit had a rubber mat to help you pipe out perfect macs and this little brown squeezy thing (photo below) to help you pipe. The rubber mat let me down–it actually curled with the heat of the oven and made macarons slide everywhere (another reason I used the f-word last week), but this little brown squeezy thing, I love. I love that you can load the batter into a large area (just unscrew the clear part), and the tips are so easy to attach and clean. It actually came with a lot of tips, and I want to try it out for cake and cookie decorating. If you don’t have a speciality piping bag, just use a ziplock bag (try to use a sturdy freezer-safe one), and snip the tip off to make a homemade pastry bag. The best part about using a ziplock bag is that you don’t have to clean it up, just toss it in the trash.
One more little thing about these cookies: the batter is thick. While it seems hard to squeeze out because it’s so thick, it will still settle into perfect little circles. Hold the bag/squeezy thing directly over the baking sheet, squeeze until you have a cookie about the size of a fat Hershey’s Kiss, and the move on to the next cookie. While you pipe the whole sheet, the circles should flatten out and relax a bit.
One more fool-proof tip for this recipe: after you pipe out the cookies, you’re going to let them dry before baking. It seems weird, I know, but if you let the cookies set out until the top is no longer sticky, they will bake up perfectly.
I really really really hope I’ve convinced you to try homemade macarons. I promise with everything I have that this recipe will work for you. The meringue powder tips makes them very forgiving, and the low temperature bake helps them bake slowly and evenly. If you follow this recipe exactly and it fails for you, I’ll buy you dinner. Deal?
I’m going to paste the recipe below for a double batch, but if you need to make an even smaller batch and just use 1 egg white, feel free to scale it down. And oh yes, I still have batches of strawberry jam in my fridge from failed strawberry pâte de fruit, so that’s what I stuffed these with. Feel free to use Nutella, caramel, or stir some jam into buttercream. It’s hard to go wrong here–fill the cookies with your dream filling.
Happy perfect little macaron feet to you!
Yields 2 dozen
A recipe for fail-proof macarons with a secret ingredient to ensure perfect results every time!
60 minPrep Time
13 minCook Time
1 hr, 13 Total Time
- 2 aged egg whites, at room temperature*
- 68 grams almond flour
- 153 grams powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons meringue powder
- 3 drops vanilla extract
- strawberry jam
- First, let the egg whites come to room temperature in a medium bowl.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (it works better for me than a silicone mat when it comes to macarons). Make sure the paper fits into the pan perfectly--any buckled paper around the edges will make the cookies spread unevenly and slide.
- Meanwhile, sift together the almond flour and powdered sugar into a medium bowl.
- Begin to beat the egg whites on medium speed using a hand-mixer until foamy, about 10 seconds. Then, start slowly adding the meringue powder while constantly beating.
- Beat the egg whites and meringue powder until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. This will depend on your mixer speed, but be careful not to over-mix. The peaks are soft when you lift the beaters and the egg whites flop over.
- Once the egg whites have soft peaks, turn off the mixer.
- Add 1/3 of the almond-sugar mixture and begin to gently fold it in using a small spatula. Take your time: proper folding technique is carefully folding around the sides and cutting through the middle occasionally. The idea is to not stir too hard and deflate the air you just whipped into the egg whites.
- Repeat with the remaining almond-sugar mixture two more times, until completely incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into a piping bag with a 1/2" tip (or use a plastic bag with the corner snipped off). The batter will be thick.
- Pipe the batter into 1" little mounds (about the size of a large Hershey's kiss), and let sit. While they sit, they should flatten out. Leave 2" between each cookie for air circulation.
- Let the cookies rest on the baking pan for at least 30 minutes. Test to see if they are tacky--if you touch the cookies gently and the batter sticks to your finger, they're not ready. They should be dry to the touch. On humid days, it can take 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 (or 290 if you have a gas oven that runs hot like mine). Bake the cookies for 13 minutes, until their little feet have risen and the tops are dry.
- Remove from the oven and let cool near the oven (drastic temperature changes can cause cracks).
- Once cool, pop the cookies off the sheet, spread with jam and sandwich together.
*To age your egg whites, separate the whites from the yolks, cover them and refrigerate for at least 1 week. Before using, let them come to room temperature.