Decorate This: Macarons Part 1

Hello Pure Joy Events readers!  I'm Kristen from Decorate This!, and I am absolutely thrilled to be the resident baking and treat decorating guest blogger.  I am a software engineer who dreams of opening a bakery (more specifically, a cakery!). I have always loved to bake and create.  Whether it was baking or doing a wide variety of crafts with my mom, attending a cake decorating class with my favorite babysitter, or designing jewelry - I've always gotten great satisfaction from making beautiful things.  Over the past several years, I've baked countless cakes, cupcakes, cookies, (and many other sweet things!) in search of perfect recipes - all while honing my presentation skills.  I'm really looking forward to sharing some of my favorite recipes and decorating techniques with you all in the months to come!

With the popularity of French macarons rising, I thought I would share some macaron making tips and a few recipes for my first post.  French macarons are delightful, delicious, pretty treats - that are notorious for being finicky and troublesome to make.  Macarons can certainly be frustrating and annoying - but making great macarons is certainly not impossible. Without further ado - let's make some macarons.

  • Kitchen scale: carefully measured out ingredients are a key to success
  • Food processor: most almond flour isn't finely ground enough; you'll need to pulse it in a food processor in order to get super smooth shells. I like to buy whole blanched almonds and grind them myself.  Note: make sure you grind the nuts with confectioners sugar, to avoid making nut butter!
  • Stand mixer/hand mixer: keep in mind that if you are using a hand mixer, mixing times may increase almost 2 fold
  • Good quality aluminum pans: you'll need at least 2-3
  • Silpats (or parchment paper): I like using silpats the best - but parchment will work as well
  • Oven thermometer: oven temperature is very important
  • Candy thermometer: for making sugar syrup
  • Piping bag 
  • Large, round piping tip
Almond Macaron Shells - Italian Meringue Method (adapted from Not So Humble Pie)
150 grams almond meal or whole blanched almonds
150 grams confectioners sugar
120 grams egg whites (room temperature), divided
185 grams granulated sugar, divided
50 grams water
Gel or powdered food coloring - optional, but it's certainly fun to make rainbow colored macarons!
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (test with an oven thermometer and adjust accordingly), and prepare a piping bag with a large, round piping tip.
  2. Pulse almond flour or almonds and confectioners sugar in food processor until finely ground.  Sift mixture to remove larger pieces of almonds; continue whirling in your food processor until very fine.  Place mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Weigh out 60 grams of egg whites, and place in the bowl of your stand mixer.  
  4. Weigh out 150 grams granulated sugar, and place in a small saucepan along with the water.  Put the remaining 35 grams of granulated sugar in a small bowl (you'll be adding this sugar to your egg whites later).
  5. Place saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally to help dissolve the sugar.  Test temperature often with your candy thermometer (you may need to tilt the saucepan in order to get an accurate reading).  Once the syrup hits 180°F degrees, start beating the egg whites in your stand mixer on medium-low speed.
  6. Beat egg whites until very foamy, and then slowly add the reserved granulated sugar.  Increase speed to medium, and whip to soft peaks.  While eggs are whipping, keep a close eye on your sugar syrup - you do not want it to exceed 230°F.  If it is getting close to 230 before your egg whites are ready, remove it from the heat, and replace once your egg whites are closer to being done.
  7. Once syrup hits 230°F, remove from heat.  Increase your mixer speed to medium high, and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites.  Be careful to pour down the side of the bowl - you want your sugar syrup to end up in your meringue, not splattered all over the bowl.  Beat until cool, about 5-8 minutes.
  8. While meringue is cooling, add the remaining 60 grams of egg whites to your almond/confectioner's sugar mixture.  Mix with a spatula until well combined.  This is the time to add gel or powdered food coloring - start slow, but make a darker color than your goal.  The color will lighten considerably when the meringue is added to the mixture.
  9. Once meringue is cool, quickly fold it into your egg white/almond/confectioner's sugar mix.  Fold until mixture is just barely uniform, using as few strokes as possible.  It is VERY important that you do not overmix - overmixed batter will not produce nice macarons.  Your batter is ready when you lift your spatula and a thick ribbon of batter slowly flows back into the bowl.  If your batter plops back into the bowl, fold a few more times and test again.  If it flows quickly and is very thin - you've overmixed it, and you will need to start over.
  10. Fill your piping bag, and pipe approximately 1" rounds, about an inch apart.  Try to be as consistent as possible when piping - you want your macarons to bake evenly.  Once piped, gently rap the baking sheet on the counter to pop any air bubbles.  Let shells rest if you like - this is where some experimentation is necessary.  I've had good results popping the shells right into the oven, as well as letting them rest for a few minutes.  Keep in mind that the longer they rest, the thicker the shell they will develop.
  11. Bake at 325°F for about 14 minutes.  I like to bake for 10 minutes, turn my baking sheet, and then baking for an additional 4 minutes - but be careful not to disturb until at least 10 minutes are up.  To test for doneness, gently touch the top of a macaron and wiggle your finger.  Your macarons are done when the top moves just slightly with your finger.  Sometimes to make extra sure they are done, I'll sacrifice a macaron and pull the top right off.  If the insides look raw and very sticky, they still need more time.  Put back in the oven for another 2 minutes, and test again.
  12. Remove from oven, wait a minute or so, and then remove and cool on a cooling rack.

Now, what works for me *may* not work for you.  Even the pros occasionally make a bad batch of macarons, and for someone just getting started, imperfect results can definitely deflate your confidence.  But fear not - there are plenty of troubleshooting resources out there, including Syrup and Tang and Not So Humble Pie (start here to read about the Italian meringue method).  If your macarons don't come out perfect the first (or second, or third) time - you are certainly not alone!  With a little persistence and patience, amazing macarons are completely achievable.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at, or leave a comment on this post or on my blog, Decorate This!

I hope you enjoyed meeting Kristen and Part 1 of her macaron post. See Part 2 on macaron fillings, assembly and storage this Sunday.

Kristen - Contributing Writer from Decorate This!

Kristen is a software engineer who dreams about starting her own creative business (a cakery actually). She has always loved to bake and create, and gets great satisfaction from making beautiful things.


  1. I'm afraid I'll have to leave the baking to pros like you, Kristen -- and stick to enjoying the yummy outcomes! But will definitely look forward to your future guest posts on this blog.

  2. Very good but wonder why you use F when the rest of the world uses C.


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