Absolutely elegant and eye-catching, these bite-sized, light, and delicate French Macarons made with lesser sugar are perfect for tea or coffee time!
I am 'tickled pink' (pun intended) with this amazing French Macarons recipe! Not only are they so charming and tasty, but they are also easier to make than you think. And the best part is you can get creative with colors and flavors! I used peanut butter frosting and peach jam for the macaron fillings, and they were amazing! But feel free to use whatever tickles your fancy! Here are some ideas for you: swiss meringue buttercream, fruit jams, dulce de leche, chocolate buttercream, or chocolate ganache.
You can also play around with the colors of the cookies to match whatever occasion you are making these for. This recipe also comes in handy when you run out of ideas for gift-giving. Place them in pretty boxes and you have a thoughtful yet fancy present that everyone will love!
Macarons vs Macaroons
These two treats can be confusing as they sound and almost spelled the same. Some people are not even aware that they are different from each other and uses the terms interchangeably.
Macarons are meringue-based confections. Made mainly of almond flour, egg whites, and powdered sugar mixed with food coloring. Baked until they turn into delicate round cookies or shells then filled with sweet jams, buttercream, or ganache in between.
These are quite different from Macaroons. The main ingredients for this recipe are grated coconut, flour, eggs, and sugar. They are commonly placed on small cupcake molds or simply dropped on parchment papers before baking.
Both are delicious in their own right though, I can eat several of these in one sitting!
Important Tips for Beginners
Here are some useful tips that I found really helpful when I was in the process of learning the art of making french macarons:
- MEASUREMENT: It is best to weigh your ingredients than using measuring cups. The proportion of powder sugar to almond flour is very important. I wanted french macarons that are less sweet so I tried decreasing the amount of the powder sugar. But the result of using too little powder sugar is that they would not have the hard shells and that means no 'feet' too.
- SIFTING: Sift your almond flour and powder sugar. This is also important to get smooth, lump-free macarons. What I do is I sift the almond flour and then the powder sugar when combining them and sift the mixture again to fully incorporate the two together.
- FOLDING: When folding, do it slowly but forcefully by scraping the sides from the left to right while pressing the batter to the sides of the bowl towards you then turning it in the middle. This will get rid of some of the air bubbles in the meringue. Too much folding will make it runny and that cannot be fixed anymore. So it is better to check the consistency every after folding. It is always better to under-fold, as the batter continues to thin when you transfer it to the piping bag and while piping.
- CONSISTENCY: To check if the mixture has the right consistency, scoop some batter with the spatula and let it fall back to the bowl. It should form 'ribbons' or layers as it slowly falls back on top of the batter instead of instantly combining with the rest of the batter. The first ribbon should still slightly be visible after about 25-30 seconds.
- ADDING COLOR: I tried both powder and gel food coloring. I have to say that the powder is better as it does not change the consistency as much as the gel food color did. Adding food color should be done in small amounts. For this recipe, I wanted a bright pink color so I added about ⅛ teaspoon. If you are using more coloring to make your macarons more vibrant, I would suggest adding more powder sugar. Like 20 grams more to get those hard shells to form.
- PIPING: Piping macarons needs a bit of practice. What I do is use a self-made macaron template to make sure the macarons are sized evenly. The size of the circle depends on how small or big you want them to be. Note that they will flatten and expand a bit when you start tapping them on the counter. Place the template below the parchment paper you will use. Place both on top of the baking sheet. Position the piping bag at 90° then just squeeze until the circle is filled with batter. Once done, carefully slip the template away and pipe some batter at the corners of the baking sheet to glue in the parchment paper so it will not move while tapping.
- RESTING PERIOD: Follow the required resting period. Other people would say this is not important but as this recipe uses lesser sugar, this is another thing that you should follow strictly if you want to form nice shells. The resting period is usually 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how humid it is. To know if the macarons are rested enough, lightly touch the sides and if it no longer sticks to your finger then it is time to bake them. You will also notice a dull film forming on top. Avoid over or under resting your macarons as this will result in either a macaron with no feet or with cracks on top.
- BAKING: Under-baking macarons will make them break or separate when you try to lift them from the parchment paper and maybe hollow inside. Over-baking will result in dry and crunchy macarons. However, it is better than under-baking as this will be fixed later anyway when filling is added and as they mature.
- MATURATION: Letting your macarons mature before serving or eating them can fix a lot of small problems. Small hollows will disappear or dry. They will also turn soft, fluffy, and chewy. They taste a lot better in my opinion! All you have to do is be patient. Seal filled and assembled macarons in an airtight container and leave it for at least 24 hours in the fridge. Take them out to come back to room temperature before eating or serving.
How to Store Leftover
If you refrigerate the macarons, they will be good for up to three days. They will definitely last longer if you store them in a sealed container and freeze them.
Keep in mind that moisture greatly affects the texture and taste of French Macarons, so I won’t recommend not putting them in plastic bags. The soft and crispy shells of macarons are quite delicate so it’s better if you put them in a container lined with parchment paper.
- 1 egg white
- 45 grams almond flour
- 70 grams powder sugar
- 3 tablespoon caster sugar
- pinch salt
- pinch cream of tartar (optional)
- dash food color (powder form)
- macaron filling of your choice - see ideas listed in Notes.
- Sift almond flour and powder sugar twice and set aside.
- Place egg white in a large bowl, add cream of tartar and salt. With a mixer, beat eggwhite for 2 minutes at low speed. Beat for another 2 minutes but this time gradually adding sugar. Turn mixer on high and beat until stiff peaks form (like a shaving cream), that takes about 3-4 minutes. If adding food color, you may add it at this point, then beat the mixture again on high speed for another minute.
- Divide the dry ingredients into two parts. Add the first half to the meringue and using a spatula, fold it 5-7 times just until incorporated. Add the last half and fold again this time until you reach a lava-like consistency.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with half-inch tip. Pipe into a baking sheet pan with parchment paper or silicone mat. They should look shiny but not runny at this point. Tap the sheet pan three times each side on the counter to get the air bubbles out, pop the ones that did not break out with a toothpick. Let it rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on humidity, you will notice tops form a dull layer and are no longer tacky after resting.
- Preheat oven to 150°C or 300°F with top and bottom heat on for electic oven. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Feet form in the first 5-8 minutes. (See Notes for gas oven) You know they are done when the shells are hard and do not break away when you pull one from the mat slowly. Once done, let them cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from parchment paper. Then let them cool completely before adding filling.
- Pair the shells of the same size together and fill the bottom shell's top side with filling of your choice and place the other shell on top of it like a sandwich. Press them together lighlty to spread the filling.
- Place the filled cookies on an airtight box or container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Bring them to room temperature and serve.
- Swiss meringue buttercream
- fruit jams
- dulce de leche
- chocolate buttercream
- chocolate ganache
- peanut butter frosting
Love these French Macarons with reduced sugar recipes? Try these too:
This recipe was originally published in July 2014. Updated in April 2021 to include new photos, more tips, and a recipe video. The recipe itself remained the same.