Chocolate Macarons are a delectable little cookie with a crispy outer shell and sweet filling. Follow this step by step tutorial and tips to make fool proof macarons. This recipe includes a salted caramel filling and other flavor combos.
Oh, the beautiful macaron. This delicate little treat is a popular dessert. They are frequently found at French bakeries but can be made at home. They make a great gift or dessert to share.
What are Macarons?
Macarons are a delicate cookie made with a cookie shell and sweet filling. The filling can be adapted to make a variety of flavors. The majority of the flavor in macarons comes from the filling, so it is easy to adjust the filling and adjust the overall flavor.
Macarons often have a reputation for being difficult or temperamental. When people have issues with macarons, it’s usually because they are rushing, skim the recipe, do not follow instructions or make substitutions.
Follow the recipe below with step by step instructions to ensure beautiful chocolate macarons. Also, read the expert tips and answers to the questions below.
Ingredients You Need
There are two parts to a macaron – (1) the cookie shell and (2) the filling. Do not substitute any ingredients for the macaron shells.
This chocolate macaron recipe includes a salted caramel filling which pairs nicely with the chocolate shell. However, you can substitute the caramel filling for a chocolate ganache or peanut butter filling below.
For the cookie shell:
- Granulated Sugar
- Powdered Sugar
- Egg Whites
- Almond Flour
- Cocoa Powder – Use natural cocoa powder, not Dutch processed.
For the salted caramel filling:
- Whipped Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
- Sea Salt
Kitchen Tools Needed:
- Kitchen scale: This is necessary to measure the ingredients.
- Small round tip for piping: Wilton #10
- Piping bag
- Parchment paper or Silpat
Chocolate Macarons Step by Step
There are two parts to making chocolate macarons – the shell and the filling. You can follow the recipe exactly, making the filling immediately after the macaron shells cool, or you can make the shells and prepare the filling at a later time (within 12 hours).
- Step 1: Heat a small saucepan of water over medium-high heat. Place a large heatproof bowl over the simmering water. Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl and whisk continuously until the sugar has dissolved. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Step 2: Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on medium-high sped until the egg whites reach stiff peaks.
- Step 3: Sift in the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa power. It is important to sift in the ingredients, rather than dump them in as this helps create the smooth consistency of the batter.
- Step 4: Gently fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula.
- Step 5: When all of the dry ingredients are mixed in, gently smush the meringue against the sides of the bowl and fold it back together to deflate the meringue. Repeat the smush and fold process 2 to 3 more times.
- Step 6: The batter is ready when it reaches the “lava stage.” If you can draw a figure 8 with the meringue without the stream breaking then it is ready to pipe. If the meringue comes off the spatula in clumps or the stream breaks, deflate the batter a few more times and then repeat the figure 8 test.
- Step 7: Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (Wilton #10 is a good option.) Pipe 1.5″ circles onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. You can buy a mat with a macaron template on it to space them out evenly. Fill the circles 3/4 of the way and lift the piping bag straight up quickly to break the batter off.
- Step 8: Hold the tray 6″ off the counter and then drop it to release any air bubbles. Drop the tray 5 ot 6 more times, or until it looks like any large air bubbles have popped. Set the tray aside to rest for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the macarons develop a skin. They are ready to bake when you touch them without meringue sticking to your finger. When they are ready, bake at 325 degrees F for 15 to 16 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.
- Step 9: To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and caramel in a small bowl.
- Step 10: Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitting with a small round tip. Place the macarons into similar sized pairs. Pipe a small dollop of salted caramel filling on one shell. Sprinkle with flakey sea salt and then place the second shell on top. Repeat with remaining macarons.
- Step 11: (Optional) Drizzle with melted chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt for additional texture and flavor.
- Step 12: Place the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge to age for at least four hours (preferably overnight.) Bring the macarons to room temperature before serving.
Other Filling Flavors
Substitute the salted caramel filling in this recipe for one of the other fillings below for different flavor combinations.
- 2.5 ounces heavy cream
- 3.25 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Melt the ganache ingredients together until smooth. Pipe onto macaron shells.
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon milk, to thin (optional)
Beat together the peanut butter and butter with a mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until creamy. Add tablespoon of milk to thin, if desired. Pipe onto macaron shells.
Cracked macarons results from too much air in the batter. Tapping the tray on the counter to release the air bubbles will solve this issue.
They aren’t necessarily difficult to make but they can be temperamental without the right conditions.
Chewy macarons generally result from over baking. Bake for the recommended time. They are finished baking when they come off the tray easily.
The batter can sit for thirty minutes to one hour. After that point, they may start to deflate and dry out.
Macarons are a delicate cookie with a slightly crunchy and chewy exterior shell.
If macarons are not going to be eaten with 12 hours, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Bring them to room temperature before eating.
Are you looking for more chocolate dessert recipes? Try these:
- Flourless Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
- Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting
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For the shell:
- 90 grams egg whites, aged overnight in the fridge and brought to room temperature (see note below)
- 90 grams granulated sugar
- 85 grams almond flour
- 70 grams powdered sugar
- 15 grams natural cocoa powder
For the filling:
- 40 grams whipped cream cheese
- 40 grams powdered sugar
- 30 grams caramel sauce, (plus more to fill, optional)
- Flake Sea Salt, optional
To make the shell:
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. Fit a large piping bag with a small round tip (such as Wilton #10).
- Heat a small saucepan of water over medium-high heat. Place a large heatproof bowl over the simmering water. Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl and whisk continuously until the sugar has fully dissolved – about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. The meringue will feel dense and start to gather on the sides of the bowl.
- Once the egg whites have reached stiff peaks, sift in the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder.
- Gently fold in the dry ingredients, forming a “J” shape with your spatula. Make sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl so the meringue is evenly mixed.
- When all of the dry ingredients have been mixed in, gently smush the meringue against the sides of the bowl and fold it back together to deflate the meringue. Repeat the smush and fold process 2-3 more times.
- Test the batter occasionally to see if it has reached the “lava stage”. If you can draw a figure 8 with the meringue without the stream breaking, its ready to pipe. If the meringue comes off the spatula in clumps or the stream breaks while drawing the 8, deflate the batter a few more times and repeat the figure 8 test.
- When the meringue flows like lava, transfer it to the piping bag fitted with the round tip. Pipe 1.5”circles onto the silpat lined baking sheet. Immediately after you’ve finished piping the tray, hold it 6” off the counter and drop it to release any air bubbles. Drop the tray 5-6 more times, or until it looks like any large air bubbles have popped.
- Set the tray aside and allow it to rest for 20-25 minutes, or until the macarons develop a skin. The macarons are ready to bake when you can touch them without any meringue sticking to your finger.
- While the macarons rest, preheat the oven to 325F. I recommend using an oven thermometer when making macarons to ensure your oven is set to the correct temperature. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time for 15 to 16 minutes, turning the tray halfway through baking.
- The macarons are finished baking when they come off the tray easily. Allow the macarons to cool on the tray before filling.
To make the filling:
- Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and caramel in a small bowl. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
- Place the macarons in similar sized pairs. Pipe a small dollop of salted caramel filling on one shell. You can add an extra small dollop of caramel here, if desired. Sprinkle with flakey sea salt and place the second shell on top. Repeat with the remaining macarons.
- Place the filled macarons in an airtight container in the fridge to age for at least four hours (or preferably overnight). Bring the macarons to room temperature before serving.
- EGG WHITES: The egg whites do not have to be at room temperature – straight from the fridge is fine. However, allowing them to rest in the fridge and then come to room temperature helps create the best consistency of batter. The eggs beat better when brought to room temperature.
- COCOA POWDER: Use natural cocoa powder. Dutch process cocoa powder can destabilize the egg whites and cause the meringues to spread or crack.