These Raspberry French Macarons are filled with a dollop of sweet raspberry jam and a creamy raspberry buttercream made with freeze-dried raspberries. They are not too sweet and perfect for making all year round!
Macarons look like a tricky and intimidating dessert, but I am confident that with a little practice these delicious bite-sized treats will become your favorite treat.
What is a French Macaron?
Do not confuse a macaron with a macaroon, which are mound cookies made with shredded coconut. French macarons are delicate, sweet meringue-based sandwich cookies with a crisp shell and a chewy texture. When baked properly, the shells will have little ruffled feet at the base of the cookie. They are usually filled with a flavored ganache, buttercream, jam or a combination.
What’s in a French Macaron?
French macarons are made with blanched almond meal, powdered sugar, and fresh egg whites whipped into a meringue with sugar and cream of tartar to help stabilize it. A note: blanched almond meal is made with skinless almonds. It is pale yellow and has a super fine texture.
Do not use regular almond flour. Most almond flours are coarsely ground and do not have the fine texture needed to make super smooth macaron shells. You will end up with little specks of brown in your shells since the almonds are usually not blanched. If you find super-fine almond flour made with blanched almonds, that is okay to use.
For these Raspberry Macarons, I add a little red food coloring to turn the shells bright pink, like raspberries. Use gel, not liquid, food coloring so the consistency of the batter isn’t impacted. I recommend the Americolor brand Super Red food gel.
The Kitchen Tools You’ll Need
If you work with the right kitchen tools, you’ll have an easier time with this recipe. Here is a short list:
- Glass or metal bowl: Plastic bowls can hold onto grease from previous baking projects. If any fat on the bowl’s surface transfers to the egg whites, they won’t whip well and will prevent the shells from rising and baking properly.
- A kitchen scale: Macaron batter can be temperamental, so it's important to have the right ratio of ingredients. Weighing the ingredients with a kitchen scale will give you the most consistent and accurate measurement, and it will ensure success every single time!
- A stand mixer: I use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer to whisk the egg whites for making the meringue, but you can also use a handheld mixer.
- Pastry bag and pastry tip: A 12- to 18-inch pastry bag is ideal for piping the batter. It should be fitted with a small round pastry tip. I use a #12 Wilton pastry tip. It’s small enough to give you control over piping the batter without any of it leaking out. If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use a large zip top bag by cutting one corner and placing the tip into the cut corner.
How to Make Raspberry Powder
For this recipe I use Jungle Powders Freeze-dried Raspberry Powder. If you can’t find raspberry powder, it’s easy to make at home!
You can make your own by grinding whole freeze-dried raspberries with a food processor or coffee or spice grinder until it is a fine powder. Then, sift it through a fine mesh sifter to catch any large pieces and seeds.
Tips and Tricks for Making French Macarons
Macarons only have a few ingredients, so their success is based on executing each step of the process well. Follow these simple tips and tricks for the most successful bake:
- Moisture is a meringue's worst enemy. Save this recipe for a dry day when it’s not raining or humid and don’t run your dishwasher with hot water while making these since the steam could break the meringue.
- Meringue does not like fat. Any traces of fat on the surface of your mixing bowl means the meringue won’t whisk properly. To prevent this, wipe the bowl with a paper towel soaked with distilled white vinegar before you get started.
- Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature. They will whisk easier and hold their shape better.
- You must use gel food coloring. Gel food coloring is less runny than liquid food coloring. Even a small amount of extra liquid can negatively change the macaron batter. The best quality and most accurate color is Americolor brand gel food coloring.
- Shake the bottle of food coloring well before using to fully emulsify the dye and the gel.
- Macarons are sensitive to high heat. Bake the shells on the underside of the baking sheet. This helps distribute some of the heat coming from the bottom of the oven, preventing the macarons from baking too quickly.
Once filled, the macarons should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last up to one week.
To Freeze: Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and transfer them to the freezer for one hour or until they are frozen completely. They will never get rock hard so be aware that even frozen you have to be gentle to prevent denting the shells. Transfer them into an airtight container. Use parchment paper in between the stacked layers. They will keep frozen for up to one month.
Other Delicious Variations
Macarons are versatile—use whatever gel food color you desire. Also, try these yummy flavored fillings:
- Blueberry: Substitute the freeze-dried raspberry powder and raspberry jam with freeze-dried blueberry powder and a dollop of blueberry jam.
- Mango: Try freeze-dried mango powder and a dollop of mango jam.
- Banana: Try freeze-dried banana powder.
If You Love Macarons, Try These Recipes
You may have an easier time finding whole freeze-dried raspberries. You can grind them into a powder using a food processor, spice or coffee grinder. Sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve or sifter to get rid of large pieces and seeds.
Instead of the blanched almond meal, you can use super-fine almond flour made with blanched almonds.
For the raspberry buttercream filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (80g) powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons freeze-dried raspberry powder
1 tablespoon 2% milk
For the raspberry macaron shells:
1 1/4 cups (100g) blanched almond meal
3/4 cup (80g) powdered sugar
Distilled white vinegar for cleaning the bowl
2 or 3 (80g) egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup (80g) sugar
1 drop Super Red gel food coloring
1/4 cup raspberry jam, for filling the macarons
- Pastry bags
- Small round pastry tip
Whip the butter:
In a medium bowl, add the softened butter. Using a mixer with the beater attachment, beat on low speed to ensure the butter is lump free before adding the powdered sugar.
Add the powdered sugar:
Add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time and continue mixing on low speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula with each addition of powdered sugar so that it incorporates evenly. Then, increase the speed to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the raspberry powder:
Add the raspberry powder and beat until combined. Add the milk and beat again on medium speed until light and creamy.
The milk will help thin out the buttercream and give it a super smooth and creamy texture. You shouldn’t need more than 1 tablespoon of milk.
If you add more, the buttercream will be too thin. It should look light and fluffy, not runny. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set it aside.
Sift the dry ingredients:
Place a sifter or fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Add the almond meal and powdered sugar to the sifter or sieve and sift into the bowl. Discard any large pieces of almond meal. Set the dry ingredients aside.
Wipe out your mixing bowl:
Dampen a paper towel with a bit of vinegar and wipe down the inside of a 4 or 5-quart glass or metal mixing bowl.
Make the meringue:
Add the egg whites to the mixing bowl and using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whisk on medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes until the egg whites are foamy, but not yet holding their shape.
I use a Kitchen Aid mixer on speed 3 for this step. You can do this with an electric handheld mixer set on medium, but it will take a little longer. Follow along with the visual cues for doneness.
Add the cream of tartar first and continue whisking for 3 minutes. At this point, the egg whites will have gained a little bit of volume, look dull, and will not hold its shape.
With the mixer still running, sprinkle in the sugar slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. When all the sugar has been added, increase to medium speed and continue whisking for about 2 minutes. The egg whites will have increased in volume, become white, and look thick. I use a Kitchen Aid mixer on speed 4 for this step.
Stop the mixer and add the food coloring, then continue whisking for 3 minutes until the mixture looks glossy and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You will also notice some ridges in the middle near the whisk indicating it is ready. This foamy mixture is called a meringue.
Check for stiff peaks:
Stop the mixer, lift the whisk from the egg whites, and turn the whisk upside down. It should have a stiff peak of meringue that slightly bends at the very tip, but it should not slide off the whisk.
If the peak curls or falls over then continue whisking the meringue, about 1 to 2 minutes. If the meringue starts to look chunky or curdled, the egg whites have been overwhipped and you’ll have to start over.
Fold in the dry ingredients:
Add one third of the dry ingredients into the meringue. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold them together. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients, one third of it at a time until fully combined.
Scrape the batter:
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter against and around the sides of the bowl to knock some of the air out of the batter. Do this 5 or 6 times. Knocking some of the air out of the batter is important because too much air will cause the shells to crack while they bake.
Do the figure 8 test:
Use a rubber spatula to pick up some of the batter and drizzle it over the batter in the bowl. It should stream down like honey. Draw a figure 8 with it over the batter. The figure 8 should start to sink back into the batter after 10 to 20 seconds, but not disappear.
If the batter does not pass the figure 8 test, fold the batter with a rubber spatula twice and then check it again, and repeat until it passes!
Pipe the shells:
Turn two large baking sheets upside down and line the bottom of the baking sheet (which is now the top!) with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set them aside.
Fit a 12 to 18-inch pastry bag with a small round pastry tip—I use a small #12 Wilton round tip.
Use a rubber spatula to gently scrape the batter into the piping bag. Twist the top of the pastry bag so that the batter doesn’t fall out of the bag while you’re holding it.
If using parchment, pipe a small dot of batter in each corner of the baking sheet to help secure the paper.
Pipe 1 to 1 1/2-inch circles 2 inches apart from each other on the prepared baking sheets. The pastry tip should point directly down, not at an angle, for evenly sized and perfectly round shells.
If the tops have a pointy tip from the piping, gently smooth them out with an offset spatula or the back of a small spoon. You will get 30 to 32 circles, which will yield 15 or 16 macarons.
Remove more air bubbles:
Firmly grasp the sides of the baking sheet and tap it hard against your counter. Tiny air bubbles may come up to the surface of the shells and pop. You can use the sharp pointy end of a toothpick to pop them, if desired. Rotate the baking sheet as needed to tap all sides evenly.
Rest the shells:
Allow the shells to rest for 30 to 40 minutes. It may take up to 1 hour if your home is humid. The shells are ready to bake when they look matte and you can touch the tops without them sticking to your finger or leaving a mark.
Bake the shells:
Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 300°F.
Bake the shells, one baking sheet at a time, for 13 minutes. When the timer goes off, carefully open the oven door, and gently touch the top of a shell.
The top of the shell should not move from the feet where it touches the pan. If it moves slightly, bake it for 1 minute more.
Cool the shells:
Place the baking sheet on a wire cooling rack. Allow the shells to cool completely before lifting them from the mat. Do not try and lift them up using a spatula or other tool, especially if they are sticking.
Once they are completely cool, use your hands to peel the baking mat or parchment paper back from the shells slowly and gently. If they are completely cool, the shells should come off easily.
Match the shells:
Match similar-sized shells in pairs and set them aside on your counter. Each pair will be filled with the raspberry buttercream and jam.
Fill with the buttercream and jam:
Fit a small pastry bag with a small round #12 Wilton tip. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the raspberry buttercream into the pastry bag. Twist the top of the pastry bag so that the buttercream doesn’t fall out of the bag while you’re holding it.
Pipe a tire ring around the outer edge of one shell. Fill the middle of the ring with about 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry jam. Top it with its paired shell. Repeat filling the remaining macarons.
Mature the macarons:
Transfer the macarons into an airtight container and place them in the fridge overnight, at least 12 hours, to soften for the best texture. This step is called maturing.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 12g||15%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||20%|
|Total Carbohydrate 40g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 35g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||5%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|