On Chocolate Macarons

Reader and macaron lover Susan writes:

Hi, Joe. I am obsessed with making macarons. I have tried hundreds of recipes and yours is the only recipe that consistently produces perfect macarons. I’m attempting to make chocolate macarons. When I add in cocoa powder, do I then reduce the amount of powdered sugar that your macaron recipe calls for so the ratio of almond flour and powdered sugar remain 3.8:7.0?

I’m very pleased that the recipe is working so well for you, Susan. That’s an excellent question about the cocoa powder…a little too good, actually. The main problem you’re going to have with cocoa powder is the fact that it’s so absorbent. It’s going to soak up a good deal of water from the egg whites. Currently the recipe calls for about


More Macaron Ideas

Pastry Chef Philana weighs in from London with these thoughts on coconut macarons: You can do the same for pistachio macarons (1/3 finely ground pistachios 2/3 ground almonds to combat the excess fat in the pistachios) Although Spanish or peeled pistachios are the only ones that look nice. If you use pistachios with skins – […]


How to Make Macarons

Foodies have come to revere the macaron the way Catholics do the communion wafer. Therefore it only seems fitting to open this tutorial with a prayer. As we prepare to undertake this mystery, let us acknowledge our failures and ask the Lord for pardon and strength. Amen.

Now then, to business. What I’m about to demonstrate is the classic French method for making macarons. There’s another method, called the “Italian” method because it employs Italian meringue. The French method, I think, is more straightforward if not as adaptable for incorporating exotic flavors.


What’s so hard about macarons II: cookies with feet

Ask that same experienced gourmand I referenced down below about what distinguishes the perfect macaron, and he’ll tell you that the most important feature of a good macaron is its “foot.” What are “feet” in the context of macarons? They’re the rough, uneven bits on either side of the filling, the bottoms of the disks […]


What’s so hard about macarons?

Another very good question, since a recipe for macarons — practically speaking — can be as few as four or five lines long. Strange then that most magazine features on macarons go on for pages as authors labor to explain the picayune nuances of getting a macaron just right. Some of them get downright mystical. […]


Troubleshooting Macarons

Macarons wouldn’t be macarons if they weren’t fussy things. Though they are at their core very simple little cookies, a variety of things can go wrong during their preparation, preventing them from achieving the Platonic ideal. Me, I don’t see why that’s the end of the world. However I confess that if mine didn’t come […]


Exactly how does a macaron qualify as a “petit four”?

That question from reader Phil H., and it’s good one. The thing is, in most of the English-speaking world, the term “petit four” refers to a very specific thing. That being a small, layered cake covered with poured fondant. Among the French, however, the term refers to an entire family of small sweets. The word […]


On the Origin of the Macaron

Macarons are such simple preparations, their origins are fairly easy to triangulate. Their principal ingredient is sugar, which means they date no further back than the Colonial period, the time when cane sugar was flowing in earnest from the West Indies. That supposition is bolstered by the fact that they are meringues, which means they […]