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I just spent the past six weeks living in Europe (read about my London and Paris adventures)… and while I was there, I fell in love with Laduree’s French macarons. If you go to London or Paris (and I’ve since learned they are in major cities in the US too), you must try Laduree macarons. They are divine – and totally gluten-free. These are some of the most delicious, sweet, flaky and beautiful macarons you’ll ever eat or see.
The only issue I have with macarons is the cost. Each of these cookies will cost you – a lot. This entire box was about $40 (USD). That’s a lot of dough to spend for 15 small cookies!
So I had to temper my macaron cravings, a bit, because I would have went for broke. I knew that as soon as I got home (to the US), I would try my hand at making my own gluten-free macaron recipe.
Yes, Macarons are Gluten-Free!
You may not know by looking at these little cookies, but they are 100 percent gluten-free. French macarons are made from egg whites, sugar and almond flour. That’s it.
Unfortunately, a lot of processed macarons contain wheat. Why do bakers have to mess up a good thing?!? If you want to enjoy a macaron, you MUST read the ingredient label as many store-bought macarons contain wheat (made by disgraceful bakers, IMO, lol).
While the ingredients are simple enough and quite cheap too, these French macarons are such a fuss to make.
It took me many tries to get these right. My first batch spread in the oven, the second batch didn’t have the “feet” you commonly see on macarons, and my third batch burned on the bottom.
Getting the timing right in terms of mixing, settling time, and baking time is quite a science, but I think I’ve figured it out and I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with all of you.
How to Make a Gluten-Free Macaron
To get started on my gluten-free macaron recipe, I turned to YouTube for help. I found this great video produced by Martha Stewart, to help me get started. I used the initial recipe in the video, but found I needed to change the directions quite a bit to get the perfect gluten-free macaron recipe for me.
You, too, may find you need to change the cooking and mixing time yourself depending on where you live, the temperature of your home and oven, the season and the altitude.
I highly suggest following my detailed recipe instructions carefully. Each step will help to ensure you’re able to make the perfect gluten-free macaron recipe!
I had to bake up dozens upon dozens of these macarons to get them exactly right. Here are some of the common challenges I found:
The macarons spread: If the macarons spread, it might mean that you didn’t mix the ingredients well enough. Make sure you set your timer and mix for two minutes on medium, two minutes on medium-high and two minutes on high. Then, once you add the almond flour mixture, you need to gently fold the ingredients until you get the right consistency. You’ll get the hang of it! Just make sure to mix until the mixture ribbons off the spatula.
The macarons don’t have feet: If your macarons don’t have feet, it’s likely a mixing problem. See above for troubleshooting mixing issues.
The macarons crack on top: If your macarons crack on the top, it means you did not leave them on the baking sheet long enough to form a skin over them. Don’t skip this step. The skin will prevent the macarons from cracking on top.
The macarons have bumps on the top. After you pipe the batter, you must gently bang the cookie sheet 3-6 times against the counter. This removes air bubbles. Some people will also poke at stubborn air bubbles with a toothpick. I’m not that picky but if you’re a perfectionist, but all means poke away! Bumps can also happen if the almond flour + powdered sugar mixture is not processed long enough and properly sifted. You want a very fine flour to avoid any bumps.
The macarons stick to the pan. Make sure you use a silicon mat to bake the macarons (or parchment paper). Do not use foil or a greased cookie sheet as you must not add any fat to these cookies.
The macarons are brown on bottom. This is an issue I run into often. My macarons often brown when I used parchment paper, but they are more resilient to browning since I switched to a silicone baking mat (thanks to a tip from a follower on Instagram). You can also buy a silicone baking mat that has a macaron template on it, which will ensure your macarons are evenly sized. I wish I had this mat, but I’m too cheap to buy it just yet.
Also, the macarons can brown if overcooked even just by 30 seconds. So watch them carefully and adjust accordingly. Oven temperatures vary, and you may have to make adjustments based on your climate and altitude. These are fussy cookies that require detail and precision. Also consider lowering your oven temperature by 15 degrees if the macarons brown too quickly, and make sure your baking rack is in the middle of the oven.
The macarons are too crunchy. Macarons should be crunchy on top with a chewy inside (at least that is how I like them). If they are too crunchy, reduce either the oven temperature or bake for one minute less and see if that works.
The macarons aren’t colored. I run into this issue because I refuse to use artificial dyes – I will only use natural food coloring. I care less about the color and more about the taste and texture. But if you do care about the color, you may need to use regular food gel to get the desired color (vs. the natural food coloring I used). My macarons are only lightly colored because I use natural dyes, which don’t show well on these cookies despite the fact that I used quite a bit of red food coloring!
Gluten-Free Macaron Recipe
OK, you’ve been patient long enough. Here is the gluten-free macaron recipe you’ve been waiting for, complete with video instructions. (My 13-year-old son helped me make this video – didn’t he do a good job?)
I hope you’ll watch the video, print the gluten-free macaron recipe, and give it a go. You may need to try making this recipe 3-4 times until you get it right. Do not get frustrated! After a few tries, you’ll be making and enjoying gluten-free French macarons like a Parisian… and they won’t cost you a ton of money to make either!
Oh, and let me know how your gluten-free macaron recipe turns out by leaving a comment or tagging me on Instagram (@goodforyouglutenfree)!
Gluten-Free French Macarons Recipe
- 71 grams almond flour (I used Honeyville blanched almond flour)
- 117 grams powdered sugar (also known as confectioner's sugar)
- 2 large egg whites at room temperature
- 53 grams sugar
- 8-10 drops natural food coloring
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 315 degrees F.
Cover a large baking sheet with a silicone mat (parchment paper is okay too - but a silicone mat is preferable). Set aside.
Add almond flour and powdered sugar to a food processor and process for 30 seconds. Sift mixture through a strainer (discard any bits too large to pass through strainer, or reprocess mixture and sift again). Set aside.
Using a standing mixer, add egg whites and sugar to the mixing bowl and mix on medium for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, increase mixer to medium-high speed for another 2 minutes, and then switch the mixer to high for another 2 minutes (always set your timer). After mixing you should have a beautiful white mixture with stiff peaks.
Add food coloring and mix on low until desired color.
Add the almond flour mixture to the egg white mixture and gently fold until well combined. It will take you about a minute to fold everything together. You'll know the mixture is good when you can hold up the spatula and the mixture ribbons off it smoothly. It will take about 60-70 folds.
Add mixture to a piping bag with a 1" round tip.
Holding the piping bag upright, pipe the mixture to form small round circles. I usually count to 3 (1-2-3) as I pipe. The cookies are meant to be small (about 1-2" wide).
Once mixture is piped into small circles, gently bang the cookie sheet against the counter 3-4 times to remove any air bubbles.
Allow macarons to sit, untouched, for 20-25 minutes. The macarons will form a protective skin over them. You can gently touch the macarons after 20-25 minutes and if the macaron is not wet to the touch, you can bake them.
Bake for about 11 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet halfway through. Do NOT over bake.
Allow cookies to cool for 15 minutes before handling. Use a flat spatula to gently loosen any stuck cookies.
Allow cookies to fully cool before filling.
To prepare the chocolate ganache, heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once cream begins to bubble, lower heat to medium and add chocolate. Stir constantly. Once chocolate is melted, add butter and continue to stir until well combined. Remove from heat.
Allow mixture to cool in the fridge for 30+ minutes before piping. The mixture will harden over time and once it looks and spreads like frosting, it's ready.
Add ganache to a piping bag with a 1" tip and pipe ganache into the center of the bottom of one macaron, than place a second macaron on top of the ganache to form a sandwich.
Place macarons in the fridge for 1-2 hours before eating (this allows the ganache time to firm up). The macarons taste best after refrigeration overnight, so plan ahead.