French Macaroons

(recipe, Claire Clark)

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These classic, delicate French cookies have nothing in common with the more familiar coconut macaroons.


    1. 4½ oz. ground almonds
    2. 8 oz. icing sugar (powdered or confectioners' sugar)
    3. 4 medium egg whites
    4. Pinch of cream of tartar
    5. 1 oz. caster sugar (superfine sugar)
    6. 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder (for chocolate-flavored macaroons)
    7. Zest of ½ lemon (for lemon-flavored macaroons)
    8. Pastry bag for piping
    1. Chocolate Ganache (for chocolate-flavored macaroons)
    2. Lemon Curd (for lemon-flavored macaroons)


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together onto a piece of baking parchment, then sift again. (If you are making chocolate macaroons, sift the cocoa powder with the ground almonds and icing sugar.)
    2. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they are just foamy, then add the cream of tartar and whisk to soft peaks. Reduce the speed and add the caster sugar, then return to a high speed and whisk until the meringue is firm. (If making lemon macaroons, add the lemon zest by hand.) Using a large metal spoon, fold in the dry ingredients. The mix should be smooth and shiny.
    3. Using a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch nozzle, pipe the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. The macaroons should be about ¾ inch in diameter, with 1 inch between each one. Tap the tray from underneath to flatten the mixture slightly.
    4. Leave the macaroons for 15 minutes to form a skin, then bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, with the oven door very slightly ajar to let the steam escape. They should rise from the bases a little and be crisp and firm on top.
    5. As soon as you remove them from the oven, run a little cold water between the baking parchment and the baking tray. This will make it easier to remove the macaroons from the paper. Allow 2 or 3 minutes for the cookies to cool before lifting them off the baking parchment to cool on racks.
    6. Leave until completely cold, then spread a small amount of filling on the bottom of a cookie. Stick the base of a second cookie to the exposed filling, so that you have a little sandwich cookie. Place the finished macaroon on a clean piece of baking parchment. Repeat until all the cookies have been combined into sandwiches.
    7. The finished macaroons are fragile, but will keep for up to three months in a plastic container in the freezer, layered carefully between sheets of baking parchment.