Indulgence is often found in the simplest of pleasures, and in the world of desserts, there's nothing quite as exquisite as the naturally gluten-free treasures known as Vanilla Macarons. These petite, almond-infused delights feature a crisp, chewy, vanilla-scented shell cradling a luxurious vanilla white chocolate ganache for a treat that’s both elegant and adorable.
Picture a pristinely smooth, perfectly round macaron, two fragile shells that give way to a soft, chewy interior and creamy filling. These dainty delights are a testament to the artistry of French patisserie, boasting a taste that lures you in like a sweet siren's song.
The outer shell, crisp as autumn leaves underfoot, gives way to a tender interior that teases the boundaries between cookie and confection. It's as if you're savoring the sweet, sweet surrender of a marshmallow cloud. The pièce de résistance is a delectable filling like buttercream or ganache, which works to balance the macaron's sweet subtlety with luscious richness.
And, while I love floral creations like my rose dark chocolate macarons, boozy bites like my port wine ganache macarons, and fruity delights like my yuzu raspberry macarons, there's something undeniably delightful about the elegant complexity of these vanilla bean macarons.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Vanilla Macaron Recipe
If you’re still on the fence about trying your hand at this French vanilla macarons recipe, you should know that the resulting treats are:
- Rich & Inviting - Imagine the rich aroma of Madagascar vanilla captured in each delicate vanilla macaron shell. A whisper of warm sweetness gently caresses your palate, followed by the rich and velvety embrace of a white chocolate ganache that melts like a love letter written in cacao butter. In short, each bite of a vanilla bean macaron is a moment of pure bliss.
- Naturally Gluten-Free - While I’m all for finding allergen-friendly fixes for traditional recipes (e.g. swapping in gluten-free all-purpose flour for regular in my edible sugar cookie dough), the scientific nature of baking often means you’ll need to do a bit of experimentation to find a perfect substitute. Rest assured that this recipe for vanilla macarons needs no tinkering — it’s perfectly celiac-friendly just the way it is written.
- Made With Only 10 Simple Ingredients - And they’re all easy to find!
For the Vanilla Macaron Shells, you’ll need:
- Granulated Sugar - Plain white sugar has a neutral flavor-profile and neutral pH, making it ideal for achieving smooth, crackly-chewy meringue shells.
- Room Temperature Egg Whites - In total, you’ll need about 3 egg whites. (If you’re looking to use up the yolks, try making a batch of my Meyer Lemon Curd or Hollandaise Sauce!)
- Vanilla Powder - Optional! While macaron shells are typically not given extra flavoring, adding a bit of vanilla essence is lovely here.
- Almond Flour - In order to achieve perfectly smooth, shiny tops on your meringues, make sure you’re reaching for blanched, extra fine almond flour, NOT coarse almond meal.
- Confectioner’s Sugar - Also known as “Powdered Sugar” or “Icing Sugar,” this blend of starch and sugar is essential for stabilizing the meringue.
For the White Chocolate Vanilla Ganache, you’ll also need:
- Heavy Cream - For creating a lusciously creamy-dreamy ganache. Feel free to use the vegan alternative of your choosing.
- Vanilla Bean - For imparting rich vanilla flavor in the ganache. If you don’t have a whole vanilla bean, you’re welcome to use 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, vanilla paste, or vanilla powder.
- Glucose - For creating a shiny, glossy consistency in your vanilla ganache. You’re also welcome to use light corn syrup or the invert sugar of your choice.
- White Chocolate - Use roughly chopped bar chocolate instead of white baking chips for the best results. Also, make sure you’re reaching for a brand that lists cocoa butter among the first ingredients.
- Unsalted Butter - I prefer unsalted here, but you can use salted if you don’t mind a touch of salty-sweetness. You’re also welcome to use a dairy-free version if you need!
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
- Dairy-Free - The macarons are already dairy-free, so we just need to worry about filling the vanilla macarons. Simply swap in the vegan whipping cream and butter alternative of your choice to keep lactose from crashing your dessert party.
- Swap your filling. Using vanilla buttercream for macarons instead of vanilla ganache is an easy way to switch things up. Of course, you’re not limited to vanilla! But if you swap in an alternative, they’ll no longer be pure vanilla French macarons.
- Adapt to your event. Add different shades of gel coloring, dab on delicate bits of edible gold foil, or paint beautiful brushstrokes across the surface to make your macarons match whatever theme you’re working with.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
🛠️ Key Equipment
- Precision Tools: Achieving the perfect macaron starts with accurate measurements. A kitchen scale is indispensable, and an oven thermometer ensures the right temperature for those delicate cookies. Don't forget the candy thermometer for making sugar syrup or Italian meringue!
- Mixing Essentials: Use a clean bowl with the whisk attachment for your hand mixer or stand mixer. This ensures your meringue—whether you're using the French meringue method or the Swiss meringue technique—reaches soft peaks or stiff meringue. Remember, achieving glossy meringue is essential for the perfect macaron!
- Piping Gear: A pastry bag fitted with a round tip is your best friend when it's time to pipe batter onto a silicone mat or piece of parchment paper. This ensures those classic French macarons have a smooth macaron shell and the iconic perfect feet. A double boiler and a silicone spatula come in handy for making that creamy vanilla bean ganache or French buttercream.
📖 How to Make Vanilla Macarons: Step-by-Step Instructions
These deeply luscious macarons can be a little tricky to make for the first time, but these detailed steps for the french method will easily guide you to macaron success:
Step 1: Make the meringue & sift dry ingredients. Whisk the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer at medium speed in a large bowl. Slowly add the white sugar when it starts to foam. Keep whisking until stiff peaks form and mix in your desired food coloring. Meanwhile, pulse the dry ingredients in a food processor and sift into a medium bowl.
Step 2: Macaraonage! Pour your sifted dry ingredient mixture into the bowl with the meringue and slowly fold the two together. The batter should be thin, drippy, and slide easily off of the rubber spatula. Overmixed macaron batter is impossible to salvage, so don’t fuss with it too much.
Step 3: Pipe the batter & rest. Transfer the batter to a piping bag and pipe it into circle shapes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space in between each. Tap the baking sheet a few times to pop any air bubbles or use a toothpick. Allow the shells to set for about 30 minutes or until they feel dry to the touch.
Step 4: Bake and cool. Bake the meringues in a 310ºF oven for 9 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for 2 minutes more. Your shells are done when they’re dried out and firm. Let the shells cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper, and finding each matching half.
Step 6: Assemble, chill, and enjoy! Pipe a nickel size amount of filling onto each of the bottom macaron shells. Top each one with a top shell and place the assembled macarons in the fridge overnight. Then, enjoy the next day!
👩🏻🍳 Expert baking tips
- Make sure your butter is room temperature. Room temperature butter blends seamlessly with the melted white chocolate, creating a luxurious and creamy ganache. When the butter is too cold, it can form lumps in the ganache, leading to an uneven texture.
- Resist the temptation to overfill the macaron shells, which can lead to messy presentation, or, worse, issues with structural integrity.
- Be gentle when folding the dry ingredients into the meringue. Overmixing can lead to flat macarons. Aim for a "lava-like" consistency where the batter flows slowly off your spatula.
- Use a template or macaron mat to ensure consistent sizing when piping the macaron shells. This helps create uniform pairs for sandwiching later.
- Allow the piped macaron shells to rest before baking. This resting period allows the shells to develop a thin, dry skin on the surface, which helps them rise evenly and form the characteristic "feet" during baking.
- Patience is a virtue. Making macarons can be challenging, especially for beginners. Don't be discouraged by a less-than-perfect first batch. Practice makes perfect!
💭 Recipe FAQs
Yep! In terms of texture and flavor optimization, it's actually ideal to let your finished macarons rest in the refrigerator overnight before indulging. If you can resist the temptation, practice patience.
When storing filled macarons in the fridge, ensure they are placed in an airtight container and aim to consume them within a span of three days to maintain their peak freshness.
Macaron shells or completed macarons can be preserved in the freezer within an airtight container for up to a month without compromising their delectable freshness! To enjoy them, simply remove the frozen macarons from the freezer and allow them to rest for 10-15 minutes before indulging and/or filling.
You can indeed add vanilla *flavor* to macarons, but due to the precise nature of making macarons, it's important to be mindful of the moisture content. Liquid vanilla extract, while flavorful, contains water and can potentially affect the texture and consistency of your macaron shells.
For the best results in maintaining the delicate balance of moisture, it's recommended to opt for alternative forms of vanilla flavoring. Vanilla powder or powdered vanilla bean are excellent choices as they impart the rich, warm aroma of vanilla without introducing excess moisture. By using these dry forms of vanilla, you can enhance the flavor profile of your macarons while ensuring that their texture and structure remain just as they should—perfectly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
If you have more questions about making macarons in general, head over to my Foolproof Guide To Making French Macarons!
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- 76 g (⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon ) Granulated Sugar
- 90 ml (About 3 egg whites) Room Temperature Egg Whites
- 80 g (¾ Cup + 1 Tbsp) Almond Flour, Blanched
- 150 g (1 ¼ Cup ) Confection’s Sugar, Powdered Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Powder, optional
Vanilla Bean White Chocolate Ganache
- 50 g (¼ cup) Heavy Cream
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 16 g (¾ tablespoon) Glucose syrup, or corn syrup
- 110 g (¾ Cup) White chocolate, Roughly Chopped
- 12 g (1 tablespoon) Room Temperature unsalted butter
- Line each baking sheet with your prepared parchment templates and prepare your piping bags along with your piping tips. I like to use a small, round piping tips for piping.
- Pour your egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and start whisking on medium speed. Once they start to foam, slowly add your sugar and bring up your speed to medium for about three to four minutes. Your meringue is complete when it holds stiff peaks!76 g Granulated Sugar, 90 ml Room Temperature Egg Whites
- While your meringue is whisking away, grind together your measured powdered sugar, vanilla powder and almond flour using a food processor for one minute. Sift these dry ingredients into a large bowl with a fine sieve and set aside.80 g Almond Flour, 150 g Confection’s Sugar, 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Powder
- Now it’s time for the ever so important Macaronage! This is the act of mixing your dry ingredients into your french meringue and folding these ingredients enough to allow for the perfect desired consistency. To start, pour your dry mixture onto the meringue and slowly start to fold with a spatula. While rotating the bowl, continue to fold ingredients together. Press mixture on the side of your bowl until the batter flows off your spatula rather slowly and smoothly. You should see that the batter will drip off the spatula back into the bowl, and rest on top for a moment. Then, the batter from your spatula will slowly sink back into the mixture. One too many folds and your batter could be over mixed leading to it being impossible to work with, so be careful not to overmix!
- Pour your macaron batter into your prepared piping bag and pipe in circles onto your templated parchment paper. In order to get rid of any air bubbles within your piped shells and to even out your tops, tap your baking sheet firmly on a flat surface. You can always use a toothpick to gently pop any extra air bubbles that you see hovering on top of your shells.
- Allow the shells to rest for approximately 30 minutes. Once the top of your shells are dry to the touch they are ready to bake!
- Place your macarons in your oven that has been preheated to 310 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 9 minutes, then rotate the baking tray and bake for an additional 2 minutes. This will help with any uneven baking - these white macarons tend to brown quickly if kept in the oven too long, so this rotation helps to prevent excess coloring!
- You will know that your macarons are ready to remove from the oven when you gently touch the upper shell, and it barely moves, while the developed foot of the macaron stays set to the parchment paper. Remove from the oven to cool completely before removing shells from the parchment paper.
Vanilla Bean White Chocolate Ganache
- Add cream and split vanilla bean to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat, cover and allow to infuse for a half hour.50 g Heavy Cream, 1 Vanilla Bean, 16 g Glucose syrup
- Gently reheat the infused cream - then remove the vanilla pods and pour the hot vanilla cream over the white chocolate. Stir to combine as the warm cream starts to melt the chocolate. If the white chocolate has a hard time melting, you can always zap the mixture int he microwave for burst of 10 seconds, stirring between sessions.110 g White chocolate
- Add the butter into your warm chocolate mixture and, using an immersion blender or spatula, blend ganache until the butter has fully incorporated and your mixture is smooth. Allow the chocolate ganache to cool completely before assembly.12 g Room Temperature unsalted butter
- Once cooled, the shells will peel easily off of your parchment paper. Find each shell's matching half and pipe a circle of ganache into the middle. Finally, top with the matching half.
- Mise en place - Macarons are time-sensitive! Prepare your mise en place (meaning to set up your working space in preparation for an activity) before you get started so your ingredients and equipment are ready to go.
- Use a piping template - A foolproof way of making perfect macaron shells every time is to trace identical 1-inch diameter circles onto the parchment paper to use as your piping template.
- Use an oven thermometer - Baking the shells at the right temperature is important, so I highly recommend using an oven thermometer.
- Weigh the ingredients - While macarons only use 4 ingredients, if one isn’t measured correctly, your odds of macaron success are considerably lower. I highly recommend investing in a kitchen scale so everything is precise!
- Storing your macarons - Technically, allowing your completed macarons to sit overnight in the fridge allows for the best texture for consuming! If you have the patience, place your macarons in the fridge overnight and enjoy the following day. Macaron shells can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for a month and still taste as good as new! Take the frozen macarons out of the freezer and let them sit for 10-15 minutes before enjoying, In the fridge, filled macarons should be stored in an airtight container for no more than 3 days.
- Practice makes perfect - It’s no secret that making macarons can be tricky. Just keep practicing and experimenting with different macaron flavors, and you’ll be a pro in no time!