Lemon Macarons

These lemon macarons come with baggage. I've been told by my friend that I have to share the macaron disaster story, so here it is:

The last time I made macarons while at uni (third attempt) they completely failed and so that put me off them for a while. I knew that I would eventually have to try it again (and would keep trying until I could get them!!) so a couple weeks ago I invited my foodie friend over to bake a couple batches of macarons. We planned on making lemon macs and pistachio macs. Yum right? I studied recipes for the week leading up to it and made sure I had all the right equipment. I borrowed a digital scale (macaron-making is a serious science people) and food processor from my neighbour. My trusty foodie friend picked up all the needed ingredients and we were set to go with our recipes, outlined parchment paper and heaps of almond flour.

We made the lemon macarons batter first and all was going well until I began piping the blobs on the parchment paper. They spread out way too fast... uh oh. I over-folded the batter. Nice one Jen. I also came up with the brilliant idea of using liquid food colouring. Red flag - Only ever use powdered food colouring when making macarons because the extra liquid will mess up the meringue. We decided to bake them anyways but what we pulled out of the oven I don't think you can call macarons. Macaron batch #4 = fail.

With almond flour, pistachios, plenty of icing sugar and a grain of hope we decided to try again! Foodie friend started grinding the pistachios and the flour started to become clumpy... it was turning into pistachio butter! NOOO!! We salvaged what we had left of almond flour, made some pistachio butter sculptures, and whipped up a plain macaron batter. This time my friend counted 50 folds and the batter looked pretty good! As he piped he made huge blobs (unaware that they were supposed to be about half the size). They took a bit longer to bake because they were so big but they did end up with feet! They were cracked, odd-shaped and ... sadly they could not pass for macarons. Macaron batch #5 = fail.

A pretty disappointing baking party I must say. I was so upset with our 'macarons' that I held onto my neighbors kitchen equipment for a few extra days and vowed to create beautiful lemon macarons before returning it.

I bought new almond flour and studied some more recipes. I now knew everything NOT to do when making macarons so I knew this batch would go better. Watching a few macaron-making tutorials was the trick I think (I would advise newbie macaron makers to hit up youtube). I decided to use a basic macaron recipe from Tartelette because she's quite learned in this science. I used her measurements but added in some lemon zest. No food colouring this time! I ground my almond flour and icing sugar together and added it all at once to the egg whites. I counted 50 folds and immediately stopped. I piped little blobs onto circle traced parchment paper. I left the shells to harden for a full hour on the counter. I put them in the oven at 280F for 15 minutes. I switched on the oven light and sat down and watched my macs grow. I cannot describe to you my utter joy and excitement when I saw feet forming on my uniform macarons. I took them out of the oven and let me tell you... not one of them cracked! HALLUJAH! They looked great and had the right chewy texture.

Macaron batch #6 = success! Finally, after 3 fails I created a beautiful tray of lemon macarons to share with family and friends.

Don't the colours look beautiful and perfect for spring? I tried out two different buttercreams: a lemon and a strawberry. The lemon buttercream was definitely my favourite but I love the appearance of the bright pink squished between the white shells.

I know these are no Laduree macarons - the meringue sunk a tiny bit and they weren't all perfect circles but that is something I will just have to perfect with future batches. I am still very happy with how these lemon ones turned out. They have satisfied my macaron-making urges for now. I really want to make carrot cake macarons (wouldn't those be delicious?!) but I'm going to take a break from macarons for a while I think. I've got a list of other things I really want to make first! I'm dying to make donuts, and a few savoury dishes too.

Honestly I really wish I could just spend everyday experimenting with recipes but unfortunately instead I have to spend 6 days a week at work. And it's no where near a kitchen. Joy.

Lemon Macarons
adapted from Tartelette

90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr ground almonds
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Line your cooking trays with parchment paper and trace circles onto it that are 1.5 inches in diameter.
Put the powdered sugar and ground almonds in a food processor and pulse until everything is evenly combined and free of lumps.

In a large bowl beat the egg whites. When they start to look foamy start adding the granulated sugar, small spoonfuls at a time. Keep beating until you reach a glossy meringue that can hold its peak. Do not overbeat the meringue.
Add the lemon zest and ground almond and sugar mixture to the bowl. Begin folding everything quickly at first, and then slow down. Remember to make the folds carefully and gently. This process should take about 40-50 folds. At this point the batter should be able to slowly fall back on itself.

Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds onto the circle-traced parchment paper. Once you are finished, give each tray a couple smacks on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Leave the trays on the counter for 45 minutes - 1 hour so that the shells can harden (otherwise they will crack in the oven).

Preheat oven to 280F

Bake the shells for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them and be sure to turn the trays if some bake faster than others.

When you take them out of the oven immediately remove the parchment paper from the trays to prevent them from continuing to cook and let them cool on the counter.

Peel them off gently, if they stick a little it's okay - it means you didn't overbake them!

Store in an airtight container.

To fill the shells pipe your desired buttercream onto one shell and top with another.


  1. Hey Jen...
    I love these macarons...

    PS, love the new layout (it's more lively) and also the photos from your new camera?


  2. CONGRATS JEN!!!!!!!!! they look fabulous, and practice definitely makes perfect!! And guess what, my sis came home this week with a nice box of Laduree macarons! Either way, they are nowhere near as satisfying as making them yourself, so I'm glad they turned out well for you girl!