French macarons (made with almond flour, and distinct from their coconut cousins, macaroons) require some practice and patience. But even if they're not perfect, they're always delicious—and gluten-free. This recipe calls for a simple orange buttercream filling, which can be adapted for a wide variety of flavor combinations.
Slideshow: Gluten-Free Desserts
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup almond flour
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Few drops of orange gel food coloring (optional)
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the Macarons
Preheat the oven to 325º.
Step 2 Make the Macarons
Pulse the confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift the mixture 2 times, discarding any remaining almond chunks.
Step 3 Make the Macarons
In a large mixing bowl or standing mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form. Slowly add the granulated sugar (and food coloring if using) and increase speed until stiff peaks form. Fold the sifted flour and powdered sugar mixture into the whites, until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Step 4 Make the Macarons
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheets. Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release any trapped air.
Step 5 Make the Macarons
Let this stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, then bake in oven, one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let the macarons cool on the sheet for two minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Step 6 Meanwhile, Make the Orange Buttercream
In a food processor or stand mixer, beat together the butter, confectioners' sugar, orange zest, orange juice and sea salt until smooth and creamy. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip.
Step 7 Meanwhile, Make the Orange Buttercream
To complete the macarons, pipe one teaspoon of buttercream filling onto one shell and top with another. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic and freeze for up to 3 months.
You can adjust the flavor of the macarons by incorporating different flavors into the buttercream frosting, such as lemon, raspberry or chocolate. In addition, you can adjust the color of the actual cookies by using different gel food colorings.
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