Pastry chef Paola Velez shares her recipe for Fun and Fancy Macarons in this episode of Pastries with Paola. 
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You can't go wrong with French macarons, and in this episode of Pastries with Paola, Paola teaches us to make this adorable dessert with an abundance of flavor, exciting textures, and the cutest painted decorations. While the French macaron can be intimidating, Paola's savvy tips and techniques make this an easy recipe, and you a macaron pro. 

"I'm going to show you how to make this super daunting technique and I'm going to simplify it so you can always make it at home," she says.  "It's gonna be a party favorite that's gonna blow everybody's minds." 

The more flavor, the better. Paola fills her macarons with jam, caramel, and her famously silky chocolate ganache (check out the Ultimate Chocolate Party Cake from season one for this easy recipe!). Each cookie sandwich gets a festive finishing touch of glittery luster dust – it's like an edible celebration! 

Read on to find out how to make Fun and Fancy Macarons and follow along with the video above. 

Make the Meringue: 

In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water and stir gently until the mixture looks like wet sand. Cook on medium heat until the sugar syrup reaches 244°F. Meanwhile, in the clean bowl of a stand mixer, add half of your egg whites and mix on low speed. With the mixer on medium-high, slowly and carefully stream in the hot sugar syrup into the frothy egg whites; beat the mixture until the meringue has medium peaks and is cool to the touch, about 5 minutes. 

Batter Time:  

Working in batches, sift the almond meal and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Pro tip!: Paola likes to use a bench scraper with a rounded edge to push the almond meal through the sieve. Make a paste by combining the dry ingredients with the remaining egg white; then, add in ⅓ of the meringue mixture and stir well to combine. Gently fold in the remaining meringue until the batter is smooth and forms ribbons as it falls off the spatula. 

Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a (1A) round tip. To avoid losing any batter, Paola twists the end of the piping bag near the tip to form a seal; then, to make filling the bag a breeze, she places the prepared bag inside a mason jar and folds the excess bag over the sides. Fill the piping bag with the batter, using the sides of the mason jar to scrape in every last bit! 

Form the Cookie Shells:

On a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, pipe 24 one-inch circles onto a baking sheet. Paola uses a macaron mat which has guidelines for making each shell the exact same size (you can also trace circles onto parchment for the same effect). To form even shells, hold the piping bag directly above where you want your cookie and use even pressure to fill each circle; "stop, cut, and turn" the piping bag to give your cookie a smooth surface. Repeat with the remaining batter. Using a lightly damp fingertip, tap out any ridges or bumps in your shells. Lastly, tap the base of the sheet tray onto your counter to burst any hidden air bubbles – you can use some force here! 

The piped macarons need to dry out before going in the oven; this ensures a crisp shell that will immediately lift as the steam releases in the cookie, giving the macaron its classic crispy and chewy texture and iconic look. Let the macarons rest for 15 to 30 minutes, until the top of the shell is dry to the touch. 

With racks on the top and bottom of the oven, bake the shells for 12-14 minutes in your preheated oven set to 350°F; rotate the pans halfway through baking to ensure even coloring! 

Holiday Macarons
Credit: Photo by Sarah Crowder / Food Styling by Drew Aichele

Fill 'em!:  

Match your cooled macaron shells to make sure each sandwich is made from two same-sized cookies. Use a small offset spatula or butter knife to fill your macarons with jam, jelly, ganache, or caramel. Top with the matching cookie and repeat with the remaining shells! Decorate with colored luster dust made into paint with a drop of alcohol. Enjoy your macarons right away or store them in your fridge or freezer! 

Get the Recipe: Fun and Fancy Macarons