Fun and Fancy Macarons 

To add an extra-festive holiday touch to macarons, pastry chef Paola Velez paints them with several different colors of edible shimmering luster dust. As for the filling? Pick from homemade dark chocolate ganache, or store-bought holiday jam, apple butter, or firm caramel sauce. The macarons can be made in advance and frozen; wait to fill until ready to serve.

Active Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
3 cookies


  • 1 ¼ cups (150 grams) powdered sugar

  • 1.50 cups (150 grams) fine almond meal (or sift regular almond meal until you have 1 1/2 cups/300 grams)

  • 7 tablespoons (110 grams) egg whites (from 4 large eggs), divided

  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

  • 2.50 tablespoons (38 grams) water

  • Store-bought jam, jelly, ganache, or caramel 

  • Luster dust, for decorating

  • Everclear or vodka, to dampening luster dust


  1. Make the macaron shells: Place 3 1/2 tablespoons egg whites in clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (Paola wipes down her bowl and whisk with lemon juice or distilled vinegar before making the meringue to be sure they are clean). Mix egg whites on low while making sugar syrup.

  2. Stir sugar and water in a small saucepan or skillet until mixture resembles wet sand. Cook over medium-high until syrup registers 244°F on a candy thermometer. Moving quickly, with stand mixer running on medium-high, slowly add syrup to egg whites, pouring near edge of bowl. Continue beating until egg whites are cool to touch and form a meringue with medium peaks, about 5 minutes.

  3. Working in 2 batches, sift powdered sugar and almond meal into a large bowl (discard any particles left in sifter). Add remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons egg whites to dry ingredients, and stir to completely blend and form a paste. Add 1/3 of meringue to almond meal paste and mix well to blend. Fold in half of remaining meringue just until blended. Add remaining meringue and gently fold until blended and batter forms ribbons.

  4. Place a piping bag fitted with a round (1A) piping tip into a large mason jar or pint glass (twist the bottom of the bag above the tip to prevent batter from escaping). Fill bag with macaron batter. Twist tip and pipe 1-inch rounds of batter onto 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets (about 24 macaron shells per baking sheet), twirling tip of piping bag over top of macaron to release. If tops of meringue discs are not smooth, run a damp fingertip over top to smooth out. Tap baking sheet on countertop once or twice to release any air bubbles. Let macaron shells sit until tops are dry to the touch, 15 to 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in top and bottom third of oven. Bake macaron shells until they are puffed, tops are firm, and bottoms are golden brown, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks. Repeat piping and baking with remaining batter on cooled baking sheets.

  6. To fill cookies, spread a small amount of jam, jelly, ganache, or caramel onto flat side of half of macaron shells. Top with remaining shells. In a small bowl, mix a small amount of luster dust with a few drops of alcohol to dissolve the luster dust. Using a small paintbrush, decorate tops of macarons with luster dust. Assembled cookies can be refrigerated up to 1 week, or frozen up to 1 month.

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