Smart Cookie French Macarons
Photo by Allrecipes

Ooh la la!

This is the year you learn how to make the delicate almond flour and egg white cookies called French macarons (mah-kah-ROH) — not to be confused with the dense coconut cookies called macaroons (rhymes with racoons). Originating in Venice but introduced to France by Catherine de Medici, French macarons eventually evolved from single unfilled cookies into the light and airy, melt-in-your-mouth sandwich cookies we know and crave in specialty bakeries today.

MasterChef alum, Elise Mayfield — aka Smart Cookie — demystifies the making of French macarons with a helpful video to guide you every step of the way. Yes, it's a multi-step process, but the results are magnifique!

Get the recipe: Best French Macarons

Best French Macarons
Photo by Smart Cookie

"Magic happens when sugar, almond flour, and airy egg whites come together in perfect harmony to form the delicate disks the French call macarons. Follow this step-by-step guide, and what goes on in those patisseries will no longer be a mystery! Store macarons in an airtight container for up to 1 week." — Smart Cookie

Smart Cookie's Top Tips:

1. Why take the extra step of pulsing ground almond flour in your food processor? Because as finely ground as it may be when you bought it, it might not be fine enough for this recipe.

2. To make the meringue, your egg whites should be at room temperature. If you forgot to take your eggs out of the fridge, no worries. Just immerse whole eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes, then separate the yolks from the whites.

3. When you're beating the egg white mixture, check frequently to see if it's holding the right kind of peak. To do this, lift the beater out of the bowl and see if the peak in the bowl bends over slightly without completely collapsing back into itself. That's the signal that you're done. It's always better to check frequently rather than overbeat your egg whites.

4. You're definitely going to want to watch how Smart Cookie folds together the almond flour mixture and the egg white mixture, and how she knows when she's stirred enough to achieve the right texture. It's hard to describe in words, so watch the video.

5. Smart Cookie uses a non-stick baking sheet with macaron circles stenciled on them so the cookies come out uniformly sized.

6. Let the piped cookie batter sit out for 30 to 40 minutes so the tops dry out BEFORE you pop them into the oven.

7. Definitely use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is at a precise 300 degrees F.

Cook's note: This recipe calls for superfine sugar (aka castor sugar or quick dissolve sugar). If you can't find it, you can make it. Here's how: Measure 1/4 cup regular granulated sugar plus 1 extra teaspoon into your clean food processor. Process for a couple of minutes until the sugar feels like very fine grains of powdery sand. Measure 1/4 cup of the processed sugar and continue with the recipe.

Watch the video to see it all come together: