Macarons are iconic, both in taste and in appearance. They are small perfectly formed discs of meringue, with ruffled feet and a pastel hue. They are crispy, light and chewy all at the same time. With this in-depth guide, I show you how I bake perfect eggless macarons, using aquafaba (chickpea water). I have tested this recipe multiple times in my kitchen, and here I explain how to achieve macaron success in your kitchen too. I have listed all the ingredients and tools that you will need, as well as my top tips and troubleshooting advice.
Macarons are those chic pastel meringue discs, sandwiched with buttercream or chocolate ganache that you see displayed in the windows of chic Patissiers throughout France (and the rest of the world now too). Long associated with Paris and the famous macaron specialist Ladurée, Macarons are actually believed to have been invented by the Italians, brought to France by Catherine de’ Medici.
Macarons are essentially small meringues, and so they are traditionally made with egg whites, which prohibits those with an egg allergy or who are vegan from enjoying them (boo!). However, aquafaba can be used as a successful substitute for egg free meringues. Aquafaba is simply the liquid from a tin of chickpeas. The composition of aquafaba means that it is able to create a stable foam, very similar to that of egg whites. This article explains more about the science behind aquafaba in baking.
All of this means that we can indeed bake and enjoy delicious eggless macarons!
What do eggless macarons taste like?
In my opinion, eggless macarons are no different to regular macarons. They are light, sweet and delightful. Chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside and absolutely delicious. They even look identical to their egg based cousins! I can also testify that they do not taste like chickpeas!
How to fill eggless macarons
Fill your macarons with a thick filling that is easy to pipe like jam, buttercream or chocolate ganache. I like to fill mine with buttercream just like the one I piped on these eggless sugar cookies.
The language of macarons
You will hear see these words used in my recipe and others, but may be wondering what on earth they mean:
- Macaronage – The process of creating a smooth and flowing macaron batter, which will produce the final macaron shells
- Macaron feet – Yes your macaron should even have feet! These are the small ruffles at the bottom of a well baked macaron
Read my tips for more information on these two key terms.
Overview of ingredients
You will need the following 5 ingredients:
- Aquafaba – The main component of these eggless macarons is the eggless meringue. You will need 1 tin of chickpeas, and we will be using around 1/4 of the liquid from the tin
- Caster sugar – Finer than granulated sugar, the caster sugar will be whisked into the aquafaba, which will help make the macarons crispy. Its important to add it little by little so that the air stays in the foam
- Icing sugar – This helps to sweeten the eggless macarons, and is light enough that the batter will stay foamy
- Almond flour – Classic macarons use almond flour, which gives them a light nutty flavour. I use ground almonds, because I struggle to find almond flour other than in specialist shops. Ground almonds work well, as long as you sieve them properly before preparing the macaron batter. If you are baking for someone with an egg allergy, they may well be allergic to almonds too. There are recipes out there for nut free macarons. This recipe by Ann Reardon uses white chocolate instead of almonds. I have never tried it, but it looks like a good nut free alternative. If you attempt an egg free and nut free macaron then please let me know in the comments!
- Food colouring – Macarons are usually baked in pastel shades. Gel food colouring tends to be the strongest type of colouring, so you need less of it. I used 4 drops of this Dr Oetker bright pink gel food colouring.
It’s very important to measure the ingredients carefully. Baking macarons requires precision. A batter that is too sweet or too dry, will not produce the iconic macarons we want.
Essential tools for eggless macarons
As macarons are a little more technical than some other bakes, there are a few essential tools that will help you achieve perfect eggless macarons:
- Glass bowls – Clean equipment is essential for whipping up the aquafaba sufficiently. Glass bowls are perfect because you can ensure they are completely grease free before baking
- Electric weighing scale – Important for weighing out your ingredients with precision
- Sieve – It is essential to weigh your almond flour (or ground almonds) and icing sugar, to ensure that the macaron batter is free of lumps and your macaron shells are smooth. A wide one like this Tala one is usually faster
- Spatula – A rubber spatula is essential for carefully folding the batter without deflating it
- Electric mixer – Aquafaba requires a lot of whipping to form stiff peaks, it will take around 10 minutes with an electric mixer, and MUCH longer by hand
- Piping bag – I usually use these disposable piping bags
- Piping tip – A round piping tip, with an approximate 8mm opening is ideal for piping the batter and filling, like the Wilton 12 round tip
- Baking tray – A large flat baking tray is essential for macarons, ensuring an even distribution of heat
- Parchment paper – I use two sheets of parchment paper when baking macarons, to ensure the surface is grease free.
Tips for success
Trace circles onto parchment paper
It is quite tricky to pipe round shells, so before starting, I like to trace circles onto the parchment paper to use as a rough guide. Trace rounds that are 1.5″ in diameter. Pipe the macaron batter so that it’s within the circle.
Use 2 sheets of parchment paper
This is to ensure that the surface is completely grease free. A greasy surface may stop the macarons rising.
Weigh ingredients precisely
The batter needs to be a specific consistency so it’s important to weigh each ingredient on your electric scale.
Whip the aquafaba into stiff peaks
It will take around 10 minutes of whipping the aquafaba with an electric mixer before you reach stiff peaks.
Initially the aquafaba will be foamy, then it will reach soft peaks and finally it will reach stiff peaks. If you turn the bowl upside down, nothing should fall out of the bowl. At this stage, it is done.
Making the macaron batter even has its own term ‘macaronage’. It is essential to achieve the correct batter consistency. It is easy to under mix or over mix the batter. Fold the batter carefully and check the consistency constantly. When it is ready, the batter should be smooth and flowing like a thick syrup and it should fall fluidly off your spatula. Stop folding as soon as you reach this stage, otherwise your batter will be over mixed.
If the batter is too runny and is over mixed, the final macarons may not form feet and may spread in the oven.
If the batter is too dry and is under mixed, the final macarons may be hollow, and crunchy instead of chewy.
Correct macaronage will result in a smooth chewy macaron, and small ruffled feet at the bottom of each shell. Big bubbly feet may occur where the batter is too runny and gets pushed out. Instead the ruffled feet should only rise upwards.
Le Cordon Bleu provide more useful information on macaronage.
The images below show aquafaba after it has been whipped into stiff peaks, and the dry ingredients being folded into the wet ingredients.
Preparing the piping bag
The batter is quite runny and can get messy, so use a large plastic cup to hold your piping bag with the tip already attached. Spoon in all of the batter into the bag, lift the bag out and twist the end so the batter is secure. Some of the batter may have already leaked out into the cup because it’s so runny, which is normal.
Dry the macaron shells
Once the macaron shells have been piped, they need to be dried on the baking tray for 30 minutes before baking. The test is to touch one of the shells, and if it’s no longer tacky, the shells are ready to bake. They should almost have a ‘skin’ and your finger should be clean after touching them. If it’s a humid day, or if you are using the hob to cook other things, the skin may not form because of the moisture in the air. Try to bake these on a cool day.
The image below shows my macaron shells after they have dried. You may be able to see that they have lost their shine a little bit:
Bake at a low setting
I bake macarons at 100c because I have a particularly hot oven. Try baking yours at 140c if you have a standard oven.
Remove air bubbles
After you have piped the macaron shells, rap the baking tray on the counter to remove air bubbles. During the drying process, more bubbles may form. Use a toothpick to pop the bubbles. This is important because bubbles may cause cracks to form on the shells during baking.
Troubleshooting eggless macarons
Eggless macarons can be incredibly frustrating to perfect. Don’t worry, the issue is usually easy to correct!
Cracked macaron shells
This usually happens if your batter has been over mixed. Try adjusting the macaronage in your next batch, and ensure you stop mixing once the batter is smooth and flowing.
Cracked shells can also be the result of air bubbles in the piped macaron shells that have not popped. Remember to rap the tray of piped shells on the counter, and use a toothpick to pop the big bubbles.
Hollow macarons are usually the result of an under mixed macaron batter. Remember the batter needs to be flowing.
It could also be that the oven setting is too high. I have a very hot oven, and so I bake my macarons at 100c. Try playing around with your oven setting.
This usually happens when the macaron batter does not dry out sufficiently. This happens if:
a) Your batter is too wet because of over mixing or incorrect weighing of ingredients. Pay attention to the macaronage and meticulously weigh your ingredients
b) You didn’t allow the macaron shells to rest for at least 30 minutes. It’s important that the shells have a ‘skin’ on them before they are baked. The batter should not stick to your finger at all when you touch the piped shells.
Sometimes macarons have tall feet on one side and short feet on the other side. Don’t worry too much about this. It is usually due to hot spots in the oven. Next time, try rotating the baking tray halfway through baking.Print