Strawberry & Vanilla Macarons (with a Matcha variation)

My relationship with macarons I guess you could call it love/hate. I first made macarons on a whim using a recipe from the BBC website, I believe it was Lorraine Pascal's. They just look so dainty and pretty! Prior to this I had googled the life out of the process of making them, which method was best- Italian? French? Swiss? And after reading a lot of horror stories, admittedly I was a bit...concerned. How hard could it be?

I'm guessing it was beginners luck, because they came out perfect! My piping was shoddy but they had feet, a key feature of a macaron and I was happy enough. Feeling invincible I tried again. Still ok! Then I tried another recipe. Hmm some explosions. Then another try. OHMYGODWHATHAVEIDONE!!! No feet/ exploding shells/ colossal amount of wastage. I must have gained several pounds at least from eating the rejects. I vowed never to make macarons again. But every so often I stumble across recipes claiming they're 'fool proof' or have received rave reviews and I decided to give it another go. The recipe below is now my go to recipe and it hasn't failed me yet :-)

I must admit- I've never really been a big fan of macarons and I'm still not really. Simply because they're just so sweet. (Probably because I eat about half a dozen a go...)  Give me a piece of cake any day! Now I'm actually warming up to macarons- I usually just tweak the recipes so there is, for example, a salty/sweet combo or a fruity element to help take the edge off the sweet shells. The flavours are practically endless!

A macaron is basically two 'cookie' discs, made traditionally using ground almonds and a meringue, whether it be Italian (egg whites cooked by pouring boiling hot sugar syrup in during whipping), French (sugar and egg whites whipped together to form peaks) or Swiss (sugar and egg whites heated over a bain marie until dissolved then whipped.)

This recipe I'm sharing uses the French meringue method and is adapted from Stella of Brave Tart blog. For all you macaron noobs out there- this blog is an excellent starting point. Check out the macaron myths first.

Yields around 32-38 shells, 16-19 small macarons

Macaron Shells
72g Egg Whites (I use Two Chicks liquid egg whites)*
58g Ground almonds**
115g Icing Sugar
36g Caster Sugar
6g Freeze dried Strawberry pieces***
Pink/red gel paste food colouring (liquid food colouring will not be strong enough)


  1. Prepare and line two baking trays with baking parchment paper. On each sheet use a circle template (or any other round object measuring about 2-2.5" diameter) and trace out guide circles. Flip the sheet over, with circle side down

  2. Prepare a pastry bag with a plain round nozzle (I use a 1cm size)
  3. Place the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and blitz together, then sift into a bowl
  4. Grind the freeze dried strawberries to a fine powder and sieve. Mix well into the almonds/icing sugar mixture

  5. Make the meringue: In a clean bowl, and I mean clean (free from any traces of grease or water- I use lemon juice to wipe down the inside of the bowl) whisk the egg whites and sugar together using an electric handwhisk on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes (handwhisk works better than a stand mixer in this instance, as this is a halved recipe)
  6. Whisk the egg whites for another 1 1/2 minutes on high speed. At this point the meringue should be lovely and thick, with stiff peaks
  7. Add the tiniest blob of food colouring paste and whisk on the highest speed for a final 30secs
  8. Add the dry ingredients all at once into the meringue and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Use a folding motion to incorporate the dry ingredients and a rubbing/smearing motion to deflate the meringue
  9. Keep folding the mixture until it resembles molten lava. Be careful not to undermix (like I have here!) or overmix- which will look like a runny pancake batter like mixture. The macaron batter when lifted from the spatula should run off in a thick ribbon, thick enough to mound up on itself but melt back down in 20-30 secs
  10. Transfer the batter to the piping bag on pipe onto the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet
  11. After piping, take the tray and tap hard on the work surface, rotate the tray and tap hard again to dislodge any large air bubbles trapped in the batter
  12. Leave the macarons to dry for 20-30mins, or until your finger doesn't stick when you lightly touch the tops
  13. Preheat the oven to 140°C. Bake each tray of macarons separately for around 16-18mins, or until you can cleanly peel the parchment away from the macaron
  14. Leave macarons to cool thoroughly, before piping one shell with buttercream and sandwiching it with another
  15. Store filled macarons in an air tight container in the fridge- leave to mature for  day or two for flavours and texture to develop 

Matcha Variation
For the matcha (Green Tea) variation- instead of using freeze dried strawberries, add 1/2 tbsp of matcha green tea powder in with the dry ingredients, and green food colouring with the meringue (optional)

Strawberry &Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling***
75g Egg Whites
125g Caster Sugar
170g Butter, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 tbsp strawberry jam

  1. Place egg whites and caster sugar in a squeaky clean heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir frequently with a whisk until the sugar has dissolved. (Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water, and keep whisking so the egg whites don't scramble!)
  2. Using an electric whisk, or pour into the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium high to stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to touch
  3. Add butter, approximately a tablespoon at a time to the meringue and whisk on low until each addition is incorporated. Turn the speed up to medium high and keep whisking until the butter and meringue mixture come together into a silky smooth buttercream
  4. Lastly add the vanilla extract and strawberry jam and voila! You have strawberry and vanilla buttercream! - for plain vanilla buttercream for the matcha macarons, just omit the jam.
  5. Buttercream can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week, or a month in the freezer
My macarons here are actually slightly undermixed, hence the slight dimple on top. Practise makes perfect- your first macaron attempt might be disastrous but don't let that dishearten you! They're tricky little buggers... Happy baking!


* I usually buy Two Chicks egg whites from larger Sainsbury's. (There's only so much lemon curd and custard I can make from unwanted egg yolks!)
** If you're feeling adventurous you could sub half the ground almonds for another ground nut. My faves are pistaschio and cashews.
*** If you have freeze dried strawberry powder then even better! But they do tend to be more expensive to buy.
**** You can use whatever buttercream (or fillings) you like, I prefer Swiss Meringue simply because it is so deliciously smooth, and it can withstand room temperatures better.
Fillings that are too wet such as fresh cream, tend to make the macarons very soggy. Macarons with these type of filling need to be eaten on the day. Which defeats the purpose of maturing them...


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Interior designer & part time baker. Lover of architecture, design and all things cute.