Nutella Macarons – A classic chewy french cookie made with chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella).
A few weeks ago, you might remember that I tried making French macarons for the first time. Well, it didn’t go exactly as planned. They tasted amazing, but they just didn’t look like traditional french macarons.
I spent so much time researching proper macaron technique so I was sure that I could get these right. Regardless of my planning, the tops of the macarons were cracked and bumpy and looked more like brownies.
It was a humbling experience for sure. It’s been a while since I’ve messed up a recipe this bad. But I was determined to get these right! When I saw that my local Sur La Table was offering macaron classes, I jumped at the chance to learn proper technique in person.
The trickiest part of the macaron process is mixing the dry and wet ingredients together. If you under mix the ingredients, the macarons are too dry and will crack because they have too much air. If you over mix them, you get really dense, chewy macarons (this is what I did the first time). I thought that if I saw what the batter was supposed to look like in person, I would finally get them right on my own.
I must say…I learned so much! I soaked up everything the chef had to say and asked questions during every step. And she even gave me tips on what tools I need to upgrade to make sure my macarons turned out perfect. Here are a few things I used that really helped on the second attempt:
- A macaron template with smaller macarons. The template I used last time had macarons that were a little too big so I only got like 15 macarons from the batter. The chef recommended this template instead.
- Really good baking sheets. I’ve had the same old baking sheets for as long as I can remember. They are super thin and wayyy too dark. So a baking sheet upgrade was definitely something I’ve been thinking about lately. The chef said that the thin baking sheets could be causing the shells to get too hot and crack. That’s all I needed to hear to push me to get new baking sheets. I decided on these because they are super heavy material and hold an even temperature.
- Oven thermometer. The chef said my macarons could have cracked because of the oven temperature. If it’s too hot, that will cause the macarons to release too much steam and crack. The only way to know what the true temperature is for my oven is to buy an over thermometer. So I did. This is the one I bought since I can just hang it from the top rack. Turns out, my oven is the correct temperature, but it’s good to have that cleared up now.
- A smaller piping tip. I realized that the macarons I made before were so big because the piping tip I bought was too big. So I bought one half the size based on the recommendation from the chef.
With all these new tools in hand and the knowledge I gained from the class, I felt much more confident to tackle these macarons a second time. But what flavor was I going to make? I asked my readers and you guys picked…. Nutella macarons!
Guys!!! They look 1000000x better this time. I swear I almost cried when I took them out of the over. No cracks!
And they tasted pretty great too! I could tell that they were a little drier than they were supposed to be, which means that I didn’t mix them enough. Now I know what to focus on for the next attempt.
In addition to the tips I gave you on the right tools to use, here are some tips that I learned about technique:
- It is super important to age your egg whites before you make the meringue. This means that you let the egg whites sit at room temperature for 24-48 hours. This will help the meringue get to the consistency you need.
- Speaking of consistency of the the meringue, you need to whip until you get stiff, hard peaks. I made the mistake of stopping when I got medium peaks. Here’s the difference:
- When pipping the batter into circles, hold the tip in the center of the circle and pipe straight down, not in a circle. I piped in a circle before and it made the macarons too big and uneven. If you pipe from the middle, the batter will naturally spread to the exterior and form a circle. Let the piping tip work for you.
- After you finish piping all the circles, slam the baking sheet on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles. You’ll see air bubbles come to the surface. Use a toothpick to pop these air bubbles. Don’t spend too much time doing this, though (only about 5 minutes). The batter will start drying so if you poke too many holes when the batter is dry, they will stay there and you’ll have holes all over your shells.
- Before you start piping the filling onto the macaron shells, make sure you match up the shells so they have an equal counter part. As much as you try, you probably won’t have all shells the exact same size. So before you start piping, you need to match each shell with an equally-sized shell. Otherwise, you’ll be scrambling to find a matching shell after you’ve already piped and that’s no fun.
Okay, I think you’ve got everything you need to make these macarons go perfectly! Go ahead and give them a try. I have faith that you can do this. If you run into any issues, leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help you out. Good luck!!
Here are all the kitchen tools and serveware that I used in this post. For each item that is sold, I receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting the brands that support CPA!
Recipe (adapted from Sur La Table):
- 6.7 ounces powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 4 ounces almond flour
- 4 ounces egg whites (about 4 large egg whites)
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
- 1 cup Nutella
- Prepare two baking sheets by placing two macaron templates on each sheet. You can print the templates above. Place parchment paper over the templates. Set baking sheets aside.
- Place oven rack in the lower half of the oven, but not all the way to the bottom. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and almond flour to the bowl of a food processor. Process the ingredients for about 30 seconds so that the mixture is super fine.
- Sieve the flour and sugar mixture three times. Set mixture aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and cream of tartar and begin to beat on medium-high until it begins to foam. Once it starts to get foamy, begin to slowly sprinkle the granulated sugar into the egg whites until it's all been incorporated. Increase the speed to high to whip the meringue into stiff peaks. The meringue should have the consistency of shaving cream, NOT soft serve.
- Once the meringue is done, add one-third of the sifted flour mixture to the meringue and fold with a spatula. Do this step very carefully and slowly, cutting the mixture down the middle and swooping around. Once it's incorporated, add a second-third and gently fold in. Then, add the final third. Mix just until it's incorporated. Do not over mix. The consistency should be like slow-moving lava. To check for consistency, the batter should flow from your spatula like thick lava and hold a ribbon for a couple seconds. If it falls into clumps and doesn't fall slowly, it is not mixed enough. Keep mixing slowly so that the batter deflates a bit and the proper consistency is reached.
- Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a smooth, round 1/2 inch tip. Holding the bag in two hands directly over the parchment, pipe a small amount of batter into the first circle stencil. Stop pipping right as the batter reaches the edge of the circle. The batter will spread so don't add too much. Move on to the other circles until all the batter is gone. When you get to the end of the batter, a lot of it will stick to the bag. To push it down, use the edge of a bench scrapper.
- After you've pipped all the circles, smack the baking sheets on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles. Use a toothpick to pop all the air bubbles. If you don't do this step, the air bubbles will release steam while baking and crack the shells.
- Let them sit to dry out until the tops are smooth to the touch, about 30 minutes. They are done when you rub your finger over the top and your finger doesn't stick.
- Bake macarons in preheated oven, one sheet at a time for 14-16 minutes. Make sure to rotate the sheet halfway through, for even baking. Remove from oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring parchment sheet to a wire rack to finish cooling.
- While macarons cool, add Nutella to a piping bag without a tip.
- Lay half of the macarons flat side up on a baking sheet. Pipe a small cherry-sized amount of Nutella in the center of one shell. Top with the other shell and gently press just enough to push the filling out to the edges. Do this for all the macaron shells until done.
- Once filled, macarons can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.