Love it or hate it, either way, you can't avoid it. Valentines day is just around the corner. And what better way to show someone you love them by making them some beautiful macarons you can share together? Oooor, make them for yourself and eat the lot - no judgement here! Either way, you don't need to be in a relationship to enjoy the nice things in life. You do you.

For these beauties, you will need the following ingredients:

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
 300g icing sugar
 180g egg whites, room temperature
160g white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gel food colouring of your choice (optional)

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
100g egg whites, or 3 medium egg whites
150g white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
340g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gel food colouring of your choice (optional)

For the macaron shells

Begin by preparing your baking trays with either baking parchment or Silpat mats. I personally prefer baking parchment! You will need approximately 4 trays (or less if you intend on baking in batches). Place a template beneath your parchment/mat and set to one side. I have attached a template to the end of my printable recipe HERE.

Next, you will need to prepare your dry ingredients. Weigh the almond flour, followed by the icing sugar and sieve into a bowl. It's best to use a medium mesh sieve and discard any bits that don't fit through. (Some people like to blitz the almond flour and the icing sugar in a food processor first, but that's entirely up to you and how fine your almond flour is).

Now for the wet ingredients! Separate your eggs, being careful not to get any yolk in the whites and weigh. Place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer and turn it on to a low speed. When your egg whites begin to form lots of small bubbles, turn the speed up to high and wait until they become white and cloud-like.

You will now need to turn the speed down to medium while you add the granulated sugar. Do this slowly to make sure that all of the sugar gets incorporated. Once all the sugar has been added, turn the speed back up to high for approximately 5 minutes, or until the egg whites start to become glossy and form stiff peaks.

With the mixer still running, add your food gel and vanilla extract and mix for an extra minute or until fully incorporate. Be careful not to over-mix from now on.

Using a flat spatula, begin folding small amounts of the almond/icing sugar mixture into the meringue mixture. I usually add the dry ingredients in quarters or fifths, making sure each addition has been fully incorporated before adding the next bit. Once all of the dry ingredients have been fully mixed in, start the macaronage technique by pressing and spreading the batter against the side of the bowl to stretch it out. Continue this until you can form a figure 8 with the batter without breaking the stream - lava consistency.

Your batter is now ready to pipe! Prepare a piping bag with a round nozzle and scoop the batter into the bag. It's easier to do this if the bag is placed in a glass or something similar to keep it upright. Twist and seal the bag to prevent air getting in.

Pipe the batter onto your previously prepared baking trays using the template. Once a tray has been filled, remove the template and continue with the other trays until all the batter is gone or all your trays are full! *Tip - add a small amount of batter to the underside of the four corners of the baking parchment and stick to the tray. This prevents the parchment from moving. 

Next, you need to firmly tap the trays on your work surface to get rid of any trapped air bubbles. Do this as uniformly as possible to prevent your shells from changing shape.

Preheat your oven to 150˚c

They now need to be left to dry and develop a thin skin for approximately 15-45 minutes (depending on the humidity in your area/room). The best way to check if they are ready is to gently run a finger across the top of one shell. If your finger comes away clean and leaves no mark, they are ready for the oven!

Once the shells have their skin, it's time to place them in the oven for approximately 15 - 18 minutes (you will need to keep a close eye on them after the 15 minute mark as they can go from underdone to overdone in under a minute). At the halfway mark, it's best to rotate the tray in the oven to prevent uneven cooking. If you are unsure about whether or not they are done, gently place your finger on the top of the shell. If the pied "foot" moves at all, they are not ready.

When the shells are done, remove them from the oven and place onto cooling racks (still on the parchment and baking tray). Allow to cool completely before trying to separate the shell from the parchment paper. If there is any resistance, place the shells in the freezer for a few minutes, and that should free them from the paper easily. Set aside while you prepare the buttercream.

For the vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream

Begin by weighing out the sugar, egg whites, and salt and placing in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure that the water does not touch the base of the bowl.

Mixing constantly, use a candy thermometre to see when the mixture reaches a temperature of 70˚c. When it has reached this temperature, remove the mixture from the heat and carefully place the bowl in the stand mixer (fitted with a whisk attachment).

Whip the mixture on high until it becomes a bright white and can hold a medium peak. The bowl should be a lot cooler to the touch as well (approx. 10 minutes).

Start adding in the butter, cube by cube. Only add the next cube once the previous one has been fully incorporated. This process takes a bit of time and will begin to look curdled. Stick with it, trust me, it will soon thicken up! Once all the butter has been added, continue mixing for another 5 minutes.

Next, you need to add the vanilla extract and continue to whip the mixture for another 3 minutes. After that, you can add your food gel (optional) and mix how you please.

Your buttercream is now ready for the shells! Prepare your piping bag in the same way you did with the macaron batter and prepare your shells.


To assemble the macarons, pair your shells with another shell of similar size and shape. Pipe your buttercream onto one shell and sandwich together with its matching counterpart. 

How you pipe the buttercream is entirely up to each individual. You can also play around with different fillings - chocolate ganache, jam, flavoured buttercreams, etc. The options are endless!

You can also decorate the outsides of the macarons in any way you wish - gold lustre, chocolate, sprinkles, edible paint, etc, etc, etc. Just as long as you have fun with it.

*Tip - these macarons can be stored in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for a few months in an airtight container.

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentines Day - no matter what your plans are!