Have you been endlessly trying to create these textbook macarons? We feel you.
Making macarons is quite challenging seeing as so many things could go wrong. Macarons should be crispy from the outside and chewy from the inside. Most people can achieve that easily, but the real challenge is making them as sweet as you like.
Macarons are supposed to be sweet, but that doesn’t always come to the liking of everyone trying them, including yourself, since you’re reading this post.
We did the homework and found out how to make macarons less sweet, so stick around!
Making Macarons Less Sweet
Before we start, you should be aware that this article is about macarons, not macaroons. That extra ‘O’ is not a typo, it’s a different type of dessert.
That being said, there are two general methods to make macarons: the French method and the Italian Method.
The French method is a bit easier to learn, but it’s hard to master. The macarons in the French method are often not too sweet.
The Italian method is harder to learn, but once you get the hang of it, there’s not much left to master. Italian macarons are considerably sweeter and they look more appealing.
The secret to making macarons less sweet, quite simply, is to use the French method. It’s much easier to control the amount of sugar with that method.
We’ll discuss it step by step and end with a small section on what could go wrong and how to fix it.
For the sake of convenience, we won’t waste time listing the exact amount of ingredients since you mostly know them already.
Making Macarons Using the French Method
The main difference between the Italian and French methods is in making the meringue. In the Italian method, we use sugar syrup, while in the French method, we use powdered sugar.
Other than that, everything is pretty much the same. So let’s begin with learning how to make the cookie itself.
Making the Cookie
- Start by separating the egg whites of three eggs and let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Bring your food processor, and add 1¾ cup of sugar and 1 cup of almond flour. Then, add 1 tablespoon of salt, it will reduce the sweetness and improve the consistency of the meringue.
- Get back to your egg whites. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for further reduction of sweetness and increase of consistency. Use a whisk to beat the egg whites until they are no longer translucent.
- Bring ¼ cup of sugar and add it in increments to the egg whites. Keep mixing until you get stiff peaks. You could also use ⅛ cup of sugar to tame the sweetness just some more.
Note: Lift the whisk of the bowl and you’ll notice some extensions holding on to the whisk, if they fall right after they lose contact with the whisk, then you have weak peaks and you’re not done mixing.
- Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix for half a minute. Then, add your food coloring and keep mixing till you have a uniform color.
- Get the almond mixture you made in step 2, and add a third of it to your colored mixture.
- You’d want to macronage your mix until it’s a homogenous batter, then add the rest of your almond mix and macronage again until you get figure 8 (watch the video!)
- Fill a piping bag with your batter, then bring a tray with parchment paper on it, and pump your cookies.
- Once you’re done, you need to lift the tray an inch or two above the table and let it drop. This helps in eliminating air bubbles. After that, leave the tray for an hour for the batter to set.
- After the hour is over, bake your macarons at 300 °F for 15-17 minutes. Don’t open the oven to check on cookies or they will deflate.
- Once baking is over, let the cookies cool down for 30 minutes.
Preparing the Filling
There are many types of fillings that you could sandwich your macarons with. You can make them yourself, like buttercream and chocolate ganache, or you could choose ready-made products like jam.
At this point, it’s up to you to decide what sort of filler you would like. The sweetness of the filler plays a major role in the final taste of the macarons, so keep that in mind.
Here’s a quick tutorial on the classic vanilla buttercream filling:
- You’ll need 2 medium-sized unsalted butter sticks. Place them in a bowl and use a whisk to beat them for 3 minutes.
- Sift 3 cups of powdered sugar onto your butter and mix them properly.
- While mixing, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 2-4 tablespoons of heavy cream. Make sure to add the cream one spoon at a time and stop when you reach the (stiff peaks) consistency.
- Once done, simply add the mixture to a piping bag and pump them on cookies to make the macaron sandwich.
At this point, you could eat the macarons right away. But they will acquire much more flavor if you leave them for 24 hours.
What Could Go Wrong and How To Fix it
Now, let’s go ahead and see what could go wrong and how to stop that from happening.
The Macarons Are Still Too Sweet, What Do I Do?
You would want to add an extra half teaspoon of your salt to the egg mixture and the meringue before mixing them together.
Additionally, switch from the vanilla buttercream filler to less sweet ones like chocolate ganache or lemon curd.
How to Stop the Cookies From Cracking?
Cookies that crack means the meringue was under-mixed. Do not stop mixing until you can get that figure 8.
The Macarons Exploded While Baking!
The temperature was too hot. Lower the temperature by 20 °F.
How Do I Stop the Macarons From Sticking to the Parchment Paper?
Macarons that stick to the paper are not baked enough yet. Put them back in the oven for another minute or two and you’re good to go.
We Made Them Less Sweet!
This was our French macarons recipe for those of you who don’t like too much sugar on your taste buds.
The trick is to add some salt or reduce the sugar in both the egg white stage and the meringue stage.
Additionally, choosing a less sweet filler can further reduce the sweetness of your macarons.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it the first time, macarons are very challenging. However, once you get them right, they’ll be one of your favorites. Happy cooking!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.