SPECTRUM NEWS VIDEO: Each week Barry Wygel heads out into the community to try his hand at your job. This week he takes on being a baker with professor Gail Sokol.

You can learn more about Gail Sokol including buying her book on her website.

Macarons (French Macaroons) Recipe:

*Makes about 60-65 macaroons or about 30-32 sandwiched cookies

1 1/3 cups blanched, sliced almonds

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 large egg whites, room temperature

Food coloring as desired

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  1. Cover two large sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almonds and confectioners’ sugar together and process until the almonds are finely ground. Scrape down the sides and around the bottom of the processor occasionally, using a rubber spatula.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whip attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until very foamy.  Add a few drops of food coloring as desired.  Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until the whites form stiff peaks.
  4. Transfer the egg whites to a large mixing bowl and pour the ground almonds over them. Using a rubber spatula, blend the mixture together. The mixture will be very stiff.
  5. Using a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch diameter plain round tip, pipe about 1-1 ½ inch diameter rounds onto the prepared sheet pans, spacing about 1 inch apart. Allow the macaron rounds to dry for about one hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 300° F. Bake one sheet of macarons at a time placing them on the center oven rack.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the macarons are set, puffed and only slightly cracked on the tops and sides. They should not move from side to side nor should they look moist when you try to lift one off the parchment paper. If they appear moist, return them to the oven.
  8. Cool completely. Gently remove from parchment paper and place onto a clean wax paper lined sheet pan.

Ganache Filling:

½ cup heavy cream

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from the heat, and add the chocolate chips. Using a whisk, mix gently until chocolate is melted.
  2. Allow ganache to cool and thicken at room temperature about 1-2 hours. You can also put the ganache over a bowl of ice water to thicken it more quickly. It should be thick enough to spread.
  3. Sandwich two macarons together bottom sides together using about ½-1 teaspoon of ganache.
  4. Place sandwiched macarons onto the waxed paper lined sheet pan and chill for 1-2 hours or until the ganache has set.

Note: Jams can also be used as a filling such as raspberry or apricot in place of the ganache.


Mexican Hot Chocolate Macarons – add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon to the almonds and sugar in the food processor.

Pistachio Macarons- Add green food coloring to the macaron batter and after baking as directed above, sandwich 2 macarons together with 1 teaspoon of pistachio filling.

Pistachio Filling:

½ cup shelled pistachios

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon almond extract

  1. 1/3 cup (3 ¾ ounces) marzipan Bring shelled pistachios covered with cold water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Drain and place nuts on a clean kitchen towel. Rub skins off. Place skinned, blanched pistachios in a food processor and process for several minutes to create a paste -like consistency. Leave in processor.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine cream, butter and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Add the cream mixture, almond extract and marzipan to the food processor and process until a paste forms. Stop the machine to scrape down the sides of the processor  once with a rubber spatula.
  4. To fill macarons: Using an offset spatula spread the bottom of a green macaron and sandwich together with another one. Place on a sheet pan covered with wax paper.

Tips for Success:

  1. Be sure the almonds and sugar are finely ground almost to a powder.
  2. Beat the egg whites to firm peaks.  A stiffer macaron batter spreads less in the oven.
  3. After piping the macarons onto sheet pans, allow them to dry out for about an hour before baking to prevent them from cracking during baking.
  4. Do not prepare macarons on a humid day.
  5. Macarons can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or frozen in an airtight container separating each layer of macarons between sheets of waxed paper. Freeze for up to 3 months.