After I visited Bouchon Bakery last March, I fell in love with the macaron. The macaron is the sexy, primadonna cookie in the bakery. Coming in an array of pastel colors and usually exotic flavors like rose water or passionfruit, it’s the most elegant cookie in the case. However, macarons have a mean streak in that they’re nearly impossible to make.
I have attempted the macaron many times, only to be left with deflated discs of despair on my baking sheet, Cajun briquettes, and/or paper-thin wafers. I was starting to believe I would die having been defeated by egg whites & almond flour, but decided that just wasn’t an option. So I took to the kitchen, researched my brains out, and finally found the perfect, foolproof recipe. Now, since we have some party poopers out there in the world, lemme disclaimer that this is a foolproof recipe for ME and can be for you, too, if you follow the directions carefully. I’m not saying this is the end-all, be-all macaron recipe. I’m not even French, man. But I’ve found that of all the recipes I’ve tried, this has been the most (read: the only) successful one. So there’s that.
Also, before we get started, let’s have a quick lesson about macarons. It is to my understanding that macarons are pronounced mah-kare-on or mak-rohn. A lot of people ’round these parts like to call these classy cookies ‘macaroons’, which I know to be those mounds of fluffy coconut like you see here. But again, I’m not French. I’ve only just taken four years of it and saw Passport to Paris like, eighty jillion times so I think I’m somewhat qualified.
Today’s tutorial teaches you how to make these Cap’n Crunch Macarons (or any cereal macaron for that matter). I will also give steps to make classic macarons. Both instructional photos and instructions will be given within the post and on the printable recipe page for your convenience. So… are you ready to conquer the fancy French confection known as the macaron? Let’s do this, then.
First, put on the Frenchiest music you can find. Next, put on a striped shirt, skinny black pants, ballet flats and a beret. A good schmear of red lipstick works wonders. Eat an entire baguette, and then, when you truly feel ready, begin praying to the macaron gods en Francais. This helps set the scene for successful macarons. Or helps set the scene for your family’s growing concerns about your mental welfare.
Here’s your lineup:
*A kitchen scale. Look, I KNOW it’s totally lame that you have to buy one just to make some pretentious cookie. But believe me, I have tried every possible way to avoid using it and it just doesn’t work. The scale is a must in measuring those pesky dry ingredients. Thankfully, scales are relatively cheap — anywhere from $10-50. This one cost me about $15.
*3.5 ounces of Cap’n Crunch cereal
*3.5 ounces of almond flour (sure, you could get all Martha and grind your own almonds to make your own flour, but why not get Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour? That’s what I used (though you can’t tell from my picture since sadly, I forgot to photograph it. It’s inexpensive, and you can easily get about 3 batches worth of macarons out of one bag.
*4 egg whites
*1/3 cup white sugar
*2 & 1/3 cups powdered sugar
*To be a French Pastry Chef
Okay, let’s get this done.
Weigh your cereal + almond flour out. If you want to make classic macarons (NOT cereal flavored macarons), you only need to weigh out the almond flour. Both the almond flour + the cereal each must equal 3.5 ounces. Obviously if you’re making classic macarons, your almond flour would need to weigh 7 ounces.
Next, we’re going to pulverize the hell outta that cereal and almond flour. When you pulverize it, just think of your ex-boyfriend as the blades whir. Or don’t, because that’d be immature. And dude, it’s been like a year. Aren’t you over it yet? How embarrassing.
I use my Ninja Mega Kitchen System because it’s awesome and really grinds the cereal to a dust.
Now, in a large bowl, mix together the powdered sugar (that has been spooned and leveled for a total of 2 & 1/3 cups) and the ground almond meal/cereal mixture. Next, you’re going to spoon about 1 cup of the mixture into a handheld sifter and sift the mixture into another large bowl. Sifting is KEY because it breaks up those larger chunks of cereal, sugar clots, etc., and keeps the macarons from tasty grainy or having undone chunks hidden inside them.
After awhile, you’ll have this in the bottom of your sifter — what I call ‘pebbles.’ Here’s how I handle the pebbles: after each round sifting, just pour any remaining pebbles in the sifter back into the original bowl, NOT the sifted bowl. Just remix the pebbles into the original bowl, add it to the sifter, and sift some more. EVENTUALLY, once the original bowl is emptied, you’ll still have those pebbles that may just be too coarse to grind. That’s okay. At that point, add the pebbles to your sifted mixture. They’ll add a little texture and, in my opinion, do not affect the texture or taste of the macaron. Your mixture will look like this, only a lot less yellow since my kitchen has the worst lighting EVER.
Now that we’ve done our grind, it’s time to make the glue for all this macaron-y goodness. The egg-white part (aka, the part which causes me to want to take five Xanax). But calm down, mon petite pamplemousse. I found a way to whip these egg-whites into shape SUPER easily.
Simply fill a large pot with a couple inches of water and bring it to high heat. Once it starts simmering, immediately lower the temperature to maintain a steady simmer. Top the pan with a large glass bowl, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water underneath. Also make sure your bowl is big enough, because one time my bowl actually got stuck forever inside of a pot. It was very sad as I really liked that bowl. For this, I used my glass KitchenAid stand mixer bowl. It works perfectly!
While the water simmers, separate 4 egg whites from their yolk friends. I know it’s sad, but it’s a part of life. To easily separate egg whites from yolks, I love this handy tool from The Pampered Chef — it effortlessly separates without dirtying your hands. And it clips to the sides of bowls which rocks! Once your four egg whites have been separated, pour them into your glass bowl atop the simmering pot. Immediately after, pour in the sugar. Working quickly, whisk those two real good-like for about 30 seconds or until combined and sugar has dissolved. The mixture will look pale yellow & frothy. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach to your mixer, or pour the mixture into your stand mixer’s bowl.
After whipping up the egg whites, it’s time to combine the dry with the wet. Gently fold half of the dry mixture into the egg whites. Then, gently fold the other half of the dry mixture into the egg whites. The mixture, once complete, is unfortunate-looking, to say the least.
To make things simpler for ME, I like spooning my macaron mixture into a piping bag attached with a large circular tip. For this, Atecco 807 is my fave (and is also my favorite frosting tip, too!). It just helps having that tip for some control in sizing the macarons. If ya don’t have one you like (or one at all), you can spoon everything into a Ziploc baggy, seal out the air, and snip a corner off of the bag for a makeshift piping bag.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, pipe the macarons. Starting with your tip just barely above the paper, begin piping and count to four to help with sizing. Gently lift up the tip to stop. I like mine to be slightly larger than an American quarter.
More than likely, you’ll end up with this — the dreaded “macaron nipple.” However, after you let them sit for a little bit on the range prior to baking, the bump should deflate a little. You can also avoid this by very gently smoothing the macaron bump down with a miniature off-set spatula, or by flicking your wrist just so after piping to avoid the hump in the first place. I am not so graceful with the wrist-flick technique, so I got stuck with the hump. No biggie! Now, I know it’s tempting, but don’t bake them yet! Let them sit on your cooktop or counter for about 5-10 minutes prior to baking. This will help get rid of the hump and help set their shape before they get baked nice and golden.
Bake the macarons in a preheated 300 degree F oven for approx. 11-12 minutes. I prefer to bake my macarons one sheet at a time because I’ve found they are more consistent that way, especially when they’re un-disturbed during baking. You’ll know they’re done when the tops are lightly golden and look dull. Do not overbake! Remove from the oven and allow the macarons to cool on the baking sheets completely before very gently peeling away the parchment from the bottoms of the macaron ‘feet’. The ‘feet’ are those crusty, crispy, ridges around the base of the cookie — a classic component to a macaron.
Now, fill these bad boys with whatever filling your heart desires! I was lazy and shmeared on some peanut butter for a fun Cap’n Crunch + peanut butter combo. You could whip up your own homemade frosting with some butter, vanilla + powdered sugar, make a fancy traditional ganache filling, use canned icing to make things simple, or smear on peanut butter, Nutella, or Biscoff spread. Dude, the macaron police won’t come after you. You do you.
*recipe adapted from Sunset Magazine’s Best-Ever Cookies from January 2009
- 2 & ⅓ cups powdered sugar
- 3.5 ounces almond meal/flour (I like Bob's Red Mill brand)
- 3.5 ounces Cap'n Crunch cereal
- 4 egg whites
- ⅓ cup sugar
- Peanut butter, for filling
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using your kitchen scale, weigh the almond meal and Cap'n Crunch cereal until it reads exactly 3.5 ounces. Pour both the almond meal and the whole cereal into a food processor or blender and pulverize the mixture until it is finely ground crumbs.
- In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar and the almond/cereal mixture. Spoon a cup or so of the mixture into a handheld sifter and sift the mixture over another separate bowl. Continue spooning and sifting the mixture. Eventually, you'll be left with what I call 'pebbles'--small particles of the mixture that are too coarse to grind up. Leave the pebbles until last, then mix whatever pebbles are leftover into the sifted mixture. I've found that sifting is essential as it removes the grittiness from the macarons. However, the pebbles only add a little texture and in my opinion, do NOT make the macarons gritty or grainy.
- Next, add a couple inches of water into a large saucepan and place the pan on medium-high heat. Once the water begins to simmer, drop the temperature to medium-low so it maintains a steady, slow simmer.
- Using a glass, heatproof bowl (I used the glass bowl of my KitchenAid stand mixer), place the bowl over the simmering water, taking care to make sure the bowl does not touch the water underneath and does not fit into the bowl (the heat will seal the two together, so make sure your bowl is larger than the pot's mouth!!) Working quickly, add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl. Begin whisking the mixture feverishly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is frothy and pale yellow in color. Remove the bowl carefully from the heat.
- Either attach your bowl to your stand mixer or pour the egg white mixture into a stand mixer bowl and, on high speed using the whisk attachment, begin whipping the egg whites. This takes about a minute or two. Egg whites are done when they are light & fluffy with shiny, stiff peaks. TIP: if you drop your whisk attachment into the bowl and yank it back out, if the egg whites in the bowl remain spiky and stand straight up, it's perfect. If they kind of start to keel and fall, you may need to whip just a little more.
- Next, gently fold the sifted dry mixture into the egg whites. I like adding half of the dry mix first to incorporate, then adding the rest. Make sure you fold in the dry mix that sits at the bottom of the bowl as well. The mixture will look kinda gross looking-- that's okay. As long as it is thick, goopy and combined -- no dry particles-- it's good. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag attached with a frosting tip -- I like Atecco 807 which is a large open circle tip. You could also spoon the mixture into a Ziploc baggy, seal the air out, and snip off a corner of the baggy.
- Hold the frosting tip just barely off of the sheet and begin piping, counting to four as you pipe. I found that counting to four equals the perfect size for me-- just slightly larger than an American quarter. If you want your macarons more round or larger, continue piping. Gently and quickly lift your wrist, flicking it slightly, to stop the flow of macaron batter. You may have a "hump" on top of your macaron. You can let it sink back into the batter slightly with time, smooth it out gently with your finger or an offset spatula, or flick your wrist quicker to prevent the hump in the first place.
- Once the macarons have been piped on, allow them to sit on your stove top for about 5 minutes. This will help them get their shape prepped and help sink those humps back in if need be. After sitting, bake the macarons ONE SHEET AT A TIME for approx. 11-12 minutes per sheet. Macarons are done when they look light golden in color and have dull tops. Do not over bake. Remove the macarons from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the sheets before gently peeling away the parchment.
- Frost the macarons any way you desire -- for these, I very gently smeared some creamy peanut butter onto the macarons with a miniature offset spatula. You could also use canned frosting, make your own ganache, make your own buttercream, or use other spreads such as Nutella or Biscoff. Gently sandwich the cookie together to form the classic macaron sandwich, and serve! Macarons are best served the SAME DAY but can be stored airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer airtight up to a week. Just bring to room temperature before serving.
Light, crispy, airy, chewy, crunchy … macarons offer all those wonderful textures in one petite cookie. And you won’t believe how authentic and tasty that Cap’n Crunch cereal flavor is! It tastes just like the real deal!! In fact, the idea for these incredibly flavored macarons came from my friend Jenny over at Picky Palate! She made Cap’n Crunch Macarons with a scrumptious Cap’n Crunch Cookie Dough Frosting!! Sadly, I ran out of brown sugar (a complete and utter fail on my part) so I used peanut butter instead 🙂
Point is, macarons aren’t as hard as they seem to be! They take some patience, yeah, and are a lot more finicky than your average chocolate chip cookie — that’s true. And yeah, okay, mine kinda look like funky dreidels. But if you carefully weigh your ingredients, take your time and have fun, you’ll be crunching on French-style macarons in no time. No need to special order them or wistfully stare at them behind the bakery glass. You got this! Now go grab those egg whites by the balls and scream “MACARON VICTORY!” or don’t, because then your family might speed-dial the looney bin.
Stay tuned, because tomorrow I have another special cereal macaron to share with you!! Hint: it’s rainbow. It’s fruity. And it’s DELICIOUS!!
Have a scrumptious day!!