Pistachio Macarons

Leslie and I went through a serious macaron obsession in the early 2010’s (is that what you call that decade?).  I mean – a SERIOUS obsession.  I’ve had them from just about everywhere in LA, several places in New York, and even hot off a plane from Ladurée in Paris.  I took a couple of classes to learn how to make them, since these are not for the weary at heart.  They are a lot of work!

Fortunately, Leslie shared my fondness and my wedding gift to her and Tri was a couples cooking class to learn how to make these as well.  She invited me over to help give these a whirl at her house, and I have to say – it was a lot easier making these with a partner than by myself.  We made these about 3.5 years ago, so this post is a wee bit overdue.

Pistachio Macarons
Pistachio Macarons

Here is the recipe Leslie found as adapted from All Recipes!  Because there is so little room for error in the chemistry of macarons, you should definitely use a kitchen scale to measure out your ingredients.  Weights are included in the ingredient list below:


Macaron Cookie

  • 1 1/4 cups (220g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (125g) almond meal
  • 100g egg whites
  • 1/4 cup (60g) caster sugar
  • 20 drops green food coloring (optional)
  • 30g unsalted blanched pistachios, ground

Pistachio Ganache

  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40g unsalted blanched pistachios, ground
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100ml heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 20g butter, softened
  • 5 drops black food coloring (optional)

NOTE: You can grind the pistachios in a food processor, but just pulse a few times until you get the desired consistency.  Don’t overdo it or you’ll end up with pistachio “butter”.


  1. MACARONS: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the pistachios and almond meal then sift in the powdered sugar.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff then add one tablespoon of sugar. Continue to whisk then add the remaining sugar while whisking on high speed.  I recommend using a stand mixer, as long as the whisk attachment and bowl are completely clean and dry.

    Stiff Peaks!
    Stiff Peaks!
  4. Carefully stir the almond mixture into the egg white and gently fold with a spatula.  This is where having a partner really came in handy! Add the green food coloring (optional).

    Gently Fold!
    Gently Fold!
  5. Put the mixture into a pastry bag with a round nozzle. Pipe 2″ mounds onto the prepared baking tray ensuring there is about 1.5″ of space between each.

    Quickly Pipe 2" Mounds
    Quickly Pipe 2″ Mounds
  6. Tap the tray on a table or a work surface to remove any air bubbles and set the macarons aside for 30 minutes, which will allow a crust to form on the macarons. Leslie ground some extra pistachios to sprinkle on top of some of the macarons as an embellishment before we let them sit.  Bake in the preheated oven for 14 minutes.

    Panache Before the Ganache
    Panache Before the Ganache
  7. To see if your macarons are ready press lightly on top.  If they are still soft and moving, then they are not cooked through yet.
  8. PISTACHIO GANACHE: Mix the sugar with the pistachios.
  9. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat then add the pistachios and vanilla. Bring to the boil then add the eggs and cook keeping a 185 degrees F, if you have a candy thermometer.  If you don’t, just keep a close eye on it so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
  10. Remove from heat, stir in the softened butter and food coloring then refrigerate.

    Ganache - After
    Ganache – After
  11. ASSEMBLY: Peel the parchment paper off of the cookie (instead of the other way around). Take one macaron and spread the pistachio ganache on the flat part with a butter knife then “twist on” a second macaron on the ganache.  Think of it as the opposite of twisting apart an Oreo.  Repeat until no macarons are left.

    Peel Parchment Off of Cookie
    Peel Parchment Off of Cookie
  12. If you somehow manage not to eat all of them immediately after, you can refrigerate these in an airtight container for up to three days.  Just let them come to room temp again before you indulge.

We were so proud of ourselves for the way these turned out.  Delish!!!

French Macaron 201

I took an intermediate macaron class as a follow-up to the intro class I took Thanksgiving weekend.

In the class, we made three different types of macarons and fillings: pistachio with a lemon curd filling, hazelnut with a chocolate ganache filling and candied crushed hazelnuts, and vanilla with a ispahan buttercream filling (however, the photo below is showing the vanilla with a rose buttercream filling).  My favorite was the ispahan flavored filling, but I actually liked it best with the pistachio cookie.

Pistachio, Hazelnut, and Vanilla Macarons
Pistachio, Hazelnut, and Vanilla Macarons

What is ispahan?

Oh, well you gon’ LEARN today.

It’s one of the signature flavor creations developed by Pierre Hermé, which includes a surprisingly awe-inspiring combination of raspberry, lychee, and a wee touch of rose that blends together to form a delicately complex flavor trifecta that is just plum to die for.  The ispahan is the name for a type of rose, although it doesn’t look the ones you get on Valentine’s Day along with other random sweet nothings.

Pierre Hermé actually came up with the flavor combination when he was young, producing an early version of the Ispahan for Ladurée (which is still sold in their boutiques).

All in all, I think I’m going to try to make the macarons on my own at home in the very near future.  I love macarons far too much not to give it a go.  Just need to focus!

Basic Macarons

I’m a Macaronaholic. Part of why I love these cookies so much is because I respect the fact that it’s really easy to make bad ones.  Different factors come in to play when making these chewy little clouds of heaven – humidity, room temperature, sifting, distribution of heat in your oven, etc. I’ve been too intimidated to make them on my own out of fear of having new content to contribute to my list of crafting/baking disasters.  If only there was some sort of alert to let you know when you’re about to over mix, over (or under) dry, or over bake your macarons…

I braved the Black Friday madness once again, this time to take an Intro to French Macarons class at the mall in Santa Monica with the goal of quelling said fears.  We made a basic vanilla macaron with four different fillings – raspberry buttercream, passion fruit buttercream, coffee buttercream, and a very buttery salted caramel.  The salted caramel was made from scratch, and we made an Italian meringue buttercream, split it three ways, and then added the secondary flavor for the other fillings.  The raspberry filling just had freeze-dried raspberries added to it, and concentrates were added to the buttercream for the passion fruit and coffee fillings. Pretty straightforward.

Basic Vanilla Macaron

The class was really informational and fun, with the exception the one student in my class who also happened to be named Allison. She referred to me throughout the class as “Other Allison”, probably because her macaron cookies came out cracked and in any shape but round. She didn’t like this, and made comments like “Leave it to Other Allison to show the class up.”  However, once the cookie sheets came out of the oven, she “accidentally” took one of mine and started applying the filling to those.  I would have blamed it on a mix-up with the name, but she had written “Allie” on her cookie sheet.  Really?  I was already annoyed with her for being obnoxious, but as I looked at the sad “Allie” misshapen macaron cookies I was left with, I was just about ready to stab her with my offset spatula.  Luckily, as a test of my learnings, I got asked to make a second batch and those turned out great. Suck it, Allie. #notbitter

Basic Vanilla Macaron with Raspberry Buttercream Filling

I’m taking an intermediate class next week to learn how to make different types of macaron fillings (custards, ganaches, etc.), as well as different flavored cookies (rose petal, pistachio, hazelnut, etc.).  Really exciting!  After that, I think I may try them on my own.  Eek!