Vanilla Bean Macarons

Airy, vanilla bean flecked cookies sandwiched with thick and creamy vanilla frosting. Together the cookie and frosting create a delightfully light but chewy cookie packed with the purest vanilla flavor.Vanilla Bean Macarons

So I haven’t posted about Paris yet in my “Traveling Yumminess” series, but I had this amazing Vanilla Bean Macaron that was made with vanilla from Tahiti. It was so good that I am still remembering the unbelievably vanilla-ey-ness a week later. My mom and I were on such a macaron withdrawal (after having eaten 10 a day in Paris) that I decided I had no choice but to make them. 

I won’t try to tell you that making macarons isn’t finicky but reading up on the technique in this post will help you avoid the pitfalls. Don’t worry if they crack or you don’t get feet (the little ruffles)… while they won’t look as pretty, they will taste just as good!

Vanilla Bean Macarons

I have never worked with vanilla beans before. I always thought they were super expensive and something only really fancy chefs bothered with. But let me tell you, they are so worth the price and give you so much more vanilla flavor than extract can. I bought two at my grocery store for about $7 and this recipe only uses one. Once I thought about it, I spend around $3-$4 on the lemons for those Lemon Curd Macarons and on the chocolate in those French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache. So I shouldn’t feel like I’m splurging by buying really good vanilla for my macarons, right? Right.

Vanilla Bean Macarons

YouTube a video on how to scrape the seeds out if you aren’t sure. It’s not difficult… you just cut a slit lengthwise in the bean to open it up and then run the edge of your knife along the inside of the shell to scrape the seeds out. The seeds look like wet dirt but smell a lot better than wet dirt! You will need half of the bean for the cookies and half for the frosting, so cut the bean in half before you scrape the seeds out so you don’t have to measure later.

The vanilla bean seeds fleck the cookies and the frosting and make them look so fancy and sophisticated…it’s like the bow tie on what would otherwise look very plain!Vanilla Bean Macarons

These cookies should be refrigerated and I actually like them better refrigerated than room temperature. The cookies and the frosting really meld together and the cookies soften up some in the fridge.

Vanilla Bean MacaronsI know these look pretty boring… I mean it’s vanilla…I swear I’m not a vanilla ice cream person but this is vanilla in its finest and purest form! 

…and voilà!

Vanilla Bean Macarons

4.0 from 4 reviews
Vanilla Bean Macarons
 
Ingredients
For the cookies:
  • 200 g (a skimpy 2 cups) powdered sugar
  • 100 g (1 cup) almond flour/meal
  • 100 g (3 large eggs) egg whites, room temperature*
  • pinch of salt
  • 50 g (about ¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • Seeds from ½ a vanilla bean**
For the Frosting Filling:
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Seeds from ½ a vanilla bean**
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
For the Cookies:
  1. Sift powdered sugar and almond flour together twice, throwing the leftover almond pebbles out.
  2. In a separate bowl and with a mixer, beat the room temperature egg whites and salt on medium speed until they are white and frothy.
  3. Add granulated sugar and vanilla bean and beat until you have soft peaks.
  4. Beat in food coloring and then continue mixing until you have stiff peaks. Do not over beat.
  5. Fold all of the powdered sugar and almond mixture into the meringue. Fold until the batter is no longer gritty and runs off the spatula like lava would, about 30-50 turns.
  6. Let the batter sit for 10-25 minutes.
  7. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. If you want to use a pattern to help you pipe uniform circles, slip that under the parchment paper that you are piping on.
  8. Using a pastry bag (or a ziplock) and a ½ inch tip, pipe out the batter into uniform 1.5 inch diameter circles.
  9. Tap the pan on the counter to get rid of air bubbles and any peaks from piping.
  10. Let the cookies rest for about 30 - 60 minutes on the counter so that the cookies are tacky to the touch. Larger cookies will need more towards 45 - 60 minutes while 1 inch cookies will need less time. If the cookies have not sat out long enough, they will crack on the top and will not form feet.
  11. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  12. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15-20 minutes, until they are lightly golden brown. They should easily peel off the parchment paper. It is better for the cookies to be slightly overdone rather than underdone. Overdone cookies will soften up over time in the refrigerator whereas underdone cookies end up hollow.
  13. Let cool on the pan on a wire rack.
For the Frosting Filling:
  1. Beat the butter and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer.
  2. Add in the vanilla bean seeds.
  3. Taste. If not vanilla-ey enough, add in the vanilla extract.*
For Assembly:
  1. Pair similar sized cookies together
  2. Smear or pipe one cookie with frosting and sandwich it with the other.
  3. Voilà!
Yield: ~35 - 40 sandwich cookies
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The cookies will be very crunchy and dry for the first day. As the cookies mature in the refrigerator, they will soften and get that nice chewy texture. Thus, these cookies are best eaten after 1 or 2 days in the fridge.
Notes
*To create room temperature eggs, submerge the eggs in warm (but not hot) water for 5 minutes and then separate.
**Some vanilla beans are stronger than others. The ones I used needed the extra kick of the extract or some more vanilla bean seeds.

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

19 comments

  1. Lynn says:

    These vanilla bean macarons are heavenly and I have sampled the batch frequently….for quality control purposes of course! They are a gluten free delight for those of us that have to avoid most baked goods! Yummy!

    • Kaitlyn says:

      Hi Melissa! Unfortunately, almond flour cannot be substituted with regular flour. These cookies aren’t meant to have the gluten content that regular flour has (almond flour isn’t really a flour…it’s just ground up almonds).
      If you’re having trouble finding almond flour, try Amazon, Whole Foods or some sort of specialty grocery store. Or you can make it your self by grinding up blanched almonds until they’re super fine.
      If you don’t like almonds, you could use hazelnut flour or pistachio flour, but you might want to focus on those flavors by omitting the vanilla bean and choosing a different filling!
      Hope this helps!

  2. P.L. Miller says:

    Well… I don’t know what I must be doing wrong but I tried the recipe twice following the recipe to…the…letter and had the same negative results when the granulated sugar was added to the egg whites — deflation. Help?

    • Kaitlyn says:

      I’m so sorry you’re not getting good results! What happens when you bake them (cracks, no feet, hollow middles, etc.) ?
      I know macarons can be frustrating, so let me try to help you problem solve…
      1. Try sifting your granulated sugar. It sounds silly, but it might lighten up the sugar just enough so the weight doesn’t squash the egg whites.
      2. When you’re beating the egg whites before you add the granulated sugar, make sure you get stiff peaks. The granulated sugar is going to deflate the peaks a little, but if the peaks don’t start out stiff they will deflate too much.
      3. If you’re tired of battling the deflation, try the recipe in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ636Y8N6E8#aid=P9hSWXbg7oQ). I had trouble getting the middle of the cookies to be fluffy, but because you add the granulated sugar before beating the egg whites to stiff peaks you won’t have the deflation issue.

  3. Kat says:

    Hi I am also a sophomore in college who loves to bake! For these macarons I used extra vanilla bean, and filled them with mocha buttercream. They were really good, but you should put something about using a silpat or wax paper in your recipe as I almost forgot and probably am not the only one. But thank you for the recipe and I’m very jealous that you got to go to Paris!

    • Kaitlyn says:

      The mocha buttercream sounds delicious! Thanks for pointing that out that I didn’t specify parchment or a silipat! Glad you liked the recipe! And good luck with the start of the semester!

  4. Tiff says:

    We have a local Macaron shop and they charge nearly $3 per macaron. We made this recipe and these were better! Delicious and easy to follow. We weren’t sure at first how thick the cookies should be when we piped them onto our stencils but we were pleasantly surprised at how perfect they were when we opened the oven door. Thank you!

    • Kaitlyn says:

      Oh I’m so glad they turned out for y’all! I love hearing success stories! These are my favorite variation but now that you’ve mastered the cookie part you can start experimenting with other flavors!

  5. Aisha says:

    Hi, I tried to make these a little but ago and the batter looked exactly like you described but all of them turned out hollow. Is there a reason for that?

    • Kaitlyn says:

      Hi Aisha!
      Sorry they turned out hollow for you. Hollow centers is the one thing I have struggled with on macarons too.
      I have found that the hollowness is usually related to whether the cookies have cooked enough to support the meringue staying lifted throughout the cookie. So essentially you took them out of the oven a bit early and the meringue wasn’t cooked enough to stay lifted … thus it collapsed down to the bottom of the cookie. The easiest solution I have found is to over bake them a bit.
      If you leave them in the oven until they are golden brown or 2-4 minutes longer than you think they should stay in the oven, they will come out of the oven crisp, dry, and crunchy. I was discouraged by crunchy macarons at first… but if you fill them with the frosting/jam/curd and put them in the refrigerator, the moisture from the filling and the cool temperature will soften up the cookies within a day of sitting in the fridge.
      If you give this method a try, let me know if it works for you!

    • Kaitlyn says:

      Hi Brittany! You might just be piping them a bit big. When you pipe them onto the parchment they may be the right size, but after a minute or two they spread out some. So maybe just try making piping them a bit smaller than you think you should. Are they turning out correctly besides not making the quantity my recipe says? Let me know if this was helpful.

Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: