Turn your home into a French patisserie by making this recipe for orange macarons filled with chocolate buttercream! They are tender, delicate, and delicious meringue-based sandwich cookies that will just melt in your mouth. Macarons can be difficult to make, but I’ve made this French macaron recipe as easy as possible to navigate!
Today, I am so excited to share my orange macaron recipe with you all! Macarons are not to be confused with their gooey and coconut-filled cousin macaroons. What’s the difference between macaroons and macarons? A macaroon (pronounced maca-rOOn) is an American cookie made of coconut often dipped in chocolate. A macaron (pronounced maca-rOHn) is a French sandwich cookie. These cookies are made of meringue and almond flour, making them gluten free by definition. They are filled with ganache, jam, or cream. Macarons, especially these orange macarons, look gorgeous on any dessert or appetizer table and make for a special treat to give to your friends and family. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside but pillowy and soft on the inside. And with a citrusy orange pop paired with a rich chocolate filling? Yeah, they’re pretty much to die for!
Macarons can be a little tricky to make, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making macarons for days! I’ve rounded up all the best tips for making orange macarons to share with you here!
What is a Macaron?
A macaron is a French confection made of meringue, powdered sugar, and almond flour. Some key features of a macaron are: ruffled edges (known as feet), domed top, eggshell like outer crust, soft and chewy inside texture, and a 2:1 cookie to filling ratio. Macarons tend to be finicky and hard to make, but you shouldn’t be intimidated. Once you get them right, you’ll be hooked!
Why are Macarons Hard to Make?
Macarons are hard to make because they are very sensitive to moisture. Adding food coloring and liquid extracts can change the moisture content of the batter. Macarons also need to be rested before they are baked, and not resting them long enough can cause them to crack. Even more things can go wrong when it comes to under or over-whipping the meringue and not using proper macaronage (folding the dry ingredients into the meringue) technique. I’ve experienced alllll the troubles while testing this orange macaron recipe, and now I know exactly why macarons are so expensive! But you don’t need to be a pastry chef to make these orange macarons. If I can do it, you can do it too!
Tips for Making Orange Macarons
- Use a kitchen scale: measuring your ingredients in grams makes it much easier to be accurate while making any macaron recipe! Like I said, these little guys can be finicky, so it’s important to be as accurate as possible.
- Properly whip your egg whites: whip your egg whites until there are stiff peaks. Honestly, the term “stiff peaks” is kind of confusing, so I want to clarify what it means! When you lift up your whisk or whisk attachment, the “peaks” of the meringue should stick straight up or have a slight bend at the very top. The peak should not bend at the base or side; if they do, that means you have not whipped the egg whites enough! If you whip your meringue too much, it will look grainy, weep liquid from the broken egg whites, and not have peaks of any kind.
- Macaronage Technique: maca-what? Don’t worry, I will explain! Macaronage is the French term to describe the process of folding the almond flour and powdered sugar into the meringue while making macarons. So, to fold the dry ingredients in, start by scraping the edge of your bowl with a rubber spatula and gently pulling into the center. You should create J or figure-8 shapes while doing this. Then, continue folding in the same manner until the batter is shiny, smooth, and creates slow ribbons while falling off your spatula. A lot of people describe the perfect macaron batter consistency as “lava-like”!
- Let your macarons rest: resting time is so important for these orange macarons! Like I said, macarons are extremely sensitive to moisture. So, you want to let your macarons dry and form a skin before baking. Let them rest for 20-40 minutes or until they look almost matte and feel dry to the touch. The drying time will vary based on the humidity of the day. If you make macarons on a humid day, they will need more time to dry.
A lot can go wrong when making macarons, so let’s explore the most common problems and their solutions! Camila of the food blog Pies and Tacos has a great guide for macaron troubleshooting if you have any other problems. She’s the macaron queen!
Cracked Macarons: macarons were not dried long enough
Bumpy Macarons: powdered sugar and almond flour was not sifted fine enough
Hollow Macarons: rested too long, oven temp too low/high, over/under mixed batter
Air Bubbles: air bubbles were not popped before the macarons dried out, didn’t bang tray
Bottom Not Attached: underbaked, macarons not completely cool before removing from baking sheet
Spread Feet: batter overmixed, not rested long enough, oven temp too high, meringue under-whipped
No Feet: too close to heat source, low oven temp, rested too long
Orange Macarons FAQ
What are Macarons Filled With?
The orange macaron filling of my choice is a rich and heavenly chocolate buttercream. However, you could fill your macarons with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream, orange filling (like a marmalade or curd), or even a lavender buttercream for a citrusy floral feel.
How to Store Orange Macarons
Store your macarons in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Your macarons will actually taste the best after resting for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator! Do not keep the orange macarons out of the fridge for more than a couple hours.
Can You Freeze Macarons?
Yes, you can freeze these orange macarons for up to 2 months.
Are Orange Macarons Gluten Free?
Yes, they are! However, if you are severely allergic to gluten, I would double check each individual ingredient for contamination.
Where Can I Find More Gluten Free Sweet Recipes?
Now, let’s make some orange macarons!
For the Orange Macarons:
- 100g egg whites (room temperature)
- 50g granulated sugar
- 110g almond flour
- 200g powdered sugar
- 1.5 tsp orange extract
- 1/4 tsp orange zest
- Food coloring (optional)
For the Chocolate Buttercream:
- 1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter (softened)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- Milk (as needed)
- Preheat the oven to 315°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon macaron mats. Set aside. Prepare a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and set aside.
- Using a kitchen scale, portion your ingredients into separate bowls.
- Using a large mesh sieve, sift the almond flour and powdered sugar together two times.
- Place the eggs whites in the bowl of your stand mixer. Using your stand mixer's whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium high speed for about 1 minute. The egg whites should be frothy.
- While whisking at medium high, begin to slowly add the granulated sugar to the egg whites, one spoonful at a time until all 50g are added.
- Stop the stand mixer and add the orange extract and food coloring. Turn the stand mixer back on and whisk at high speed for about 3 minutes or until stiff peaks have formed. When you stop the mixer and pull your whisk attachment up, the peaks should stick straight up and might have a slight bend at the very top but not at the base. Make sure to stop the mixer and check every so often to make sure you have not overbeaten the meringue. Overbeaten meringue will be grainy, have no peaks, and weep liquid from the egg whites. We don't want that!!
- Remove bowl from the stand mixer once the proper meringue texture is achieved. Congrats, you just made French meringue!
- Add the orange zest to the meringue. Then, gently shake the powdered sugar/almond flour mixture into the bowl of meringue 1/3 at a time. After each time, gently fold the dry ingredients into the batter. Do this by making a J or figure-8 shape each time, starting around the outside of the bowl and gently twisting into the middle. It is time to stop folding when the macaron batter is glossy has a "lava-like" thick and flowing consistency. It should drizzle off your spatula in thick ribbons.
- Transfer batter into piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Place piping bag perpendicular (90 degrees) to your lined baking sheet and pipe by applying gentle pressure to the bag for about 3 seconds. Stop squeezing and quickly pull up the piping bag in a circular motion. Repeat until you've piped all the macaron batter.
- Bang each baking sheet on the counter several times to remove air bubbles. Using a toothpick, pop remaining air bubbles on macarons quickly before they begin to dry.
- Allow your macarons to sit for 20-40 minutes depending on the humidity of the day. The more humid it is, the longer the macarons need to dry. You will know they are ready when they appear slightly matte and feel dry to the touch.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan in the oven after 6 minutes or so for even baking. Let the macarons cool completely before removing from the baking sheet (they will stick if not completely cool!)
- To make the chocolate buttercream, prepare another piping bag with a good tip for piping. Place softened butter into the bowl of your stand mixer. Cream the butter with the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy.
- Scrape the sides of the bowl and slowly add the powdered sugar. Whip on medium speed while adding small drops of milk until the desired consistency for piping is achieved. Add the cocoa powder and salt and continue mixing until well incorporated, adding small amounts of milk to adjust the consistency.
- Add the chocolate buttercream to the prepared piping bag and pipe into half of the cooled macaron shells. Place other shells on top to create sandwiches and enjoy!
Food Scale: please use a food scale while making these orange macarons. There are so many variables when it comes to making macarons, and measuring the weight of each ingredient helps to be more accurate.
Sifting: make sure to properly sift the powdered sugar and almond flour so you don't end up with lumpy macarons!
Food Coloring: food coloring is optional for this recipe. If you choose to use it, use gel food coloring and go easy on it! Adding too much can alter the macaron batter.
Baking Temperature: you may have to bake the macarons for a shorter or longer amount of time depending on how hot your oven runs. You may want to invest in an oven thermometer to test this! Also, macarons piped on a silicon mat will take slightly longer to bake than macarons piped on parchment paper.
Macaron Troubleshooting (sticky, hollow, etc): there is a lot that can go wrong while making macarons. For troubleshooting, view what I wrote above this recipe.
Storage: your orange macarons will be best if you let them rest for about 2 days in the refrigerator. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. They can be frozen up to 2 months. Please do not keep them out of the refrigerator for more than a couple hours.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 50 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 56Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g
Nutritional information is approximate and is not always accurate.