French Macarons with Pistachio Buttercream


Make merry with macarons—chef Giselle Miller shares the secrets to the delicate French cookies so you can try out the pastry technique at home. Miller’s recipe makes 60 buttery, crispy, creamy macarons, ready for wrapping, boxing and gifting to impress your favorite sweet-tooths.

See the 12 Days of Cookies here.


Yields: 60 macarons


For the almond paste:
  • 1 1/2 cups extra fine almond flour
  • 2 1/3 cups 10x confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
For the Italian meringue: 
  • 1 cup 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • food coloring soft gel paste, as needed
For the pistachio buttercream: 
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds soft butter
  • 3/4 cup pistachio paste
  • 2 teaspoons salt


For the almond paste:
  1. In a food processor with the metal blade attached, combine the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar. Process for 3 minutes then transfer to a stainless steel bowl.
  2. Add the egg whites to the bowl and mix well, until a homogeneous paste is formed. Set aside.
For the Italian meringue: 
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. As you cook the sugar syrup, wash down the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Do not let the brush touch the syrup; rather, let water from the brush run down the sides of the saucepan. This removes crystals that may “seed” the whole batch and cause re-crystallization. At no point during the cooking process should the sugar syrup be stirred!
  2. Cook the syrup to 244°F. As soon as the sugar thermometer reaches 239°F, start whipping the egg whites for the Italian meringue.
  3. Place the egg whites in a mixer bowl. Using the wire whip attachment, whip egg whites on medium speed (speed 6 on a Kitchenaid) until soft peaks form. As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 244°F, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the syrup in a thin, steady stream into the egg whites as they are whipping.
  4. Continue whipping the Italian meringue on medium speed until the temperature drops to 122°F. If you are using food coloring, add it at this stage.
For the macarons:
  1. Begin the macaronage by gently incorporating the Italian meringue into the almond paste.
  2. Once incorporated, work the batter a little more briskly by folding and “scratching” the surface until the correct consistency is achieved. When the batter is just starting to turn glossy, it is at the right stage for piping. It should flow in very thick ribbons when the spatula is lifted (like “molten lava.”)
  3. To pipe the macaron shells, line about 5 half-size sheet pans with silpats (non-stick baking sheets), laying two sheets side by side on each sheet pan.
  4. Fill a large pastry bag fitted with pastry tip (round tip, 1 centimeter diameter) with the macaron shell batter. Pipe the batter onto prepared sheet pans into 1 1/2 inch discs. Once you are done piping (you should have about 120 shells), tap each sheet pan until the shells spread slightly.
  5. Allow the macaron shells to sit for 30 minutes until the surface feels dry to the touch. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 270°F.
  6. Bake the macaron shells for approximately 10 minutes. They should not change color during the baking process.
  7. Cool the shells on the sheet pans. Carefully remove from the baking paper.
For the pistachio buttercream: 
  1. Begin by making a Swiss meringue with the egg whites and sugar: start a double boiler, place sugar and egg whites in a stainless steel bowl. Place on top of the boiling water and cook the mixture until it reaches 110°F. Mix with a spatula while heating up.
  2. Place mixture in a Kitchenaid bowl and using the whip attachment whip on medium-high speed until it becomes glossy, shiny and thick.
  3. At this point, change the whip attachment to a paddle. Slowly start to add the butter until everything gets incorporated.
  4. Add in the pistachio paste and salt, scrape down the edges of the bowl, and mix everything until well combined. Place in two piping bags and fill the macaron shells to assemble the cookies.

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