Macarons are one of the most popular French pastries. Known for their delicate, crispy exterior and chewy, soft interior, macarons are often considered to be extremely difficult to make because they require precision. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make them. If you want to enjoy the experience of eating a macaron but don’t want to shell out money on ingredients and equipment, there are a few different ways to make them at home.
Macarons require a specific ratio of ingredients: almond flour, egg whites, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar. They also have very specific baking times and techniques that are difficult to master. If you don’t have almond flour on hand, here are three easy alternatives you can use instead.
Almond Flour Alternatives
Macaroon macarons are more of a fun, novelty treat than the real thing. For these macarons, you mix shredded coconut with sugar to create a dehydrated coconut “flour” and make the macarons with this instead of almond flour. You can also grind up some of your favorite chocolate bars to use as the base for your “flour” and then add sugar to bind it together. This will give you a similar taste and texture to real macarons, but if you’re making them for a special occasion and want them to be as authentic as possible, stick with an alternative like ground almonds or pistachios.
To make traditional French macarons, you need a few pieces of special equipment. A pastry bag (with a large tip) is used to pipe out the batter so the cookies form those characteristic circles. A silicon baking mat is also needed to prevent sticking when forming the cookies. Since these items are not common in most kitchens, here are three easy ways to make macarons without them.
Macarons made with coconut flour are the most similar to traditional macarons made with almond flour. The macaron batter is very similar, made mostly of egg whites and granulated sugar, and the macarons are formed in the same way. The macarons bake at the same temperature and for the same amount of time.
The big difference is that coconut flour is much more absorbent than almond flour, so you will need to use less egg white. In fact, it’s best to swap out equal parts coconut flour and almond flour for this recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of almond flour, you would use 1/2 cup each of coconut flour and almond flour.
If you don’t have coconut flour on hand, another option is to replace the almond flour with unsweetened cocoa powder (or a combination of cocoa and coconut flours). You can also swap out all-purpose flour or a gluten-free blend like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.
Because these alternatives aren’t quite as absorbent as almond flour, you will also need to adjust your technique for making the batter. Instead of using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat your egg whites by hand with a whisk until soft peaks form. Then beat your granulated sugar in gradually until fully incorporated. Finally, add your flavorings at this point instead of adding them at the end with the powdered sugar—this way they will be more evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Macarons are made with almond flour, which is ground almonds. But if you don’t have almond flour on hand, you can easily make your own with whole almonds. The first step is to blanch the almonds. This removes the skins and softens the nuts so they’re easier to grind. Place the whole almonds in a pot of water, making sure they’re covered by an inch of water on top. Bring them to a boil, then remove them from the heat and allow them to sit for five minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the blanched almonds on the parchment-lined sheet in an even layer. Bake for 8–10 minutes, checking frequently so they don’t burn or turn brown; you want them to stay light beige in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before grinding in a high-powered blender or food processor until you reach a fine powder (you may need to do this in batches).
Add 1/2 cup of almond flour for every 1 cup of powdered sugar listed in your recipe (you will still need egg whites, granulated sugar, and food coloring). Follow the rest of the instructions as written for macarons made with ground almonds.]
The term “flour macarons” refers to macarons made from a batter made with all-purpose flour. This technique, created by chef and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan, takes some of the guesswork out of making traditional macarons. Her macaron recipe calls for sifting together almond flour and all-purpose flour. The batter is then whisked on high speed until it forms a very thick ribbon when dropped from the whisk.
The macarons are then baked at a low temperature for longer than traditional macarons: 15 minutes instead of 10. They are also allowed to cool completely before being removed from the baking sheets, which is a crucial step in making traditional macarons.
Flour macarons can be difficult to master and often have a denser texture than traditional macarons. If you’re just starting out, we recommend using the traditional method outlined below.
2 Recipes for non-almond macarons
Below you will find three different recipes for peanut and tree nut free macarons. One uses sunflower seeds, one uses pumpkin seeds, and one even uses white chocolate.
1 – Sunflower Seed Macarons
2 – Pumpkin Seed Nut Free Macarons
Macarons are a classic French pastry that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. There are traditional recipes that require almond flour, but for those with allergies or dietary restrictions, there are creative options that can still make delicious macarons. By using combinations of other flours such as coconut, chickpea, and oat, you can make a variety of flavors to please any palate. With just a few ingredients and some creativity, you can make delicious macarons without the need for almond flour. So the next time you crave these delightful treats, try out one of these recipes and enjoy the unique flavor combinations without any worry. Bon appétit!