- 120 grams or ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- 80 grams or ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon of almond flour
- 2 fresh egg whites (about 60-70 grams)
- 50 grams or ¼ cup of granulated sugar
- Tiny pinch of cream of tartar (about ⅛ teaspoon)
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 2 ounces or ¼ cup of dark chocolate, chips, or chopped chocolate bar
- 2 ounces or ¼ cup of heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, optional
- 1 tablespoon of liqueur such as Kahlua, Godiva, Kirsch, or Cointreau, optional
- Preheat your oven. Aim for a temperature between 285° F and 300° F. A slightly lower heat than you might typically use for French macarons helps prevent the white ghost shells from browning.
- Prep your tools. Line two baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and place your template underneath the parchment. I place a magnet or heavy glass on top of my pan to keep the paper from moving when I pipe the batter. Snip the corner of your pastry bag or large plastic food bag and place a round pastry tip inside of it. Push a small bit of the bag inside the large end of the tip to keep the batter from leaking out when you fill it.
- Sift. Sift together the almond flour with powdered sugar with a sifter or mesh sieve, pushing the powdered sugar through the sieve with your hands to break up the clumps. Discard any large pieces of almond flour (don't force them through).
- Meringue. Pour the egg whites into a mixing bowl or bowl of your stand mixer (use the whisk attachment). Whip on medium-high speed until the whites are frothy, then slowly rain in the granulated sugar while beating. Turn the speed to high (I use 8 on my stand mixer) and beat until the meringue is glossy, opaque, and resembles shaving cream. When the meringue makes little peaks off the beater that look like a bird's beak - nearly sticking straight up - it's ready.
- Macaronage (mix the batter). Add all the sifted dry ingredients to the whipped meringue. Fold the mixture a bit vigorously at first to create a somewhat homogenous mixture. Then fold gently by scraping in a circular motion around the inner sides of the bowl and then up over the top of the batter. Cut your spatula through the center of the batter about every other stroke.
- Aim for ribbons. Your macaronage is complete when the batter ribbons off the spatula, and settles back into itself in about 10 seconds. Be careful not to over-mix or you'll end up with too thin of a batter. Transfer the batter to your prepared piping bag. Then press out any air bubbles, and twist the bag closed at the top.
- Pipe the shells. Hold the piping bag vertically, and a quarter-inch off the baking pan. Begin at the top of each ghost outline and move the tip downward as you squeeze. I like to pipe with tiny left-and-right motions and make them gradually larger as I go. I typically ignore the detail at the bottom of the ghosts and finish each one with a straight line of batter corner-to-corner. Stop squeezing and swish and flick the tip away at the second corner to prevent dribbles of batter.
- Settle the batter. If your batter doesn't settle after a few moments, tap the underneath of the pans to help it flatten out.
- Rest the macarons. Depending on your oven and skill level, resting isn't a do-or-die step in baking macarons. But it's great insurance for getting those frilly feet and nicely set shells in the oven. Rest piped batter on the counter for 10 to 20 minutes, until it turns dull and looks dry (you should be able to gently touch one without ruining your piping work).
- Make the ganache. While the batter rests, bring the heavy cream just to a boil, and pour it over the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Let it sit for five minutes, then whisk to smooth it out. If you are adding liqueur or any extract, whisk it in now. Let the ganache cool to room temperature (chill it for faster cooling), then transfer it to a small piping bag (you don't need a tip). Snip a small opening when you're ready to pipe the filling.
- Bake. Bake the macarons for 14 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan once the signature le pied, or “feet” form. Gently nudge the tops of a couple of macaron shells with your finger. If the tops don't wiggle, the ghosts are done.
- Fill. Remove the ghosts from the parchment once they're cool enough to handle by gently pushing up from underneath and peeling the macarons away. Pair up like-sized shells, and pipe your filling onto half of them. Top with the remaining shells.
- Decorate. Use a tiny, pointed (clean!) paintbrush to create ghost faces with black food coloring. I recommend a food coloring gel. And barely dipping the paintbrush in it to avoid splatters. For the best flavor, allow macarons to mature for a day before serving (I know, highly unlikely, but try it with a few and you'll definitely notice a difference!)
Mise en place. This is a chef's way of describing the act of getting all ingredients and equipment in place before starting. And it applies to your brain, too! Read through the recipe once or twice before you begin. You'll find more success in baking any type of macaron if you're not flying by the seat of your pants. Don't hesitate to ask questions in the comments below!
Bake low and slow. I bake uncolored macarons at around 280° F to cut back on browning. It takes a bit of trial and error with your own oven, and an inexpensive thermometer can help you find that sweet spot. A gentler heat can also prevent the shells from cracking. Or the feet from becoming overly large.
More Decorating Ideas
Jack-o'-lanterns. Pipe classic round shells or use a pumpkin template. Then paint on scary faces with black food coloring once the shells are cool.
Blood splatter. A little dark red food coloring goes a long way. Thin out red or burgundy gel food coloring with a few drops of vodka or alcohol-based baking extract. Dip the paintbrush in the color, and hold it over the piped batter. Then flick toward the top of the brush to create a splatter or speckled look.
Halloween sprinkles. The easiest way of all to create festive, frightful French macarons! While many Halloween decorating sprinkles are shaped like ghosts and pumpkins, I recommend smaller orange, black, and chocolate ones. Non-pareil sprinkles work great for a macaron's smaller footprint.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 14-18 minutes
- Category: Macarons
- Method: Meringue
- Cuisine: French
- Diet: Vegetarian
- Serving Size: 1 Macaron
- Calories: 93
- Sugar: 10.7 g
- Sodium: 7.5 mg
- Fat: 3.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 12.1 g
- Protein: 1.3 g
- Cholesterol: 3.7 mg
Keywords: Halloween macarons recipe, Halloween macarons, ghost macarons