Make these budget-friendly, nut-free macarons that are made with all-purpose flour instead of almond flour!
Macarons are tricky but rewarding desserts that often require multiple failed trials before one gets it correct. Macarons are quite expensive because of a few main reasons: 1.) a high failure rate 2.) its prestige as a high-end dessert 3.) expensive ingredients 4.) aesthetic appearance.
The most expensive ingredient in a macaron is almond flour, which costs around $8/lb. Luckily, you can make an extremely budget-friendly version with all-purpose flour instead of almond flour! These macaron shells require only 5 ingredients and are the perfect alternative for anyone with tree-nut allergies as well as anyone who does not have almond flour on hand. The 5 ingredients are common kitchen ingredients: all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, egg whites, granulated sugar, and cream of tartar (or vinegar).
First off, these nut-free macarons look, taste, and feel VERY similar to traditional macarons. It would be difficult to differentiate between the two in a blind taste test. These are the subtle differences between nut-free and traditional macarons that I have noted:
- Nut-free macarons are slightly more dense. Traditional ones are more airy.
- Nut-free macarons don’t have the subtle nutty taste.
- The shells had a very subtle tanginess because of the cream of tartar/white vinegar. This flavor was masked with the macaron filling.
Macarons have a high failure rate. I failed many, many times before success, so I have provided some tips based on my past mistakes:
- In the recipe, I have listed ingredients as cups and grams. I highly recommend using the grams for accuracy. Invest in a food scale if you have not yet!
- Whip egg whites until stiff peaks. Do not under or overbeat. It is more likely that underbeating may occur. Stiff peaks take about 5 min. of beating to form. Stiff peaks are achieved when the meringue looks glossy and the bowl can be turned upside down and the meringue does not move at all.
- When combining the meringue with the sifted flour and powdered sugar, fold gently and do not over mix! 40 gentle folds should incorporate the batter well.
- Pipe quickly and do not manipulate the batter too much! When piping the macaron shells, heat from the hands can alter the batter so pipe quickly so that the later-piped shells turn out just as nicely as the first-piped shells.
- Lightly tap the tray on the counter to release air bubbles.
- Patience is key! Let the shells rest for at least 30 min. so the skin of the macarons dry out. This is the key to forming macaron “feet”.
- Remember to preheat your oven to the correct temperature before baking the macarons.
- Baking temperature differs from oven to oven. Use 290 F for a gas or electric conventional oven.
- Altitude and weather affect macaron shells. The best location to make macarons is a cool kitchen with relatively dry air.
- I recommend using a silicon mat instead of a parchment paper, although parchment paper will work as well.
This recipe was inspired by a post I saw on Facebook and is a total game-changer!
Nut-Free Black Sesame Macarons
yield: 10 large or 15 medium macarons (I made large macarons)
For macaron shells (Highly recommend using the grams for accuracy):
- 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. all purpose flour (70 g.)
- 1 c. powdered sugar (110 g.)
- 70 g. egg whites (egg whites from 2 large eggs)
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar (45 g.)
- 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar or white vinegar (5 g)
- 1/2 tsp. crushed black sesame seeds to top (optional)
For black sesame filling:
- 3/4 c. softened cream cheese (any fat percentage works; use full fat for most creaminess)
- 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp. black sesame paste
- 2 tbsp, crushed black sesame seeds (optional)
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar (add more if needed)
- In a large metal or glass bowl, sift together the all purpose flour and powdered sugar and mix.
- In a metal or glass bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar or vinegar and begin to whisk on high with an electric beater. Add the granulated sugar in 3 batches and whisk until stiff peaks form.
- Add the meringue in 3 batches to the flour and powdered sugar mixture and fold about 40 times, until the batter is fully incorporated. Do not overmix! The batter will seem slightly dense (instead of very runny) which is okay.
- Pour the mixture into a piping bag or plastic bag and pipe the shells onto the baking tray lined with the baking mat or parchment paper.
- Tap the tray 2 times on the counter and allow the shells to rest for 30 min. After 10 mins. of resting, sprinkle a few crushed sesame seeds on the shells.
- Preheat the oven to 290 F.
- While the shells are resting, place all the filling ingredients together and beat together until fully incorporated. Place the mixture in the fridge.
- Once the shells are done resting, bake the shells in the oven at 290 F for 14 min. Remove immediately from the oven and allow shells to cool completely.
- Once the shells are cooled, pipe the filling onto the shells and eat immediately or place in the fridge.