2000s Recipes + Menus

Pistachio-Cardamom Macarons

Makes 2 1/2 dozen sandwich cookies
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:4 1/2 hr
September 2008
Contemporary Paris chefs use a lot of Persian flavors like cardamom, apricot, and pistachio, which we used here to modernize the classic macaron. For more recipes inspired by the City of Light, visit our Paris City Guide.
  • 1/3 cup unsalted shelled pistachios (1 1/2 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 oz almond flour (2/3 cup) or blanched sliced almonds (3/4 cup) or slivered almonds (2/3 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 drops green food coloring
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring
  • About 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • Equipment:

    a food processor with a sharp blade or an electric coffee/spice grinder; a large pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain tip or a qt-size sealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off; an offset spatula

Make macaron batter:

  • Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Grind pistachios, cardamom, almond flour or almonds, and confectioners sugar in food processor until powdery, 30 seconds for almond flour, about 2 minutes for almonds. (If using grinder, grind in small batches.) Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl (if not fine enough for almost all of nuts to go through sieve, regrind). Sift again into a large bowl.
  • Beat egg whites with salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in granulated sugar, a little at a time. Increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute. Add food coloring and mix at low speed until evenly colored. Fold meringue into almond mixture with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate and batter will be loose.)

Pipe and bake macarons:

  • Put small dabs of batter under corners of parchment to secure to baking sheets.
  • Spoon half of batter into pastry bag. Holding bag vertically just above baking sheet, pipe 1 1/2-inch-wide mounds of batter about 1 inch apart, stopping pressure and flicking tip sideways to avoid peaks (tamp down any peaks with a wet finger). Refill pastry bag and repeat. Let macarons stand, uncovered, at room temperature until a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  • Bake macarons, switching position of sheets halfway through, until crisp and interior does not give easily when a macaron is gently pressed, 22 to 28 minutes total. Cool completely on baking sheets (for residual heat to harden bottoms) on racks, about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons from parchment with offset spatula (they will be fragile).

Assemble cookies:

  • Sandwich flat sides of half of macarons together with a thin layer of jam.
  • Layer macarons between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.
Cooks’ note: Filled macarons can be kept in an airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap, chilled 2 days or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature in wrapped container (to avoid condensation), about 1 hour if chilled or 2 hours if frozen.
Subscribe to Gourmet