These donut macarons are adorable donut-shaped French macaron cookies with an easy chocolate ganache in the center and a glaze icing on top. They are a fun, delicious treat that are perfect for parties or for enjoying with your morning cup of coffee!
Biting into one of these donut macarons is like biting into a chocolate glazed donut! The ring shape of the macaron shells, chocolate ganache, glaze icing, and colorful sprinkles on top make them look and taste just like mini glazed donuts. There's also a pinch of ground nutmeg in the shells which adds a very subtle but classic donut flavor!
WHAT ARE MACARONS?
Not to be confused with macaroons, which are coconut cookies, French macarons are delicate sandwich cookies made with almond flour and meringue. The shells have a mild, sweet, slightly nutty flavor and are usually sandwiched between a frosting or other type of filling.
Macarons are deceptively small and simple looking, but they are actually considered one of the hardest desserts to make! There is a lot of accuracy and precision involved, and you won't know if you've done everything right until they come out of the oven. The good news is you only need a few ingredients to make them, and even when they don't look perfect, they always taste amazing!
MERINGUE FOR MACARONS
Macarons can be made with a French, Swiss, or Italian meringue. One isn't necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what you feel most comfortable with or works best for you.
The French meringue method is the simplest and least technical, it's a great place to start if you're new to meringue or to making macarons. The Italian meringue method is much more involved. It's what most professional pastry chefs use because it makes a very stable meringue. The Swiss meringue method is kind of in between the two.
This recipe for donut macarons uses a French meringue.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE MACARONS
- Bowls and mixers: Several large bowls and an electric or stand mixer. Unlike Swiss and Italian meringue, a French meringue can be made just as easily with a hand-held mixer.
- Food scale: Weighing your ingredients keeps everything accurate, which is crucial for baking and especially for making macarons! This food scale is hands-down my favorite piece of kitchen equipment, it makes baking so much easier and practically eliminates the need for measuring cups.
- Food processor: Processing the dry ingredients is optional and will give you very smooth macaron shells.
- Piping bag and round piping tip: For piping the macaron batter, I recommend using a ½" round piping tip.
- Baking sheet: For macarons you want to use a sturdy baking sheet that won't warp in the oven. You can also double stack your baking sheets to keep them from warping. You will need two baking sheets for this recipe!
- Silicone baking mat: For piping the macaron batter onto. If you make macarons often enough a silicone mat is definitely worth the investment. They're easy, reusable, and the batter doesn't spread as much as with parchment paper.
- Template: A lot of silicone baking mats come with macaron templates printed on them. You can also make your own by tracing circles onto a sheet of parchment paper.
DONUT MACARON INGREDIENTS
- Almond flour: Almond flour is made from blanched ground almonds and is what gives macarons their unique taste and texture. Not all brands are equal, some tend to be less fine and more oily than others. My favorite brand that I always use is Blue Diamond almond flour.
- Powdered sugar: Sifted with the almond flour to make up the dry ingredients. Powdered sugar absorbs moisture in the batter and is crucial in macarons developing feet during baking.
- Ground nutmeg (optional): Adds a subtle donut flavor to the shells.
- Salt: Just a pinch to bring out flavor and cut down on sweetness.
- Egg whites: Separate the eggs while they're cold and then let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes-1 hour. Eggs separate easier when they're cold and egg whites whip to stiff peaks easier and to a greater volume when they're at room temperature.
- Cream of tartar: The acidity stabilizes the egg whites and helps them whip to stiff peaks!
- Granulated sugar (sifted): Granulated sugar is what gives the meringue structure. Be sure to sift it first to get rid of any clumps in the sugar. Any clumps or debris will deflate the egg whites and you won't be able to make the meringue.
- Chocolate: Semi-sweet, milk, or dark chocolate. Chopped or chocolate chips.
- Heavy cream: You may need more or less cream based on the kind of chocolate you're using. Darker chocolate will need slightly more cream than milk or semi-sweet chocolate to make a smooth ganache.
- Powdered sugar
- Cream: Or milk.
- Cocoa powder or pink coloring (optional)
- Rainbow sprinkles
HOW TO MAKE DONUT MACARONS
Prep the ingredients: Separate the eggs while they're cold and then set the egg whites aside to come to room temperature for 30 minutes-1 hour. Make sure you don't get any yolk in the bowl with the egg whites or you won't be able to whip them to stiff peaks.
Sift the granulated sugar into a clean bowl and set aside.
Sift the almond flour back and forth between 2 bowls, discard any larger chunks left at the bottom of the sifter.
In a large bowl, add 100 grams of the sifted almond flour, 140 grams of powdered sugar, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Transfer everything to a food processor and pulse for about 15-30 seconds, then sift everything together into one bowl. Set aside until needed.
MAKE THE MERINGUE
Start with a completely clean, dry bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. Wipe the bowl with a little white vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of any debris or traces of fat that could prevent the egg whites whipping to stiff peaks.
Use a hand-held mixer or the whisk attachment in your stand mixer to whip the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar for about 1 minute or until starting to thicken and increase in volume.
With the mixer running, add the sifted granulated sugar, about 2 teaspoons at a time, and mix for 20 seconds after each addition. It's important you don't add too much sugar at once or it can deflate the egg whites and ruin the meringue.
Once all of the sugar is added mix until the meringue reaches medium-stiff peaks. When you lift the mixer out of the bowl and flip it upside down there should be a peak that sticks up with a very slight droop at the tip.
If after several minutes the meringue isn't reaching stiff peaks and has a runny, glue-like texture, that's a sign some debris or trace of yolk got into the mixture and you will have to start the meringue over.
Macaronage is the process of combining the dry ingredients and meringue to make a macaron batter. It can be done by folding the dry ingredients into the meringue, or by folding the meringue into the dry ingredients. I prefer to fold the meringue into the dry ingredients, but feel free to do whichever way is easiest for you!
The key for proper macaronage is to take your time and be very gentle so you don't deflate the meringue too much.
In 3-4 additions, gently fold the meringue into the dry ingredients by wiping around the sides and bottom of the bowl. It will be thick and pasty at first. Wipe any batter or meringue off of the spatula as needed.
After the last addition, continue to fold by wiping the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Take your time and check often for signs it's getting close to the right consistency. It should be smooth and flow off of the spatula in thick ribbons without breaking.
Figure-8 test: The macaron batter is at the right consistency when you are able to draw a figure-8 without batter breaking off of the spatula.
PIPE THE DONUT MACARON BATTER
Add the macaron batter to a large piping bag fitted with a half-inch round piping tip.
For better piping control only fill the bag less than halfway at a time.
Pipe the batter onto your macaron templates in a ring-shape. Try to keep the hole in the middle pretty big, otherwise it will close up as the batter spreads or during baking.
DRY THE SHELLS
Let the shells dry out at room temperature until they form a skin on the surface. This usually takes about 45 minutes, you should be able to gently touch the tops without batter sticking to your finger.
Arrange your oven rack to the middle position and preheat your oven to 300°F/150°C. Bake the macarons, one baking sheet at a time, for 12-14 minutes each.
Let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet for at least 30 minutes before touching or removing them.
When removing the macarons, it's easier to peel the mat off from underneath the shells, instead of trying to pull the shells off of the mat. If your macarons are sticking to the mat try placing them in your freezer for about 10 minutes.
MAKE THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Add the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and heavy cream to a medium bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals until the ganache is smooth. If the ganache is too thin you can stir in more melted chocolate, if it's too thick you can add more cream.
Take two matching shells and pipe the chocolate ganache onto the bottom of one, then top with the second shell.
MAKE THE GLAZE
In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, cream, and salt.
To make a pink and chocolate glaze: Divide the glaze between two bowls. Add 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder to one bowl to make a chocolate glaze. Add a drop of pink food coloring to the second bowl to make a pink glaze.
Pipe the glaze on top of the donut macarons and then add some rainbow sprinkles before the glaze sets.
HOW TO STORE DONUT MACARONS
Macarons taste best 12-24 hours after they've been filled and stay fresh for one week in the fridge. Store them in an airtight container and keep in the fridge, you can also freeze the shells, filled or unfilled, for up to 2 months.
To freeze: Place the macarons in a single layer on a baking sheet and set the sheet flat in the freezer until the shells are completely solid. Then transfer to a sealed container that will protect them from getting squished. Keep frozen for 2 months.
MORE MACARON RECIPES
- Food processor
- electric or stand mixer
- Large piping bag and round piping tip
- 2 Baking sheets
Donut Macaron Shells:
- 100 grams egg whites
- 120 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams almond flour
- 140 grams powdered sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon groud nutmeg, optional
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 ounces chocolate*
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons cream , or whole milk
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, optional, for chocolate glaze
- 1 drop pink food coloring, optional, for pink glaze
- rainbow sprinkles, for topping
- Have several clean and dry bowls ready before you start. You will need 2-3 large bowls and 2 smaller bowls. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats with macaron templates.
Donut Macaron Shells:
- Separate the eggs while they're cold and then set the egg whites aside to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Make sure you don't get any yolk in the bowl with the whites or you won't be able to whip them to stiff peaks. Sift the granulated sugar into a small bowl and set aside.
- Sift the almond flour back and forth between two bowls. Discard any larger chunks left at the bottom of the sifter each time.
- To the bowl of a food processor, add 100 grams sifted almond flour, 140 grams powdered sugar, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Process for about 30 seconds, then sift everything together into a large bowl and set aside.
- Make the meringue: Add the egg whites to a completely clean and dry bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Begin whipping the egg whites on medium speed for about 30 seconds or until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whip for another 30 seconds-1 minute until starting to thicken and increase in volume.
- With the mixer running, begin adding the sifted granulated sugar, about 2 teaspoons at a time, and mix for 20 seconds after each addition. Once all of the sugar is added mix until the meringue reaches medium-stiff peaks. If you lift the mixer up out of the bowl and flip it upside down there should be a peak that sticks straight up at the tip.
- Make the macaron batter (macaronage): In several additions, use a rubber spatula to gently fold the meringue into the dry ingredients. It will be thick and pasty at first. Keep folding by wiping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Once all of the meringue is added, continue to fold gently until the batter flows in thick ribbons from your spatula without breaking. If you lift the batter up and draw a figure 8, it should disappear into the batter after about 10 seconds. If it doesn't disappear or if the batter breaks off of the spatula, keep folding and check again after every few turns.
- Pipe the shells: Add the macaron batter to a large piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip. For better piping control, only fill the bag about halfway with batter at a time. Pipe the batter in a ring-shape onto your macaron template. Keep the hole in the center larger than you think it needs to be, since it will fill up slightly as the batter spreads.
- Let the macaron shells dry out at room temperature until they form a skin on the surface, you should be able to gently touch the tops without batter sticking to your finger. This usually takes about 45 minutes, but can take longer in a more humid environment.
- Bake: Arrange your oven rack to the middle position and preheat your oven to 300°F/150°C. Bake one sheet of macarons at a time, for 12-15 minutes each. Take the sheet out of the oven and let the shells cool completely before touching or trying to remove them. When removing the macarons from the mat, it's easier to peel the mat off from underneath the shells. If the shells are sticking you can place the mat in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Make the Chocolate Ganache:
- Add the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips and heavy cream to a medium bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals until the ganache is smooth. If the ganache is too thick you can add more cream, if it's too thin you can add more melted chocolate.
Make the Glaze:
- Whisk the powdered sugar, cream (or whole milk), and salt in a medium bowl.
- To make a pink and chocolate glaze: Divide the glaze between two bowls. Add 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder to one bowl and add a drop of pink food coloring to the second bowl.
Fill and Glaze the Donut Macarons:
- Take two donut macaron shells that are about the same size and shape. Spread or pipe the chocolate ganache onto the bottom of one shell and gently top with the second shell. Spread or pipe the glaze on top and add sprinkles before the glaze sets.