Macarons are an irresistible treat, traditionally served as a dessert. When expertly made, they should melt in your mouth, leaving your tastebuds begging for more. You will seldom have leftovers, but if you do, how do you store them? Do macarons need to be refrigerated?
Like many other exotic and tantalizing dishes, macarons originated in France where the French are renowned for their cuisine and expertise at producing gastronomic delights. A professional French chef or baker will have endless patience to fiddle and fuss, in order to get the perfect result.
Does this mean that you cannot make macarons in your kitchen at home? Of course not! Making macarons can be a little tricky at first, and your first few attempts might not yield the perfect macaron, but with a little practice, they are actually quite easy to make.
There are a few secrets to making macarons, and later on, in this article, I will share some of my best tips with you. Many people don’t like giving out their best recipes and can be quite possessive about it. I, on the other hand, always see it as the ultimate compliment when someone asks me for a recipe.
Friends and family always rave about my macarons and ask for my recipe. I have given it to so many people that I have decided to share it with you here as well, so that you, too, can master this wonderful French confection. Once you have mastered it, you will never have to ask if macarons need to be refrigerated, because you will never have leftovers to worry about.
Of course, if you are making your macarons for a special occasion and you are the type of person who likes to be well-organized and prepares things well in advance, you may need to ask, “Do macarons need to be refrigerated?” But then you run the risk of those yummy little goodies being guzzled on the sly before your guests even arrive.
How Long Do Macarons Last?
Do macarons need to be refrigerated? Not necessarily. They can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Store them in an airtight container, and make sure that they are in a cool place, out of direct sunlight. Longer than 2-3 days, yes, macarons do need to be refrigerated. Macarons will keep in the fridge for up to a week, as long as they are packed correctly.
TIP: Macarons can be stacked in layers, but it is essential to place a piece of parchment paper between the layers to separate them, otherwise they may stick to each other and their delicate surface could be damaged. Place them in a completely sealed air-tight container in the fridge, and they should still be good a week later. That is if you have managed to resist the urge to eat them!
If you are having guests and you are serving macarons, but want to be well-prepared in advance, here is another very handy TIP: Make your macaron shells and filling a day or two before, but do not put them together.
Store the shells and the filling in separate air-tight containers. While the macarons themselves do not need to be refrigerated at this stage, the filling does. Take the filling out of the fridge, an hour in advance, to warm to room temperature, and assemble the macarons at the last minute before your guests arrive. They will be perfect in appearance and taste like they have been freshly made.
Can You Freeze and Refreeze Macarons?
Yes, you can freeze them. Macarons will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. Here, also, if preparing ahead of time, I would recommend freezing the shells and the filling separately, and then assembling them when needed. But if this is not convenient, whole macarons can certainly be frozen. Again, you will need to separate them with parchment paper and pack them in a fully air-tight container. If air seeps in, they will go soggy and will not be appetizing.
If you have frozen your macarons once and then defrosted them, I do not recommend refreezing them. This really applies to all foods that have been frozen. Once food has been thawed, it is not safe to refreeze it, because bacteria can start to multiply as it thaws.
Macarons that have been thawed once will still be fine to eat and will retain their taste and texture, but freezing and defrosting them a second time will seriously affect the consistency and flavor. They will start to acquire freezer taste; you know, that subtle, off-ish taste that some foods develop when they have spent too long stored, hidden, and forgotten in the depths of your bulging freezer.
How Do You Defrost Frozen Macarons?
It is best to take them out of the freezer the night before you need them and place them in the fridge to defrost gradually. Too sudden a change in temperature could affect the texture of the macaron shells, and make the filling too soft. Never defrost macarons in the microwave. They will go soggy and be completely ruined.
Can You Crisp Up Macarons If They Go Soft in the Freezer?
If you have frozen your macaron shells and they are too soft after defrosting, you can place them in a warm oven on a low temperature for about 10 minutes, then allow them to cool completely before filling them. They should then be nice and firm. However, this will not work with macarons that have already been filled.
The filling cannot be heated. It might curdle and separate if heated. It will also probably melt and turn to liquid, ruining your macaron shells.
What do Macarons Look Like?
Macarons should be light and fluffy. The outside should be crispy, while the inside should be softer and slightly chewy. They should have a dome-shaped, smooth outer surface, with little bubbles that burst through on the inner surface. These little bubbles are known as ‘feet’.
A complete macaron consists of two shells, sandwiched together with a cream filling. You can leave them their natural color, which is a pale off-white creamy shade, or you can color them with food coloring.
How Do You Make Macarons?
I have experimented with quite a few different recipes and methods, but, through trial and error, I eventually hit on the perfect recipe. The ingredients for macaron shells are very simple. You need egg whites, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, almond flour and food coloring. But it is what you do with those simple ingredients that make all the difference.
TIP: If you usually store your eggs in the fridge, start off by taking them out of the fridge well in advance. Your egg whites must be at room temperature when you beat them, in order to get the best result.
Here is my special recipe for macarons.
You will need the following utensils:
- Mixer with a whisk beater
- Food processor
- Large bowl
- Baking tray
- Parchment or baking paper
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Piping bag
- Wire cooling rack
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup fine almond flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 drops food coloring
- Preheat your oven to 300° Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Combine the almond flour with the powdered sugar and salt. Process to a very fine powder in the food processor and sift into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until you have soft peaks, slowly adding the granulated sugar. Continue beating until you have firm peaks.
TIP: You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the egg whites will stay put.
- Add the vanilla and beat in. Add the food coloring and beat for another few seconds.
TIP: to prevent accidentally splashing in too much food coloring, use an eye-dropper.
- Fold in the almond flour mixture very gradually, using a spatula. Continue folding until it is smooth and glossy.
- Place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe circles onto the parchment paper. Your macarons should be 1½ inches in diameter. Place them 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
- Leave them to stand for 1 hour, then bake at 300° for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the wire rack.
- Fill with cream filling when completely cool.
Vanilla Buttercream Filling
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream the butter, gradually adding the powdered sugar. Add the cream and vanilla extract, beating well until you have a soft, creamy texture.
Using a piping bag, place a blob in the center of a macaron shell, and sandwich together with a second shell.
You now have perfect, mouth-watering macaroons. Leave them to settle for a few hours, and invite your friends for a party!