Wednesday June 15, 2011

I'm Not Nuts

Recently my twitter pal Shulie from Food Wanderings asked me if I knew anything about making nut-free macarons. Her son has a severe tree-nut allergy, causing him to miss out on the macaron mayhem taking place in every corner of the food world these days. If he tasted an almond macaron, truly, macaron mayhem would ensue, in the most awful way.

The very idea of anyone suffering, macaronless, broke my heart. And I knew just the trick.

nut free macarons

Rosco is married to someone with a nut allergy. Not so long ago, I nearly killed her with an almond batch I’d given to Rosco as a thank-you present. (“Yeah, thanks for nothing!” I’m sure he thought…) So, with that crisis averted and me feeling like a horrible macaron monster, I set out to find a way to make macarons just for her. And, happily, I found it’s not hard at all.

Please check out the rest of my guest post on Food Wanderings. I’ll tell you how to make completely nut free macarons like the matcha-chocolate ones pictured above. While you’re there, please poke around the site, you’ll find tons of excellent recipes from all corners of the globe. Shulie has a diverse culinary background which manifests itself in her astonishing array of recipes.

I have a few more nut-free macaron tricks up my sleeve and I’ll post those recipes here too in the following weeks. In the mean time, go say hi to Shulie!

My recipe here, Nut Free Macarons.

posted byStellaand filed under:  Chocolate  Gluten Free  macarons  Sideshow Photos

41 comments and counting

Jun 15, 2011 · 12:02 PM

Hey Stella, you super woman! So happy you are my guest. You are brilliant but I already said that, but mostly you do it with such ease and panache. You are one smart cookie and this post is absolutely hilarious. Got to laugh always, even when the matter is dead serious! Shulie

 · foodwanderings ·

Jun 15, 2011 ·  2:00 PM


 · spellingmatters · 

Jun 15, 2011 ·  2:27 PM

@Shulie, my pleasure! Thank you for so many kind words.

@SpellingMatters, I agree wholeheartedly, my friend, spelling matters quite a lot. But these little treats are properly called “macarons” with just one O. Macaroons refer to coconut haystack type cookies. Look before you leap!


Jun 15, 2011 ·  3:09 PM

thank you so much for this! My boyfriend’s nephew has severe allergies to tree nuts/peanuts and it’s been impossible to find a recipe that didn’t involve almonds or coconut.

 · paigeannt · 

Jun 15, 2011 ·  3:40 PM

@spellingmatters – It’s spelled M-O-R-O-N.

 · SMH · 

Jun 15, 2011 ·  3:50 PM

When it comes to macarons, I think everyone should be able to enjoy them, regardless of food allergies-kudos to making it happen. You are awesome!

 · Tina@flourtrader ·

Jun 15, 2011 ·  6:27 PM

@paigeannt, right on! I am so glad to come to the rescue. I will be posting several more nut-free recipes soon, so stay tuned.

@SMH, giggles now, now dear.

@Tina, macarons for everyone!! Now, to solve the vegan dilemma…


Jun 15, 2011 ·  9:39 PM

How awesome to have a nut-free macaron! I’m sure your friends were happy all around =)

 · Peggy ·

Jun 15, 2011 · 10:59 PM

Great articles, lovely writing and your reply to spelling matters earns you a degree in diplomatic relations, (if you don’t have one already). Stumbled upon your blog thru culinate but have bookmarked it. More power!

 · gretchen  · 

Jun 16, 2011 ·  1:07 AM

That’s incredibly clever! And the flavour combination is delicious!

 · LimeCake ·

Jun 16, 2011 · 10:24 AM

@Peggy, it was a happy day for all.

@Gretchen, haha, I work in the rare field of culinary-grammatic-diplomacy. XD So….I didn’t even know what culinate was, I had to go google it just now. How cool! Thanks for bookmarking, hope to “see” you around.

@LimeCake, the pumpkin seeds give the finished macaron an especially rich, nutty flavor. Which is quite ironic.


Jun 16, 2011 · 12:12 PM

Nice guest post!! Congrats on the top nine. Your macarons look fabulous! I enjoyed reading about them.

 · Lisa @ Tarte du Jour ·

Jun 16, 2011 ·  1:06 PM

Funny you mentioned ironies. I do too find certain combinations of seeds and say rolled oats accentuate a sensation of nuts. Ironic indeed . I know there are others but just when I need to think about them they escaped my mind

 · Foodwanderings ·

Jun 17, 2011 ·  3:28 AM

Great great! I’m heading over there right now!

 · Jessica ·

Jun 17, 2011 · 10:59 PM

I haven’t even looked at a macaron recipe to know that there are nuts in macaron’s now I want to make them.

 · Apron Appeal ·

Jun 18, 2011 ·  1:39 PM

@Lisa, thanks so much!

@Shulie, hmmm, seeds + rolled oats= nutty deliciousness, eh? I must explore this further…

@Jessica, have fun!

@Apron Appeal, haha, that’s great. A macaron innocent. Let me know if you try ‘em out!


Jun 19, 2011 ·  6:00 PM

Thank you so much! My mister has been pouting about being macaronless for a while now!

 · Dana ·

Jun 19, 2011 · 10:46 PM

@Dana, so glad to provide a solution! Hope yours turn out splendidly. Thanks for stopping by.


Jun 23, 2011 · 11:56 AM

So I made these and they came out much greener than the picture. First time ever and it took me 4 tries (I practiced with plain ones first) to get it right!

 · Sue · 

Jun 23, 2011 ·  9:13 PM

@Sue, I’ve found there can be a lot of variation on “greenness” based on the type of matcha used, and also based on the type of pumpkin seeds. Some pumpkin seeds are really, really green, and some are more of a tan color.

Smart girl to practice on vanilla macarons, congrats on your success, though. Practice does indeed make perfect!


Jun 28, 2011 ·  2:54 PM

it’s too bad that you live in the States. In Canada, we have a store called Bulk Barn that sells (obviously) food in bulk, and they just introduced a “French Macaroon” mix that only requires water! It would be so interesting to see your review on the mix, compared to a “real” macaron! I’ve seen some reviews on it so far (hasn’t been promising!), but they seem to be by people who haven’t quite mastered the macaron yet, so it’s hard to say if it’s user-error or mix-error

 · Diana · 

Jun 28, 2011 ·  3:26 PM

@Diana, I am terrified at the prospect! But am also morbidly curious. Omg, gonna google this…


Jun 28, 2011 ·  9:01 PM

I just posted a review of the Bulk Barn mix yesterday.
They seemed promising at first. Maybe you can give me some feedback that might improve the results!

 · Michelle ·

Jun 29, 2011 · 10:29 AM

@Michelle, Well, with any product, I think it’s important to start with the basics, so you might try making them again without adding any flavor to the mix; the acidity of the strawberries could be negatively influencing your results.

I’ve yet to find any instant or convenience product that’s better than homemade, from bread to chocolate chipcookies, so honestly, I don’t have much hope for instant-macarons.


Jul 19, 2011 ·  1:46 PM


just wanted to add that I tried making them myself the other day. By the 3rd batch I got feed, knew the right consistency to look for, but they were still coming out flat and cracked and hollow.

I tried the bulk barn mix and I actually had success! If you want to see pictures of have questions let me know.

 · Mandy ·

Jul 20, 2011 · 10:39 AM

@Mandy, perfecting macarons definitely takes a bit of practice. No one ever perfected their jump shot in only three attempts. But if you found something that works for you, that’s great!


Feb 03, 2012 ·  3:20 PM

Thank you so much! My daughter, too, has severe nut allergies, and I’ve been wanting to try macarons without, you know, sending my kid into anaphylactic shock. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

 · Becki ·

Feb 03, 2012 ·  3:55 PM

@Becki, I am so glad I can provide a way for you to get in on the fun!! Thanks for stopping by, let me know how your macarons turn out!


Feb 24, 2012 ·  6:24 PM

Hi Stella, one of the reasons i don’t make macarons as often as i would like is as you know, the high cost of almond flour (relative of course to regular flour). A friend of mine asked me why can’t you make macarons with regular flour or some other substitute and aside from texture, flavor and im assuming gluten, what else is stopping non-nut/seed macarons being made?

 · piracer · 

Feb 25, 2012 · 12:49 PM

@piracer, I’m no chemist so I can’t address the technical issues of why you can’t make macarons with flour; but practically speaking, the flour is so fine and absorbent, it sucks up all the moisture in the mix and makes a stiff brick of a cookie. Nut flours aren’t absorbent and leave the meringue free to do its own thing.

But nothing is stopping macarons from being made other nuts/seeds! The ones in the photo above were made with pumpkin seeds, and I’ve also made them with great success using cornmeal and cocoa nibs, but those are a bit “advanced level” and have taken me a considerable amount of time and practice to master, so I don’t recommend them for first macaron newbies.


May 09, 2012 ·  2:44 AM

So here is my problem and I wanted to see if you had ever encountered anyone else with the same issue: macarons, regardless of flavor or source, make my mouth itchy (it’s called oral allergy syndrome, and is linked to severe hay fever – I also have it with melons). HOWEVER, I am NOT allergic to whole almonds. Any idea of what could be causing this? Is it possible to have an allergy to almond flour but not almonds?

 · Linda · 

May 09, 2012 · 10:07 AM

@Linda, do you have an allergy to corn? The cornstarch in the powdered sugar could be messing you up. Or perhaps egg whites? So strange. My mom is allergic to canned peas, but not fresh. Allergies are a strange, strange thing.


Apr 09, 2013 · 11:37 PM

Hi Stella, I accidentally found your blog while pinning & I’ve been addicted to it ever since I love the simple way you explain your recipes & you always make it fun while doing it You made macarons sound less scary to make & so I wanna try making the nut free 1 (just because I love matcha haha). I’m wondering can I use vanilla bean paste instead of the vanilla bean itself? Also, is there somewhere that I could just buy the egg whites only instead of having egg yolks lying around in my fridge after a batch of macarons? Thank you for your great recipes

 · Bakaholic  · 

Apr 10, 2013 ·  6:15 PM

Hi Bakaholic! I’ve never used vanilla bean paste in macarons, but I presume it would work out just fine. Maybe double check the ingredients list to be sure there are no oils added to the vanilla bean, that would be a deal breaker for sure. You can definitely buy just whites (some groceries sell them for making egg white omelets), but I’m not sure how they’d do in macarons. They may have undergone pasteurization, which would affect how they behave in the macaron.

The best way to use up the yolks is to make French buttercream, which you can use to fill the macarons! I have a cheater’s method, you make it just like Swiss meringue. You can check out the recipe here.


Aug 05, 2013 ·  9:12 AM

hi stella, i baked my macarons after following your instructions and i developed tiny cracks on the shells of a few and my feet were small, pls help

 · faatimah88 · 

Aug 07, 2013 ·  2:36 PM

Hi faatimah88! Generally, when macarons crack it’s because they were undermixed (too much air in the batter). So next time, get a little more aggressive in your mixing, so that more of the air is crushed of the meringue. If you’re using any food coloring or extracts, I recommend leaving them out as they make “perfect” macarons difficult in the beginning when you’re still learning.


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