Macarons are a delicious, delicate French pastry that can be very expensive to make at home. From the ingredients to the tools, it never seems like you are saving any money when doing it yourself instead of buying them from the store.
However, with a few tips and tricks from an experienced baker, you can save a lot of money on making macarons at home.
Choose an accurate and reputable recipe
One of the most important steps to minimize costs is to find a good reliable source for the recipe. An accurate and very carefully thought-out recipe can save you a lot of money and time.
Choose a recipe that has every step covered in detail and all the ingredients measured very accurately. Read the recipe thoroughly before starting to bake as it is really important to understand every step beforehand. Be sure to calculate the cost of all ingredients before deciding which recipe you want to follow.
If you are new to making macarons, it is better for you not to spend too much money on the ingredients as the failure rate is quite high. As a beginner, I highly suggest starting with smaller quantities and increasing the numbers after you have succeeded a few times.
TIP: The French Method recipe for macarons can help you save some extra money. When using this method, you don’t need to make sugar syrup. You also don’t need to buy a food thermometer to measure sugar syrup’s temperature.
Make almond flour by yourself
Almond flour is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and packed with fiber. You can use almond flour for everything from pancakes to macarons. It is great for people on a gluten-free diet or those who don’t consume any animal products.
You can easily make almond flour at home instead of buying it from the store. It will save you a significant amount of money as almond flour is the most expensive part of baking macarons.
On average, you can save around 25% of the costs when doing it by yourself at home. It’s actually very simple to do and you can also store it for later use.
Steps on how to make almond flour at home
- Grind raw almonds into a fine meal using a Food Chopper
- Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Bake at 350°F (176°C) for 20 minutes until it becomes dry
Do not grind the almonds for too long as the almonds are oily and you can end up with an almond paste instead. I recommend you to grind them for a little bit, then put them in the oven again to get them as dry as possible, and once again grind them.
You can also mix the nearly complete almond flour with powdered sugar and blend them together. Powdered sugar is very dry and non-oily and it helps to prevent getting an almond paste. If doing so, make sure to measure all the ingredients as your recipe says before mixing them together.
TIP: If you want your macarons to be pure white, make sure to peel the almonds to get rid of the dark skin. When processing with the skins, the almond flour will be more beige color.
How to make powdered sugar at home
Powdered sugar is a fine powder that is made from caster sugar. It can be used in a lot of desserts for a sweeter taste or as decoration. The best thing about homemade powdered sugar is that it can save you a lot of money and therefore is worth trying to make your own.
In fact, this is probably one of the easiest DIYs to make at home. You don’t need any fancy ingredients or equipment, just some caster sugar, and a food processor or blender.
Steps on how to make powdered sugar at home
- Measure the quantities. You typically need to use half as much regular sugar compared to processed powdered sugar.
- Put the regular sugar in a food processor or blender.
- Blend it until the sugar turns into a fluffy white powder.
- For the best results, you can sieve the powdered sugar before proceeding to avoid any lumps.
- You can use it straightway or store it in an airtight container for later use.
Do not use food coloring
We all know that macarons are well known for their vibrant colors and extravagant appearance. It might not be the most popular option, but one of the ways to cut down some costs is to avoid using any store-bought food coloring.
For people just starting to learn baking macarons or someone, who just wants to offer their family amazing taste experiences, using food coloring might not be necessary. You can fully focus on the baking process and after you ace it, you can start to use food coloring to make them even more irresistible.
I can guarantee you, that macarons still look fabulous in their natural white-beige color and will fascinate everyone nevertheless.
However, if you still feel like you need to use food coloring, I suggest reading my post about choosing the Best Food Coloring for Macarons as it can save you some bucks on choosing the best products.
Use silicone mats or parchment paper
There is a high chance that readers of this post are not first-time bakers and might have some baking equipment already at home. Owning a silicone mat will eliminate the need to buy parchment paper and therefore save you some money.
On the other hand, if you haven’t bought a silicone baking mat yet, it might not be worth it to buy it for only baking occasionally. When you plan to bake a few times a year, it will be cheaper to buy parchment papers.
In case you are planning to bake quite often, I would recommend using silicone mats as you can reuse them thousands of times and as a bonus, your macarons will turn out much prettier.
I have thoroughly compared the two options in another post, where I have gathered all the information about this topic. Along with a lot of useful knowledge, it has a detailed table to compare prices when using either the silicone mat or parchment paper.
Use tools you already have
This might be a no-brainer, but you don’t need all the fancy equipment to start baking macarons at home. Kitchen appliances usually cost a lot of money and therefore you might not be able to afford all of them.
Investing in expensive equipment is not always the best idea for beginners. Start with cheaper alternatives to see if it’s something you really enjoy, then invest when you are convinced it will be worth it.
For example, if you already have a hand mixer at home, there is no need to buy an expensive Kitchen Aid with all the extensions. Of course, when getting more serious in baking, tools like Kitchen Aid are inevitable and save you a lot of time. It is important to get creative and try to use the appliances you already have in your kitchen.
Extra saving tips
These extra tips are for extreme cases when you are on a really tight budget, but still want to bake macarons. Use these tips as the last resort and try to find better ways to improve in the future.
Use a plastic bag instead of a piping bag
This is definitely not a recommended way to bake macarons, but when you don’t have any piping bags around or can’t afford to buy them, there is an alternative – a plastic bag.
Most people have some plastic bags laying around their homes and these can serve as piping bags. Just make sure, that the bag is intact and cleaned, to avoid any bad bacteria.
Use homemade ingredients for the filling
Using homemade ingredients for the filling cuts down the budget a lot! For example, homemade jams or frozen berries will be the perfect ingredients for the macaron filling!
Some berries can be expensive in the off-season. For example, strawberries in the wintertime are not the best choice if you are on a low budget. It’s cheaper to buy them when they’re in season and then freeze them for later use.
Using the frozen berries in the macaron filling is super easy. Just melt the berries, smash them or make a puree from the frozen berries, and mix with buttercream.
Use DIY homemade packaging
A DIY macaron box is a much cheaper way to gift macarons. When you make your own macaron box, you can customize the size, style, and colors to really make it special. You can also fill it with different treats like brownies, cookies, or candy.
I’m sure that everyone has boxes or packages at home that they don’t use daily. For example, gift boxes or bags from Christmas, birthdays, or other events. Feel free to use these.
Last but not least, many treats you buy from the store come in different kinds of packages. Instead of instantly throwing them away, keep them and reuse them later. Adding some pretty bows or stickers can make it look cute and unique.
As you can see there are many great ways to make macarons on a low budget. However, not everyone has the time or the energy to use these tips and tricks as it is easier to buy the concrete items you need from the store.
If you are on a budget but macarons are your passion, it is highly recommended for you to try some of the tips! It is up to you to choose how much time and effort you want to spend to save some money.
Enjoy your macarons!