My ideal Mother’s Day is pretty simple.  Wake up no earlier than 7 am (because, let’s be real, the kids have no idea what day it is so 7 would be optimistic), simple breakfast in bed followed by lots of family snuggles, and hopefully some time to play in the kitchen.  This weekend my wish was granted and then some.  Ben completely surprised me with a Professional Series KitchenAid Mixer and I couldn’t wait to test it out.  I thought briefly about what recipe would be the right one to break in the mixer, and it didn’t take me more than a few minutes to settle on macarons.  I’d been having macaron yearnings lately anyway, and since the first time I ever made macarons was two years ago on Mother’s Day, it seemed like a fitting choice.  It also didn’t take me long to decide on a flavor combination.  I’ve been all about Nutella these days and when hazelnut Nutella macarons crossed my mind, there was no turning back.

I decided to take a chance and try a new macaron recipe, which in the past has always ended in complete disaster.  However, I will grudgingly say that this recipe was so good, it will now be my go-to macaron base.  (Unfortunately there was a typo in the book so I had to go with some guesswork and my instincts, but worked perfectly in the end.)  Each time I make macarons I learn something new and this time I realized that the sheet on the lower level always looks nicer.  The shells still have the proper shape and height but don’t brown as the ones on top often do.  From now on I think I’ll be baking both sheets in the lower half of the oven.    The texture of the cookies was absolutely perfect – moist and slightly chewy inside with a delicate crisp exterior.  Take those lovely macaron shells, sandwich with a rich, silky Nutella buttercream and you’ve got a pretty fabulous little sandwich cookie.  These were worthy of hoarding for just us, something I rarely do with my baked goods – a sure sign of a good thing.

For the basic concepts of macaron making, see this post with some step-by-step photos.

  • Yield about 20 sandwich cookies


For the cookies:
6 oz. slivered or blanched almonds
1½ oz. chopped hazelnuts
10 oz. confectioners’ sugar
3 large egg whites
1½ tsp. cream of tartar

For the filling:
¾ cup (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. Nutella
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of coarse salt


  • 01

    Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Have a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip ready (I use Ateco #809).  In the bowl of a food processor, combine the almonds and hazelnuts.  Pulse until mostly well ground.  Add the confectioners’ sugar to the bowl and continue to process in brief pulses until the nuts are finely ground and the mixture is even.  Set aside.

  • 02

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar.  Whip on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3-4 minutes.  Add about one third of the ground nut mixture to the bowl with the egg whites and fold in gently with a spatula.  Fold in the remaining nut mixture in two additions, just until the ingredients are combined and no lumps or streaks remain.  The batter will be fairly thick.  Transfer the mixture to the pastry bag.  Pipe 1-inch circles, about ½-inch thick, onto the prepared baking sheets spacing them about 1 inch apart.  (They will spread slightly after piping but don’t worry.)  Allow the cookies to rest at room temperature uncovered for 2 hours.  (This step helps the cookies develop the delicate exterior crust and “foot” on the bottom.)

  • 03

    Preheat the oven to 300˚ F and set oven racks in the the lower half of the oven.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until the macarons appear set but are not browned, about 12-14 minutes.  Let cool.  (To ensure adequate drying of the cookies, I like to shut off the oven at the end of baking, prop the door open slightly with a wooden spoon, and let the shells cool slowly in the oven.)  Once the cookies are cool, carefully remove them from the baking mats and transfer to a wire rack, matching them up in pairs by size.

  • 04

    To make the filling, combine the butter and nutella in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Blend in the confectioners’ sugar and salt, then beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes more.

  • 05

    Pipe a small dollop of the nutella mixture onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair.  Sandwich together with the remaining cookie, pushing the filling to the edges.  Store in an airtight container.