French macarons or Macarons are basically sandwich cookies. They consist of two halves of a delicate and airy cookie with a layer of filling in between them.
And If you love the taste and flavor of Macarons and buy them often, you would know that they are quite expensive.
A single Macaron costs about $0.18 to make at home but this requires a precise technique, lots of time, and some experience with baking. Whereas a Macaron from a bakery can set you back up to $4 per cookie.
There are 9 different reasons why they carry such a hefty price compared to other desserts at the bakery.
- The technique used to make Macarons is very difficult.
- And because of how difficult they are to make, you need a very skilled baker and this comes at a price.
- The ingredients needed to make macarons are expensive.
- It takes a lot of time to make perfect Macarons.
- Most people are also unwilling or unable to make them at home so they are willing to buy them at a higher price at a bakery.
- In the difficult process of making macarons, lots of them are deemed unsellable due to the quality and are often discarded. And because of this baker’s hike up the price of the Macarons that are sold to cover their losses.
- Some bakeries use custom packaging which increases the cost.
- Macarons do not have a very long storage life and need to be made regularly.
- Macarons are very delicate and even when made correctly will often get damaged due transporting and storage problems.
For more information on transporting and storing Macarons, Read my article Tips on Storing and Transporting Macarons.
French Macarons is another name for Macarons. Macaroons are a different type of cookie made from coconuts.
1. The Technique used to Make Macarons is very Difficult
One of the main reasons why Macarons are expensive is that the technique/method used to make macarons is very difficult. It requires precise measurements and precise techniques.
Macaron shells are made by folding almond flour and confectioners sugar into a meringue (sugar and egg whites). Sounds easy enough, but it has to be done just right. The ratio of sugar-to-almond flour-to-egg has to be very perfect.
Even if you measure all the ingredients correctly, you still need to mix them correctly as well. If you under stir, you risk cookies with spikes or peaks; over stirring may make them flat.
French macaroons are also incredibly sensitive to moisture above everything, so you also have to be aware of the room temperature and humidity.
You also have to pipe the shells to be uniform in size, rest them so they can lose their peaks and watch them for the period of time they are in the oven. Even the slightest slant of the pastry bag could cause the chefs to create inconsistent circles and two mismatched halves of the Macaron Shell.
If you make any mistakes in the technique the entire batch can be lost. Most people will probably fail in their first attempt at Macaron making.
2. Macaron Making is a skill
Macaron making requires precise techniques and not everyone will be able to make Macarons. Most bakeries employ specially trained Pastry chefs to make their Macarons as there is no place for mistakes in Macaron production. There needs to be a great skill by the baker and this comes at a price.
Pastry Chefs are trained to make large amounts of Macarons everyday, hence they have to be paid for their expertise in Macaron making, this is included in the cost of each Macaron.
3. The Ingredients Used in Making Macarons are Expensive
Macarons are made from very high quality ingredients which of course will be quiet expensive. Expensive Ingredients means the cost of producing Macarons will be high.
Most of the Expensive Ingredients found in Macarons are:
Since the only ingredient in almond flour is almonds, the price of almond flour goes hand in hand with raw almonds.
This combined with the huge expanding export market to China and Asia has driven up the price of almonds, the most significant ingredient in the typical Macaron. Macarons are made from almond flour which inturn is made from blanched almonds. You get 1 ¼ cups of almond flour using 1 cup.
While eggs are not necessary expensive, Macarons however, require Egg whites that are aged. Aged egg whites are ones which have been separated and left in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours so that the proteins inside can relax. To build a good foundation for a healthy meringue, start with aged egg whites.
Quality flavorings don’t come cheap. Chocolate, vanilla, and other extracts plus spices are all used in creating unique flavors in Macarons. Many bakeries often import the flavorings used for the Macarons as well as their filling.
Every recipe will vary of course but the most common ingredients used to make Macarons are:
- Almond Flour
- Egg whites
- Food coloring
4. Macarons take a lot of time to create
Macaron making requires BOTH patience and practice for them to look and taste perfect. This is another important point that bakers take into consideration when pricing their Macarons.
It takes about two hours and fifteen minutes. Half an hour of prep time, an hour of waiting time, ten minutes of cooking time, twenty minutes cooling time, fifteen minutes of filling and sandwiching time.
Plus ideally you will want the Macarons to mature for 24 hours in the refrigerator, this means you want the filling to marry into the Macaron shells.
The time needed to make Macarons will depend on the level of expertise you have in the art of Macaron making and the number of Macarons you are making.
People don’t want to spend such a long time in the kitchen making a treat, when they can just buy them. Time is money, people would rather buy Macarons than bake them.
5. People don’t want to make Macarons at home
Now because of the many potential pitfalls when baking Macarons, most people would rather buy delicious Macarons from a bakery than to take a chance of baking it themselves.
The risk of ruining them is too high and people don’t want to waste expensive ingredients and lots of time experimenting with a cookie that so incredibly tricky to make.
6. Many Macarons are Discarded Because they dont look Perfect
Sometimes bakeries tend to lose money when preparing Macarons because a large number of them have to be discared because they dont look good. Macarons are not only expected to taste good but their appearance must be perfect.
Any discrepancies in their shell such as a cracked shell or lack of uniformity in their shell can lead to bakers not putting the macarons for sale.
They have to cover the costs of both the failed Macarons as well, so they tend to jack up the price of the Macarons that are put for sale.
And with needing such a high skill set there is bound to be some mishaps in Macaron production even with the most experienced pastry chef.
This usually leads to undesired Macarons being discarded.
7. Some bakeries use custom packaging which increases the cost.
Many bakeries often use fancy, expensive, custom Macaron boxes and packaging to store their Macarons in. This is reflected in the cost of the Macarons. You are not only paying for the Macarons but it’s packaging.
8. Macarons don’t have a long storage life
For Macarons to have the best taste and quality, they need to be consumed in a short period of time from when they are baked.
And Macarons that are not sold within a short period of time, they have to be thrown out, losing valuable profits and the Macarons that are placed for sale will have to cover the baking costs plus profits.
9. Macarons are very Delicate to Handle
Macarons are delicate eggshell-like cookies filled with various fillings. Now because of the delicate nature of their shell, they often break during filling, storing, and transportation.
Additional packaging for shipping must be used to protect the fragile cookie and this has to be included in price of the Macaron.