Violet Cornmeal Macarons Recipe

Macarons Maïs Violette

[Violet Cornmeal Macarons]

If you are still trying to get your act together about what homemade edible presents to give out this holiday season, I’m here to tell you that you are not alone. I myself have done precisely zilch about it, but that’s okay: today is Tuesday, Christmas eve is this Sunday, and that still gives me plenty of time to pick a recipe, buy the ingredients, and get started, right? Right? Thank you.

I would hate to spoil the surprise for the usual recipients of my food gifts, who happen to read this blog every once in a while — especially just before they see me so they can pretend they read it more faithfully than they probably do –, so I can’t tell you exactly what I’ll make, but I will gladly point you to a few recipes I’m considering (but haven’t tested yet):

~ Jenjen’s Maple Brandy Snaps,
~ Monica Hayden’s Havreflarn, as recommended by Marie,
~ Nolwenn’s Dried fruit biscotti (in French),
~ Pascale’s Chocolate caramels (in French),
~ Bulle’s Guimauves, the French marshmallows (in French).

Add to those twelve gift-worthy favorites from the C&Z archives (a selection you would have received in your mailbox three weeks ago if you were a happy subscriber of my monthly newsletter):

~ Very Ginger Cookies,
~ Shortbread,
~ Chocolate and Cacao Nib Cookies,
~ Green Tea Cat’s Tongues,
~ Chocolate-dipped Apricots,
~ Dried Pears (which you can chocolate-dip, too),
~ Mendiants,
~ Florentins,
~ Spiced Chocolate Peanut Butter,
~ Wine Jelly,
~ Almond Lemon Curd,
~ Pear and Cacao Nib Jam.

And a bonus recipe, that of the cornmeal macarons* I’ve come up with a few months ago: I was hoping to create delicate two-bite numbers that would make good teatime companions, preferably with a lightly crunchy crust that would yield into a soft, nubby heart. I tinkered and stirred and trusted my instincts, and I was quite pleased with what I got — pleased enough to make a few more batches since then (it is such an easy one-bowl, scoop-drop-‘n-bake recipe), in different flavor incarnations: violet, citrus zest and pepper, or simply vanilla.

* Read more about the use of the word macaron.


Just as a reminder, you have until Friday to make a donation in our Menu for Hope fundraiser and get a chance to win some of the cool prizes; my sincere thanks to all of you who have already donated with such generosity.

Macarons Maïs Violette

100 grams (1 cup) almond flour (= almond meal or ground almonds; see note)
100 grams (1/2 cup) unrefined cane sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
50 grams (1/3 cup) flour
50 grams (1/3 cup) stone-ground cornmeal (not quick-cooking)
3 medium egg whites
Flavoring: 2 drops violet extract OR 2 teaspoons finely chopped citrus zest (lemon, lime, orange…) plus a pinch of cayenne or freshly ground black pepper OR the scraped seeds from one vanilla bean OR 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Makes 30 macarons.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the almond meal, sugar, flour, and cornmeal in a medium mixing-bowl and whisk to remove any lump. Form a well in the center, add in the egg whites and flavoring of your choice, and whisk again, starting from the center, until combined. The batter will be thick. (This can be prepared up to a day ahead: place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the batter, cover, and refrigerate.)

Using two teaspoons, shape one-inch balls of batter and drop them on the baking sheet, spacing them by about an inch. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 15 minutes, until golden but still slightly soft (they will harden as they cool). Transfer to a rack to cool. The macarons will keep in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.

Note: Almond flour, a.k.a. ground almonds or almond meal, can be found at natural foods stores. If you can’t find it, substitute 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole blanched almonds. Combine them with the sugar in a food processor and process in short pulses until finely ground.

  • It’s funny how macaron means something different to the French and to the British (or American). I love both kinds so I don’t mind! ;)

  • Days like today make me wish I was more of a baker :Z

  • Que c’est fin et raffiné! :-)

  • laura

    you must try the coffee-walnut toffee over at Orangette…I was very, very pleased with my results.

  • Veron

    this is so timely. I’m thinking of making macaroons too.

  • Sheila

    When I saw these I thought of a gluten-free friend because of the cornmeal … but then saw flour in the recipe. Do you think it would work with an alternative flour (rice flour, potato flour)?

  • Stephanie

    For baking gluten-free sweet things rice flour normally works really well. If you live in the uk Dove farm plain white flour normally works the same as wheat flour but might need a bit more liquid.

  • Help Clotilde! What’s cornmeal in French please? Many thanks!

    I’m going to bake these tomorrow for the goûter de la garderie…

    Kevin and I made the cauliflower, almond and turmeric soup yesterday and it was FABULOUS!


  • Henriette


    I might be wrong but I think it’s La farine de maïs. Actually I am pretty sure…;-)

    If you can’t find it in the normal supermarkets-have a look at the Bio stores. That’s where I get mine…

  • Laura – Thanks for the recommendation, it does look delicious.

    Sheila – I’m no expert at making recipes gluten-free, but I’m pretty sure it would work with other kinds of neutral-flavored flour.

    Antipo – As Henriette said it can be labelled as farine de maïs and found at Naturalia stores and the like. It can also be called polenta and Italian shops sell it, too.

  • Thanks to Henriette and Clotilde: I’ll use my polenta, as I have always believed farine de maïs to be cornflour, i.e. Maïzena… That would give an entirely different result, I do believe!

    Happy Christmas baking to all the foodies out there!

  • I’m looking forward to try these delicious maracons! Maybe something to do over the christmas!?

  • I love making kitchen gifts! I made mini eggnog pound cakes that my 3 year old neighbor thought were ‘lickable.’ And even baked some snowball cookies—but they didn’t make it out of my own kitchen—to toast the season. Though I think everyone’s consistent favorite is Peppermint Bark. I think I need to add some new favorites from your list!

    You have lucky friends and neighbors!

  • franko

    i’ll put a big fat recommendation in for the “almond lemon curd” recipe — i emailed clotilde with a question about whether or not to double the recipe (she sagely advised NOT to double it, in case anyone else is thinking of doing so), and the several batches i have made and given out this year have all received rave reviews. thanks again, clotilde!

  • claire

    I’d like to make these as a present to offer tomorrow, but I don’t have any cornmeal, only polenta and it is quick-cooking. What happens if you make these macarons with a quick-cooking (precuit) polenta–could it still work?

  • my kitchen gift to my neighbors were trufles…little bite-sized ones from a recipe on the back of a Ghirardelli dark chocolate bar…ok, it’s not Valrona but these were delish…the recipe’s at

  • Looks like I’m not the only one planning to make macarons over the weekend. To me, the flavor just says “Christmas.” Clotilde, I will think of you while I am making mine on Christmas Eve.

  • Clotitlde! Not quite on topic, but it’s time to update your Press & Awards section: The January issue of Food & Wine has dedicated an entire page to you and your Green Bean Salad with Toasted Pecans! The recipe is #61 of their list of 100 Tastes to Try in 2007. They include the recipe [complete with beautiful photograph] and a nice plug for your blog and the upcoming book. Congratulations!

    [Just so you know, I never use this many exclamation points in my writing. That’s how exciting this news is.]

  • Violet. What a lovely idea!

    Thanks for your beautiful blog and hard work. I’ve very much enjoyed it this year.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  • Darlene

    Bulle’s Guimauves (the French marshmallows) look delicious!!! How would I go about getting an English translation?

    BTW, I have been reading your blog for a long time. Right from the start, I believed you should write a cook book. I’m looking forward to purchasing your book when it comes out.

    Merry Christmas!

  • C’est si bon le macaron ! Même en dessert glacé !

  • I only just now subscribed to your newsletter and I’m dying to try the cornmeal macaroon recipe. Any chance I can get it from you somehow? I am eager to heap you with profuse thanks. :-)

  • Claire – I’ve never tried it with quick-cooking so I’m not entirely sure: the texture might be slightly different, but I think it would still work.

    Darlene – I’ll post an English translation of the guimauves as soon as I get around to trying them!

    Terry – Thanks for the heads-up!

    Kristin – I’m not sure what you mean: if you’re looking for the cornmeal macaron recipe, it is right above, only it bears its French name, Macaron Maïs Violette.

  • Steve

    I’ve looked high and low for violet extract in the US (the vanilla macarons were delicious). I’ll be in Paris in the autumn (staying in the 18th). Is there someplace handy where I can buy some while I’m there?

  • Linda

    Hi Clotilde,

    These look absolutely lovely and I can’t wait to make them (actually I have the ingredients all laid out and just realized I am confused!). I have one question – do you beat the egg whites into peaks before adding them to the dry ingredients, or do you just add the liquid egg whites?

  • Pascale

    I’ve recently discovered your website, Clotilde, and I LOVE it, as much for your English as for your recipes !
    What is the difference between cornmeal and polenta ? Sometimes you advise to use “cornmeal” and then, in the recipe, you explain how to make the “polenta” …
    Thanks ! Pascale

  • Pascale – Cornmeal (also called corn flour, or farine de maïs in French) is simply corn that has been dried and ground, more or less coarsely. If you take cornmeal and boil it in water or stock, you get a thick mush that is called polenta.

    However, cornmeal is sometimes sold under the name “polenta,” just because it is the main ingredient to make polenta. (Note that in Italian cuisine, polenta can also be made with other grains, not just ground corn.)

  • Delicious recipe and thank! Funny post about making macarons by Pierre Herme.

  • Lourdes Bravo

    Dear Clotilde

    I made this recipe today and result was nos as desired
    Used thr polenta quick cooking because was the only one I obtain….the macaroons were soft, but not crunchy….
    seems more like a piece of cake….
    what was wrong ?
    thanks !

    • These macarons are meant to be tender on the inside with a slight crust — not crunchy. They are best eaten on the day they’re baked.

  • Ischa

    Could you also flavor these with rosewater or orange blossom?

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