I have had the crazy urge to make macarons since my last failed attempt at them. This time, they actually turned out pretty well! Despite having a few cracked and misshapen ones, most of them looked decent. The recipe I used is a Laduree style recipe.
The biggest hints that I have to give for this recipe are:
1. Once you have made the macaron shapes on the baking sheet, let them sit for about 10-15 minutes. This will help keep them from cracking when baked.
2. Use a clip or rubber band on the end of the pastry bag to keep the batter from coming out.
3. Use a silicon baking mat if you have one. It will help keep the macarons from over-baking.
4. Use the middle rack in the oven only.
5. If you use the strawberry recipe, use 1/2 cup of strawberry preserves in the buttercream rather than the 1/3 cup suggested in the recipe. 1/3 cup just doesn't provide enough strawberry flavor.
6. Use slightly more food coloring than you think you need. The pastry will lighten a little as it bakes.
Good luck if you decide to take the macaron plunge!