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How to Make Macarons

A giant stone face at The Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

Macarons with a not very smooth strawberry buttercream.

Or…How I Make Macarons – and I pretty much don’t know what I am doing. I think the most important thing I learned was to keep trying if they don’t turn out.  Each time you attempt these and fail, buy viagra cialis you learn something. Try a different recipe. Don’t skip steps. Keep trying and you will get it.

This recipe for macarons is based on Fanny aka Foodbeam’s recipe for Macarons à la rose de Pierre Hermé and techniques used in the book I ? Macarons by Hisako Ogita. It uses an Italian meringue which, best cialis according to Hisako Ogita (and others) makes the macarons hold up better.

Ready? Here we go!

Helpful Tools:
a digital scale that can weight grams
a sieve for sifting
food processor
two sheet pans
disposable piping bags
large piping tip
parchment paper
candy thermometer
large spatula
hand held mixer

Ingredients:
125g almond meal
125g organic powdered sugar*
47g “aged” egg whites
43g “fresh” egg whites – which for me was one Jumbo egg
125g sugar
31g water
food coloring

Plan ahead: Read through the whole recipe several times to get familiar with what you will be doing and take the time to “mise en place ” you will thank yourself for it. To age the egg whites leave them out on the counter for about three days.  I read somewhere (sorry can’t remember) that placing the egg whites in a container allows more moisture to evaporate. There is debate about whether or not aging the egg whites is necessary, but I did it and it worked – so I will continue to do it. I left them out pretty much all week
in an old salsa tub from Trader Joes.

*In the book, she mentions that the cornstarch in regular powdered sugar can cause the macarons to crack. My oven temperature was also way too hot the first time, which is another cause for cracking, FYI, so keep an eye on oven temps.

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Prepare the pan by lining it with parchment paper. If you have piping issues you can draw circles on the underside of the parchment paper to act as a guide. I did this the first time only to find out that I could not see the circles once the paper was flipped over.
Whiz the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a food processor.
Sift TWICE. Yes. Twice. This is a pain in the ass but do it anyway. Set aside as you will add this mixture after you have whipped the egg whites and sugar together.
In a sauce pan, bring the sugar and water and to 240°F (soft ball).
When the syrup reaches 235°F, start beating the aged egg whites with the hand mixer and when the syrup is ready (=240°F), pour it over SLOWLY in a small, threadlike stream into the egg whites and continue to whip until the mixture has cooled. The meringue should be thick and glossy.
Add the food coloring.
Mix the almond/sugar mixture and fresh egg whites in two batches until incorporated.

Okay, I have to digress here a little bit and talk about macaronnage.  Hisako Ogita is quite adamant about doing this step which essentially seems to be folding over and smearing the mixture against the side of the bowl. I hope that made sense. You must do this 15 times. Not 10 or the macarons will “lack luster” and not 20 or the macarons will get oily spots. 15. For the purpose of full disclosure, I have lost count both times I did this…so…there you go.  And after doing a bit of research on this, I found this fantastic tutorial that goes into more detail about the type of texture you want the batter to be. And in fact I am going to read over that post a few times before I attempt my next batch, as I think I was not mixing enough. You want the batter to flow like “lava” or “magma”. The first time I made these I could tell right away when I piped them that the mixture was too thick. You want it to be loose enough that the little point that forms when you pipe melts into the macaron as it settles.

Fill a disposable piping bag fitted with a large round tip with the mixture and pipe the batter into small rounds  onto a lined baking sheet. Give the baking sheet a good WHACK on the underside, or drop it onto the counter from a considerable height. This apparently is what aids in creating the coveted foot.  Let the macarons dry for….15, 20, 30, or 60 minutes. Humidity, star signs, weather, and God knows what can affect the drying time. You want to test the surface of a macaron by lightly touching it, and when you can touch it without making a mark when you pull your finger away, you are good to go.  Double up on the baking sheets. This will prevent the macarons from overcooking. Bake for 9 minutes with a  wooden spoon shoved in the door to prop it open.

Let cool for 2 minutes then carefully detach the macarons from the parchment paper. Continue piping and baking until there is no batter left. I have found that this recipe gives three rounds of piping and the drying time is less with each round.

Store in a sealed container, refrigerated until you figure out what to use as a filling. I tried to make a blood orange curd, but it was woefully too runny and surprisingly ugly. I finally used a buttercream recipe from Martha that I tried to halve with somewhat successful results because I didn’t need 9 million pounds of buttercream hanging around. I have since learned that you can FREEZE buttercream (holla!) so next time I am going to make the full batch. I stirred in a couple of spoonfuls of a strawberry-balsamic jam I made last summer and took them to work. My coworkers raved about the little “pink hamburgers” and I am already plotting my next batch.  I am thinking a tea trifecta: green tea, earl grey, and orange pekoe.

So…I don’t know people. Try it. Keep trying. I would really recommend the book, even though I would not recommend the recipe from the book. The pictures, the section on troubleshooting, and the recipe ideas are worth the price.

Mercotte has a great time line for aging egg whites and drying the almond meal.
Bake It Off has great photos and tips for just about the whole process, particularly macaronnage.
Melanger another tutorial with great tips. I am starting to think I did not do the macaronnage correctly.
Tartelette macaron pops!

I am officially obsessed!

Good luck!!

Comments

  • Making macarons sounds like a real labour of love – thanks for publishing the tips on what you learned.

  • I just read this…VERY helpful, thanx! One day, just one day….I might try making them the right way….but for now,

    I eat these suckers so quickly that I cannot bother spending too much time making them. Instead of full out macarons, I made little mountains using a pastry bag…..cute and still tasty, and no need to worry about whether they look perfectly flat and uncracked. :) I will post pix on my website in these few days!

    Cheers,
    Vivian in Japan

  • Jamie

    Hi Erica, can I reduce the amount of sugar if I like it less sweet?

    Thanks!

  • Labor of love or insanity!! I am not sure which. Thanks you guys! “macawrongs”…I have had plenty of those!

  • Hi Erica, Your macarons look great. Thanks for listing my site. I am (like you) officially obsessed (along with my 3 mad macaron buddies). As you say “Each time you attempt these and fail, you learn something”. I am still trying to perfect the chewiness and I still have utter failures from time to time.  Just when I think I have it nailed and I think I know exactly what I am doing (and using the exact same recipe), I get ‘macawrongs’. It may be the nuts, it may be the weather (who knows). It’s just plain crazy – and you get frustrated, yet you keep going.I know professional people who say the same thing.Have a look at Veronica’s blog – http://kitchenmusings.com/ and her Youtube demonstration – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bri6xnDBl9I. She is brilliant!!!

  • Making macarons sounds like a real labour of love – thanks for publishing the tips on what you learned.

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