Macaron mediocrity

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So this is my last week of biscuits and second attempt at making Parisian macarons.

I will preface this by saying that this blog is about learning – so that means that not everything works our perfectly every time.

My first attempt, as part of a ganache post, was an absolute disaster. They totally bled out during the cooking process and browned too much on the top. I can only put this down to having the oven too hot and also not letting them sit long enough to form their “feet”.

There are so many posts and articles out there about how to make the perfect macaron and one of the best is this ebook – http://issuu.com/helened/docs/demystifyingmacarons

This has basically every tip you’ll ever need to I won’t try to sound like an expert rehashing it all – I’ll just tell you my actual experience.

Starting with basics, macarons are made from almond meal, icing sugar, plain sugar, eggs whites and food colouring.  They are essentially meringues, and are derived after the Italian word for meringue “macarone”

The flavour usually comes from the filling which can range from chocolate ganache, jam or buttercream. I had some coffee buttercream leftover from a cake I’d baked over the weekend so decided to make chocolate flavoured macarons to go with it.

Chocolate adds another dimension to macarons because of the cocoa so the recipe is slightly different to the traditional macaron which just incorporated powdered food colouring.

I followed Helene’s advice and adapted the recipe, then set about making the batter.

The first time I made the macarons, I did a lovely job of marking out perfect circles on my baking paper to make sure I had perfectly consistent macarons.

This time I wasn’t expecting them to work so just piped freehand. I let them rest for 1 hour before baking at 150 degrees for 18 minutes.

They looked pretty good going into the oven, but unfortunately didn’t give me the rise I was after. Did I overwork the egg whites? Or perhaps knocked too much air out of them when I mixed in the dry ingredients.

They were also crunchy rather than chewy which was disappointing – overcooked? Too high heat?

While a better outcome that my first attempt, these are far from perfect so I can only hope that practice makes perfect.

Does anyone have any tips for me? I’d like to give them another go sometime soon so would appreciate any advice (over and above Helene’s of course).

On to mousses next week so hopefully they will work out better for me 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Macaron mediocrity

  1. I share and understand you determination and frustration! A few tips that i hope work (I stick to these every time now):
    – weigh the egg whites
    – for choc macarons, replace 10g almonds for 10g cocoa powder
    – really whisk the meringue until very thick (whichever meringue you go for; all of the meringue types work well)
    – stir the meringue into dry ingredients, and give just a few folds: don’t fold lightly as you would with a mousse etc..you want to get rid of a lot of the air bubbles otherwise too many will make them rise too much and crack or go hollow
    – better to undermix it rather than overmix: you don’t want it too loose or it will spread everywhere and not bake properly. Mix just enough for it to have gone from being stiff to softer, and a bit lifted and let drop onto the mix will disappear into it within 30 secs or so.
    -bang the piped macarons on the work surface to get rid of larger air bubbles.
    -definitely rest at non-humid room temp for at least an hour for skin to form
    – bake 160C(fan) for 5 mins then rotate pan and let steam escape (the feet should have started to form this stage) before baking a further 5-7 mins for 1inch macarons. Leave to cool on their paper in the baking tray.
    – put the filled macarons in airtight container in the fridge overnight to mature: they soften just enough to give the right texture.

    Sorry, got carried away!!! But if you want further notes of macarons, I have them in my post at http://wp.me/p3MwyR-b

    And it genuinely IS a fun challenge coming back to them to get them just right!

      1. A pleasure. And the number of my own wounds I have licked when trying to get to grips with macarons – talk about a labour of love!

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