20 Tips to Perfect French Macarons – Beginners Guide
In this 20 tips to perfect French macarons you will find all the little things that you probably took for granted about making French Macarons. They can be intimidating but not difficult. Find out what’s keeping you from succeeding, so you can make them perfect every single time.
So, macarons as simple and easy as they look are not necessarily the simplest to make. Are they?
Some of us have had quite a few failures before our successes. I did have a few over the years but I must admit I have been lucky. I had my mom who made them very often so I learned them way before I knew the dilemmas people spoke about. She did teach me everything I know about macarons today.
I learned the Italian and the French method of making macarons but over the years have only been using the French method. They are so easy to make so.. ! yeah I’m lazy lol.
First let chat about Tools:
- Mixer – While you can whip the eggs whites with a whisk, it is much easier to use your electric mixer such as Kitchen-Aid or K-Mixor a hand mixer. So, yes, if you have one – get it out from behind the closet.
- Bowls – Ensure your bowls are grease free! I mean no trace of any oil or butter or any food that you might has cooked in there.
- The same with your whisk or spatula or Spoons– no trace of oil.
- Piping Bagsmakes things easy but you can use a Zip lock bag– just make sure you have a nice round circle so your batter comes out round not as a triangle.
- Always use a Macaron Template – I have this Macaron Mat but you could print out a template online. Just type Macaron template on google and pick the size you want.
Don’t try to wing it. Trust me a template makes life much easier.
- I prefer a Coffee Grinder orover a Food Processor – I have explained more in details why you need to not just grind the nuts fine but also sieve them. While a food processor is great not all of them will grind the nuts to a find paste without releasing their oils.
Save these 20 Tips to Perfect Macarons for later on Pinterest
So let’s move on to my – 20 Tips to Perfect French Macarons / Macarons 101
1. Measure ingredients
Always measure all your ingredients and follow the recipe exactly. For macarons this is critical. A little extra egg whites do matter.
2. Sift dry ingredients
Always sift the dry ingredients together even if you see no lumps. If needed do it more than once but ensure your dry ingredients are well mixed.
I usually sift mine twice. Remember; when you add the dry ingredients – you are only folding them in not mixing them; so mix them well now.
3. Grease Free.
When ever you need to beat egg whites to a stiff peak it is very important that your mixer be grease free. Any traces of grease will not let your eggs whites whip to stiff peaks.
4. Measure egg whites
Always measure your egg whites. Why?
The amount of liquid in the egg whites affects the dry or wetness of your batter. Which means if you have large egg white you have a more liquid batter and vise versa.
5. Electric mixer vs Manual mixing
Use an electric mixer. (I know I’m repeating this again) The meringue being a very important part of your recipes makes having a mixer almost a necessity. You can use anyHand Mixer, K-Mixor Kitchen-Aid which ever works for you.
In fact, If you are making an Italian Meringue Macaron version then it’s definitely a must as you have to ensure you pour hot sugar syrup while beating the egg whites constantly.
6. NO egg yolks
Break your egg whites properly. It is very very important that your egg whites have not a smear of egg yolk or they will not get to stiff peaks.
7. Aging egg whites?
It is not necessary to age your egg whites. Most often I choose to make macarons on an impulse. But if you do plan ahead prepare your egg whites a few days a head of time so they loose their elasticity. It is said aged egg whites make better meringue which retain their puffiness really well. But again, it’s not necessary; fresh egg whites work just as well.
8. Stiff peaks
Beat egg whites until they are stiff peaks but not dry. Your egg whites must hold their shape but still have a glossy sheen.
9. Whip egg on low to med speed
When beating egg whites do not rush them on high speed. Instead start at medium for the first three minutes. Always add the sugar in the first two minutes not too slowly. Then beat on high for the remaining time needed.
10. Color and flavor
Add color and flavor to your egg whites at the last minute or two of beating the egg whites. But definitely before you add your dry ingredients that way you wont’ need to over mix your batter or have a streaky batter. Use gel food color as liquid colors will effect the consistency for the batter.
11. Folding / Mixing
The dry ingredients should be folded in not mixed and definitely not over mixed. A Macaron batter is not to thick and not too runny. It’s more like a thick but pour-able cake batter. If you hold it up in your spatula and drop a blob down it should smooth slowly but thickly; not too easily.
That sounds weird but understanding this takes times so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it right the first few times.
When piping macarons use a circle guide so you get them nice and evenly spaced.
13. Parchment vs Silicon Mat
Use of parchment paper or silicon mats – I have used my silicon mats and they do release easily when cooled. However there are people who believe that the silicon mat get the macarons to stick. I have also usedparchment paper successfully. Try to avoid baking papers that will cause your batter to spread too much.
14. Tap the pan
Don’t forget to tap your macarons after you pipe them. Tapping the baking sheet at least a few times helps remove the trapped air pockets. If these air pockets stay in they tend to break in the oven and cause holes or lumpy macarons.
15. Resting time / Baking right way.
Always read the recipe properly. Some recipes call for baking the shells immediately but If your recipe calls for a drying time then let your macarons dry before you bake them. Do not preheat your oven too early. Ideally it may take 20 to 30 minutes for the skin to form. In humid places it takes up to 30 minutes.
16. Baking time.
Never over bake your macarons. Follow the recipe guide. Usually the Italian Meringue version says to bake between 10 to 12 minutes white the other method calls for baking for 13 to 15 minutes or even 18 mins.
17. Baked shells.
Do not try to peal the macarons from the parchment immediately once they are out of the oven. Let them cool completely and they will release easily.
18. Oven temperature
Monitor your oven temperature. Most macarons are baked usually between 150 C /300 F to 170 C / 340 F depending on oven type. Your macarons must not change color when you place them in the oven. If they do change color it means your oven is too hot. A very hot oven is often the cause of cracked macarons.
19. Almond meal.
Ideally it is best to use commercially purchased almond meal for the simple reason that the commercially made almond meals are made in specially designed grinders where the almond is ground very fine and yet not releasing its oil.
An oily almond meal will flatten the macarons. Can you make Almond Meal at home – Yes!! Almond Meal is basically blanched almonds that have been ground to a fine powder.You can make it yourself but it has to be made in a food processor or coffee grinder ensuring that when you grind it it does not release too much oil.One of the common causes of failed macarons are home ground almond meals.
Just place the almonds in a food processor or coffee grinder and pulse. Do not do a long spin as this will cause the almond oils to be released. Add a few tablespoons of confectioners sugar to avoid the nuts from releasing their oils.
Then sieve it through a strainer. Place the big bits back in the food processor or grinder until it is all a fine powder.
It is very important that the almonds be finely ground and that they are not too oily.
20. Eating / Storing
Macarons are best eaten a day or two later when they ripen and they are best stored in the fridge. Be careful when handing the shells. It’s best to store them on their side not flat. The shell crack very easily
Trouble Shooting –
Here are a few pointers to help with the tips above
- Hallow Shells – dry meringue or batter over mixed.
- Deflated shells – Opening oven door too early or taken off the oven before the baking time is up.
- Soft shells – under cooked – or oven is too low in temperature.
- Bumpy shells – under mixed batter or dry ingredients not sifted well.
- Macarons have no feet – the egg whites were not beaten to stiff peaks or the batter was mixed not folded in
- Uneven or weird feet – mostly oven temperature was too high.
- Cracked shells – could be a couple of reasons.
- Very hot oven temperature.
- Too much liquid in the batter – large egg whites (hence measure egg whites)
- Batter over mixed or not mixed enough leaving dry pockets.
- Sticky Bottom – Under cooked macarons – cook longer and check oven temperature.
Well, I do hope these help with your next Macaron baking venture. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. I love listening to what you have to say.