10 Mar Tips to the Perfect Macaron
Everyone loves a good macaron, we all go bonkers for this crisp yet soft French delicacy. If you are an adventurous baker, I am sure you attempted it once or twice in your home oven, and if the results were in your favour then CONGRATULATIONS!!!, if not, I have tips for you to cure those macaron blues.
A Little History Lesson
The word Macaron is derived from the Italian word Macarone or Maccharone, which means meringue. This sweet treat is made from almond flour and meringue and once baked you can sandwich them with various fillings such as ganache, jam or buttercream icing.
Tips on Preventing Bad Macarons
- Macarons are weather sensitive. if the weather is wet, cloudy or even humid, your macarons may need extra drying time to gain a nice crust before baking. in normal dry weather, the macarons may need 30 min drying time while in wet humid weather, the macarons may need an hour to dry.
- Do not use any oil-based colourings or flavours. Oil or any fat residue is bad for macarons so make sure that all equipment used to make macarons are clean. To be extra sure rub down your equipment with lemon juice or vinegar to dissolve any fat residue.
- Some things are better with age, which is very true for egg whites. Older and warmer egg whites are better to use for the meringue, so if you store your eggs in the fridge, leave them out for about 30 min to reach room temperature before whipping them into meringues.
- Make sure your egg whites have NO traces of egg yolk, this will prevent egg whites from reaching stiff peak stage.
- Make sure your piping bag is snipped as a nice circle, this will ensure you have a cute round button for a macaron.
- Always measure ingredients accurately, going a gram more or a gram less does make a difference.
- Sift dry ingredients together well, at least twice to distribute evenly.
- Your meringue should be stiff and glossy but not dry, yes it takes forever for a meringue to whip up to the stiff stage but doesn’t forget them and over whip it to the dry stage otherwise your macarons will have cracked shells.
- Don’t beat your egg whites at high speed, start on medium for 3 min then add sugar slowly and increase the medium to high speed until stiff.
- Always add your food colouring and flavours at the last 2 min of mixing the egg whites. This way you won’t have to overmix your batter or end up with streaky batter. If you are doing multiple colours, it’s advised to different batches. Never use liquid food colouring, only gel or powder food colouring.
- The dry ingredients should be folded in not mixed. the batter should not be too thick or too runny. Your mix should be like a thick but pourable cake batter. If you hold your spatula it should pour down slowly and smoothly.
- Tap your pan before baking to remove all the air bubbles, air bubbles cause lumps in your macarons.
- Oven settings are important, if your fan is too strong, this could cause uneven macarons, so make sure your fan setting is low, or no fan at all.
- Don’t overbake your macarons, 10 -15 min should be sufficient.
- Allow cooling completely before peeling off your parchment paper.
Well, that’s all the prevention measures, we would like to see you put them to the test. Here is a recipe that you could try:
In this recipe, we will be preparing the meringue with the Italian method, this method is the safest and full-proof method, your sugar is dissolved in the syrup ensuring smooth and delicious macarons.
- 300g Ground Almonds
- 300g Icing sugar
- 110g Egg whites
- 300g Granulated Sugar
- 75g Water
- 100g Egg whites
- 5ml Cream of tartar
- Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together twice to ensure that the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Mix 110g of egg whites into the dry ingredients to form a paste.
- In a stainless steel pot or pan, place your 300g of granulated sugar and water. On low heat dissolve the sugar and water without stirring. If there are sugar crystals at the side of the pot, wash them down gently with a pastry brush and water.
- Let the sugar boil until the temperature of 121°C, if you do not have a sugar thermometer, you can gauge whether or not the sugar syrup has reached 121°C, the sugar will start to form large bubbles that are slow to form and pop, then your sugar should be ready.
- Whilst your sugar is boiling, start beating the egg whites with your cream of tartar until the soft peak stage.
- Once your sugar is boiled and your egg whites whipped, you can slowly stream in the sugar syrup while the egg whites are being whipped, let the egg whites whip up to a stiff peak stage, smooth and glossy. Usually, you can leave your mixer on until your bowl has cooled down to room temperature.
- Fold the egg whites into the paste you made with the ground almonds until your mixer is thick but pourable.
- Fill your piping bag with the mixture and pipe out onto parchment paper or greaseproof paper.
- Warn those around you, including yourself because you going to have to bang your tray of piped macarons on the floor or table to ensure all the air bubbles settle down.
- Leave your macarons to dry out for 30 to an hour before baking.
- Preheat your oven to 140°C while your macarons dry out.
- Bake for 10-15 min. Cool completely before removing from parchment paper.
It’s all up to you. Try out this recipe and let us know how your batch of macarons turned out.