Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Macaron Troubleshooting & A New Recipe


Blogging about macarons today!

Yes I know, I blog a lot about macarons but even with all the information I've posted on the blog, I still get a ton of questions in my email box. An overwhelming number of emails, emails that I don't always have the time to answer punctually, so I felt a need to address the questions in one space on the blog.

I'm posting a troubleshooting guide to help folks with their macarons.

I'm also posting another french macaron recipe. One that I've been working on for almost two months. I've been crafting a recipe that produces a cookie that is a bit more reliable.

French macarons don't get any more perfect than this.

Those three towels contain notes for no less than 8 macaron recipes

My counter covered in notes, which as you can see, are on paper towels. I have thick masses of folded paper towels, covered with my scribbling, tucked into binders in my kitchen. I'm considering putting a roll of real paper on the towel holder in my kitchen, since I use rags to clean.

One of the hardest questions I've had to address with my baking has to do with hollows.

When I make a batch of macarons, about 90-95% of the cookies are perfect and 5-10% will have a gap between the soft interior and the shell. Why this inconsistency within a batch? I have absolutely no idea.

Two macarons from the same batch. The macaron on the left has an air pocket above the interior and the macaron on the right is perfect.

Now when folks come to me with macarons like the one on the left, I tell them not to worry. The cookies are still wonderful. No one is going to bite into that cookie and spit it out.

Still the hollow problems that many people have seem to go far beyond the insides shown above. They find that every cookie is completely or mostly hollow. So I did some research in my own kitchen trying to replicate what was happening for others and what advice I could give to fix it. I toyed with baking during high and low humidity, using dehydrated egg whites, soft meringues, firm meringues, and new recipes. I also looked into how these cookies were baked in professional kitchens. In the process I discovered the answer and crafted a recipe for a macaron that is quite reliable.




Let's start with my latest recipe for French meringue macarons, in the instructions I'll give advice on how to avoid making hollow macarons. This recipe preforms extremely well in my kitchen and I hope everyone else will have lots of luck with it.

Same recipe, larger cookie, this time on silicone baking mats (note the shorter ruffled feet)

Even slight variations in oven temperature don't doom this cookie, provided they're cooked for an adequate length of time.



Not So Humble Macarons v3.0128
yields approximately 50 cookies
5g dehydrated egg white powder
28g granulated sugar
225g confectioners (powdered) sugar
125g almond meal
100g aged egg whites

Note on the ingredients: Dehydrated egg white is not the same as meringue powder. Meringue powder is not an appropriate substitution so please don't use it. Many well stocked grocers and health food stores carry dehydrated egg whites, just ask where they keep them. They're also readily available online.

I've been baking with old whites. My eggs have been averaging 5-6 days aged, in the refrigerator, lightly covered with a paper towel.

Recommend using Bobs Red Mill almond meal or grinding your own by weighing out the almonds and half the powdered sugar into the bowl of your food processes and grinding them until very fine. Sift to ensure an even meal and then sift together with the remaining powdered sugar.

Prep two half sheet pans with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Pre-heat your oven to somewhere between 290-300°F.

Start by weighing out your sugar and egg white powder into a small bowl. Mix with a fork until uniform and set aside.
Sift together your almond meal and powdered sugar.

Weigh out your egg whites and begin beating them on low speed until foamy. Begin slowly sprinkling in the powdered egg white and sugar mixture as you beat. Then increase the speed to medium and beat until a firm meringue forms.

You want firm, glossy peaks in your meringue, you don't want to beat all the way to stiff peaks. So hold yourself back.

Beat in food coloring gel now and then add 1/3rd of the almond mixture. Folding it in gently. Once combined, add another third of the almond mixture, and so on. For visual reference on how to combine and fold, see this video by Chef Nini.

Add your batter to a piping bag with a round tip (any size bit under 1cm works fine) and pipe rows of macarons.


Pick up the pan with both hands, and holding it level, tap it firmly onto the counter several times. This will bring up any air bubbles in the cookies. Pop the bubbles with a toothpick if they don't break while tapping.

These cookies NEED to rest on the counter. Between 30-60 minutes depending on the humidity.


Bake the cookies for roughly 15 minutes. One sheet at a time.

Once the cookies lift easily from the parchment or silicone baking mat they're probably done. To be sure, pop a cookie off with an offset spatula and break it open. The insides should be set and not overly moist (wet uncooked meringue is no good). If it is too moist the cookies will collapse when they cool.

To avoid hollows: aim for slightly overcooking the cookies, rather than under cooking them. Yes, this means your cookies might cool a little crisper than you like your macarons, but bear with me.

This is how the pros make their macarons. Do you think they magically produce perfect macarons straight from the oven? Heck no. They mature them. They cook the shells enough to set the interior and then remove any lingering crispness through the power of osmosis.
Hermé points out an interesting aspect of his macaroons that seems to challenge the basics of most pastry teaching - freshness. "As soon as they're made they're not ready to eat, but they're really at their best after 24 or even 48 hours," he says. "An osmosis takes place between the garnish and the biscuit. When freshly baked this is hard and crisp, but it absorbs some humidity from the filling and its inside becomes more tender while the crust on the surface stays intact." Masterclass: Macarons (link)
(I love that Pierre used the scientific term to identify what is happening. )

This is exactly why professional bakeries lightly spray the bottom of their shells with a syrup that matches the flavor of the macron. The syrup isn't just for flavor, it restores moisture to the shell and speeds the cookies maturation. The syrup, along with the moisture of the filling, melds with the macron cookie and 1-3 days later the texture is marvelous.

This is why maturation is so important and how professionals turn consistent tray, after tray, of these temperamental cookies.

If you're aiming to bake a cookie that is ready to eat later the same day, you can do it with practice, but you're going to have your work cut out for you. It is difficult and takes a lot of familiarity with baking these cookies, you're riding a very fine line between not done/done/overdone. I bake so many macarons a month that I can do it just by snatching a cookie from the oven, breaking it open and judging the inside.

Do you know what all that trouble for perfect cookies saves me? A few hours of maturation. That's it. And you know what, those beautiful, fresh from the oven macarons are not even "perfect" yet. Maturation is what makes macarons perfect. The maturation process melds the flavor of the filling with the shell, balancing the sweetness, adjusting the texture and making the cookie plain delicious. As skilled as you may become in your macaron baking, your cookies will always be better after maturation.

So if you're struggling with the interiors of your cookies, aim for slightly over cooking them. Edging a little onto the dry side is both acceptable and fixable through maturation, wet interiors that collapse into hollows generally are not.

What if you over do it? Really over-bake the cookies?

Well, I impulsively decided to over-bake a batch of my macarons to test this, giving them an extra 3-4 minutes in the oven. Enough to make them crisp like savoiardi biscuits.

Peanut Macarons with Salted Caramel Peanut Filling
I filled these cookies and then placed them in my refrigerator to mature. Every 24 hours I allowed a cookie to come to room temperature, then I tested it to see if the texture improved.

It did. Perfectly.

That was one tasty bite. The delicate shell gave way with a slight crackle to a soft interior that melted in your mouth. It was perfect. It just took a few days maturation.


Once crispy and unpleasant, these cookies absorbed enough moisture from the filling to completely undo the effects from the extra time in the oven.

So that's my final word on how to fix your macarons if you're having trouble with hollows. Err on the side of slightly over baking the cookies to ensure the insides are set and then mature the cookies to give them the proper texture. If it's good enough for Hermé, it's good enough for me.

Now onto that troubleshooting guide I promised:

Macaron Troubleshooting
Per Ms Humble's Experience thus far


My almond meal seems too moist/wet
  • Place it in a warm (not hot) oven, spread the meal thin on a pan and allow to dry out over several hours.

My almond meal has seed coat in it
  • If the meal is finely ground, seed coat is fine, it just produces speckled macarons. The peanut macarons above are made with such a macaron meal.

My meringue is grainy

  • Meringue is over beaten and broken. Try beating it on medium-low speed and checking often to ensure you don't push your meringue too far. There is no rush here, this isn't a race to make the fastest meringue.

My meringue is a loose foam, it won't come to a firm meringue
  • Not beating the mixture long enough.
  • Beating in a plastic bowl.
  • Beating in a bowl that isn't impeccably clean.
  • Trace of yolk in the whites.
Beat in a very clean (VERY CLEAN, not a trace of grease or oil) stainless or copper bowl. Add a little acid to help strengthen your meringue if you're beating in stainless steel (couple drops lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, or a small pinch of salt).

My macaron batter appears too thick
  • Under-mixed
  • Incorrect measurements of ingredients

My macaron batter appears too thin

  • Over-mixed
  • Poorly beaten or broken meringue
  • Incorrect measurements of ingredients

My macaron tops are splotchy
  • Inadequately beaten meringue
  • Over mixed batter

My macaron tops are lumpy (grainy)

  • Almond meal too coarse. Grind the almond meal into a fine powder or sift out the larger particles.
My macaron tops are domed and lumpy (fine, bubbly lumps, often lack feet)

  • Under mixed (fine texture)
  • Broken meringue (sandy texture)

My macaron tops are lumpy (wavy, like rumpled wax-paper)
  • Over-mixed batter
  • Under-beaten meringue
  • Cooked at too low a temperature
  • Not rested long enough
  • Under-cooked
My macarons tops are lumpy (bubbles)
  • Not taping the pan on the counter before resting
  • Not popping air bubbles with a tooth-pick before resting

My macarons tops have peaks that don't settle down (even if I tap the pan)
  • Under-mixed
  • Incorrect measurements of ingredients
My macarons have scattered lumps of almond powder in them
  • Not sifting the dry ingredients thoroughly before adding them to the meringue
My macarons have lopsided feet
  • Warped baking pans or using thin pans that buckle in the heat
  • Resting the pans on a surface that isn't level
  • Strong heat from the bottom of the oven
  • Oven too hot or has hot spots
  • Using Fan-forced heat
My macarons have protruding feet
  • Cooked on silicone baking mat
  • Over-mixed
  • Cooked too hot
  • Poor or broken meringue
My macarons have no feet
  • Under-mixing
  • Resting too long
  • Poor, under-beaten or broken meringue
  • Cooked at too low a temperature
My macarons are not round
  • Not using a piping bag and tip
  • Not piping straight down onto the pan
  • Reusing parchment
  • Using wrinkled parchment
  • Using warped pans
My macarons had feet in the oven but once they came out and cooled the feet were shorter.
  • This is normal. The feet will shrink a little coming out of the oven. The shrinkage is more pronounced on silicone baking mats than on parchment, in my experience.
My macarons stick to the pan
  • Under-cooked
  • Baked too hot or too cool
  • Prying the delicate cookies off with your meaty fists
  • Baking the cookies on something other than the recommended silicone baking mats or baking parchment, like aluminum foil (NO!)
Ideally, the cookies should release easily while still in the oven. Test by trying to lift one of the cookies from the pan with an offset spatula.

Allow the cookies to cool on the parchment or silpat, or pop them into the freezer for a few minutes and they should be easier to remove.

My macarons are completely hollow. (Low profile shells. Interior is gummy and pooled in the bottom of the shell.)
  • Over-mixed and under-cooked.
  • Baked too hot and for too brief a time. Insides never set and collapsed when cool
My macarons have air pockets (pre-cooling)
  • Under-cooked
  • Over-beating the meringue to stiff, dry peaks
  • Under-mixed, too much air left in the batter
My macarons have air pockets (post-cooling)
  • Slightly under-cooked
My macarons are soft and break easily
  • Under-cooked
  • Cooked at too low a temperature
  • Over-mixed
  • Meringue under beaten
My macarons are feet-less, flat, bubbly, grainy and all wrong
  • Broken meringue
  • Under-beaten meringue
My macarons are hard coming out of the oven
  • Cooked too long
My macarons browned while baking
  • Cooked on too high of an oven rack
  • Strong heat from the top of the oven
  • Top element of the oven turning on (shield the cookies by placing an empty pan on a top rack)
  • Cooked too long
My macarons cracked
  • Cookies rise rapidly due to strong heat from the bottom of the oven. (Double stack the pans)
  • Cookies were not adequately rested before baking.
  • Cooked on too low of an oven rack
  • Under-beaten meringue (may also be puffy and lack feet)
  • Batter under-mixed (too much air in batter)
My macarons are puffy and porous
  • Under mixed
  • Inaccurate ingredient ratios (often too much egg)
  • Used superfine rather than powdered sugar
My macarons are kind of crisp after they cool
  • You need to fill and mature the cookies. They will be ready to eat in 24-72 hours
My macarons chirp like a bird
  • Cookies left in the oven for far too long
Actually happened once. Forgot about the cookies for almost an hour and when they came out and cooled on the counter they chirped and squeaked for almost 10 minutes. It was very cool.

172 comments:

  1. What a comprehensive post! You have a wealth of knowledge. I wish I liked macarons because they are so cute!

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  2. once again another superior post ms.h…kudos to you!

    fantastic!... & most importantly it gives gives a novice macaron baker (like me) the courage to try this recipe…

    when you state: "these cookies NEED to rest. between 30-60 minutes depending on the humidity"
    …are cookies resting on counter or refrig?

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  3. They need to rest on the counter. I'll update the post to clarify that point.

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  4. Perfect for bookmarking for reference! Thank you for putting this together!

    Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

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  5. great, thorough post! your macaroons are always lovely and spectacular!

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  6. my word your photos are a m a z i n g! i can only hope that i can make it to your level someday. i will now add macarons to my list of things to tackle...thanks for the tips!
    nikki @ www.makeandtakeblog.com

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  7. WOW, I have read soooo many macaroon tips, but this is by far the most complete and honest one. One question I still have, you say to leave them on the counter for 30-60 depending on humidity. I live in Houston and it is basically as humid as you can get, would you leave them out longer or shorter in this type of humidity?

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  8. Debbie,

    You want to leave them out long enough for the cookie tops to dry and form a thin skin.

    If it is really humid, it may take close to 60 minutes for the cookies to dry.

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  9. thank you so much,

    I need to start baking NOW! i have a baby shower i am prepping for in a couple months. with the almond meal- how many pounds would you recommend getting for the first test rounds?

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  10. A 1 lb bag of almond meal will make almost 4 batches. Which should be enough to get comfortable with the mixing and baking.

    Two pounds would likely be plenty.

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  11. What an awesome post! Thank you so much for doing all of this research. It looks like it will be a wonderful resource :)

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  12. Great post! My macarons suffer from air pocket syndrome big time. After reading your post I think it's because I overbeat the meringue. Will try your method.

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  13. Thank you! This version looks a lot less intimidating... I think I'll have to try them after it cools down a bit!

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  14. I'll be trying this! I get hollows too. But you know, macs are still a novelty to my friends so everybody thinks mine are perfect. Plus it's not like they make any macarons.

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  15. I don't know how else to say it. Thanks a million X infinity!
    I love reading your blog. Now, when are you going to release that book of yours?

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  16. No one is detailed as you are, it is a gift.
    Do you keep your Macarons in the fridge or in room temperature?

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  17. I keep them in the fridge and then allow them to come to room temperature when I'm ready to serve.

    It's very important they're allowed to warm up before you eat them. Cold macarons have an awful texture.

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  18. Your macaron posts and pictures are impeccable even if an occasional little buddy is imperfect!

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  19. Thnks! My first attempt with macarons was disastrous , i 'll use yr tips and i'll try to prepare macarons again..
    Yr photos are wonderful!
    Ciao!

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  20. lol I think I'm going to stick to chocolate chip cookies. Interesting read, though!

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  21. your macarons are simply perfect and mouthwatering...
    tomorrow on my lunchbreak i'll go for sure to Laduree which has just opened in milan.... can't wait!
    ciao! alessandra

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  22. So excited to try out your tips!! Thank you

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  23. Air pockets and protruding feet... Hate them :)!!
    If I don't have egg white powder (maybe I could get a 5 kilograms packet...), do you think I have to replace it with some more aged egg white, or just leave it out simply?

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  24. You can leave it out, but it really does improve the quality of the egg whites and lends stability to the cookie.

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  25. You are a true macaron artiste! But, I admit I'm scared to try making them. I don't think I could ever come up with something that looks so amazing as yours.

    However, if you ever started up a mail order business, I'd order macarons from you.

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  26. They're only scary because so many things can go wrong and it is sometimes hard to identify why.

    They only take a few minutes to throw together and once you get the feel for the batter and baking, you can turn out hundreds without breaking a sweat. They're one of the easiest things I make in my kitchen.

    I'm doing a bridal shower at the end of the month and I was trying to talk them into macarons, rather than decorated sugar cookies because they're easier to make en masse. All I ended up doing was convincing them to do macarons AND cookies (along with a few dozen cupcakes, a cake and 2 appetizers). Yup, I'm going to be a bit crunched for time next week.

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  27. Absolutely right. I think it is similar to an eclair - if you feel the right consistence of the batter, you are on the right way.

    But to tell the trouth I threw out 140 shells a month ago... it was too hot and humid and I didn't let the macs rest for the right enough long time.

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  28. I have meringue powder. Is that a suitable substitute for egg white powder? I know that meringue powder has all sorts of other things added to it in addition to just dehydrated egg white and with macarons being the finicky beauties they are, I am not sure how they'll take to this substitution.
    Thanks.

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  29. Meringue powder shouldn't be substituted for the powdered egg whites.

    While both contain powdered egg white, the additional ingredients (starch, sugar, gum) in meringue powder will throw off the recipe and may limit your meringue's ability to whip up properly.

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  30. Oh, wow... I've come over here having just read Mr P's most recent post and I'm feeling daring... I might just try making macarons some time soon as I feel like this post provides me with a good support system if something goes wrong!

    Just to clarify - is granulated sugar what we'd call caster sugar in the UK, and is powdered or confectioners sugar then what we'd call icing sugar?

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  31. Funny story about macarons actually... did you know that they sell them (probably rather poor quality and mass produced) at McCafes in France? Or Paris at least. And yes, McCafes as in "coffee associated with McDonald's." However, worry not, because my foodie friend and I stuck up our noses and went to Pierre Herme instead.

    The TRULY amusing part was that after I went to Paris this summer, I also had the chance to spend a few weeks in China. We obviously had to visit a Chinese McDonald's out of curiosity, and we found another McCafe. Expecting some sort of knock-off fancy Chinese dessert, I peer into the display case and what do I find? LAMINGTONS! Yes, strawberry and vanilla and chocolate LAMINGTONS! It was beyond bizarre, and so funny because I always read about both lamingtons and macarons on your blog. So crazy.

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  32. I've never made macarons before, but they are so pretty that I will have to make a batch soon. These tips are great! Will bookmark them!

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  33. I have always gotten terrible air pockets. I tried these today, and they worked! They are absolutely perfect! Thank you so much.

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  34. Wow!!! Everyone can tell you have a love for baking, for sharing, for combining knowledge and experience with a true, solid passion for macaron!

    Uhm...I guess that means for a beginner like myself, I must make some macarons!!! Thanks so much for sharing and for posting! Always love your blog!

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  35. is it okay that i love you and all your macaron madness? ^_____^

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  36. My dear Ms. Humble, I have in front of me my second ever batch of macarons. And they are perfect. Perfect texture, perfect feet, not a single hollow shell. The addition of egg white powder was a flash of brilliance.

    Thank you for your wonderful culinary nerdy-ness. You've made my taste buds exceedingly happy.

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  37. Thank you, thank you! :)
    I tried making macarons for the first time recently and resulted, ahem, in lots of them ending up in the bin. This post has given me enough hopefulness to try again!

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  38. Thanks for this great post. I'm going to try macarons again real soon.
    By the way, I was so curious as to how a "real" macaron would taste in comparison to the chewy, air pocketed blobs I have so far produced, that I bought a couple of really cute little ones at a Dutch department store. They have this great sweets section with fabulous chocolates and cookies etc., so I thought it couldn't go wrong........ Well, unfortunately their cute little macs were also crunchy, brittle and a bit tasteless. They looked great enough, but an uneducated guess on my part says they were definately macawrongs. Oh well, too bad. I'll just have to try and make some decent ones myself.

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  39. Oh, Hooray!! I have finally, finally, finally found my secret magic recipe for macarons! Mine need to rest for 60 minutes, and on my pans, in my stove, they take exactly 18 minutes (turning the pan every 6 minutes).
    With your brilliant idea of adding the egg white powder, I have been able to achieve macaron nirvana.
    Ahhhhhhhh
    Such love I have for you and your baking escapades. :)

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  40. I love these little macaroons - have bought them in French bakeries and Waitrose (UK upmarket supermarket) before, but now want to make my own.
    I also love this blog - very informative, very entertaining. Too entertaining in fact, I would rather be home baking than at work working.
    Thank you Ms Humble! I will definitely give these a try.

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  41. This is a great post!! Thank you. I was afraid of french meringue macarons but decided to give them a try.
    I'm still getting hollow macarons. I'm sure I'm not overmixing the batter so I believe my problem is the meringue. Never have done meringue before so I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. It does not look dense and shiny. I can see the little air bubbles and it feels fragile. I haven't been able to find egg white powder so I was wondering if you had any tips on how to achieve a meringue like yours?

    Thanks so much.

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  42. Your posts are so great and detailed and i have just made my first macaron attempt! Unfortunately, it didn't go great. They ended up needed about 45min in the oven! I have a fan assisted oven so i was very careful with the temp. they got a little brown on top, so i turned it down a little but then they just wouldn't cook! they are all cooked now, but the inside is very....dense. any ideas about what went wrong? are they still edible or are they better off in the trash?

    thanks!

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  43. Do you find that using a convection oven works better or worse? I am using a conventional oven right now, but I wonder if it would work better in a convection oven.

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  44. That does it; you're officially my hero! By the way, may I have the recipe for the salted caramel peanut filling in your macarons above? Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times!

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  45. You saved me from being a crazy-macaron-woman. Who was screaming,crying and yelling in the kitchen after yet another failed try. Those little sweet "devils" can bring you to the edge but thanks to you I'm now a normal person again.

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  46. in your recipe there is no measurement or addition of moisture (h2o) what is the amount needed to make the meringue?

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  47. Brian, I don't quite follow.

    This is a French meringue recipe (not Italian), so no measure of water is needed.

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  48. Hi Ms Humble..
    This is another great post from you...Love it...Could you help me with these questions?
    What is the best way to store macarons? I plan to make hundreds of macarons for my friend's wedding and decide to bake them in the few batches for couple of weeks..how long is the macaron shelf life? Could it be more than a month?
    Thanks a million, Ms. Humble...

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  49. I don't have any egg white powder and I haven't been able to find it anywhere. This is what I hate about my third-world country :( What should I do?

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  50. hi ms. humble. sorry for my mix up...after carefully reading the recipe over a second time i realized that this was a french meringue. sorry for my oversight. i have been used to the italian meringue method. thanks for all of the great tips :)

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  51. It's a bit of a revelation that the filling is what makes them soft. I just chucked a batch because they were crispy! Thank you

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  52. Hi Ms Humble. First off, just wanted to say how insane your macarons were!
    Okay, so I'm not there yet and I'm in need of some help. I baked mine at 300F for 18 minutes and they came out with feet and a smooth shell but COMPLETELY hollow. I'm pretty sure I didn't underbake them, seing how crusty they were. Any idea as to what I did wrong? :S Thanks so much in advance, these little witches have owned my life for the past few weeks...

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  53. cinnamon kitchen,

    The cookies don't have a very long shelf life (how long exactly depends on the the filling). Most cookies require a maturation period of a few days and then are best eaten within a day or two. I mature mine in the refrigerator (without any odorous foods) and then store them in there as well. It is important that they are allowed to come to room temperature they day you are going to serve them.

    A cold macaron does not have the same texture as a room temperature macaron. So when you're determining if maturation is complete, you should allow the cookie/s to warm up before testing and tasting.

    butternutbar,

    Omit the egg white powder if you cannot find it. It simply aids in the quality of the meringue. You can get a similar result by aging the egg whites and allowing some of the moisture to evaporate away.

    Kim,

    Completely collapsed insides and yet cooked long enough to render the cookies slightly crispy, now that is a curious situation.

    My best guess would be the following:

    The batter was a little over-deflated, as this can make the interiors of the cookies unstable.

    Meringue could be an issue too, if it is off in some way the resulting batter can suffer during the mixing stage.

    I would also consider bumping the oven temperature up a little, 10-20 degrees and seeing if that helps. Be sure to check the interiors of the cookies fresh out of the oven. If the insides are collapsing during cooling and not in the oven, then the baking temperature and time simply needs some tweaking.

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  54. Katie,

    The salted peanut macarons are very simple. I used ground almonds with a little seed coat in the meal to give them that natural color but it isn't necessary. Top the cookies with chopped salted peanuts before baking.

    The filling is an ordinary thick caramel sauce, which can be store bought or homemade, with with a little sea salt added to taste.

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  55. Kelly,

    I find that the best oven is a conventional gas oven, followed by a conventional electric oven.

    My gas and electric ovens are duel convection/conventional, but I prefer not to turn on the convection when making macarons (though I have tested macarons in convection ovens quite a bit).

    Some bakers will disagree with me here, but for macarons in my ovens, I feel conventional heat works best.

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  56. pulpixies,

    Dense and taking nearly an hour to bake? That is almost certainly a batter issue. Likely culprits would be over mixing, a poor meringue and possibly undissolved sugar.

    You wouldn't by change have used superfine sugar, or granulated in place of the powdered/confectioners sugar?

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  57. Jimena,

    If you can see the air bubbles and it looks fragile your meringue isn't quite there yet. If you're beating by hand, making a meringue will take a prolonged period of serious whipping. Your arm will hurt. Bad.

    Try strengthening your meringue if you're beating in a stainless bowl to ensure a dense glossy texture. Try adding a small pinch of salt, couple drops of lemon juice or a quarter teaspoon of cream of tartar.

    Also make sure everything that touches the egg is absolutely clean. No oil, grease, tiny bit of egg yolk anywhere. Your meringue will never beat up properly when there is a trace of grease involved.

    ReplyDelete
  58. So I made the macarons from a previous post of yours today. They turned out pretty good for my very first try at macarons - then I find out you did another even better recipe? Guess I will try this one my next time. I have 2 ovens and one is convection. The good tray was cooked in the convection oven. They had feet, were slightly chewey, no big gaps. The tray that puffed up in the center and cracked was in the other oven. Unfortunately I had a cookie stone lying in the bottom of the oven as well so it may have had something to do with it. My piping was ok, getting better. But my cookie sheet sucks- its warped and made the cookies kind of oval. I read on your other post about having good pans, so that's my next investment. Anyway, thanks for the detailed posts. Love the recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'm in love with your blog and the dedication that you have displayed for fans who are in love with your macaron creation!!!

    I'd like to make macaron for a friend's bridal shower, but with my work schedule, I have to make these in advance.

    Will you let me know how many days can I store the filled macarons in the fridge/ freezer (?) If they need to be stored in the freezer, do I need to take them out to the fridge at least a day in advanced before they can be served to guests?

    Thank you!!!

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  60. Hi Ms. Humble, so I attempted these macaroons today and was baking macaroons at 300 degrees and they STILL weren't cooked. I upped the temperature all the way to 340 where they finally cooked so they slid off the pan, but then the tops browned!

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  61. this is by far the best macaron help site!
    question, almost every time i whip up a batch the base is extremely chewy & sticky, there is a huge space between the base and top layer, and the top layer is so thin it basically separates completely from the rest of the cookie. SO frustrating! i tried cooking them longer, but the air pocket is still there.
    also, any way you could post a recipe in cups/oz? i don't have a scale, and i tried to use an online conversion chart...let's just say it wasn't pretty.
    i'm passionate about baking and have tried making these 3 days in a row (to bring to thanksgiving) and am getting quite helpless!
    thank you so much for your knowledge and help!
    jenny
    portland, or

    ReplyDelete
  62. Hi Ms Humble,

    I follow your French Meringue formula and everything worked the 1st 2 times I do it. This time I try to color the meringue, add food color in the process as you describe. My macaron come out with normal feet and normal shape. Everything looks perfect until I touch it, the dome immediately collapses. I check the interior and it's ok. I don't know what I have done wrong since I follow everything strictly and I let my macaron to rest for about an hour and touch them before hand to make sure that the skin is good.


    An

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  63. An,

    Two possibilities, it might just be an off batch of cookies (I've had something similar happen with very fresh eggs), or it could be the food coloring.

    If you're using standard liquid food coloring--in any amount more than a drop or two--it can throw off the hydration of the recipe. I recommend tinting macaron batter with either gel colorings or a small amount of powder coloring. They're stronger so you don't use much and they won't lend much (if any) additional moisture to the batter.

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  64. Hi Ms. Humble,

    I made another batch with food coloring and get the same result. Now I think it's most likely that it's the liquid food coloring that throw things off.

    What brand of gel or powder coloring that you recommend me to use?

    Thank you,

    An

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  65. An,

    Probably the food coloring then.

    I use Americolor gel colorings in my macarons, but any brand should work fine (Wilton, Ateco, etc).

    I haven't used powdered coloring (Americolor also makes them) in my macarons, but some bakers swear by them.

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  66. annette1030,

    Tell me about your oven :)

    If it is electric, does it use the top heating element during the bake cycle? Does it heat from the top exclusively during the bake cycle (lacks a lower element or gas burner, or these are, for whatever reason, not functioning).

    If an oven heats from the top exclusively, you will see heat pooling at the top of conventional ovens. This leads to longer cook times, the shells not rising correctly (poor or no feet) and browned cookies.

    This also happens in convection electric ovens, where the top element will often heat up in conjunction with the bottom element. In cases like these, browning can be prevented by placing a rack a few inches above the cookies and setting a bare cookie sheet on it. This will shield the tops of the cookies from excess heat.

    If you oven doesn't heat from the bottom, then you may be able to provide enough lower level heat by placing a pizza stone in the oven and allowing it a long pre-heat before baking the cookies above (not on) the stone.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Wow this blog is fantastic! I've been reading it all week and finally made my macarons! I think they came out pretty well... but my only concern is whether or not they're cooked well enough! They slid off the parchment paper pretty easily and started to slightly brown on top, but I'm worried that the centers aren't cooked. They seem slightly moist after sitting in the fridge for 24 hours. They taste delicious but I'm concerned about serving them to people since I used aged egg whites. Do I have anything to worry about? I still feel like such a baking novice so any additional help would be much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Ms. Humble,
    My husband and I went to Paris in September and fell in love with macarons. I wanted to order some for my family for the holidays, but then I saw your blog and decided to make them myself!

    I have had lots of fun experimenting to get the perfect macaron (and my husband has become an excellent sous chef). We are still perfecting our meringue technique (and are having a competition to see whose is better). So far my husband is winning--No fair!

    Thank you for all of the great inspiration!

    Best,
    Jenni

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  69. Wow! This is by far, the most complete guide for macaron baking....though I have a question: what is "broken meringue"?

    Your macarons are so cute!

    Thanks!

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  70. A broken meringue is one that has been beaten too hard or too long. The proteins in the egg whites couldn't endure the beating and are no longer capable of holding in the air that you're trying to whip in. What is left is a dull, grainy textured meringue.

    There are actually plenty of photos of broken meringues on the web (first time Lemon Meringue Pies are a common victim) but I'd feel bad linking to someone's blog/website to point out a baker's error. Usually you can identify the meringue because of it's dull, grainy texture and lack of volume.

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  71. Hello! I've been having trouble with my macarons every since day one- their feet protrude from their sides. I've read the causes for that you've very kindly typed out, but I still can't achieve a perfect macaron. They rise perfectly in the oven for the first few minutes then start to spread out at the sides. Please help!

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  72. Crumbsandcookies,

    Protruding feet are usually due to heat. The heat makes the cookies rise and develop feet. Too much heat can cause the cookies to puff up too quickly, this either makes the cookies crack or the feet stick out.

    Things that can mitigate this: Double stacking the pans. Placing the pans on a higher or lower rack in the oven (where depends on your particular oven). Lower the oven temperature.

    The cookie batter can also be the cause, over mixing will make the foot protrude sightly more.

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  73. Ok, I am such a nerd! I started dancing in my seat when I saw that you last responded to a comment on this post on December 30th. Woo! I had my first macaron failure last night, and it's wigging me out!

    I've made probably about 10 batches of macarons over the past few months, all of them very successful, although maybe two batches suffered from hollow centers.

    My macaron recipe is 200g powdered sugar, 25 gran sugar, 110 almonds, 90 egg whites.

    Last night, the only difference was that I added probably about a tablespoon, maybe a teaspoon more, of powdered lavender buds. (I powdered them myself in a brand new, clean, coffee grinder.)

    I ended up with flat, nearly feetless, cracked, horrible macarons.

    Since I'm a spaz, I was up until 2am trying to fix my mistake with another batch. I used the same amounts of all ingredients but made absolutely sure my egg whites weren't overbeaten and that I didn't overmix the batter. I had nearly the same exact result: horrible, flat, nearly feetless, sad macs! These were slightly improved but the difference was barely noticeable.

    So here is my question: since everything was the same, do you think the problem was the powdered lavender buds? Perhaps it threw off the ratios and pushed it over into "too many dry ingredients" land? I didn't foresee this being a problem since most resources list additional moisture as a problem, not additional dry ingredients.

    Halp! What are your thoughts?

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  74. Generally too many dry ingredients tends to result in a cookie that is a bit dense and chewy but otherwise normal. These sound like they have more problems than just the ratios being off. It is possible that there is some property in the ground lavender that is nuking your egg whites on contact. (What? Why? No clue, baking is chemistry and sometimes reactions between ingredients are unexpected.)

    This is how I would approach making lavender macarons:

    First, I wouldn't use the lavender to flavor the shells directly. I would toy with sprinkling a tiny bit on top as a spot of garnish. Maybe tint the powder and dry it to add a splash of color, since ground lavender is a little ambiguous looking.

    This garnish would be optional depending on how fancy I was feeling. The best method of infusing the shells with the lavender flavor would be using a filling or a infused syrup and allowing the cookie to mature. The first thing I would try is infusing a simple syrup with lavender and use that to speed maturation. (If you can find a spritz bottle that can spray syrup that's the best way to apply the syrup to the bottom of your shells. Too much syrup and you can melt your cookies.) Once you sandwich and fill the cookies, the lavender infused syrup will creep into your cookies making them moist and fragrant with lavender.

    Here is a recipe for a basic lavender syrup.

    Since you're cookies are turning out pretty well before you started adding the lavender to the cookies themselves, this seems like the ideal approach to getting the flavor you want without creating those evil uncooperative macarons.

    The best part of doing it this way is the left over lavender syrup... it's lovely stuff.

    Best of luck!

    Ms. H

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  75. This is so comprehensive! Thanks for the write-up!

    I've tried baking macarons twice.

    First attempt
    I didn't use aged eggs. No feet, totally flat and cracked surface. Texture is crisp on outside chewy inside.

    Second attempt
    Eggs were aged 2 days in the fridge, covered. Some macarons have feet, some don't. Cracked. When cooled, collapsed and wrinkled.

    I'm definitely going to try this again though I'm no fan of macarons. Just a challenge to myself. Wish me luck!

    ReplyDelete
  76. BTW, I did your recipe of 1.2/2.35 grams almonds/sugar for every gram egg white.

    http://notsohumblepie.blogspot.com/2010/04/macarons-101-french-meringue.html

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  77. Blessed,

    Definite progress. I wouldn't concern yourself too much with the age of the whites at first, it's getting used to the finicky batter that usually thwarts new-macaron-bakers.

    It sounds like the second attempt, with the weak, wrinkled shells was a bit over-mixed. I would work the batter a little less next time, leave some of the volume from the meringue in there and see how things turn out. Boosting the temperature in your oven by 20° may also help, as undercooking the cookies can lead to similar results.

    Best of luck!

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  78. Thanks for the tips! I was about to give up having failed on my 4th batch of macaroons (tasty, but crispy hollow biscuits -- my new oven is crazy), but I'll give it another go with this post in mind.

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  79. Thanks again for just being so geneous with your macaron epierences. I love your recipe "not so humble macarons" But when I add powdered flavors to it they turn out strange sometimes. I just finished a chocloate batch I added 5 tbs of unsweetened powder to the mix and took out a bit of almond/sugar mixture to compensate. The cookies have feet yet they puffed up a bit and end up wrinkly when cooled. they look like mini round brownies, and taste the same.

    Do you have any tips on adding powdered flavors to the almond/sugar mixture?

    what do you think I did wrong?

    I was also wondering about a good butter cream recipe. The one I use is delish but kinda yellowish I want a white one.

    Also I have seen whits cookies but my plain ones turn out cream colored, how do you get them white?

    thanks again

    jessica

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  80. Jess,

    When you add additional dry ingredients to a macaron batter you have to compensate by removing almond flour, otherwise they come out dense and heavy. So you're on the right track there. However, I rarely flavor macaron shells directly because it requires some experimentation to keep the macaron ratios in balance. Usually I start by adjusting the recipe with a 1 to 1 ratio (removing one part almond flour for every part dry ingredient I add). If the dry ingredient absorbs a lot of moisture (freeze dried fruit, desiccated coconut etc), I add a less.

    As for chocolate macarons, I've never attempted them so I cannot offer advice on a good recipe yet. My macaron projects thus far have focused on cracking the code for the ordinary almond variety.

    As for buttercream choose a recipe that doesn't use egg yolks, like a swiss meringue buttercream. Also, though this probably won't make much of a difference, try local butter bought during the winter. The dairy cows are not out to pasture and the lack of grass in their diet means paler butter.

    My uncolored macarons are pale, but still slightly cream colored. If the coloring is from the almonds there is little one can do about that. However if the coloring is from the oven, experiment with shielding in the oven with foil or a second pan to prevent browning.

    Hope this helps :)

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  81. Ms H,
    I did it the 3rd time, still the same result as my 2nd attempt. I guess I have overmixed the batter again. Not going to give up, will try it again. Thanks again for your help!

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  82. Blessed,

    Mind your meringue too. If your meringue is weak or lacks volume, even a modest amount of folding the batter will deflate the batter. Giving you the same result as over-mixing.

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  83. Ms. Humble,

    I'm so glad I found your blog! It is amazing! I will attempt the infamous macaron! =)

    -Lumina

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  84. Dear Ms. Humble,

    I just ruined my first macaron batch. All those wonderful ingredients down the drain. =( I was wondering if you could scale down the recipe so i won't waste as much batter?

    Thanks,
    Lumina

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  85. LuminaMyst,

    Yes you can. The recipe is scalable and smaller batches of batter can be handy when practicing.

    I wouldn't scale it down any lower than a minimum of one large egg white though. Any less than that and I foresee an opportunity for trouble with the meringue and mixing.

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  86. Ms. Humble,

    Awesome! Thanks for answering back so quickly. I will definitely try the recipe again on a smaller scale.

    -Lumina

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  87. Hi Ms Humble,

    I've been trying so many of your recipes in hopes to get a good macaron. But I can't seem to make ones that aren't hollow (the problem where the batter seems to pool on the bottom and never rise in the oven).

    Even if I over cook it. I actually experimented with a batch where I broke open the cookies as I was baking them (usually after having baked them over the suggested 15 minutes), and I find that although the insides do tend to get more firm, it never seems to rise to the top of the shells.

    I've also tried a various amount of temperatures from 270 - 300. My feet start protruding at temperatures around 270< and my cookies will brown if I keep them in for longer than 15 min (and if I don't they go hollow! Oh the dilemma!)

    I'm not sure what to do ): And it's frustrating me deeply. Do you have any ideas what could be the problem?

    ReplyDelete
  88. Kairi

    This could be a batter issue, so be very certain you're not over mixing and your meringue is perfect.

    Bake the cookies on a lower rack if you are not already, this will help provide more heat into the bottoms and insides of the cookies. If you're double stacking your pans and not having trouble with cracked shells go ahead and stop stacking. Browning of the cookies depends on the individual oven and where the cookies are baked inside that oven. Try placing an oven rack directly above the cookies and setting an empty pan onto. This will help shield the cookies and usually prevents browning.

    Best of luck and keep trying.

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  89. Ms Humble and Kairi,

    I just tried my first macaron attempt using this recipe with much success - I baked them too high in the oven so they were a little browned and I didn't sift the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture enough so they were a bit grainy, but my interiors were PERFECT. Part of me thinks that's because while folding the flour/sugar mixture into the meringue, I "beat the heck out it" ala 3:18 of this youtube video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bri6xnDBl9I

    The woman says that she does that to deflate the egg whites, and I'm wondering if doing such a thing rids the hollow issue. Then again, my tops weren't convex, more flat shaped, but I don't know how much of that is attributed to the fact that perhaps I over mixed.

    Ms Humble, do you think doing that little "beat the heck out it" trick might fix hollow issues?

    ReplyDelete
  90. We do mix the batter past the point of incorporating the ingredients to deflate the air in the meringue. Correct. Too much air in the batter can cause all sorts of horrific problems, like cracked shells, enormous puffy feet (or lack of feet), porous looking exteriors and yes in some situations, hollows.

    However, over mixing the batter can also cause problems. Too little air in the batter and your cookies will lack structure and lift in the oven. It produces a macaron that is denser, even chewy. They'll often have thinner shells that are flat and even crumpled. The cookies themselves may be weak and fragile to the touch, and yes, even hollow. Depending on the meringue and the baking conditions.

    Therein lies the difficulty with these cookies. With all other elements of the process perfect (whipping, piping, resting & baking), you need to find the balance between those two states. That just requires a bit of practice and finesse. Eventually, after all those macarwrongs, you get a feel for the batter and the required viscosity, texture and volume and things start falling into place.

    Or... with your otherwise perfect batter, you learn your oven is possessed by evil macaron hating trolls. In which case it is time to pull out the yellow pages and look up extermination services for supernatural critters.

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  91. Hi Ms Humble,

    Thanks for replying to my comment! I forgot to mention that my feet are extremely high... they puff up like crazy. I've tried mixing the batter just a bit more and get mooshy wet cookies (overmixed ew). I'm not sure the super high heat gives a clue on why my cookies are always hollow ):

    I think maybe there is a problem with my meringue. Do you have any tips on checking the meringue to know when it's stiff enough?

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  92. Hi mrs humble. I've tried this recipe several times and haven't really been very successful. The batter always comes out to look duller and heavy. When I finish piping them onto the parchment they don't have that glossy wet look like yours from above. When i set them to rest they dry very fast and look "dry". When I bake them them they seem heavier.

    I have had better results with your original French macaron recipe though. Do you think you can help me troubleshoot to have better results. Is it the powdered sugar I use? I just use regular powdered sugar from the grocery store. I used the Just Egg whites powder from whole foods and the same almond flour u use.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Kairi,

    Yup, I suspected they were enormous based on your description. Enormous puffy feet generally means there is a tad too much air in the batter. You'll get such a large rise in the oven, then the entire interior of the cookie often forces itself out.

    A little more mixing, not so much that you over deflate and get the gummy macarons though. Be mindful of the baking too, as you often have to adjust your baking temps and times (generally upward) when working with batter that is a little more worked, to prevent the cookies from being moist/soft. Now, since you have these massive feet problem temperature might not be a problem, since big feet are also a heat-related issue.

    Your cookies may be getting too much heat from the bottom of the pan. Try moving your cookies upwards away from the bottom element and double stacking the pans.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the meringue, if everything else about the cookie looks fine, then the meringues you have been working with are probably good.

    Gigg1es,
    That's interesting. And you're using a scale to weigh the ingredients? Hmm... Let me see if I can cover all the reasons for what you're experiencing.

    First: would be the ratios are off. However, if you are using a scale and repeatedly experiencing it with this recipe it is very unlikely.

    Second: the batter does get thinner and glossier as you mix it. It starts out thick and somewhat matte, then as you mix it gets thinner and glossier. The cookies also take longer to dry the more the batter is mixed, so this is something to consider.

    Third: the ingredients could be a possibility. Start by omitting the egg white powder from the recipe. It is there to adjust the moisture levels of the egg whites and if you're already working with perfect or lower moisture whites (from aging), the powder can work against you.

    I've tested the recipe with many different amounts of egg white powders and discovered that the more powder you use the heavier and chewier the cookies get. The cookies ALSO dry faster. However I cannot remember the exact look of the batters when I was testing the egg white powder amounts, so I cannot comment on that.

    Good luck!

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  94. oh thanks a lot! i might be the fact that my egg whites are already very aged. does it make a difference aging them on the counter vs the refrigerator? i always age them for about 4 days on the counter. i will try to omit the powder. i suspect that may be the issue too. thanks!

    these are my macs from your original french mac recipe.
    http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/180560_1930593546894_1303916312_32431009_7998955_n.jpg

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  95. gigg1es,

    Difference between counter vs refrigerator? You betcha! They will age quicker on the counter than in the refrigerator. They tend to "liquify" quicker at room temperature and lose a bit more moisture, since--at least in my kitchen--the counter is a less humid environment than the refrigerator.

    Lovely macarons. Are those one of your first batches?! They look great.

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  96. Just for clarification's sake, when you say "over-mixed," you do mean the part where you fold in the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture into the meringue, right?

    I made my second batch of macarons yesterday, and although my first attempt resulted in perfect interiors (photo here: http://tiny.cc/zs68f), yesterday's were hollow. The only thing I did differently was that I didn't do the "beat the heck out it" thing and I made sure the almond flour/powdered sugar was more sifted (so it wasn't as grainy.) I noticed that yesterday's macaron batter, while being sans-grainy, was still not glossy and seemed to weigh less than the first attempt was. I suppose this all part of the process of obtaining the proper feel for the batter...let's hope that today's attempt (a more difficult lemon buttercream and pistachio chocolate ganache!) will turn out better.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I initially emailed you but thought posting would be a better option for others seeking advice.

    I've been trying to make the elusive "perfect" macaron at home, and I came across your posts when seeking troubleshooting advice. I hope you can provide some guidance!

    I've been using the following recipe:
    90 gr egg whites, aged 24-48 hours
    30 gr granulated sugar
    200 gr powdered sugar
    110 gr almond flour

    After pipping 1.5" rounds, I let sit for 30-45m and bake at 300F for 18 minutes on the lower middle rack in a gas oven. But, when out of the oven, my feet protrude somewhat, I have hollows under the caps and they chewier than they should be – almost slightly sticky. I see most recipes say to bake for 14-16 minutes at around 300F, but if I bake at anything less than 18 my filling collapses and doesn’t keep that airy, slightly chewy inside.

    I think I'm mixing the batter correctly, as the caps flatten when pipped and the batter doesn't spread too much. I'm tempted to try another batch at a higher temp or even longer, but am worried that it would make the feet protrude even more or burn them. That, and I havent read anyone baking macarons at 300F for 20+ minutes. Then again, my oven IS ancient...

    Also, I've seen a few sites use the recipe below, but I'm not certain how this impacts the ratio. Could the increased almond mixture help prevent the cookies from being "too meringue-y" and keep the filling from collapsing?

    225 grams icing sugar
    125 grams ground almonds
    110 grams egg whites (about 4), aged overnight at room temperature
    30 grams granulated sugar
    Pinch of salt

    To help provide some context, I provided the links below.

    Batter:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50108238@N05/5467516646/in/set-72157625982233885/

    Baked:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50108238@N05/5466918627/in/set-72157625982233885/

    Finished:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/50108238@N05/5468213408/in/set-72157625982233885/

    I understand this is a pretty lengthy email, but any advice would be VERY appreciated!

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  98. Hi Ms. Humble,

    My macarons turned out very puffy with no feet. What could cause it? Also, is there a way to make them less sweet?

    Thanks!

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  99. Please help.. my macarons turned out like the ones in this picture. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_WhPHUKwckUw/S9AOggTWdzI/AAAAAAAACdU/rfcJDf9R1-w/s1600/macawrongs.JPG

    Thanks!!

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  100. Lise,

    Yup, that's what I mean by over-mixed.

    One of the annoying things you will discover about macs is how much variation in the cookies you can get, even when you think you're controlling for every possible element of the recipe. Things like humidity, the moisture in your egg whites on top of the small changes in resting times/conditions, baking and mixing seemingly do add up with these cookies. I'm pretty obsessed with testing macs under various conditions and by far, they are one of the most frustrating cookies to pin down when it comes to controls.

    It just takes practice to get consistency. Still, you will have a batch here and there that will throw you for a loop. I do too.

    Evan,

    Got your email, I'm behind this week on both comments and emails but I am trying to catch up today. I'll answer you here so everyone can see my answers.

    I should mention that your recipe is not one of mine, so it makes answering questions more difficult. You appear to be using a ratios of 2.55:1 1.22:1 sugar:egg and almond:egg which is fairly close to the recipe above (more so than the scatterplot version), but not enough so that I have absolute confidence in answering questions about it.

    As for baking, the protruding feet, stickiness, chewiness, and requiring a longer than specified baking time. All of these issues are generally associated with either over mixing or poor quality meringue. Basically, you may be working with an over deflated batter.

    I would aim for caps that don't quite flatten when piped, cookies that require a good pan-tap to smooth the shells. However that is for my recipe, with other recipes some spreading and easy flattening is more the norm (I'm thinking of tartelette's recipe as a good example here).

    As for increasing the almond ratio, it doesn't do much for stability. Instead it tends to produce a denser heavier macaron that can be unpleasantly gummy to very chewy. With maturation those issues lessen and some bakery macarons are actually quite dense (I'm thinking of Paul in the UK) so it could be considered within the norm. It is worth trying if you think it would produce better results in your oven. Trying lots of recipes (then retrying older ones again as you polish your skills, since you'll likely have more luck) is part of the general macaron learning process.

    As for the photos, the macarons look quite lovely. The batter looks very glossy, however. Which does concern me, but this isn't my recipe so it is hard to judge. What kind of food coloring are you using to achieve that intense red? Judging from all three photos however, it looks like it's a over deflated batter. Not much, since the cookies don't quite have the tissue paper thin shells, but enough that they're close.

    Back to baking, and your concerns about temperature and time. Forget what everyone else says. There are a million different times and temperatures for these cookies out there on the web. It's bordering on absurd, the variation that is, not the temperatures. Do what you think would help your cookies in YOUR oven. Experiment a little, since your oven is likely to be very different than the oven of others and it does make a pretty sizable difference when it comes to macarons.

    I've read that professional bakers, when moving into a new kitchen will be given some time to learn the ovens for baking macarons. So recipes will preform differently in individual ovens and it takes some fiddling to find that sweet spot for the perfect macaron. I can vouch for this as I have two ovens in my kitchen, one professional sized gas oven and one a more conventional electric oven. They both have their quirks and require some adjustment in positioning and temperature to produce equal results when making macarons.

    Alright, next question!

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  101. Tracy, you're up!

    Ah the problem of the puffy, footless macawrong. This is almost always an under-mixing problem. A lot of newer macaron bakers make such macarons, because they've had it hammered into them over and over how terrible over mixing is. Yes, over mixing is bad, but not nearly as catastrophic as undermining when it comes to the end results.

    Over-mixed macarons, though flatter and flimsy, still look like macarons. Under-mixed batter however, produces puffy, cracked, scary cookies that don't look anything like their over-mixed or correctly mixed cousins.

    With your next batch, mix the batter a little more and deflate some of the volume in the meringue. This should improve your results. If not, you can always come back here and I'll do my best to help.

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  102. Gosh all this macaron talk. Sometimes I feel like I should add a forum to the blog, just for discussing macaron issues.

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  103. I tried again today and baked at 285F for 13 mins and they came out pretty good but not perfect. They have low feet and the inside is a bit moist. Any suggestion? I let them rest for 40 mins before baking. I can remove them easily from the parchment paper so I don't think they were undercooked.

    Thanks!

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  104. Ms. Humble,

    You have so much wonderful mac info and yet I seem incapable and am stumped! I have made tens of batches and they all end up the same with the french meringue method - tissue paper thin tops that are completely hollow and feet that are completed extruded out the sides. I even bought a copper bowl in case I was overmixing the meringue and I still have the same disaster! Honestly, this is the first batch I didn't sift (but I do use Bob's Red Mill) but other than a few extra pieces of the almond that are too large, this is how they always turn out. Would you please offer me some suggestions?

    http://www.wasatchonline.com/desserts.html

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  105. Lisa,

    Thanks for the photos! They are always helpful with troubleshooting.

    There are some almond pieces in Bobs Redmill that are too large for picture-perfect macarons. The fineness of the grind varies from bag to bag, unfortunately. I usually sift out the larger particles (this usually is 10-25% of the meal with my sifter) and grind them fine with powdered sugar for my next batch.

    So the cookies in the picture, they all behaved pretty much the same way in the oven. Forcing their interiors out of the shells into the pan to form a awkward large foot. The meringue appears good, the various batters look appropriate for their mixed states (save for the chunky almond meal). So what is wrong? Well, I'm leaning towards heat, with possibly some complications with the almond meal. As the flour's grind does have the potential to not only change the look of the cookies but it's structure and stability..

    I've made macarons that looked exactly like these, when experimenting with a slightly coarser home ground almond meal. This was before I learned that repeatedly grinding my almonds with the powdered sugar and sifting it would produce a finer, more suitable flour, for the cookies.

    When the insides of the cookie escape the shell, it can mean 1) there is too much air in the batter or 2) the insides heated up too rapidly, expanded quickly and that cookie interior has to go somewhere. Fast. (Usually out the top of the shell or out the bottom) Moderating the heat and ensuring there isn't too much air left int he batter is the best way to produce a nice steady rise in the cookies.

    Some other elements of your oven can contribute to this too, other than heat. Convection/fan-forced ovens can be troublesome, although some bakers swear by them for their macarons. I own two ovens, both convection (one gas one electric) and I keep the fans off when baking macs. If you have that type of oven, I suggest turning off the fan to see if it helps. There can also be hot spots in your oven. Move the pans away from the heating element and double stack the pans (if you're not already). Also try reducing the oven temperature and increase baking time.

    The later of these suggestions can aggravate your paper thin top issue, however. You may be able to mitigate this by using a finer almond flour, well aged eggs and giving them a nice long rest prior to baking. Give them time to form a good skin. Not too long though, as prolonged resting can cause a whole host of other problems.

    One last question, why are the cookies brown? Food coloring?

    Tracy,

    Moist, sticky insides generally mean an undercooked or overmixed macaron. Low feet can be due to lack of heat or overmixed. Over deflating the air in the batter will deprive the cookies of their lift and makes the insides fluffy, rather than moist and gummy). Meringue can also be a complication here, producing similar issues.

    I would start by minding your mixing, meringue and maybe bump the heat in your oven a few degrees. See if that improves the texture and look of your cookies.

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  106. Ms.Humble,

    I tried again baking them on the top rack at 300F for 14 minutes. Please see photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/60309389@N05/5504438845/in/photostream/

    They are still hollow and puffy. :( Any idea what I did wrong?

    Thanks a lot!!

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  107. Thank you for your response! The batch from my photos used a red food gel by Ateco.

    I made a batch today using your recipe - success, no hollows, perfect feet! But, I do have a few follow up questions so I can pin-point what I was doing wrong.

    1) I notice your recipe uses a ratio of 1:.05 of egg white:eggwhite powder. If I add egg white powder to a different recipe can I safely add it in that ratio without reducing liquid egg whites? I'm trying to get a feel for how the ratios impact the final product. Does this impact the feet on your macaron? I noticed your recipe produces perfect feet. But, in other recipes (namely Tartlette), the feet protrude a bit at the same temp and batter consistency.

    2) I'm trying to better gauge the final viscosity of a properly mixed batter. I mix until I get thick ribbons that falls off my spatula - it does not continuously flow. When pipped, I aim for 1.5" rounds using a #11 Ateco tip where I pipe about 1" rounds 1/2" above the parchment that spread to 1.5". Should I aim for a stiffer batter? I see in your photos they are much more "domed" than mine. Do they spread out or stay like that?

    3) Can you explain any of the "science" behind the ratios in your or any other recipe? You mentioned more almond flour leads to a more dense, chewier cookie, but what about the total amount of sugar? When you troubleshoot a recipe, how do you know to up the sugar, egg white, etc?

    Thanks again - I truly appreciate you answering my litany of questions! Next attempt, I am going to watch my meringue and when mixing the batter, give it one or two quick folds to deflate some of the air and gently combine after.

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  108. You are absolutely brilliant! After about 8 lame batches, including one that chirped like a bird, I switched to this recipe and had perfect results. I even made some with golden flax seed meal...so I can pretend like I'm being healthy. They were perfect! Thank you so much for your exhaustive research!

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  109. Tracy,

    You're getting there. They don't even look too puffy (though a couple more turns of the spatula when working the batter won't hurt). The insides just look a little undercooked. Continue to adjust the cooking temps and times for your oven. You want to find a happy medium where you can cook the interior without browning the outside of the shells.

    The baking on the top rack may have given them a little too much color, try moving it down a notch and extending the baking time (perhaps even reducing the temp to 290 and extending the baking to 18 minutes or even longer)

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  110. Evan,

    To answer each of your questions:

    1) Before experimenting with the egg white powder I might have said yes to this. Reasoning that it would aid the hydration level of the whites regardless of recipe. However, once I started testing recipes with various amounts of the powder, I realized how badly things could turn go. Even small changes to the recipe above, like going from 1:.05 to 1:.07 will turn a good macaron into a rubbery, chewy cookie. Hence, egg white powder ratio is specific to this recipe. I cannot assume it would always be a plus for other macaron recipes.

    Don't let that stop you from experimenting though. It very well may help other recipes.

    The powder isn't necessary for the formation of perfect feet. In fact, you can make the recipe above without the egg white powder and get almost identical results. The egg white powder simply gives you a wider margin of error. Which is something rather valuable when it comes to baking these temperamental cookies.

    As for other blogger's recipes, their ratios will likely be different than my own and thus behave somewhat differently, even with similar temperatures and consistencies. The exact look of the foot is dependent on many variables, mixing, temperature and baking surface. The baker's altitude and ovens will even play a role.

    2) The pictures of the wet macarons above are what my cookies look like going into the oven. They do not spread too much when piped, but do smooth out into a gentle dome when tapped on the counter. (If your batter is too thin after folding, your meringue might not have had enough volume. Another sign of an over-deflated batter)

    As for what texture you should aim for. That depends. The look of the batter above is not universal to all macaron recipes. There are recipes that produce a slightly thinner batter and recipes that produce even stiffer batter. These are all recipes that work fine (or at least I assume so).

    3) Gosh what a question to tackle at 11pm. My ratios are the results of testing. Lots and lots of testing. To understand how each ingredient changed the outcome, I would control the other variables in the cookie (to the best of my ability, which I admit is very hard with macarons given how finicky they are in terms of mixing and baking) tweak a single ratio and note the results.

    This testing gave me a better idea of how variations in ingredients could change the final result and prepare me for the onslaught of questions I get here, which I admit are not terribly easy to answer. (I should have wrote a 101 for something easier... like making butter.)

    I don't troubleshoot other recipes, I assume they work great for their creators in their kitchens. Instead I focus on my own recipe, adjusting here and there to see if I can improve on the cookie.

    I aim for reliability more than anything else, as one of my goals is to minimize the frustration that surounds these cookies. Even if just a little. If I produced the most delicious macaron recipe ever, it wouldn't serve much purpose if 95% of the people who read this blog couldn't reproduce it.

    Does that answer all your questions? Let me know if I missed anything, I'm playing catch up today.

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  111. RollerScrapper,

    So happy you had good results with the recipe.

    Flaxseed macarons? That's amazing! I could use a little Omega 3...

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  112. Thanks Ms. Humble!
    I posted a pic of my macarons here:
    http://rollerscrapper.blogspot.com/2011/03/flaxseed-macarons-with-chocolate.html
    I made some peanut caramel macarons tonight too!

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  113. Ms. Humble,

    I baked again yesterday at 290F for 18 mins and the inside was much better than the last time. They turned out almost perfect, but a little brown at the bottom. Should I lower the temp to 280F and bake for 18 mins?
    These cookies are so sweet, is there a way to make them less sweet? What is the minimum amount of powdered sugar recommended?

    Thanks a bunch!!

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  114. Try it, experimenting is the best way to find the perfect range for your own oven.

    Sweetness: Macarons, like meringues, are in the tooth-aching sweet range for desserts. Some recipes are sweeter (like Italian) and some a little less sweet (some variants of the French).

    To cut the sweetness, maturation helps. It seems to mellow the cookie a bit. Particularly when you fill the cookies with something that compliments and balance the sweetness.

    Macarons are just something best enjoyed as a small bite dessert. Hence why they're coin sized and not as big as donuts. No reasonable person could handle that much sugar. Though, I have had some massive macarons at bakeries (we're talking 2-3")... I cut them in half and they were still an absolute chore to taste test.

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  115. Hi Ms. Humble,

    Thank you so much for your feedback!! First, they were the color because of food coloring - I've been playing with colors. But, for the current batch I didn't add any. Anyway, I have a basic electric oven. I have always double stacked the pans. This time I also took the time to not only sift the almond flour, but to grind it with powdered sugar til it was completly fine - hopefully you can see the difference!

    You can't really tell well in these pictures, but the macs were almost browned. I was hoping to have macs that are creamy in appearance at the darkest, but preferably as white as the ones you have made. (What did you do to get yours so beautifully white?). I didn't put in any food coloring, but they turned out quite dark. As you can see, though the feet aren't stunningly horrid, they are quite sad and not nearly as beautiful as yours. Additionally, the tops remained as thin as tissue paper and all but one or two were completely hollow.

    I still don't know what I'm doing wrong! Oh, the eggs were aged for four days. Here's the link with pictures and my comments. I'm really looking forward to your feedback!

    http://wasatchonline.com/desserts2.html

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  116. My macarons are creamy colored naturally. They're not any lighter than the macaron meal I use, so they're not quite white. They're almond colored and if they ever look pale this is just lighting. If your macarons are browning, one of the best ways to prevent this is to shield them. Just like you would shield a turkey or a pie crust, tent a little foil or a second pan placed on the rack directly above the cookies.

    Uncolored and pale macarons will show the signs of browning far easier than vibrant colored macs, so if your oven is a browner no matter what you try, It might be best to stick to colored macs.

    Your cookies are improving a great deal, this batch looks much better. Your "most mixed" macarons are the most attractive, but all of them have very large feet, which can explain the hollows to some degree.

    When you say "completely hollow", ARE they completely hollow? A completely hollow cookie will have a egg shell thin layer at the bottom. A partial hollow will have a bubble of air (big or small) over something vaguely macaron-ish. It is an important distinction when it comes to troubleshooting these cookies. How would you describe the layer at the bottom of the cookie, it's thickness and texture? What are the insides like coming right out of the oven? What are they like after they've cooled?

    If the cookie is partially hollow with large feet, this is usually because much of the interior has been forced out to create the feet. Adjusting the heat and air in the batter will moderate the foot formation and tends to help in such cases.

    The thin tops on under mixed cookies is a rarity though. I've only experienced it a few times in my kitchen which makes it difficult to help with. Once was with Martha Stewart's macaron recipe (by volume). It created hollow cookies with large feet and paper thin tops, something I attributed to her ratios (or the inaccuracies of working with volume measurements). I'm assuming your measurements are correct, so scratch that idea. The other times this has happened I wasn't able to pin down a single cause.

    Are your cookies drying well before baking? How would your describe the tops before you put them into the oven. Are they still tacky to the touch? How humid is your area/kitchen?

    Last question, slightly random one too: if you were to rub your finished meringue between your fingers after beating but before combining it with the almond meal/sugar mixture, would you detect any undissolved granulated sugar?

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  117. Thank you so much for responding so quickly!

    Ok, when I say completely hollow, I mean that the mac top that you see has nothing in it. The depth of the foot is where all the batter is. It's as if the outside shell simply lifted up off the cookie and left all the batter behind, which just didn't move at all. Would that be completely or partially hollow? The texture when it's cooked is somewhat chewy right out of the oven. It becomes pretty solid when it's cooled. I've cooked them completely dry too, so they come out of the oven totally hardened and they still have the same issue - tissue thin top over a very hard base.

    The pictures of the cookies you saw represent a variety of drying times - varying from 15 minutes to around an hour. I didn't notice a substantial difference that I attributed to drying time - I attributed it to the oven temperature. Was that incorrect? The tops were not tacky at all - they were dry. I'm not sure regarding the humidity - I will have to get something to measure it. I can say that I'm in Utah and it's exceptionally dry here, though.

    I know I shouldn't, but I actually have tasted the raw batter. I have not detected any undissolved sugar, but on rare occasions have noted a wee bit of almond.

    Finally, to clarify, the one in this batch that was most appropriate was the most mixed?

    Thank you sooooo much!!

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  118. What an amazing blog you've got! It's marked as a favorite now and I've been reading and reading, actually I've been reading so much that I've forgotten to drink my coffee :-)

    One question, is it possible to get the recipe for the Peanut Macarons with Salted Caramel Peanut Filling? I live in Norway and it's difficult to find recipes like that here. Maybe we're still a bit traditional about or cakes and baking :-)

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  119. Hello and thank you so much for your wonderful blog. After about 25 batches I am getting a bit closer but am still not there yet, may I ask you two questions;

    1. I am getting an almost perfect result except they are a little taller than most macarons I have had, am I piping too high, or is there a way another way to get a less tall cookie?

    2. Only other question I have is with the fillings, I have made french buttercreams and when they come to room temperature they seem to get too soft, all the macarons I have had have more of a thick not runny consistency, I don't want it to squish out when you bite into it, can you add any sort of gelatin to get a thicker filling that doesn't run?

    Thank you again, you have such a great site here, and I appreciate your insight.

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  120. Ms. Humble - First off, thank you so much for all the work you've put in here. This is the recipe I've had the most success with and after many attempts have now made 2 perfect batches - strawberry and pecan maple!

    My only problem is with maturation and buttercream. For both successful batches, I mature the cookies to soften them up as you suggest in the fridge for 1-2 days. One was with swiss meringue strawberry buttercream, the other with Martha Stewart's maple buttercream (french bc method). Once they come to room temperature, the bc is soft, mushy, and oozing out the sides. Seems to be much softer than the fresh buttercream.

    What kind of buttercream do you use? Do you think this problem is a result of maturation or just the type of buttercream? Any suggestions would be hugely appreciated.

    Thanks - keep up the good work!

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  121. Ms. Humble.

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I used your recipe yesterday, and the insides of my macarons were perfect. There were almost no air bubbles on the inside, the shells were crisp and then insides were soft. The first tray I put in for 15 minutes. Some of the tops cracked and as soon as I took them out of the oven (300 degrees) the tops got sunken and wrinkly. I put the second batch it for 20 minutes and none of them cracked, but they still sunk a little bit, and stuck to the parchment paper a little.

    Today I tried this recipe:
    110 gm blanched slivered almonds
    200 gm confectioners’ sugar
    100 gm egg whites (from about 3 eggs), aged
    ~40 gm granulated sugar

    My macarons had huge feet (my macarons always have really tall feet). I cooked both trays for 15 minutes and all of the macarons were perfectly smooth and domed on top. Unfortunately, the macarons were completely, totally hollow with a very thin crispy shell and all of the batter on the bottom. The texture is chewy and a little sticky.

    Do you think this has to do with the temperature, or over-mixing? When I piped the macarons they spread and easily lost their bumps without any tapping.

    Thank you so much,

    Noa

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  122. Hi! I tried this recipe and you've made me the happiest girl in the world. I'm so thankful for all the hours you spent in the kitchen, only to share the recipe so generously with us afterwards.

    For the longest time i've been battling hollow shells, oily tops, crack macs, lopsided feet, crispy prawn crackers, no feet, you name it! Very frustrating for a mac mad eater.

    The macs didn't quite turn out as petite as yours nor had the high profile, but they are a vast improvement from all the macawrongs i've had. Just wanted to say a big thank you to you! It's hot and humid here (basically, meringue hell) in Singapore, so i must say i'm pleased with the overall results.

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  123. Thanks so much for this, Ms. Humble.

    I had a batch turn out great last night, but today, I started trying to pipe out larger shells, and since that, they have the thinnest tops possible. Maybe I'm doing something wrong in the mixing process, but I'm thinking it's the larger size. Otherwise, I'm doing the exact same thing as the good batch. Would you agree?

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  124. Thin shells are perfectly okay, within reason. Obviously, if they cannot be handled they are too thin. Also, if the tops are wrinkled or saggy, then they are too thin.

    There are several ways one can produce thin tops in their cookies: under-baking/cooking at too low of a temp, inadequate resting time for the humidity in the French method, or the batter being a bit over mixed. Or a combination any/all of those factors.

    As for the size being the problem. I'm not too certain. Changing the cookie size will require some small adjustments in execution to ensure they're baked well. Other than that, I suspect it might just be an off batch.

    Even when you've settled into the routine of making perfect macarons, these cookies can throw you for a loop once and a while. They're notorious little buggers for the reason that even small variations in ingredients and method will equal varied results.

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  125. Mrs.Norway,

    There isn't a recipe posted for those cookies. I will post it in the future however. They are really simple though. Any firm caramel sauce (homemade or store bought) will do (salted to taste), ground almonds with a little seed coat (this is optional and gives the shells their flecked coloring), and top the unbaked macarons with chopped peanuts before baking.

    Couldn't be simpler.

    iicblm29,

    1. Mix the batter a little more to remove some of the air or reduce the oven temp and bake them slightly longer. Both of those will result in shorter cookies.

    2. Ideally the cookies should absorb some of the excess moisture from your fillings and become firmer. If a filling is soft at room temperature, try not to use a great deal of it between your macs. (I may show my cookies with a generous layer of filling but that is really more for looks than anything else). Cookies that I bake to serve usually have half or even a third as much filling.

    I would experiment with other butter cream recipes and try to find one that is more stable and less runny. Then be sure to give the cookies enough time to absorb some of the extra moisture during the maturation process.

    Katrina,

    The answer to your question is similar to the one above. I've tried many different recipes and discovered that not all buttercreams are well suited to macarons. Its all about the moisture and how they hold at room temp. You want to chose buttercreams that have a reasonable amount of stability at room temperature. Maturing shouldn't be an issue and should only make them more stable, as moisture from the buttercream should transfer into the drier macaron cookie.

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  126. Nola,

    The first paragraph problems indicates a deflated batter. Cookies made with this will have a sunken wrinkled look, like crumpled parchment and will be soft and delicate/break easily. This can be due to over mixing your batter or your meringue not having enough volume to start.

    As for the second paragraph/recipe, that isn't one of mine so I cannot comment on troubleshooting with much confidence. The general troubleshooting above can still apply to other recipes. However, I cannot assume a particular recipe works well at the ratios given. The person who works with those ratios (the recipe's creator) would be the best person to ask for help in this case.

    Joline,

    It is wonderful to hear that my recipe has relieved some of the macawrong frustration for you. Not every macaron will look the same based on climate and variations in basic ingredients but it sounds like you're getting there. That they don't look exactly like mine is perfectly okay.

    Once of these days I will post my photo collection of professional macarons so everyone can see the acceptable variation in these cookies (there is actually quite a bit!)

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  127. I have tried 4 times but at the time my macarons ruptures... and the batter flows out. What is wrong with it?

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  128. Hello and thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions. I had one last question if you had time...I am wondering if you could help me with the best way to keep the cookies. I am doing a farmer's market this summer and would like to have them on display, but do they need to be refridgerated to stay good? I know they taste best at room temperature I am just curious about their shelf life if left out, just concerned about the heat and sun. Thank you

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  129. Ms. Humble
    I tried some macaron recipes for two weeks, tried with green tea, lemon, cocoa etc,etc... Some perfect, some flat, some puffy and most annoying one - no legs! Tried aged eggs, frozen eggs and fresher one with egg white powder. Almost thought and blamed bad ones to weather in seattle... I am hopeful again and looking forward to trying your recipe and method when I go home next week!
    If I make the perfect one, you will be the first to know!
    Summie

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  130. Ms Humble - I am having the same issue as Lisa and Noa above. IN the oven they looked lovely! However upon being taken out, I saw all the batter has pooled to the bottom with the feet and there's a PAPER THIN somewhat grainy dome atop (almost like frosted stained glass!) - HUGE air bubble within. When completely cooled, the bubble deflates and collapses within the cookie.

    Temperature or baking duration does not make a difference - it just ends up browning the top. And it doesn't even taste like a macaron cookie, more like a chewy candy - like grainy tootsie rolls.

    Also I left them out to dry completely. When touched there was almost no stickiness.

    Is this due to overmixed and deflated meringue?

    And also, the graininess I'm assuming is the granulated sugar. Is there a way to ensure it melts? Like dissolve it in the eggwhites and let it sit for a bit or something? Any suggestions would be appreciated!!

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  131. Another q for you Ms Humble: what would you think about dissolving the granulated sugar in the egg whites by hand to start? Just lightly stirring with a spoon until fully dissolved? And actually now that I think about it, does using a plain metal spoon affect the egg whites at all?

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  132. I took a class for macarons with teams making 1 of 4 different recipes. Ours had a problem that you didn't cover - they didn't puff up,had large feet and were irregular. The other team with the same recipe had the same problem - they were quite flat. None of the other teams had that problem with their recipes - and were were all paired with a pastry chef. So I just tried it again at home, again, they were flat. The temp was too high (375) because one pan browned terribly. I see now that most recipes indicate 300 degrees so I'll make that adjustment. No air bubbles, no breakage,no lumps. They could be called splotchy but I thought that could be attributed to browning from the higher temp.

    I'm just unsure why they are so flat. I think that maybe the recipe has too little almond meal/powdered sugar for the amount of egg whites. It was 3 egg whites to 3.75 oz almond meal/7 oz powdered sugar. I'm tempted to try it again with another 1 oz almond meal and 2 oz conf. sugar.

    I was instructed that the macronage should turn the egg whites to a pancake batter thickness - that's how I described it. But you caution so much about over mixing.

    Any thoughts?

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  133. Mrs. Humble,

    Thank you for yet another extremely educational macaron post :D

    Just one question - I think the culprit of my inconsistent macarons is the meringue..it's just not as firm or glossy.

    i read in multiple blogs that adding a pinch of salt or a few drops of lemon juice to the egg whites before whipping will turn out exquisite meringue - can I do this for macaron meringue too? Or will the acidity of the lemon juice interfere?

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  134. My Dearest!

    Thank you so much for all the time & effort you've put into this & providing honest techniques to us all. I don't have much experience w/macaroons nor meringues, but actually I'm looking for a recipe that WILL yield hollow airy macaroons. How can I achieve this? Do I need to OVERWHIP the egg whites, or use room temp egg whites, or incorporate cream of tartar??

    Thank you in advance

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  135. After reading all the trouble shooting steps, I over mixed :( :(

    Was it too much to expect I would get them right on the first try?

    I will try again!

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  136. This is so ridiculously helpful!!! Thank you for taking the time to spell all of my (our) macaron troubleshooting issues out. This is a GREAT post :)! Thanks for the hard work! I'm on my second batch, still haven't mastered them, but with the help of your leg work, I'm getting there :)

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  137. I'm only starting out on the macaron making business and I find your writing will definitely help me with my macaron problem. Thanks so much!

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  138. I just made my very first batch of macarons! They turned out so beautiful, with perfect ruffly feet and delicious tender interiors. I am so excited.

    I baked them at about 285 degrees (F) in my souped up gas oven. I used parchment from a roll and didn't have an issue with it, and baked on Airbake double layered pans.

    Thank you so much Ms. Humble, for all the inspiration and instruction. Couldn't have done it without you!

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  139. Mrs Humble: Please can I pick your glorious brain?

    I'm from Cape Town and I can't find dehydrated egg whites anywhere :-(. Is there a reliable substitute I can use? I'm dying to try and make your macarons but don't want to try them unless I have all your specified ingredients.

    This little Capetonian would really appreciate your help! :-)

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  140. Hi Ms. Humble,

    Your macarons look stunning, and thanks for all the tips! I'm working with your recipe in the French meringue 101 post, but flavour it with some expresso powder and it seems to thin out a bit, and all I end up with is macawrongs with no feet and gooey, marshmallow-like inside. Is there any other way to flavour it with coffee that you would suggest? I'm not sure if I have under-mixed it or not, but most of the peaks settle down after tapping the baking sheet, so I guess it's ok.

    Another thing is, because I seem to get better meringues when adding more sugar to the egg whites, so I wonder what the powdered sugar does in the whole process, and if I can put more sugar to the meringue and reduce the amount of powdered sugar in the almond mixture? Or maybe increase the amount of almond meal to even out and get the right consistency?

    Once again, thank you so much! :)

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  141. Your Macarons are indeed perfection! Thanks for this awesome blog, so glad to discover it. Even in very good pastisserie, I have had Macarons that were very hallow, and also professional pastry chef made Macarons that are too hard. I also don't have the powder egg white btw.

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  142. Hi, you're macarons look gorgeous! I've been reading and re-reading all your posts about macs.
    I've tried your recipe 4 times noow. The first time I din it, I over mixed the batter. The 2nd, under mixed. The third, however, I can say I did perfectly with the ribbon like stuff and all. The problem is, while baking (300F for 20 mins, lowest rack in the oven) the have these lovely feet but when I take them out they deflate. Really deflate, like they didn't even have it while baking. And it's a little struggle taking them off the parchment. Do you think I should adjust the oven temperature, set it to lower temp and bake for a bit more?

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  143. Ms. Humble! I love your macaron blogging and have been trying my own with some success. I recently purchased almond meal from Trader Joe's. As you might know, there are pieces of flecks of almond skin in the meal, and I'm thinking a good way to mask it (since it doesn't separate with sifting) would be to make chocolate macaron shells. Do you have a set of proportions you use when adding cocoa powder?

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  144. I live in the Philippines where it is extremely humid. How long would you recommend the mixture should rest for in this climate. You mentioned rest time between 30-60 minutes depending on humidity, but I'm not clear on whether rest time should be longer whether it's more humid or shorter. Would you recommend making the macaroons in an air-conditioned room so it's cooler? Is it alright to use raw, unprocessed sugar, even muscovado and coco sugar, or will macaroons only work with white caster? Thank you.

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  145. This is such a fantastic post! I'm currently learning how to make macarons and this is just the perfect site which I would go when in doubt. All that hard work you've done has paid off! Now, i know where i had gone wrong, resulting in macarons with protruding feet and hollow airspaces. Thank you very much! Have mentioned your post on my fb page.

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  146. Thank you, thank you sooo much! This is the best recipe I have tried...much more reliable than the other ones I used. I still have the "hollow" problem, but with your recipe, it is not as obvious. Once the shells are filled and have matured, the empty pocket is no longer as big as the moisture of the filling has made up for that hollowness. Still, it is not perfect or without that air pocket but I am satisfied enough. The one issue I have though is the coloring. When I make a big batch using your recipe, I try to divide the batter (that is in the almost done "macaronnage" process) in 2 and THEN add my color powder to the batter. I continue the macaronnage a for a few more strokes until I obtain the "lava-like" effect. Everything is good so far.

    Once baked though, I noticed that my macarons do not come out as beautifully. My feet tend to expand a little more and they look almost runny. Is this because I added the colors at the macaronnage stage (and I always ensure that I do NOT over-fold) but should have instead colored at the meringue stage? Thanks.

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  147. I don't understand....everything looks pretty and almost perfect...until we bite into the macaron-shell and realize that there is a big empty pocket of air between the shell and the base. Pourtant, the recipe is followed to the tee!

    Any idea why this still occurs...thanks.

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  148. My advice as to avoid/correct hollows is contained in the post above.

    Hollows that form after baking and upon cooling are generally due to inadequate cooking duration. Hollows that form during baking are occasionally due to baking temperature but the more likely culprit is the batter, either the meringue or the macaronnage mixing process being at fault.

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  149. Thank you for this! I've been having problems with hollow macarons then yesterday my macarons were hard like almond cookies, then 3 hours later it was soft!! And today it's yummy!!! Now I know to over baked them!

    I do have a question, when u pipe, it normally makes a good 2 tray, do u bake both trays at the same time or one at a time?

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  150. Dear Ms.Humble,
    If i cant find dehidrated egg white, is there a substitute? Is it necessary to use cream of tartar?

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  151. Lina,

    If you can't find dehydrated egg whites just leave them out. No substitute needed. They do help but are not crucial for making macarons.

    Cream of tartar helps strengthen the egg whites, however any other acid will do just fine. Substitute a couple drops of lemon juice if you don't have any cream of tartar.

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  152. Ms. Humble - Thank you so much for your tips and troubleshooting advice. I'm on my fourth batch and am slightly frustrated because it is taking like 30 mins to bake my macarons. When I turn the temp up, my shells get too brown. I'm getting good shape and good feet. Any thoughts?

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  153. Thank you so much for this recipe! I have tried many recipes, but this must have been my most successful attempt- the only thing I seem to not be able to get consistently right is the bottoms- they will hold up and sometimes form a bit of a 'skin', but I have only once had perfect, hard bases (using your Italian recipe). If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them(- I use baking paper on my trays).

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  154. My macarons are chewy and soft but some have air pocket. Is it because under mix ? How long do you beat your egg whites until become stiff meringe? I beated about 3-4 minutes. Is it not long enough? From Katerina W in Singapore

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  155. I am making macarons for a baby shower and would like to have an assortment of colors. So far I have used violet get which bake up grey, pink that bakes up peach and tonight blue that bakes up green. I am using Americorlor gels and they look pretty until I bake them. Any suggestions?

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  156. Enjoying your blog! Any info about where the oven rack should be?

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  157. I love this recipe, and my macaroons looks great, but I do have one problem. I've filled mine with a simple buttercream and left them to mature in the refridegerator for almost a week, but they still haven't reached the right consistency. They are still a bit crunchy and not enough melt in your mouth. Could I be baking them too long?

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  158. I've made over 10 recipes and altered oven temps, time, macaronage, stiffness of whites ... everytime I end up with hollow shells. The feet look great, shiney shells, but hollow. I've baked them for over 20 + minutes. The size are approx 1 /1/2- 2' in diameter. Any suggestions?

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  159. Hi Ms. Humble!

    I tried this recipe today and my macarons came out of the oven cracked and with no feet. But when I bite into them, they are perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy inside with no air pockets at all! Could you please tell me what I did wrong? I baked them at 150 degrees Celcius for 10-12 minutes with a resting time of 20-30 minutes. At first I thought it was because too much heat was coming from the bottom so I moved the next batch up a rack, but they still came out cracked and with no feet.

    Please help me so I can make perfect little macarons next time!

    Thanks!

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  160. Hi Ms.Humble,
    I have tried your recipe and so far I am getting good results but not perfect ones. I dont have tall enough feet on my macarons. The macarons aren't hollow, which is a good thing but the short feet make me feel they look less pretty.. :( What go you suggest? Should I bake at higher temperatures? My macarons are getting done in about 20 mins and I have been baking them at 290-300 degrees. Please help me! Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. There's absolutely nothing wrong with short feet, dear. Laduree makes short footed macarons and they're no less beautiful or delicious.

      The actual height of the foot will depend on many, many variables. The surface you cook it on (parchment tends to produce higher feet in my kitchen), the amount of air left in the batter (careful though, too much air will result in protruding feet/lopsided or burst shells).

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  161. Thank you so much for posting all about macaron. I am a new macaron baker. But I enjoy making it so much...! I have a question for you; although I read all the trouble shooting. I made macaron many times without any problem and of course after failed about 6 times, but the last 2batches of pistachio macaron did not form a feet and collapsed as soon as I take it out of the oven. I made another two batches of mint macaron, this time formed a beautiful macaron in the oven, beautiful high curly feet (so perfect and I was jumping up down with joy) but as soon as I took it out....the dome collapsed. Why ? I can only assume I used old almond flour, because I was able to make perfect macaron many times before. Anyway, I want to thank you for posting these posts about macaron and the pictures are so beautiful. Please check out my macaron blog here

    http://curiositaellya.blogspot.com/search/label/macaron

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  162. Hi I'm so happy to finally see one perfect recipe like yours!
    I wanna prove it! But I have some problem I can not find de egg white powder I live in Venezuela and here is so difficult to find that stuff, I have like a month looking for it, cause i really want to do ur recipe, can u help me? Plzzzz

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    Replies
    1. You can omit the egg white powder. It makes the recipe a bit more reliable for those new to macaron baking, but it isn't at all crucial to the recipe's success. I've made this recipe many times, both with and without the powder.

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  163. Hi Ms.Humble,
    Thanks for your reply..for now I have stopped fretting over short feet.. :)
    I have another question, can I make the shells on day 1,then filled them on day 2 and server on day 3? I am making macarons for a bake sale and so I will need to make a lot of batches.
    Also, what do you use to actually flavor the shells? do you use liquid concentrate?
    Lastly I want to thank you a ton for this rigorous and thorough post! It has saved my life! :)

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    Replies
    1. You should plan to sell them after they've matured. Depending on what type of filling you're using this can take a day or so to soften the inside of the cookie.

      You can make the cookies weeks in advance and freeze them. They also store well in the fridge, in an air tight container for quite a while. Once you fill them, when they're ready depends on the moisture content of the filling.

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  164. Hi Ms Humble thank u so much for answer me, I finally did them but my final product was a total wrong, they where like a thin shell with a chewy inside and they get brown too, some ones cracket all some not, some have feet and some not but all get chewy inside, I'm not going to stop to try to made them, I wanna get one batch like yours!
    Can u give me an extra advice I read all, but really I don't know what I did wrong thank u for your time!
    Im becoming an addict of ur blog it's so amazing.... Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. When you're firsting starting out with these cookies a lot of things can go wrong. First, thin shell and chewy inside is the telltale sign of lack of air in the batter. This can be due to over mixing or a underbeaten/poor meringue. Correct that and several of your cookie's problems will resolve.

      The browning indicate issues with baking time, position within in the oven (you want to bake them far away from heating elements or burners) or temperature.

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  165. Thank u Ms humble I Will try again !

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  166. Ms Humble.
    When I started to make macaron, I had read your blog, all of them, regarding italian meringue kacaron. finally i could make the most perfect macaron, look beautifully with high feet and it is so great until everyone likes mine and mine is the best in the town. But then, I do not knownwhat has happened, it is like someone uses black magic or whatsoever I always failed my macaron and its been 8 attempts and none of them turned out to be as perfect as before, what I have right now is cracked shell as it puffed up in the middle when i just few minutes put it in the oven, and my question would be
    1. do you think that the almond powder or powdered colouring could be the main reason of my failed macaron? perhaps the almond powder contains different substances with my last last almond powder?
    2. how to make a perfect italian meringue? when do you firstly put ur sugar syrup into the egg whites? when it gets foamy or until it reaches certain peak? and until when do you keep beating up the egg whites with sugar syrup?

    please please reply mine as a lot of people are waiting my macarons to be ready.

    for ur information : my 8 times attempts that failed, I have used same amount, same technique, same machinery and same working time ( i always record downnthe timing of every task) and it always failed recently and i domt know why.. thxx

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