Macarons: Some Helpful Hints

 

Is anyone still recovering from Thanksgiving? Even though ours was technically low key, there was a lot of driving, and a couple of sick kids involved, so I’m just barely catching up on my laundry from last week! Maybe next year I’ll make a huge meal and stay home … I wonder which is easier?!

Last week I told you I’d tell you all of the things I learned while making 8 batches of macarons in two days! Before I set out on my macaron adventure I had never made this type of cookie before. I had saved lots of recipes, but it seemed like the kind of thing that was just easier to buy!

This is what burnt macarons look like… so depressing!

When I was talking with the very helpful people over at King Arthur Flour, they gave me a link to their blog. They have two different macaron recipes, plus step by step instructions. The first batch I made was the classic, but for some reason they didn’t puff up properly. All the rest of the batches I made were from the King Arthur Flour Simple Macaron Recipe.

So, here is my list of most helpful hints:

  1. If you can, use a scale to measure out the flour. There is a big difference sometimes between the estimated measurement and the actual weight. I use this scale, but you can also just measure it out at the bulk section of the grocery store.
  2. Make sure you beat the egg whites to the right consistency. I think that was the problem with my first batch.
  3. Use a pastry bag to measure out the circles of batter. I tried with a cookie scoop, but the finished product looked way better using the pastry bag.
  4. Pay attention to the oven temperature. You would think that after 7 batches I would have the temperature down, but instead I added an extra 100º. It made a huge difference … and not a good one!
  5. Make sure to have a plan for your cookies. They only stay fresh for about a day, and you don’t want to devote all that time for a stale treat!
  6. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors. We used lime, coconut, raspberry and chocolate. If I was going to do it again, I would spend a little more time figuring out the fillings.
  7. Leave yourself enough time so that you don’t feel rushed or stressed. These look intimidating, but they’re actually not that bad, and they’re worth the effort.
  8. Parchment paper is non-negotiable here. The macarons will stick to your pan and you will cry like a baby if you wreck a perfect shell because you didn’t listen!
  9. Ellen down in the comments just reminded me of something. These are a meringue base, so humidity is a factor. If it’s a super muggy day in New Orleans, you may want to hold off.
  10. Have fun with it!

 

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Leave your two cents

6 Comments

  1. Does humidity affect the macaroon process? I know it does when I make divinity.

  2. Humidity does affect the outcome. During the resting phase of the recipe, you want the cookies to form a “skin” (sounds gross, but it’s the best description!). I haven’t tried them on a rainy day, but I would think you’d use whatever safeguard you use while making divinty.

  3. Yes the pastry bag to pipe them out is essential. I also have a super handy template I place under my parchment paper so they are all the same size. It’s annoying to try to match similar size shells for the perfect cookie if they are slightly off from eyeballing it.

  4. I am so nervous to try these! I know I must, though. Thanks for the tips.

  5. honey

     /  December 3, 2012

    You need a Silpat, girl!
    Demarle just came out with a mat specifically for macaroons. (I’m not sure how necessary it is, but I guess it’s all the rage.) :)

    They look delicious!

  6. Sharleen

     /  December 18, 2012

    Made these for a cookie exchange last week. They definitely had a WOW factor – thanks Sarah! Had a couple of mishaps when I remembered part way through that the whisk attachment to my hand mixer broke months ago and that I had no idea where my round tip was. I just cut a hole in the pasty bag, and it worked fine.

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