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ALL ABOUT FRENCH MACARONS

Recipe, tips, tricks and trouble shooting guide to FRENCH MACARONS.

French Macaron tutorial
French Macarons

These almond meringue cookies called french macarons are a big attraction in every party.

French macarons are colorful and tasty, you can make them in many different flavors. They are delicate and oh so yummy!.

If you are new to baking or the pastry world, you should know that these french macarons are very finicky to make. But with my help and the following how- to guide I guarantee you will succeed.

HOW IS THE PERFECT FRENCH MACARON?

First lets define what are the characteristics of a well made french macaron.  The perfect french macaron is delicate, light, airy and it has a crunchy texture on the outside and IS slightly chewy on the inside. (they are not hollow!!!) 

FRENCH MACARON MERINGUE INSIDE

FRENCH MACARON GUIDE

Pay attention, and read the whole recipe. (You will find also at the end of this post a troubleshooting guide to making french macarons and the simplify printable version of the recipe. 

The recipe is simple, only 4 ingredients, but you need to learn the technique.

Besides the ingredients, you will need parchment paper, a piping bag with with a 1/2-inch tip ( I use Ateco 806 (size 6) 1/2″ plain tip).

You want to start by setting the oven temperature to 325 F. You will need to make adjustments according to your oven depending if it runs hot or not,  but in general terms it is better to bake with a lower temperature oven to avoid cracks on the surface of the french macarons.

STEPS TO THE PERFECT FRENCH MACARON

  • Sift the almond meal and confectioners sugar together and set aside. (The thinner the almond meal, the shinier and the smoother the french macaron shells will turn out).
  •  In a clean bowl (I said clean!) of a standard mixer, start whisking the egg whites at a high speed. (I add a pinch of cream of tartar to help the egg whites stabilize.). When the whites starts to foam, slowly pour in some of the sugar. Then sprinkle all the sugar into the whites without stopping the mixer. Continue whisking till the whites turn glossy and medium peaks appear. Reduce the speed of the mixer and beat in any flavor or color at this point. Take the egg whites to stiff picks. Do not over mix.
  • (Now, if you live at a high elevation like me or at 9000 feet, I have found that taking the egg whites to a stiffer peak works the best).
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and pour in 1/3 of the almond meal and confectioners sugar mixture in the bowl and fold it in with a spatula. This step is called the macaronage.
  • MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Pour the rest of the almond meal mix into the egg whites and fold it so that everything is incorporated. I REPEAT: This is the most important part of the whole recipe. The mixture should become glossy and you should be able to form ribbons when lifting the spatula. Many recipes call for lifting the spatula and letting the mixture fold back in to the bowl while you make the figure 8 and the mixture doesn’t brake.

In this stage the whites should not be able to hold their form and they should sink slowly down until somewhat flattened. The ribbon or figure 8 on the surface should sink into the rest of the mixture and disappear in about 20 seconds.

  • Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe onto parchment paper the french macaron shells.  Keep the piping tip still while piping to get round macarons. Swirl the tip on the top to finish pipping. A template will come in handy in this case, there are plenty for free online.
  • Once you finish piping, tap the pan to get rid of the air bubbles withing the batter. You can use a toothpick to burst the bubbles on the surface. You need to let the macaron shells rest until a thin skin is forms on top. You should be able to touch them without getting the mixture on your finger tip. (now if you live in a dry place, skip this step).
  • Put the french macaron shells in the oven with an inverted empty pan on the rack below it. This allows the macaron shells to rise more evenly.
  • Rotate the pan after 5 or 6 minutes.
  • The macarons should be done around 12 minutes. You know they are done when the tops don’t move from the feet when touched. It is better to overcook them than under cook them, just because a little crunch doesn’t hurt but gooey french macarons are a turn off!. Besides the extra crispiness will be compensated once that the filling is added and they are placed in the fridge overnight.
  • Once you remove the macarons from the parchment paper let them cool in a wire rack.
French Macaron tutorial
French Macaron Detail

TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE TO FRENCH MACARONS

HOLLOW FRENCH MACARON SHELLS: You have under whipped the egg whites. Make sure you beat the whites until stiff peaks since you need a dry meringue and the minimum moisture possible.

MACARON SHELLS HAVE NIPPLES: The batter is under mixed, the almond flour and sugar hasn’t been sifted.

SHELLS ARE CONCAVE: Usually when baking on a silpat. The feet of the macaron doesnt stick to the silpat and breaks away.

FLAT SHELLS: Over mixed batter or whites are too fresh.

WRINKLED FRENCH MACARON SHELL: Increase the oven temperature. You may have also over beaten the egg whites.

FRENCH MACARON SHELLS HAVE HOLES IN IT: the batter is too wet due to addition of coloring or extracts.

FRENCH MACARON FEET SPREAD OUTWARDS:  The oven is too hot, reduce temperature of oven.

THE PERFECT FRENCH MACARON

Tools  you need for this recipe:

BASIC FRENCH MACARON RECIPE (FRENCH MERINGUE)

YIELD: 32 SHELLS (16 FRENCH MACARONS)

INGREDIENTS:

    • 50 g ground almonds, blanched (use a super fine almond flour for smooth shells!)

  • 50 g confectioners sugar
  • 40 g room temperature egg whites
  • 40 g white sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

  • Sift the almond meal and confectioners sugar together and set aside.
  • In a clean bowl of a standard mixer, start whisking the egg whites at a high speed. (I add a pinch of cream of tartar to help the egg whites stabilize.).When the whites starts to foam, slowly pour in the sugar. Continue whisking till the whites turn glossy and medium peaks appear. Reduce the speed of the mixer and beat in any flavor or color at this point. Take the egg whites to stiff picks. Do not over mix.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and pour in 1/3 of the almond meal and confectioners sugar mixture in the bowl and fold it in with a spatula. This step is called the macaronage.
  • MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Pour the rest of the almond meal mix into the egg whites and fold it so that everything is incorporated.  The mixture should become glossy and you should be able to form ribbons when lifting the spatula. Many recipes call for lifting the spatula and letting the mixture fold back in to the bowl while you make the figure 8 and the mixture doesn’t brake.

In this stage the whites should not be able to hold their form and they should sink slowly down until somewhat flattened. The ribbon or figure 8 on the surface should sink into the rest of the mixture and disappear in about 20 seconds.

  • Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe onto parchment paper. When piping the french macaron shells, keep the piping tip still while piping to get round shells. Swirl the tip on the top to finish pipping. A template will come in handy in this case, there are plenty for free online.
  • Once you finish piping, tap the pan to get rid of the air bubbles withing the batter. You can use a toothpick to burst the bubbles on the surface. You need to let the macarons rest until a thin skin is forms on top. You should be able to touch them without getting the mixture on your finger tip.
  • Put the macarons in the oven with an inverted empty pan on the rack below it. This allows the macarons to rise more evenly.
  • The french macarons should be done around 12 minutes.
  • Once you remove the macarons from the parchment paper let them cool in a wire rack.

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