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Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

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217 replies to this topic

#61 morphone

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 07:20 PM

I've heard good things about the Italian meringue technique, though I'm really hoping to master the French method first. I have Herme's book, but sadly I don't read French.

I'm wondering if maybe I'm not whipping the egg whites enough, before mixing in the almond/sugar, and that's causing the hollow insides? I'd also like to see them foot a little more, but they are footing almost perfectly.

And how long do you bake yours for, and at what temp? I'm at 300°F for 12 minutes, and I think I need to leave them in a little longer. Been experimenting with leaving a wooden spoon in the door, and that seems to prevent them from sticking so badly.


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#62 gap

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:47 PM

Herme's book is great and Google Translate is very good at translating the recipes.
http://translate.google.com/#fr|en|

I use the Herme proportions for Italian without any issues. This is another recipe for Italian which I haven't tried, the egg whites for the meringue are a lot less than I would use but I think the picture of the cut macaron (last/bottom picture) speaks for itself

http://www.eddyvanda...erbet-macarons/

I'm keen to try this recipe at some stage

#63 morphone

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 11:55 PM

Has anyone tried the recipes from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita? It's nearly impossible to find now, but I I have copies of the base recipes.


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#64 StevenC

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:01 PM

Take a look at the photo about a quarter of the way down this page: http://www.syrupandt...and-a-few-tips/

An oven temperature of 300F (149 celsius), which is around what I've been using, may be too low, according to this website. I'm going to try a slightly higher oven as recommended--maybe 165 c (330F or so)--and see what happens. My macarons did puff up enormously in the lower oven, more in fact than I would have liked. (The assembled macarons were too tall, although they were nicely domed.) I was concerned about having them brown too quickly, but I think that putting them in the middle of the oven and covering the upper grill with foil may prevent that from happening.

#65 morphone

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:36 PM

Hi Steve, do report back once you've tried this to tell me if it works. Also, will you be putting the wooden spoon in the oven door?


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#66 RWood

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 08:23 PM

A couple of things that has helped me is double sheet pans, starting the macarons at 350 F for 5 mins., then propping the oven door open with a wooden spoon for about 10 more mins.
When I used to make hundreds of these things at a caterer, we used a convection oven. We would put sheet pans on the top and bottom shelves, start them at 325 F for 5 mins., then drop the temp to 300 with the door propped open. Same thing basically, but home and convection ovens are different.
I think the higher heat to start helps give the foot the boost they need.

Morphone, I have the I Love Macarons book, but haven't tried anything from it. I really didn't like the way her macs look in the book. I haven't looked at the recipes that closely to see how it differs from the one I use.

#67 jumanggy

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 09:00 PM

I think because of the significant variability in ovens, there's a need to preface most macaron instructions (in fact, anything wherein rising/falling/browning is tricky business) with exactly what you're using.
1. Heating element bottom w/w/o fan
2. Heating element top w/w/o fan
3. Heating element behind w/w/o fan (does w/o fan exist?)
4. Heating element top and bottom w/w/o fan
Someday we may need to have proper names for all these and maybe there'll be no more confusion :)
Mark
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#68 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:00 PM

Take a look at the photo about a quarter of the way down this page: http://www.syrupandt...and-a-few-tips/

An oven temperature of 300F (149 celsius), which is around what I've been using, may be too low, according to this website. I'm going to try a slightly higher oven as recommended--maybe 165 c (330F or so)--and see what happens. My macarons did puff up enormously in the lower oven, more in fact than I would have liked. (The assembled macarons were too tall, although they were nicely domed.) I was concerned about having them brown too quickly, but I think that putting them in the middle of the oven and covering the upper grill with foil may prevent that from happening.

In Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme he preheats to 425F, puts them in, drops the temp to 350F and props door with wooden spoon. Bakes for 8 - 10 minutes.
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#69 morphone

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 11:10 PM

Do you think that underbaking would contribute to hollowness? I know that can cause them to stick and not foot enough.


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Stephanie Stiavetti
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Twitter: http://twitter.com/sstiavetti

#70 A Canadian Foodie

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 06:41 AM

I didn't even know that such a product was available... so will try to source it. Thank you.
Make it Happen
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#71 A Canadian Foodie

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 06:42 AM

ts "just" the broyage (tpt, almond flour/conf. sugar mixture) that we use. since we get a special broyage just made for making macarons (atlas 50/50 parisienne) we havent had a single problem they turn out perfect every time with shiny top and everything....

I didn't even know that such a product was available, so will try to source it. Thank you!
Make it Happen
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I love my Thermomix!

#72 A Canadian Foodie

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 06:46 AM

Have you read Duncan's website ?

Do you have the link for Duncan's website? Thanks!
Make it Happen
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I love my Thermomix!

#73 Kerry Beal

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 06:53 AM

Have you read Duncan's website ?

Do you have the link for Duncan's website? Thanks!

Here you go.

#74 muse

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 07:15 PM

I have made several times the gerbet macaroons from Eddy Van Damme. http://www.eddyvanda...erbet-macarons/ They have performed great.

#75 qrn

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 04:06 PM

We probably need Chufi for this , but, how do these compare to Dutch Bitter Koekjes (kookies??), other than there is a filling between two layers??? The dutch cookies are almond paste folded into beaten egg whites with a strong Almond extract taste from the almond paste..My Dutch grandmother used to make em for us 60+ years ago...Just curious...

Bud

#76 Emily_R

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 02:04 PM

Hi folks --

About a week ago I made my first batch of macarons, and beginners luck -- they turned out perfectly: glossy top, nice feet, etc.

Today I tried and here's what I got. Can anyone help with a quick diagnosis? My oven heat can be uneven -- could it have been too hot? I also think there's a chance I undermixed, as the mixture was still quite thick when I piped it...

I reviewed some of the many macaron pages here, and thought undermixing might be the culprit - it would help if someone could just take a look and let me know if that's likely...

Thanks!
Emily

Attached Images

  • failed macaron.JPG


#77 chiantiglace

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 04:08 PM

more than likely undermixing was not the problem. Infact that should have had the opposite effect. When its undermixed the meringue doesn't level out well and keeps the distinctive piped look.

First, I prefer to cook all kinds of cookies on parchment rather than silpats because the oven ends up cooking the top faster than the bottom on a silpat.

Second, I would assume your sugar quantity and or almond flour quantity is off. Too much sugar, especially if not properly mixed in, could cause the mixture to spread when heated. The sugar melts and flows outward. Same thing happens with chocolate chip cookies, if you get a couple cookies with a high butter/sugar ratio to flour and eggs it likes to spread out like a tuile. Sugar most definitely is whats causing your calamity.

But, theres other possibilities I suppose.

Edited by chiantiglace, 08 May 2010 - 04:09 PM.

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#78 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 08:00 PM

http://dl.dropbox.co...ts Magazine.pdf
This is a great macaron article with pictures, by Helen Dujardin. It may help you figure out what went wrong.
Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

#79 Emily_R

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 08:15 PM

Many thanks to both of you! Chiantiglace -- I think you're right -- I think I may have used slightly less egg whites than I did the last time. My recipe called for 90 grams of egg whites, and I remember using 3 whites last time, and this time being surprised when it seemed to take only two egg whites to weigh the 90 grams. Maybe I mis-weighed them... I'll also be sure to give parchment a try...

Emily

#80 pastrygirl

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 12:24 AM

First, I prefer to cook all kinds of cookies on parchment rather than silpats because the oven ends up cooking the top faster than the bottom on a silpat.


I generally agree with parchment over silpat for cookies, but with macaron I find they spread more evenly and stay rounder on silpat. Parchment seems to wrinkle and buckle while the macaron are resting, giving me mis-shapen cookies.

#81 JA787A

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 09:43 PM

Hi all!

First, I just wanted to thank everyone on eGullet for all the excellent advice and tips about making macarons over the various posts. I've read just about all of them! I just completed my ninth batch of plain macarons with chocolate ganace and I'm extremely happy with how they've come out.

Here's the recipe (from SeriousEats.com - http://www.seriousea...ons-recipe.html):

Cookies: 225 grams confectioners sugar, 125 grams ground almonds, 110 grams egg whites, 30 grams granulated sugar (yields about 45 cookies 1.5" diameter, 22ish macarons)
Ganache: 230 grams bittersweet chocolate, 250 grams heavy cream, 60 grams unsalted butter

A few things I've learned:
- Egg whites are aged for 2 days. This seems to give me the best cookie - crisp shell, slightly moist interior.
- I prefer to grind my almonds myself... I tried a few almond flours on the market and I just didn't like the way they came out and the almond taste was lacking. I also think I prefer whole almonds - skin an all. It gives the cookie a few specs of color. I basically take 150grams of almonds and put it in the food processor and pulverize it... you should get about 125grams of "flour" from that which then gets added to the icing sugar and sifted again.
- Silpats work better than parchment. The parchment just isn't flat enough and it gives the cookies a weird shape.
- First batch in the oven always takes about a minute longer than the following batches. I think this is because I have to reuse my baking sheet and the first time it has to warm up. (I just slide the silpat on to it.)
- The above Ganache recipe is 2x what is needed.... so either double the macaron recipe or halve the ganache one.

Here's the finished product:

macaron.jpg

Now I'm ready to move on to different flavors. :)

#82 hansjoakim

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:04 PM

Those look splendid!

I also prefer to grind my own (blanched) almonds. Over the weekend I ended up with quite a bit almond meal left over. How long will the meal keep before going rancid?

#83 rickster

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 01:17 PM

It keeps a long time if you freeze it.

#84 abooja

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:53 AM

I finally get why macarons are so maddening to make. Despite weighing everything scrupulously, aging the egg whites, and grinding the nuts as finely as possible in a dedicated coffee mill, I get different results each and every time. The first time, I underground, undermixed, and wound up with lumpy, but otherwise well formed macarons, one or two of which had cracks. The second time, I got lots of cracks, and lost the shiny tops. One time only, they came out damn near perfect, though still a bit chunky, because of my inability to sift.

A couple of days ago, I made a batch of hazelnut macarons that looked like they were going to be the best of the bunch. They had frilly feet and shiny, flat domes. The whole magilla. Except, each and every one of them was completely hollow. The shells shatter into many tiny pieces when you bite into one. I filled them all anyway, and intend to eat them. (I do not throw out Nutella.)

I'm not even really asking for advice, because I'm not sure there is any that will guarantee a successful next attempt. Maybe I should start counting my strokes... :hmmm:

#85 pastrygirl

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 11:32 PM

Anyone use Pierre Herme's chocolate macaron recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PH? I swear I had this one perfected at my last job, but recently I've been having poor results. Dense, essentially no feet, smooth rounded tops and at least several crack on top. Maybe I need a speck more whites? The other kitchen was a lot warmer and I haven't been warming my whites lately, could that be it? My non-cocoa macaron recipe is working out fine in the new kitchen. Same city, sea level, brand of almond flour. Hmmm.

#86 AmritaBala

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:33 AM

Hey Pastrygirl,

I'm not sure why you're encountering these problems (since you've succeeded with his recipe in another kitchen!) but I do know that his recipe is a little off. Well, for me and some other people I know at least. Do you dry your macarons for a long enough period of time? I find it helpful to leave them in front of an air condition unit because they dry really quickly with the circulating air.

I'd also reduce the amount of egg whites used instead of increasing them. If memory serves me correctly, there should be an average of aroung 100grams of egg whites to 300 grams of TPT.
I hope this helps, though I doubt it will. Good luck!

#87 muse

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:02 PM

The macarons from the web site of chef Eddy always turn out 100% for me. I have shared it with many of my friends and they all rave about his technique and recipe. You do have to grind the almond meal very fine so it is important to have a sharp blade on your food processor. What I like about it is that you can work with just cracked fresh egg whites, forget about 2-3 day or one week egg whites... http://www.chefeddy....erbet-macarons/

#88 pastrygirl

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:53 PM

Hey Pastrygirl,

I'm not sure why you're encountering these problems (since you've succeeded with his recipe in another kitchen!) but I do know that his recipe is a little off. Well, for me and some other people I know at least. Do you dry your macarons for a long enough period of time? I find it helpful to leave them in front of an air condition unit because they dry really quickly with the circulating air.

I'd also reduce the amount of egg whites used instead of increasing them. If memory serves me correctly, there should be an average of aroung 100grams of egg whites to 300 grams of TPT.
I hope this helps, though I doubt it will. Good luck!


The next time I made sure to dry them longer and they came out fine. But I think I will check the ratio and adjust it. Thanks.

#89 lennyk

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:44 AM

Italian Meringue is the safest way to go, very important you go to
235-240f, get a good thermometer.

I started using an infrared gun and found out it read about 15f less on bubbling syrup.

I have tried lower like 225-230 and even after they dried to a skin they still blew up and cracked

This will guarantee you get the shell tops and feet, the density depends on how much you fold, too much makes more dense

IMHO choc/cocoa macarons are the easiest to make as the cocoa powder has a good drying effect.

I make coconut macarons using coconut powder intended for make coconut sauces/curry and they don't last long as the coconut make them get sticky and absorb humidity.

#90 pastrygirl

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:18 PM

How many people fold the whites into the TPT, and how many fold the almonds into the whites?





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