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Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

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#91 RWood

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 08:32 PM

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

I sift the TPT into the whites in the mixing bowl. Just the way I was originally taught.

#92 pastrygirl

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 09:13 PM


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

I sift the TPT into the whites in the mixing bowl. Just the way I was originally taught.



So do I , but I have an intern who today folded the whites into the bowl of sifted TPT. The macarons turned out fine, just wondering if anyone thinks it makes a difference. I figure success is more about ratio, drying, and mixing to the proper consistency than which goes into which, but you never know.

#93 gap

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:16 PM



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

I sift the TPT into the whites in the mixing bowl. Just the way I was originally taught.



So do I , but I have an intern who today folded the whites into the bowl of sifted TPT. The macarons turned out fine, just wondering if anyone thinks it makes a difference. I figure success is more about ratio, drying, and mixing to the proper consistency than which goes into which, but you never know.


I always found it easier to add the TPT to the whites rather than the other way around

#94 RWood

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Posted 23 February 2011 - 10:25 PM



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

I sift the TPT into the whites in the mixing bowl. Just the way I was originally taught.



So do I , but I have an intern who today folded the whites into the bowl of sifted TPT. The macarons turned out fine, just wondering if anyone thinks it makes a difference. I figure success is more about ratio, drying, and mixing to the proper consistency than which goes into which, but you never know.


I have folded into the TPT before, but I prefer the other way. I've found that how long it's folded and mixed makes the biggest difference. When I first started making them, I never aged whites. We would heat them briefly until about 70 degrees. And I still don't age them that often, usually because I don't think about it beforehand. I have added a tsp dried egg whites and have seen an improvement as well.
These things are just very temperamental. Everyone has a different experience on what they like and what works for them. I've tried the Italian meringue method several times and have had no luck whatsoever. I prefer the texture of the French method anyway.

#95 AmritaBala

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 02:26 AM

Hey everyone, the whole discussion on tpt into egg white or the other way round is rather intriguing! Personally, I've always tipped my tpt into my egg whites because it requires a lot less muscle to mix everything up. Also, I use italian meringue and the tpt+egg white mixture is usually very stiff. Gives me a good work out though.

RWood, what went wrong with your italian meringue macarons? I find both French and Italian methods unstable, Macarons are just like that I suppose. Some days they come out perfect, other days they flop. But I've experienced a lot more success with italian meringue. It's also easier to make a couple of different flavours with one batch of IM, instead of having to make multiple batches of FM. (IM shells also look smoother, albeit slightly drier in texture than their French meringue counterparts)

Here is a photo of some of my macarons made using the sucre cuit method.

Macarons Assorted 2.png

Edited by AmritaBala, 24 February 2011 - 02:28 AM.


#96 RWood

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 11:08 AM

Hey everyone, the whole discussion on tpt into egg white or the other way round is rather intriguing! Personally, I've always tipped my tpt into my egg whites because it requires a lot less muscle to mix everything up. Also, I use italian meringue and the tpt+egg white mixture is usually very stiff. Gives me a good work out though.

RWood, what went wrong with your italian meringue macarons? I find both French and Italian methods unstable, Macarons are just like that I suppose. Some days they come out perfect, other days they flop. But I've experienced a lot more success with italian meringue. It's also easier to make a couple of different flavours with one batch of IM, instead of having to make multiple batches of FM. (IM shells also look smoother, albeit slightly drier in texture than their French meringue counterparts)

Here is a photo of some of my macarons made using the sucre cuit method.

Macarons Assorted 2.png


Italian meringue always explode and never make feet. I read in an earlier post about temperature, but I've tried several different temps and always the same result. And I think they have a harder shell, which I don't like. That method just doesn't like me :hmmm:
But, the French method is totally fine, with the occasional flop. Usually from over folding. I had to make 2500 of these things (took three days) back when I worked for a caterer and only had one sheet pan go bad, so I had the French method down. I just don't make them as much now, and I think I get out of practice. Down the line I hope to add them to my website as well. But that will be a while.

#97 AmritaBala

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Posted 25 February 2011 - 02:15 AM


Hey everyone, the whole discussion on tpt into egg white or the other way round is rather intriguing! Personally, I've always tipped my tpt into my egg whites because it requires a lot less muscle to mix everything up. Also, I use italian meringue and the tpt+egg white mixture is usually very stiff. Gives me a good work out though.

RWood, what went wrong with your italian meringue macarons? I find both French and Italian methods unstable, Macarons are just like that I suppose. Some days they come out perfect, other days they flop. But I've experienced a lot more success with italian meringue. It's also easier to make a couple of different flavours with one batch of IM, instead of having to make multiple batches of FM. (IM shells also look smoother, albeit slightly drier in texture than their French meringue counterparts)

Here is a photo of some of my macarons made using the sucre cuit method.

Macarons Assorted 2.png


Italian meringue always explode and never make feet. I read in an earlier post about temperature, but I've tried several different temps and always the same result. And I think they have a harder shell, which I don't like. That method just doesn't like me :hmmm:
But, the French method is totally fine, with the occasional flop. Usually from over folding. I had to make 2500 of these things (took three days) back when I worked for a caterer and only had one sheet pan go bad, so I had the French method down. I just don't make them as much now, and I think I get out of practice. Down the line I hope to add them to my website as well. But that will be a while.



I used to experience "exploding feet" when I cooked my syrup to either 112 Celsius, 118 or 121 Celsius. The only temperature which seems to work for me is 110, which technically is NOT soft ball stage, but it seems to work best for me. Feet exploding could also be due to drying the macarons too long. Italian method produces batter which dries faster than French macaron batter, in my opinion.

2500 macarons sounds like one hell of a feat! I probably would have dropped dead halfway if I had to make that many. But I wish you luck in adding them to your site sometime soon =o) I'm sure they'll be fantastic once you overcome the nitty gritty details!

#98 Genkinaonna

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Posted 04 July 2011 - 01:14 PM

Hah! Success! Well, the feet were a little uneven on some of them, and I think I could have given the batter a couple more folds, but overall I'm super happy, especially since every macaron I've made prior to this batch has been an utter, utter failure. These are italian meringue method, with the whites aged overnight on the counter, and the filling is rhubarb buttercream. I baked them at 305 for 18 minutes in a convection oven, after letting them sit on the counter for about an hour to dry out. It's super dry out today. Hooray! Now I want to make more...

rhubarb macaron.jpg
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#99 lironp

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:49 AM

My first attempt at macarons- I think I made every mistake in the book

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#100 Chocolot

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:52 PM

Those look just like mine:-)

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#101 lironp

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:21 PM

It's nice to know I'm not alone!
I have 15 lbs of almond flour on the way, I will not be beaten :smile:

#102 mkayahara

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:23 PM

I've had results like that too, usually when I've overbeaten. :wink:
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#103 DianaM

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:12 PM

It's nice to know I'm not alone!
I have 15 lbs of almond flour on the way, I will not be beaten :smile:


Lironp, I feel your pain! My first macaron experiment was a bust. When I piped the batter into the pan, it spread way out in irregular circles, so no two were the same size and shape (even though I had drawn neat little circles on the parchment to guide my piping). I also had conjoined macarons, of course those were the ones I tossed first. :-(

When I make some other recipe that leaves me with egg whites, I plan to go for attempt number 2.

#104 Pam R

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:15 PM

It's been a few years since I tried to bake macarons because my last attempts were such failures I refused to try it again. Then, about a month ago I decided to try it again, did a little reading and now love baking them. Last night I sent 20 dozen to an event we were catering (please excuse the quality of the image taken with my phone).

One thing I can't do is pipe the batter. I find it's too loose for me to have good control over it. Instead I use a small ice-cream scoop to get them the same size and basic shape.
2012-06-05 13.01.27.jpg

#105 pastrygirl

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 09:36 PM

For those of you who use food color in your macaron, any tips or preferences between brands, paste, or liquid? When to add? Bake as usual or...? I have an order for a rainbow assortment in a few weeks but have never tried coloring the batter, only au natural or chocolate so far.

#106 teonzo

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 02:03 AM

For those of you who use food color in your macaron, any tips or preferences between brands, paste, or liquid?


Can't comment on brands since I live in a different country. Paste is much better than liquid.



When to add?


Add the food color to the tpt together with the albumen, before mixing with the meringue.



Bake as usual or...?


It depends on the food color you are using, but usually nothing changes. The only problem you can face is if you are using really few color (for a light result) and a high oven temperature, in this way you risk to get some brownish shades.



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#107 JeanneCake

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:02 AM

For those of you who use food color in your macaron, any tips or preferences between brands, paste, or liquid? When to add? Bake as usual or...? I have an order for a rainbow assortment in a few weeks but have never tried coloring the batter, only au natural or chocolate so far.


I've been using the same liqui-gel colors that I use to color buttercream/fondant; I am not crazy about the water-based airbrush colors but if it is a small amount, it's been ok. We've been using an Italian Meringue method from Herme's book, and adding the color to the second part of the egg whites, but we've also just added color before folding the batter. It seems to me that if you're going for a dark color, you run the risk of overfolding. We've had good results with Herme's method, and just like Teonzo, I've also found that on pastels, you do have to watch the oven time/temp otherwise a pale pink can have beige on it....

#108 gap

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:09 PM

For those of you who use food color in your macaron, any tips or preferences between brands, paste, or liquid? When to add? Bake as usual or...? I have an order for a rainbow assortment in a few weeks but have never tried coloring the batter, only au natural or chocolate so far.


I use Amerigel colours which seem to maintain a stable colour when baked. They are colour pastes/gels so quite thick. I always use the strongest version they have of whatever colour I'm after so that I use the minimum amount of additional liquid to get my colour. As someone else mentioned, don't go for light/pastel olours as they will brown slightly. I've added the colour at botht he TPT/egg white stage when making a paste and also added the colour to the Italian meringue while it's cooling and haven't had an issue either way.

I have also used powder colourings but they are more expensive and I've never had a problem with the pastes before. But, if you had some powders on hand and not the gels, you could use them.

#109 pastrygirl

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 10:29 PM

mac1.jpg

First attempt at color...bright out of the mixer...

mac2.jpg

...rather muted after baking, but I do usually get some light browning on my non-food colored macaron, so I'll have to try turning the oven down or covering with a sheet pan for brighter colors. The fun part was that I used no almond flour! The green ones were made with graham cracker crumbs instead, I found the cookies too sweet but not bad with lime cream cheese filling. The orange ones were made with fine shred unsweetened coconut and filled with passion fruit curd. Oddly, I've made a few more batches with half coconut and half almond that I haven't been as pleased with (not great feet, texture) but I also had to use a different oven, which may have been a factor. My usual oven got repaired today, so my next batch will be a true test.

#110 Modig

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:50 PM

I've made two batches of macarons so far and both times the batter has come out so runny that the macarons can't keep their shape after I pipe them. After some googling I've gathered that the problem might have to do with overmixing the batter.

This is how the process went:

Mixed 212g almond flour and 212g powder sugar
Made a hollow mound, poured in 82g egg whites
Mixed it rather violently with a spatula until the batter had an even texture
Added vanilla seeds, more violent mixing

For the meringue:
Beat 90g of egg whites with pinch of sugar with an electric mixer to soft peaks
Heated 236g sugar with 158g water to 120 C / 248 F.
Slowly trickled the sugar syrup into the egg whites while stiring at medium speed
Mixed until the meringue had cooled to ~30 C / 86 F

(This meringue turned out excellent, held its shape very well)

Added ~1/3 of the meringue to the batter, mixed with spatula once again rather forcefully until the mixture was even.

At this point the batter turns quite runny, even though both the meringue and the batter individually were stiff and held their shape without moving. I added the rest of the meringue and I also tried piping at various stages with different ammounts of meringue added to the batter, all with the same runny result.

I'm thinking one needs to be more gentle when combining batter and meringue, but how if so, and why? Does the meringue deflate if you combine it too forcefully with the batter? I felt like I had to use a lot of force to get them to mix completely.

I really want to understand the process in depth before I make my next batch. Any advice or suggestions for resources I might check out?

#111 Bojana

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:49 AM

I compared your formula to the one I use (Pierre Herme recipe) and you have too little dry matter. I'd use 23 grams more of both of icing sugar and almond. Also, you use too much water for your syrup, 59 grams (jsut to make sugar wet) is enough.

"Mixed 212g almond flour and 212g powder sugar
Made a hollow mound, poured in 82g egg whites
Mixed it rather violently with a spatula until the batter had an even texture

Added vanilla seeds, more violent mixing"
This should have texture close to marzipan, I often think I will not be able to get the entire sugar/almond mixture wet with the first half of eggwhite, but it does work in the end , just barely. Yours was probably too wet at this step.

#112 Modig

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:16 AM

Did you check these threads already? There is a TON of information in there.

Macarons-The delicate French invention
Macarons - baking
Troubleshooting macarons

Thanks for the links. I did search and browse a few threads before I posted, I'll take some more time to look around for an answer.

I compared your formula to the one I use (Pierre Herme recipe) and you have too little dry matter. I'd use 23 grams more of both of icing sugar and almond. Also, you use too much water for your syrup, 59 grams (jsut to make sugar wet) is enough.

"Mixed 212g almond flour and 212g powder sugar
Made a hollow mound, poured in 82g egg whites
Mixed it rather violently with a spatula until the batter had an even texture

Added vanilla seeds, more violent mixing"
This should have texture close to marzipan, I often think I will not be able to get the entire sugar/almond mixture wet with the first half of eggwhite, but it does work in the end , just barely. Yours was probably too wet at this step.


This is interesting. Would that imply that the way the batter is treated (for example, how hard it's mixed) doesn't matter? I've read that the batter is supposedly quite delicate.

The recipe I used was from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. I find it hard to believe that the recipe would be at fault rather than my implementation of it.

I agree that it's a lot of water for the meringue though and I honestly don't see the point of it.

#113 Bojana

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:12 PM

How funny, I just ordered Bouchon Bakery today, how do you like it for the rest?

On the macaron note, a lot of things matter I found, treating batter certainly does and can cause what you experienced. Undermixing yoru batter is better than overmixing so you can try that next time. I'd say do all your mixing liberaly but not too energetically until the last meringue addition. That one you start beating until your batter becomes runny to the extent that if you drop a spoonfull of batter in the massa, it disappears in 30 sec.

#114 DianaM

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:54 PM

This is interesting. Would that imply that the way the batter is treated (for example, how hard it's mixed) doesn't matter? I've read that the batter is supposedly quite delicate.


The way the batter is treated DOES matter a lot, many would agree that a key element of making macarons successfully is the macaronage, i.e. the mixing.

I use a Laduree recipe, which is a French meringue. I use a whisk to mix until all the meringue is incorporated into the dry ingredients, and the paste is homogenous. Once it is completely mixed, I switch to a spatula and start mixing more vigorously, to deflate it. I found that if I used a spatula from the start, it crushed the meringue too much. I could not manage to mix it properly before it got to the "lava" stage, and I had streaks of meringue in the batter. Switching to the whisk solved my problems. Try this method too, see if it will work for you.

#115 Modig

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

How funny, I just ordered Bouchon Bakery today, how do you like it for the rest?

On the macaron note, a lot of things matter I found, treating batter certainly does and can cause what you experienced. Undermixing yoru batter is better than overmixing so you can try that next time. I'd say do all your mixing liberaly but not too energetically until the last meringue addition. That one you start beating until your batter becomes runny to the extent that if you drop a spoonfull of batter in the massa, it disappears in 30 sec.

Feels like a coffee table book, like all Kellers books. A lot of history, pretty pictures, but also some good advice about process and an interesting selection of recipes. I've always found his books a bit light on technical explanations, but I can be like a five-year old, always asking why, why, why? :laugh:

I attempted another batch and I think I acheived approximately the texture you describe. After I piped them their surface eventually smoothed out entirely, which I wasn't too pleased with. However, they did turn out very well when I baked them. I folded in the batter very slowly and I stopped as soon as the batter looked even in texture.


This is interesting. Would that imply that the way the batter is treated (for example, how hard it's mixed) doesn't matter? I've read that the batter is supposedly quite delicate.


The way the batter is treated DOES matter a lot, many would agree that a key element of making macarons successfully is the macaronage, i.e. the mixing.

I use a Laduree recipe, which is a French meringue. I use a whisk to mix until all the meringue is incorporated into the dry ingredients, and the paste is homogenous. Once it is completely mixed, I switch to a spatula and start mixing more vigorously, to deflate it. I found that if I used a spatula from the start, it crushed the meringue too much. I could not manage to mix it properly before it got to the "lava" stage, and I had streaks of meringue in the batter. Switching to the whisk solved my problems. Try this method too, see if it will work for you.


I used a spatula in my last batch and what you describe is pretty much what happened, it was loose before it got incorporated. I am a bit confused though, why would you want to deflate the meringue? Is it just too thick otherwise? I feel like it's definitely time for me to learn more about meringues, going to be doing some reading to understand this properly.

Attached a photo of my latest batch. I'm reasonably pleased with how they turned out. Would have been even better if I had proper piping bags and mouthpieces, these were piped with cut-off freezer bags :raz:

Attached Images

  • macaron.jpg


#116 Creola

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:19 PM

Very nice, what flavor and what was the filling?

#117 Modig

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:37 AM

Very nice, what flavor and what was the filling?


I try to make things as simple as possible when I'm learning, both to reduce the challenge and to minimize waste if I mess up. The shells were plain with no flavoring and the filling was french buttercream flavored with half a vanilla pod. Great for practice, but not for presentation. This batch turned out pretty good so for my next one I might dare to experiment a bit with flavor and colors.

#118 DianaM

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:56 AM

I used a spatula in my last batch and what you describe is pretty much what happened, it was loose before it got incorporated. I am a bit confused though, why would you want to deflate the meringue? Is it just too thick otherwise? I feel like it's definitely time for me to learn more about meringues, going to be doing some reading to understand this properly.


Your macarons look very nice!
You want to deflate the meringue in order to obtain that lava-like batter consistency, where it is still viscous, but any peaks sink back into the batter in 20-ish seconds. If the batter is not properly deflated, the macarons will not have feet, or will have peaks after you pipe them on the baking sheet.

Besides the links posted upthread, I would recommend three more good sources for macaron info:

http://www.joyofbaki...ronsRecipe.html
http://bravetart.com/blog/MacaronMyths
http://notsohumblepi.../label/Macarons

The first is a video, it illustrated very nicely the right batter texture.

Happy macaron-ing! :smile:

Edited by DianaM, 06 December 2012 - 08:57 AM.


#119 Modig

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

Happy macaron-ing! :smile:


Thank you, especially for those links. I see that some people have done very thorough experimentation for me to take advantage of.

In hindsight this query might not have deserved its own thread but I'm very thankful for everyone who contributed with links and advice. My chef has asked me to make macarons for the restaurant so the help I've gotten here has really been incredibly useful. Thanks!

#120 cmflick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:53 AM

I have made macarons for years with little problem, but the last two batches of shells have looked like the attached photo. I don't know what I'm doing differently. Looks to me like the meringue has collapsed. Any ideas? I'm using the recipe from Pierre Herme's Macaron book.

photo.JPG





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