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Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

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#121 Kerry Beal

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:02 AM

And they all look kinda tilted to the same side - is it a really powerful convection fan oven?

#122 cmflick

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

And they all look kinda tilted to the same side - is it a really powerful convection fan oven?

Weird, no? It's a regular electric oven, not convection. Until these last 2 batches they have baked fine in the same oven and had good feet. I haven't had problems baking anything else in the oven lately. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the many of the shells have also taken on more of an oval shape, although they were round when they went into the oven. It kind of looks like the tops of the shells have slid off the feet.

#123 Kerry Beal

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:31 AM

Can you think of any changes that were made? A different kind of sugar perhaps? It's not like they didn't get feet - very, very strange.

#124 cmflick

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:38 AM

Same sugar. The only new thing that I can think of is that I changed supplier of parchment paper, but I don't see how that could cause this effect. I checked all of my sheet pans and the oven last night to see if they were level and they are. But then it's not a new oven or new sheet pans. The only thing that I have changed in the way I do things is some modifications of the way that I do the mixing after taking a Macaron class last fall. I'm wondering if I'm over mixing, although in that case I would expect to not get feet at all. It's like the feet melt out after forming. Next batch I'll go back to my old mixing method and see what happens. I can't think of anything else to try.

Meanwhile I cut off all of the melted out feet on this batch of shells and filled the macarons and they taste fine! Just not very pretty.

#125 Kerry Beal

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:21 AM

Certainly when mixing 'wrong' I've noticed the loss of feet too.

#126 pquinene

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:39 PM

My first attempt at macarons resulted in decently pretty cookies, but they were hollow (I used a volume-measured recipes). After some research, I found the link below and used it to make awesome chocolate and coconut macarons (I used a chocolate filling from another site and sprinkled freshly grated coconut I had in my freezer):

http://www.eatlivetr.../#comment-61857

Kudos to the author of the link above, Mardi, for helping this macaron-making-novice to victory over something difficult to make.

Here is a pic of my second attempt at macarons. I used caster sugar instead of the superfine sugar on grocery shelves. I also placed an oven thermometer in my oven; it's a must. I converted the weight in grams to weight in ounces because my scale could do both....and the grams were in increments of 2 grams. The batch I cooked according to the inserted thermometer had a better texture (soft and chewy) compared to the first batch in which I followed the oven's own temp. I set the oven at 285 degrees Fahrenheit which came to be about 302 degrees in the middle rack where the thermometer was. The temp was different on the lower third of the oven compared to the middle of the oven. Yes, the macs are best the next day!


Chocolate and Coconut Macarons


Posted Image


Posted Image


Edited by pquinene, 27 January 2013 - 02:42 PM.


#127 cmflick

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:37 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.


I really don't know what to do. I looked around on the web and a lot of people said that what I was seeing was probably due to too high of a temperature in the oven. I had noticed that my oven tends to over shoot the set temperature by about 25F and since I usually bake macarons at 350F that could be a problem. I reduced the temperature to 300F and kept a very close eye on the macarons and the temperature as they baked. The top photo shows the macarons in the oven after about 4 minutes of baking. It looks like the top shell has formed and the foot is starting to ooze out of the sides of some of the macarons. The second photo shows the end of the bake at about 15 minutes.

I just don't know what to do. This is worse than when I baked at 350F. I used to be able to make macarons, but I'm ready to give up!

Help!!!

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Edited by cmflick, 28 January 2013 - 08:31 AM.


#128 RWood

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:40 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.


I really don't know what to do. I looked around on the web and a lot of people said that what I was seeing was probably due to too high of a temperature in the oven. I had noticed that my oven tends to over shoot the set temperature by about 25F and since I usually bake macarons at 350F that could be a problem. I reduced the temperature to 300F and kept a very close eye on the macarons and the temperature as they baked. The top photo shows the macarons in the oven after about 4 minutes of baking. It looks like the top shell has formed and the foot is starting to ooze out of the sides of some of the macarons. The second photo shows the end of the bake at about 15 minutes.

I just don't know what to do. This is worse than when I baked at 350F. I used to be able to make macarons, but I'm ready to give up!

Help!!!


I wish I could be of help. I've made these things for years and thousands of them, sometimes they just screw with you. I had that happen at Christmas. I set out to make Christmas presents, and I had so many not work. I was not pleased by all the nut flour that was wasted. The day after I started again, and I found that I wasn't whipping the whites stiff enough (I use the French meringue method). After that, every batch came out perfect. But, a couple of weeks ago, I needed to make some for my step-sister's mom, and the same problem, even whipping the whites just like before. I have some old whites in the fridge, I'm thinking about experimenting today for the heck of it. Maybe I can figure out the problem.

#129 DianaM

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:44 AM

The only thing that I have changed in the way I do things is some modifications of the way that I do the mixing after taking a Macaron class last fall. I'm wondering if I'm over mixing, although in that case I would expect to not get feet at all. It's like the feet melt out after forming. Next batch I'll go back to my old mixing method and see what happens. I can't think of anything else to try.


For this new batch, have you switched back to your previously successful mixing method, or are you still using the new method you mention above?

#130 Chocolot

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:00 AM

Same sugar. The only new thing that I can think of is that I changed supplier of parchment paper, but I don't see how that could cause this effect. I checked all of my sheet pans and the oven last night to see if they were level and they are. But then it's not a new oven or new sheet pans. The only thing that I have changed in the way I do things is some modifications of the way that I do the mixing after taking a Macaron class last fall. I'm wondering if I'm over mixing, although in that case I would expect to not get feet at all. It's like the feet melt out after forming. Next batch I'll go back to my old mixing method and see what happens. I can't think of anything else to try.

Meanwhile I cut off all of the melted out feet on this batch of shells and filled the macarons and they taste fine! Just not very pretty.

I am no expert, but I looked in Petit Macarons and she says it is your oven. Too low a heat. If you are opening the oven to turn pans, do it quickly.

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#131 pquinene

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:31 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.


I really don't know what to do. I looked around on the web and a lot of people said that what I was seeing was probably due to too high of a temperature in the oven. I had noticed that my oven tends to over shoot the set temperature by about 25F and since I usually bake macarons at 350F that could be a problem. I reduced the temperature to 300F and kept a very close eye on the macarons and the temperature as they baked. The top photo shows the macarons in the oven after about 4 minutes of baking. It looks like the top shell has formed and the foot is starting to ooze out of the sides of some of the macarons. The second photo shows the end of the bake at about 15 minutes.

I just don't know what to do. This is worse than when I baked at 350F. I used to be able to make macarons, but I'm ready to give up!

Help!!!


I wish I could be of help. I've made these things for years and thousands of them, sometimes they just screw with you. I had that happen at Christmas. I set out to make Christmas presents, and I had so many not work. I was not pleased by all the nut flour that was wasted. The day after I started again, and I found that I wasn't whipping the whites stiff enough (I use the French meringue method). After that, every batch came out perfect. But, a couple of weeks ago, I needed to make some for my step-sister's mom, and the same problem, even whipping the whites just like before. I have some old whites in the fridge, I'm thinking about experimenting today for the heck of it. Maybe I can figure out the problem.



I'm just a novice at macarons, but I'm a thorough researcher and here are my thoughts, based on what I've read:

1. Macaron recipes vary, thus techniques / directions vary: what works for one, may very well not for another. For instance, I read that if you can lift the macaron off the baking sheet while it is in the oven, it's done. This is not the case for the recipe in this link:
http://www.eatlivetr...rk-in-progress/

I baked one tray for an extra four minutes. This resulted in very hard cookies. The advice of Mardi using her recipe above is right on: once the macs are cooled, they are easy to remove from parchment paper...take them out at 16 minutes even if they stick.

2. The best temperature for macs varies according to the recipe. Mardi's method/recipe was spot-on at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When I baked a tray at that temp (using a thermometer in my oven, rack in the middle), the cookies were excellent; the first tray that went in at a slightly higher temp produced tough cookies.

3. Resting the macs is essential. But the best way to tell when they are ready is by touching them; if they are no longer sticky and don't make an indentation, they are ripe for baking.

4. Beating the egg whites to stiff, of course, is essential. There is a difference between a "normal" stiff peak and the "stiff" necessary for macarons. Someone explained it best: if you can hold the bowl of whites above your head without it falling on you, it's stiff enough. Also, some recipes say fold gently, others say get the air out! Mardi, again, was spot-on as the batter with more vigorous "folding" tended not to be hollow and had more dainty feet.

5. When I bake pie crusts, I keep a cookie sheet in the oven while the oven is preheating; this very hot sheet helps to set the pie crust more quickly than simply putting the pie crust on an oven rack or on a cold cookie sheet (less bubbling). Mardi suggests doubling on on the baking sheet for macarons. This probably helps to set the macarons too.

6. Weigh everything on a cooking scale, digital preferable.

7. I always keep several dozen eggs in my fridge for two weeks; I also keep a dozen on my counter on a daily basis so they cook quickly for breakfast since they are at room temperature. They are still "good" for consumption. All I did for Mardi's recipe was use the eggs that were on my counter; at least seven days old in my house between fridge time and counter-top time. I'm not sure if this is the same as aging egg whites by separating them and keeping them in fridge for a few days, but...they are "old" eggs.

Since you've used the same recipe for a while, perhaps your oven needs to be calibrated. Did you get new baking pans, try a new brand of sugar or almond flour, change your type of coloring agent, baking in a different place, is a storm brewing?

Good luck, hoped this helped and keep us posted!
paulaq

#132 cmflick

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:38 AM

I am no expert, but I looked in Petit Macarons and she says it is your oven. Too low a heat. If you are opening the oven to turn pans, do it quickly.


Petit Macarons is one of the books that I consulted from troubleshooting and that's where I got the idea that temperature was a problem Actually, though, I think that my oven is running too hot. That's why I tried this batch at a lower temperature than usual (300F vs. the usual 350F). I don't turn the pans, but I do open the oven twice during baking to let out built up humidity (got this tip from Pierre Herme's macaron book). I'm at a loss.

#133 cmflick

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:14 PM




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.


I really don't know what to do. I looked around on the web and a lot of people said that what I was seeing was probably due to too high of a temperature in the oven. I had noticed that my oven tends to over shoot the set temperature by about 25F and since I usually bake macarons at 350F that could be a problem. I reduced the temperature to 300F and kept a very close eye on the macarons and the temperature as they baked. The top photo shows the macarons in the oven after about 4 minutes of baking. It looks like the top shell has formed and the foot is starting to ooze out of the sides of some of the macarons. The second photo shows the end of the bake at about 15 minutes.

I just don't know what to do. This is worse than when I baked at 350F. I used to be able to make macarons, but I'm ready to give up!

Help!!!


I wish I could be of help. I've made these things for years and thousands of them, sometimes they just screw with you. I had that happen at Christmas. I set out to make Christmas presents, and I had so many not work. I was not pleased by all the nut flour that was wasted. The day after I started again, and I found that I wasn't whipping the whites stiff enough (I use the French meringue method). After that, every batch came out perfect. But, a couple of weeks ago, I needed to make some for my step-sister's mom, and the same problem, even whipping the whites just like before. I have some old whites in the fridge, I'm thinking about experimenting today for the heck of it. Maybe I can figure out the problem.



I'm just a novice at macarons, but I'm a thorough researcher and here are my thoughts, based on what I've read:

1. Macaron recipes vary, thus techniques / directions vary: what works for one, may very well not for another. For instance, I read that if you can lift the macaron off the baking sheet while it is in the oven, it's done. This is not the case for the recipe in this link:
http://www.eatlivetr...rk-in-progress/

I baked one tray for an extra four minutes. This resulted in very hard cookies. The advice of Mardi using her recipe above is right on: once the macs are cooled, they are easy to remove from parchment paper...take them out at 16 minutes even if they stick.

2. The best temperature for macs varies according to the recipe. Mardi's method/recipe was spot-on at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When I baked a tray at that temp (using a thermometer in my oven, rack in the middle), the cookies were excellent; the first tray that went in at a slightly higher temp produced tough cookies.

3. Resting the macs is essential. But the best way to tell when they are ready is by touching them; if they are no longer sticky and don't make an indentation, they are ripe for baking.

4. Beating the egg whites to stiff, of course, is essential. There is a difference between a "normal" stiff peak and the "stiff" necessary for macarons. Someone explained it best: if you can hold the bowl of whites above your head without it falling on you, it's stiff enough. Also, some recipes say fold gently, others say get the air out! Mardi, again, was spot-on as the batter with more vigorous "folding" tended not to be hollow and had more dainty feet.

5. When I bake pie crusts, I keep a cookie sheet in the oven while the oven is preheating; this very hot sheet helps to set the pie crust more quickly than simply putting the pie crust on an oven rack or on a cold cookie sheet (less bubbling). Mardi suggests doubling on on the baking sheet for macarons. This probably helps to set the macarons too.

6. Weigh everything on a cooking scale, digital preferable.

7. I always keep several dozen eggs in my fridge for two weeks; I also keep a dozen on my counter on a daily basis so they cook quickly for breakfast since they are at room temperature. They are still "good" for consumption. All I did for Mardi's recipe was use the eggs that were on my counter; at least seven days old in my house between fridge time and counter-top time. I'm not sure if this is the same as aging egg whites by separating them and keeping them in fridge for a few days, but...they are "old" eggs.

Since you've used the same recipe for a while, perhaps your oven needs to be calibrated. Did you get new baking pans, try a new brand of sugar or almond flour, change your type of coloring agent, baking in a different place, is a storm brewing?

Good luck, hoped this helped and keep us posted!
paulaq


Paulq, thanks for all of the suggestions. I've been making macarons for years using Pierre Herme's Macaron book with no problems. I did take a couple of courses on macarons this year and as a result made some changes. My problems started after the second of these courses. In answer to some of your questions:

3. I do rest the macs. Usually for about 45 minutes before baking. This has always worked in the past. I have a small oven that will only take one half sheet pan at a time so I usually have to bake one after another so some pans get a rest of over an hour.

4. The strength of the meringue could be an issue. I do use the trick of turning the bowl upside down and nothing falls out, but my peaks have never been super stiff. But then, the meringue always worked up to the last couple of batches!

5. Maybe I'll try to extra sheet pan preheated in the oven. I use this technique to make madeleines always.

6. Every thing is weighed on a digital scale.

7. Prior to the first course on macarons that I took last year, I aged my egg whites for a week in the refrigerator. At that first course, they suggested aging egg whites for 24-48 hours at room temperature covered by cheesecloth. The first couple of batches of egg whites that were aged that way posed no problems. These were the macarons that I made between the first and second courses. I should mention that I buy eggs when they are on sale, separate them all and freeze the whites. To use them I "saw" off however many grams of egg whites that I need while the egg whites are still frozen and let them thaw. I have used egg whites stored this way for years with no problem.

A few things have changed in the way that I do things and I don't know if any are significant.

1. I started using powdered food coloring and boiling the food coloring with the sugar syrup (I use an Italian meringue method). Prior to that I used liquid food coloring added while folding the batter. Boiling the powdered food coloring worked the first couple of times that I tried it. I plan to go back to liquid food coloring in the next batch and see what happens.

2. I got a new source of parchment paper, although I can't imagine how this could matter. I haven't noticed anything different about the behavior of the parchment paper in any other applications though. Next batch I'll try baking one sheet pan on parchment and a second sheet pan on a silpat. This may not help much because I've never baked macarons on a silpat before, but I don't have any more of the parchment paper that I used to have.

3. The second course that I took made a big point about drying the almond flour before use. I should mention that I store my almond flour in the freezer. They said to preheat your oven to 200F, process the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor, put the processed mix on a sheet pan, put into the oven, turn the oven off and leave it there for 24 hours. Then sift before using. Prior to taking this second course, I would simply take my almond flour out of the freezer, let it warm up for 24 hours at room temperature, then combine it with the powdered sugar and sift. Next batch, I'm going back to the original way of treating the almond flour.

The plan is to try the things that I mentioned above after I get another batch of egg whites aged. I'll keep you posted.

#134 cmflick

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:17 PM


The only thing that I have changed in the way I do things is some modifications of the way that I do the mixing after taking a Macaron class last fall. I'm wondering if I'm over mixing, although in that case I would expect to not get feet at all. It's like the feet melt out after forming. Next batch I'll go back to my old mixing method and see what happens. I can't think of anything else to try.


For this new batch, have you switched back to your previously successful mixing method, or are you still using the new method you mention above?


The only difference between the old method and the new method of mixing is that the new method stirs a little bit more vigorously for the last 5-10 folds. That said, I am still using the new method. Maybe I need to go back to the old method of mixing, i.e, all gently folding. I'll add that to the list of things to try.

#135 RWood

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:36 PM




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.


I really don't know what to do. I looked around on the web and a lot of people said that what I was seeing was probably due to too high of a temperature in the oven. I had noticed that my oven tends to over shoot the set temperature by about 25F and since I usually bake macarons at 350F that could be a problem. I reduced the temperature to 300F and kept a very close eye on the macarons and the temperature as they baked. The top photo shows the macarons in the oven after about 4 minutes of baking. It looks like the top shell has formed and the foot is starting to ooze out of the sides of some of the macarons. The second photo shows the end of the bake at about 15 minutes.

I just don't know what to do. This is worse than when I baked at 350F. I used to be able to make macarons, but I'm ready to give up!

Help!!!


I wish I could be of help. I've made these things for years and thousands of them, sometimes they just screw with you. I had that happen at Christmas. I set out to make Christmas presents, and I had so many not work. I was not pleased by all the nut flour that was wasted. The day after I started again, and I found that I wasn't whipping the whites stiff enough (I use the French meringue method). After that, every batch came out perfect. But, a couple of weeks ago, I needed to make some for my step-sister's mom, and the same problem, even whipping the whites just like before. I have some old whites in the fridge, I'm thinking about experimenting today for the heck of it. Maybe I can figure out the problem.



I'm just a novice at macarons, but I'm a thorough researcher and here are my thoughts, based on what I've read:

1. Macaron recipes vary, thus techniques / directions vary: what works for one, may very well not for another. For instance, I read that if you can lift the macaron off the baking sheet while it is in the oven, it's done. This is not the case for the recipe in this link:
http://www.eatlivetr...rk-in-progress/

I baked one tray for an extra four minutes. This resulted in very hard cookies. The advice of Mardi using her recipe above is right on: once the macs are cooled, they are easy to remove from parchment paper...take them out at 16 minutes even if they stick.

2. The best temperature for macs varies according to the recipe. Mardi's method/recipe was spot-on at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When I baked a tray at that temp (using a thermometer in my oven, rack in the middle), the cookies were excellent; the first tray that went in at a slightly higher temp produced tough cookies.

3. Resting the macs is essential. But the best way to tell when they are ready is by touching them; if they are no longer sticky and don't make an indentation, they are ripe for baking.

4. Beating the egg whites to stiff, of course, is essential. There is a difference between a "normal" stiff peak and the "stiff" necessary for macarons. Someone explained it best: if you can hold the bowl of whites above your head without it falling on you, it's stiff enough. Also, some recipes say fold gently, others say get the air out! Mardi, again, was spot-on as the batter with more vigorous "folding" tended not to be hollow and had more dainty feet.

5. When I bake pie crusts, I keep a cookie sheet in the oven while the oven is preheating; this very hot sheet helps to set the pie crust more quickly than simply putting the pie crust on an oven rack or on a cold cookie sheet (less bubbling). Mardi suggests doubling on on the baking sheet for macarons. This probably helps to set the macarons too.

6. Weigh everything on a cooking scale, digital preferable.

7. I always keep several dozen eggs in my fridge for two weeks; I also keep a dozen on my counter on a daily basis so they cook quickly for breakfast since they are at room temperature. They are still "good" for consumption. All I did for Mardi's recipe was use the eggs that were on my counter; at least seven days old in my house between fridge time and counter-top time. I'm not sure if this is the same as aging egg whites by separating them and keeping them in fridge for a few days, but...they are "old" eggs.

Since you've used the same recipe for a while, perhaps your oven needs to be calibrated. Did you get new baking pans, try a new brand of sugar or almond flour, change your type of coloring agent, baking in a different place, is a storm brewing?

Good luck, hoped this helped and keep us posted!
paulaq


I know part of the problem at home is I have a crappy gas oven. I have always double panned, and I did find that the direction the pans sit in my oven at home made a difference as well. Narrow end of the pan in instead of the wide side caused them to bake better. My oven causes the ones on the outer corners to rise unevenly. The temperature setting on my oven is digital, so I found that 300-310 seems to be pretty good. I should probably get an oven thermometer for the heck of it just to see how accurate it is.

Now, at work, I have a pretty good convection oven with a control for the fan. I have very few flops there, and this oven set at 300 with a low fan seems perfect there. I also bake them on a silpat instead of parchment. It seems the bottoms are smoother and they come right off. At home I have a 1/2 sheet silpat, and tend to use parchment more there.

The batches I made at Christmas that came out perfect had no resting time. I piped and put them in the oven. I think a lot of it has to do with the particular recipe as you mentioned. I've found that a recipe with a ratio of the powdered sugar and almond meal being closer together, than say double the amount of powdered sugar, works better for me.

I've used Pierre Herme's formula a few times, and it can be hit or miss too, but his is the only Italian meringue method that has even remotely worked for me.. I like the French meringue version better.

I'm going to try the whole drying out of the almond flour thing. Sometimes it does seem a little moist. I've found that Honeyville Farms almond meal is very finely ground, and it works very well. I usually grind the almond and powdered sugar in my Cuisinart, then sift. I have very little left in the sifter when using their brand. Also L'epicerie has both pistachio and almond flours that are very fine as well.

I've used both paste and powdered colorings, and don't really see much difference. I don't make mine a really dark color, I prefer pastel, as many people I've given them too seem to prefer as well. So, I'm not drowning them in color.

And, I do fold rather vigorously. You do need to knock the air out, especially if it's whipped really stiff.

So many answers, yet who knows what will work :). Who would think that something that has only 3 ingredients could be so temperamental?

#136 cmflick

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:46 PM

I too have a crappy oven, but mine's electric. When you double pan, do you preheat one of the pans in the oven and then put the other on top of it in the oven or just double pan before it goes into theoven?

I use L'Epicerie's almond flour. It is very fine and even without using the food processor there was very little left in the sifter.

#137 RWood

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:16 PM

I too have a crappy oven, but mine's electric. When you double pan, do you preheat one of the pans in the oven and then put the other on top of it in the oven or just double pan before it goes into theoven?

I use L'Epicerie's almond flour. It is very fine and even without using the food processor there was very little left in the sifter.


I've done both, can't really say I've noticed it makes a difference.

#138 cmflick

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:29 AM

To continue the saga of my woes making macarons! For those of you new to the saga, I have made macarons with no problems for many years until last fall when all of a sudden things went haywire, i.e., the feet keep blowing out on the shells (see previous posts). I had taken 2 macaron courses and incorporated some of the things that I learned in the courses when things went awry.

I made several changes and things are looking better.

1. Did not dry the almond flour overnight in the oven. I just let it dry at room temperature in a bowl covered by cheesecloth. It is really dry in my house in the winter, so maybe I'll readdress this issue when the humidity inside is higher.

2. Went back to my old mixing method that is just folding until a desired consistency is reached. No vigorous stirring at the end as I was doing when the problems started occuring. In my old method, you don't premix the dry ingredients and the unwhipped egg whites. You just add about half of the Italian meringue and fold until everything is incorporated, then fold in the rest of the meringue.

3. Used liquid food coloring instead of powdered and added it to the dry mix and unwhipped egg whites prior to folding in the meringue.

5. Added 1/4 tsp dried egg whites to the 55 grams of whites used to make the meringue. I was suspicious that my meringue was weak.

6. Baked half on parchment paper and half of a silpat. About the time that my problems began I changed supplier of parchment sheets.

Obviously, I made too many changes at once to pin down anything as really helping except for the silpat advantage over the parchment paper. The difference between baking on parchment and a silpat really surprised me (see photo: top is parchment, bottom silpat). The macaron shells baked on parchment are better than what I've been making over the last several months, but still are tipsy (see previous posts). At least the foot didn't completely blow out. Obviously with so many variables changes, I can't pin down which helped. The shells baked on the silpat are entirely respectable, though. I'm definitely using silpats from now on! My current theory is that baking on a silpat must help cover up other problems that you're having! I'm having trouble believing that my new supply of parchments sheets is the root of my problems, but I guess that it could be.

Stay tuned as I try to parse out what of the other changes made a difference. At least I know that I have a method again that will make good macaron shells!

Attached Images

  • ParchvSil.jpg


#139 Kerry Beal

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:51 PM

Got a piece of your old parchment to compare?

#140 cmflick

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

Got a piece of your old parchment to compare?

Alas, no old parchment left. I wish I did have some. I'm still having trouble figuring out how parchment could be causing so many problems. It doesn't appear any different than any other parchment.

Edited by cmflick, 30 January 2013 - 03:09 PM.


#141 Kerry Beal

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

Spoke with one of the pastry instructors at Niagara College today - he's right into the science of baking. He says that there can be a huge difference in parchment in terms of the silicone and that some even contain paraffin - both things which can cause items to 'slip' on the surface.

#142 cmflick

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:41 AM

Spoke with one of the pastry instructors at Niagara College today - he's right into the science of baking. He says that there can be a huge difference in parchment in terms of the silicone and that some even contain paraffin - both things which can cause items to 'slip' on the surface.

And here I thought that parchment paper was parchment paper. After a lot of googling today I learned that there is silicone treated parchment paper and quilon treated parchment paper. Quilon is a chromium and fatty acid complex based treatment that is used to make the parchment nonstick. Anyway, my old batch of paper was definitely silicone treated and the new parchment is labeled as quilon treated. Quilon treated paper is about 1/2 the price of silicone treated paper as far as I can tell, which explains why I could buy about 2000 sheets for about 2 1/2 times what I paid for 100 sheets of silicone treated paper! I think that next time I make macarons I'll use my quilon treated paper side by side with some Reynolds parchment paper off the roll. Some people say that Reynolds paper is silicone treated, but I sure can't find that information coming from Reynolds anwhere on the web!

Edited by cmflick, 01 February 2013 - 09:27 AM.


#143 Kerry Beal

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:31 PM


Spoke with one of the pastry instructors at Niagara College today - he's right into the science of baking. He says that there can be a huge difference in parchment in terms of the silicone and that some even contain paraffin - both things which can cause items to 'slip' on the surface.

And here I thought that parchment paper was parchment paper. After a lot of googling today I learned that there is silicone treated parchment paper and quilon treated parchment paper. Quilon is a chromium and fatty acid complex based treatment that is used to make the parchment nonstick. Anyway, my old batch of paper was definitely silicone treated and the new parchment is labeled as quilon treated. Quilon treated paper is about 1/2 the price of silicone treated paper as far as I can tell, which explains why I could buy about 2000 sheets for about 2 1/2 times what I paid for 100 sheets of silicone treated paper! I think that next time I make macarons I'll use my quilon treated paper side by side with some Reynolds parchment paper off the roll. Some people say that Reynolds paper is silicone treated, but I sure can't find that information coming from Reynolds anwhere on the web!


Hope you've got other things to cook on that quilon treated paper other than macarons - 2000 sheets takes a bit of time to go through in my world.

#144 cmflick

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:50 AM

Alas, I think that I have more than a life time supply of quilon treated parchment. Now if I could find a reasonably priced supplier of the silicone treated stuff.

#145 Kerry Beal

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

What are you paying for the silicone stuff - I get it from a restaurant supply or Costco type places. I think it works out to about 10 cents a sheet.

#146 cmflick

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 05:47 AM

What are you paying for the silicone stuff - I get it from a restaurant supply or Costco type places. I think it works out to about 10 cents a sheet.

I bought flat half sheet pan size from King Arthur Flour for $19.99 for 100 sheets plus $8 shipping. The quilon coated stuff I bought from a restaurant supply place for $50 for 2000 half sheet pan size. I thought it was a real deal. The best deal that I could find online was about $100 for 1000 full sheet pan size silicone treated parchments (same place sells quilon treated parchment for about 1/2 the price). I like the flat sheets for making macarons as I can't seem to ever get the curl out of the stuff on a roll.

#147 Kerry Beal

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:43 AM

I buy the boxes of 1000 - hate the curl too.

#148 cmflick

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:26 AM

Today was the day for the great parchment types and silpat comparison experiment. I had a single batch of macaron batter that was piped onto quilon treated parchment, silicone treated parchment or a silpat. All of the macarons were baked at the same temperature for the same amount of time. The color differences of the macarons in the photo are really due to poor photography technique. They all looked about the same. I think that the results in the attached photo are pretty obvious. The macarons baked on the quilon treated parchment "slid" and were a mess. Both the silicone treated parchment and silpat baked ones were fine. I actually think that the feet on the silpat were a little nicer. They tended not to spread out from the shell as much as those baked on silicone treated parchment.

I must admit that I can't say that all quilon treated parchment would give this result, but this particular batch certainly does not work for macarons.

With enough other things to worry about when making macarons, who would have thought that the parchment would have such a big effect?

Now I guess that I'll have to find something to do with my 2000 sheets of quilon treated parchment which I bought primarily for making macarons! I'm thinking origami.

Attached Images

  • Parchment Comparison.jpg


#149 pastrygirl

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

Once I started using silpat for macaron I haven't looked back. I find that parchment absorbs moisture and wrinkles/buckles, resulting in less round macarons.

Glad you figured it out, too bad about that massive supply of the wrong parchment.

#150 pquinene

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:06 AM

I decided to test fate today, but I should have listened to that other voice "do a few circles only." Of course, I piped all of the batter on the new parchment. I bought some flat parchment because I was tired of the rolled ones. The rippling of the new parchment made my cookies oblong:

Posted Image


I made these last week, same recipe, on Reynold's brand/rolled parchment. The parchment stayed pretty flat.

Posted Image


I have two silicone mats. I'll try them on the same recipe next time. I'm going back to Reynold's. I took the pictures at a different time of day thus the varied color / lighting.

Edited by pquinene, 05 February 2013 - 11:08 AM.






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