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Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

Confections

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217 replies to this topic

#211 Volition

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 05:25 AM

Well you are doing the right things. My understanding of humidity in the process is limited. I do know that humidity plays a massive part in baking and ovens. MC shows this well with wet bulb temperatures. There are bound to be some real eggheads (excuse the pun) on the physics occurring in baking and how that relates to your shells and humidity.

I have an idea. To establish a method to ascertain firstly if humidity is the culprit. Keep your batter exactly the same. And record the humidity every time you bake. You could get a cheap hydrometer( I think that's what they're called) from an electric shop. Like a Tandy or Dick Smith in Australia. They normally are a thermometer as well. Might be interesting to record the temperature as well.

Keep a log of the temp, humidity and the outcome of you shells. You should start to see a correlation hopefully. If your hunch is correct. You might have a few dud shells in the process as you can' taller your recipe to work it out at first. Once you work out what ranges effect what. You can start to try and play with the mix to adapt to the temp/humidity. There should definitely be some resources out there.

Easy for me to talk as you'll be doing the work if you could be bothered. Other options are a more resilient batter. E.g. Tapioca suggestion, or a humidity controlled oven. But from what you describe the dry batter is before it enters the oven.

So if it is dry and not spreading out for the foot. That means you are getting evaporation somewhere or losing moisture at some point in the process. Could the almond be more absorbent. Very interesting. For your hypothesis of humidity to be the problem it means that it has to be low humidity that causes the problem I suspect. To allow for more evaporation. Or higher temperatures in your environment.

Ah well enough rambling, none of this solves your problem. Just gives you more work and more reasons why it happened. Sorry about that.

Personally my macaron shells are pretty consistent, unless I stuff up.

300 g almond meal
300 g pure icing (confectioners') sugar
110 g egg whites, at room temperature
300 g caster (superfine) sugar
75 g water
Food colouring
2 g powdered egg white
110 g egg whites, extra, at room temperature

From adriano zumbo

See how that goes.

#212 Matthew Kirshner

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 03:46 PM

Hi everyone,

 

 I noticed some picture in the past about adding different color effects to the shell, I was wondering how it is done.  I thought it might be extra macaron batter, colored differently and adding to the base shell before setting, but I could be wrong.  Can someone add some input to this matter.  I would like to jazz up the shells a little.

 

Thanks!!



#213 JeanneCake

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Posted 20 June 2014 - 09:25 PM

My assistant was playing around one day when I was doing swirled buttercream for the top of cupcakes and she took two colors of macaron batter; put each color in a separate bag, then put the two into a larger bag with the tip (it was a little messy because the batter is runny and you have to cut the bags before you put it into the larger one) and she made swirled macs that looked very yin/yang.  We use the Herme recipe, and it doubles well, you just divide the batter after you do some initial mixing; add the color and continue the macaronage til it's ready. 



#214 Sarah Tan

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 10:30 AM

Hi all. I am relatively new at macaron making. I have managed to churn out a couple of successful batches with both Italian meringue and French meringue.

However, I found lately that my French meringue macarons are very
chewy and their outer caps can become very wet, which to me seems very unappealing as it won't be as crisp ad it should be. What am I doing wrong?

I figured that I may have overmixed the batter or under baked them. I tried getting it slightly less mixed than I am used to and baked with a low temp baked for a longer time as not to Brown them, but they still end up with the same problem.

This so far only happens with the French meringue recipes. Could it have anything to do with the weather? I live in a high humidity area where it is common to experience 99% humidity. I do make up for it by drying the shells in an air conditioned room prior to baking.

Any help is appreciated and highly needed as my macarons are otherwise perfect so this issue is driving me crazy.

Thanks in advance!

#215 JeanneCake

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Posted 29 June 2014 - 06:34 PM

Sarah, how are you storing them after baking?  When the humidity is high here in New England, I try not to make macaron or at least do it first thing in the morning before the air gets really bad and put the shells away in an airtight container and into the freezer for storage, even if I am going to fill them later on or the next day (my walk in cooler is also somewhat humid).  Even an hour or two out on the speed rack on a very humid day makes for some stickiness/softness after baking.  I'm using the italian meringue method from Herme's book.



#216 Sarah Tan

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 12:34 AM

I let them cool & sit out on the baking sheet while I do other stuff for around 30 mins - 1 hour, then once I fill them, store them in an airtight container and pop them into the fridge. The Fillings I used were chocolate ganache & Mango Jam (Just in case you thought the filling mattered).

 

I am thinking if it could be because I switched icing sugar brands, and if so, how would the corn starch content affect this? Would the starch help develop a more solid shell or is it the other way around? The Corn Starch content isn't indicated on the packaging of my icing sugar. The brand I previously used had 2% corn starch and 98% Sugar.

 

Any Ideas?



#217 pquinene

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Posted 30 June 2014 - 02:35 AM

I let them cool & sit out on the baking sheet while I do other stuff for around 30 mins - 1 hour, then once I fill them, store them in an airtight container and pop them into the fridge. The Fillings I used were chocolate ganache & Mango Jam (Just in case you thought the filling mattered).

 

I am thinking if it could be because I switched icing sugar brands, and if so, how would the corn starch content affect this? Would the starch help develop a more solid shell or is it the other way around? The Corn Starch content isn't indicated on the packaging of my icing sugar. The brand I previously used had 2% corn starch and 98% Sugar.

 

Any Ideas?

Sarah, the sticky shells sounds like it could be similar to a glass of ice water sitting on the counter in a warm room. Or, it could be your new brand of powdered sugar. To find out for sure, try a batch with your old brand right now and see what happens. I have always used the name-brand powdered sugar -- Dominos 10x -- and it has a bit of cornstarch. Perhaps your new brand doesn't have any cornstarch or enough cornstarch. Starch does help dry out the batter. I do know that when I first take the empty or filled shells out of my freezer, they are a tad sticky until they come to room temperature. Once at room temp, that bit of moisture on the surface dries out.

 

I had lots of problems when I first started making macarons with French meringue. After countless trials in my electric oven, I finalized a recipe that has worked perfectly and have never had a bad batch. I actually found that adding tapioca starch -- yes, tapioca starch -- with the caster sugar and cream of tartar to make the meringue, I've had perfect shells using French meringue. I use 0.5 oz. of tapioca starch to 1.5 oz. caster sugar to 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar to 4 oz. of aged egg whites to 8 oz. powdered sugar to 5 oz. finely ground almond flour. The ratio of each ingredient is specific to all the steps I took in making a very reliable recipe. Instead of rewriting my procedures, here's a link.

 

Since your macarons are somewhat soft after cooling, flip them over so the bottom sides are up and bake in a 180-degree-Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes. This should make them very crispy and dry without darkening them. Once you fill and age your macarons in the freezer or fridge, the cookies will absorb moisture from the filling and soften up to chewy/creamy deliciousness. Hope this helps!


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#218 Sarah Tan

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 05:38 PM

Sarah, the sticky shells sounds like it could be similar to a glass of ice water sitting on the counter in a warm room. Or, it could be your new brand of powdered sugar. To find out for sure, try a batch with your old brand right now and see what happens. I have always used the name-brand powdered sugar -- Dominos 10x -- and it has a bit of cornstarch. Perhaps your new brand doesn't have any cornstarch or enough cornstarch. Starch does help dry out the batter. I do know that when I first take the empty or filled shells out of my freezer, they are a tad sticky until they come to room temperature. Once at room temp, that bit of moisture on the surface dries out.
 
I had lots of problems when I first started making macarons with French meringue. After countless trials in my electric oven, I finalized a recipe that has worked perfectly and have never had a bad batch. I actually found that adding tapioca starch -- yes, tapioca starch -- with the caster sugar and cream of tartar to make the meringue, I've had perfect shells using French meringue. I use 0.5 oz. of tapioca starch to 1.5 oz. caster sugar to 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar to 4 oz. of aged egg whites to 8 oz. powdered sugar to 5 oz. finely ground almond flour. The ratio of each ingredient is specific to all the steps I took in making a very reliable recipe. Instead of rewriting my procedures, here's a link.
 
Since your macarons are somewhat soft after cooling, flip them over so the bottom sides are up and bake in a 180-degree-Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes. This should make them very crispy and dry without darkening them. Once you fill and age your macarons in the freezer or fridge, the cookies will absorb moisture from the filling and soften up to chewy/creamy deliciousness. Hope this helps!


Thanks for the tips Paula!! I have to try out your recipe. It's a really good and clear video. Fingers crossed. Hope it works for me!





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