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RuthWells

Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

235 posts in this topic

I was wondering if someone could aid me in my macarons cracking. I started making macarons at the beginning of this year, and have had very good success. Just last week, though, my shells started to crack, first time ever. I have been using a french meringue, and I can tell only a few subtle differences between these batches and the all my previous. The first two batches I saw cracking were when I didnt want to make a full batch (fill recipe weighing around 450g total). So I made a half batch, noticed about 12 or so shells were cracked. Then a few days later I made another half batch and got the same result. What was different in the second batch was that I had used some almonds from my freezer that I has blanched myself a while back, where as I normally use blanched almond slivers (Trader Joes). After some googling, I saw a comment that moisture in the almond meal could contribute, which would have been on my almonds from the freezer (just some ice crystals), so I concluded that was a factor. But the previous batch was didnt use those almonds, but my normal packaged almond slivers. Anyways, overall, I came to the conclusion that by making a half batch I probably whipped the egg white more then I should have. Do any of these reasons sound plausible?

Today I went ahead and tried the macaron with an Italian meringue. I really enjoyed the way it came together, how stable the meringue felt, as well as it seeming much easier to make larger batches. But from these, about 70% of the shells cracked in the most horrible way, they look absolutely horrid. So....I'm not really feeling too confident right now. I made a normal batch of French meringue macs, and thankfully they came out well, no problems.

Overall, I'm just looking for some direction, I am starting to really hate these cookies. I was thinking of getting Pierre Hermes Macaron book, that seems like a pretty common guide everyone's using, and I think it may be time. Anywho, any tips, pointers, suggestions are appreciated.

There are many untold things on making Macarons. I was thought by some of the best in Paris which I am thankful.

Humidity is one main factor

Oven temperature is another

Process of baking

Quality of produce/products used

Temperature of sugars, eggs,

Age of eggs

And so much more

First thing : use old egg whites, they should be liquefied and clean (in doubt strain the whites)

Second thing : preheat your oven 1hr prior to baking so all weird cycles are done.

Third thing : use precision scales, a gram makes a difference especially when you add gel colors

I noticed cracking when I had over dried Macarons, sugar baked too high, not enough egg whites....

When you macaron the batter makes sure to work it Jung enough to keep its consistency but is runny enough to relax itself. When you lift it with your spatula or scraper should run slightly evenly.

If you have other issues pm me

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My impression is that not drying them enough leads to cracking. Has it been humid lately?

My experience is the opposite you get baseball caps

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To continue a saga that I was telling earlier this year about failed macarons and problems with baking on parchment paper vs. silpat (see my posts between #120 and about #153 above). Basically, the problem was that the meringue collapsed before it set while baking and I ended up with what I would call sliders, i.e., the top of the macaron slid off the foot. After I thought that I had solved my problems by going over to using all silpats, I discovered though I had fewer failures, there were still many. After consulting with various people that I had taken pastry courses with, I was advised that either my oven had too many hot spots and was not baking consistently or my meringue was too strong. After countless failed batches, baking at various temperatures from 275F up to 350F, I finally decided that oven temperature was not my problem.

To make a very long story short, I think that the problem was that the meringue was too strong and this was a result of how I age my egg whites. Basically, I think that the egg whites were "too" aged. I always buy eggs when they are on sale, separate the whites and yolks and freeze them separately. When my problems began, I had switched to letting the whites thaw and age at room temperature for 2-3 days, covered only with cheesecloth. Prior to that time I had thawed and aged egg whites in the refrigerator for 5 days covered with plastic wrap which I had punctured a couple of times with a knife. After I reverted to aging egg whites in the refrigerator, every batch of macarons has been perfect (no more sliders). I'm thinking that the fellow who told me that my meringue was too strong may have been right and that it was a result of how I aged my egg whites. Anyway, after over a year of not being able to make decent macarons, I am very glad to be back to consistently good ones!

I haven't gone back to testing silpats vs. parchment paper again, but I have been baking on silpats and teflon sheets and both work very well.


Edited by cmflick (log)
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To continue a saga that I was telling earlier this year about failed macarons and problems with baking on parchment paper vs. silpat (see my posts between #120 and about #153 above). Basically, the problem was that the meringue collapsed before it set while baking and I ended up with what I would call sliders, i.e., the top of the macaron slid off the foot. After I thought that I had solved my problems by going over to using all silpats, I discovered though I had fewer failures, there were still many. After consulting with various people that I had taken pastry courses with, I was advised that either my oven had too many hot spots and was not baking consistently or my meringue was too strong. After countless failed batches, baking at various temperatures from 275F up to 350F, I finally decided that oven temperature was not my problem.

To make a very long story short, I think that the problem was that the meringue was too strong and this was a result of how I age my egg whites. Basically, I think that the egg whites were "too" aged. I always buy eggs when they are on sale, separate the whites and yolks and freeze them separately. When my problems began, I had switched to letting the whites thaw and age at room temperature for 2-3 days, covered only with cheesecloth. Prior to that time I had thawed and aged egg whites in the refrigerator for 5 days covered with plastic wrap which I had punctured a couple of times with a knife. After I reverted to aging egg whites in the refrigerator, every batch of macarons has been perfect (no more sliders). I'm thinking that the fellow who told me that my meringue was too strong may have been right and that it was a result of how I aged my egg whites. Anyway, after over a year of not being able to make decent macarons, I am very glad to be back to consistently good ones!

I haven't gone back to testing silpats vs. parchment paper again, but I have been baking on silpats and teflon sheets and both work very well.

Glad you solved the mystery and thank you for posting the solution.

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Hi everyone! Spotted this thread while I was googling and decided to seek help from all the experts here. It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks and I’ve finally decided to throw in the towel and ask for some help.

I’ve had some degree of success with macarons, and while they were not being incredibly beautiful, still had feet and smooth tops. Most of the aesthetic flaws were due to my lacking piping skills than anything else. After coming back from the holidays (I’m a college student), I moved to a new place and recently the landlord had the oven replaced. This one has no fan and had terrible heating – though I figured after mapping the oven’s hot spots and getting a thermometer, it shouldn’t be a problem (the oven heats more at the back). Long story short, I started baking, and for the first few batches I had what I felt were ‘teething problems’ – lopsided shells, wrinkly shells, etc. They were still obviously macarons, though, and so I tried to make small tweaks and adjustments – vary amount of egg whites, temperatures, etc. At my 5th batch, I hit a snag – I got cookies which resembled Italian amaretti cookies more than anything else, and it’s not a one time thing – after multiple batches of identical mistakes, I’m exasperated!

20131125_225108.jpg

20131125_195940.jpg

20131125_213100.jpg

I have no idea what went wrong and why this happened, the cookies seem to be developing feet (see third pic) but they just look so wrong. I've since tried many fixes to no avail. They are incredibly consistent for mistakes, as though I even intended it to happen. Unlike the cracks I had before, where there were one or two gaping chasms across the top, this seemed like bubbles. From what I’m seeing in the oven, they have smooth tops all the way until the 7th minute when they hit puberty and acne spurts out all over. I reasoned from the orange like pockmarks that perhaps I undermixed the batter and left a lot of air, so I went to town with it and beat the tar out of it– but it’s no go. I’ve tried varying temperatures from 140 – 170 degrees celcius (10 degrees increments), I’ve tried venting, different positions in the oven, placing a sheet to prevent the tops from prematurely browning. Nothing works, and I get that pimpled cookie so many times I’m considering passing it off as a self-invented recipe. Strangely, it tastes like proper macarons I’ve had and liked – slightly crisp exterior, nice and moist interior. It just doesn’t look anything like a damned macaron.

I’m using a typical Italian meringue recipe with 1:1:1 almond flour:icing sugar:caster sugar (for the sugar syrup) method and 70% of egg white to almond flour. From what I’ve seen, the method is pretty standard – mix half the egg whites with almond flour, heat sugar to soft ball stage and make an Italian meringue before mixing. I’ve ensured that the sugar syrup doesn’t recrystallize out when I made my macarons, so it shouldn’t be that…and I’m really at my wits end. I’d be extremely grateful if you guys could help me out because there are a few bake sales depending on this next year!

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Hello every body!!

Please have a look at the attached photo to see the difference between my macaron and the one from a cafe. Mine was hollow and unpleasantly crunchy, unlike the one on the right which was very creamy.

Can someone please explain to me how to get the layer "right right under the thin shell" to be creamy like the one in the photo?

This is the recipe I used:

  • 90 grams (3 ounces) of egg whites (equal to whites of 3 large eggs), at room temperature
  • 125 grams (4 ½ ounces) of ground almonds or almond flour
  • 125 grams (4 ½ ounces) of icing sugar
  • 25 grams (1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 125 grams (4 ½ ounces) of caster sugar (superfine sugar) divided into two equal portions

Thanks in advance for any help

detkxu.jpg

2j466nr.jpg

Did you "age/mature" your macs in the fridge? I find that once you fill the macs, they have to go in the fridge to become soft and creamy. In general, ganache-filled macs take a day or two to mature compared to macs filled with a cream cheese mixture or just plain jam. I love how the macs go from soft and chewy to soft and creamy the longer they are in the fridge. Depending on the filling, if they age too long, they become too soft. Hope this helps.

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Quick question on storage - troubleshooting too many macarons!

I had a catering yesterday that ordered 400 macarons, so I started production four days ago. They barely touched them. If I wanted to serve them a week from tomorrow, should I freeze them, or will they be fine in the walk-in? I'll make fresh ones next week if I have to, but it would be nice to not have all that piping and sandwiching go to waste! They are filled with Italian meringue buttercream.

What would you do?

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375 ( %) ) untouched macarons? Send 'em to me!


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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375 ( %) ) untouched macarons? Send 'em to me!

After I set aside enough for the next three parties this weekend, I still had about 70 extra, so I put them in the freezer and will see if they survive well enough to be sold next week. I'm sure I've seen frozen macarons in grocery stores. I'll try to remember to report back on how well they thaw out.

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Depending on the conditions in your walk in (humid or not) the shells might change color (this happened to me in the summer when I moved and got a new walk that needed to be tweaked a bit); I would put them in fish buckets lined with parchment or deli paper and go from there. Herme ages his macs in the cooler for a day; and I've stored completed ones in the freezer (in fish tubs but I wrap them with plastic wrap) for a week so I think you'll be fine!

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After I set aside enough for the next three parties this weekend, I still had about 70 extra, so I put them in the freezer and will see if they survive well enough to be sold next week. I'm sure I've seen frozen macarons in grocery stores. I'll try to remember to report back on how well they thaw out.

Pastrygirl, I am very interested in the results of your experiment. I am planning to make macs as favours for my son's baptism, and being able to make and freeze them ahead of time would save me from this last-minute baking frenzy. Especially since they are so temperamental.

Also, if anyone has experience freezing the shells only, and cares to share what they know, I would greatly appreciate it.

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I freeze the unfilled shells all the time; I put them flat sides together in a fish tub (think tupperware or rubbermaid airtight container) and line them up and then freeze them. I fill them immediately after taking them from the freezer and then store the filled ones in the cooler (same way, in the fish tub, airtight) for a day. I tell the customer the shelf life is 3 days max.

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I freeze the unfilled shells all the time; I put them flat sides together in a fish tub (think tupperware or rubbermaid airtight container) and line them up and then freeze them. I fill them immediately after taking them from the freezer and then store the filled ones in the cooler (same way, in the fish tub, airtight) for a day. I tell the customer the shelf life is 3 days max.

Sounds great! Do you think 2 weeks is a reasonable time to keep them frozen?

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After I set aside enough for the next three parties this weekend, I still had about 70 extra, so I put them in the freezer and will see if they survive well enough to be sold next week. I'm sure I've seen frozen macarons in grocery stores. I'll try to remember to report back on how well they thaw out.

Pastrygirl, I am very interested in the results of your experiment. I am planning to make macs as favours for my son's baptism, and being able to make and freeze them ahead of time would save me from this last-minute baking frenzy. Especially since they are so temperamental.

Also, if anyone has experience freezing the shells only, and cares to share what they know, I would greatly appreciate it.

Diana, Jeanne is right, they freeze fine. The ones I froze had already been in the fridge for a few days and were a bit soft, but I don't think they were changed or harmed at all after a week in the freezer. I still have one more tray frozen. I'm sure 2 weeks would be fine.

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If the Macarons are well wrapped up, you can keep them for a little while frozen. Pierre herme and la duree ship them abroad over the world.

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Been using this recipe for years with great success, I use frozen egg whites/thawed right out of the fridge.

Macaroons 300 Degrees Convection Oven

2 # 10X

1 # Blanched Almond Flour

2 Cups egg whites

1 Cup Superfine Sugar

Coloring either dry or wet

Sift 10X & Almond Flour, Beat whites till stiff and add sugar & beat till sugar is dissolved & add color. Fold in 10X mixture in 3 stages, pipe out onto silpat & I let sit about 10 minutes and bake for 13 to 15 minutes.

Chocolate Macaroons !.jpg

mac 2.jpg

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375 ( %) ) untouched macarons? Send 'em to me!

After I set aside enough for the next three parties this weekend, I still had about 70 extra, so I put them in the freezer and will see if they survive well enough to be sold next week. I'm sure I've seen frozen macarons in grocery stores. I'll try to remember to report back on how well they thaw out.

I have frozen both filled and unfilled macs for as long as 5 to 6 weeks. How fast they soften depends on the filling. I use primarily cream cheese and butter flavored with jam, just jam or a soft chocolate ganache. I don't use buttercream because it is too sweet and can take several days to soften the shells. I have found that filled and frozen macs thawed out in the fridge mature more quickly than macs that are filled then placed immediately in the fridge. I freeze mine in freezer storage bags and plastic food storage containers. I would freeze at least 6 to 12 pieces of every batch you make and takes notes of filled, unfilled, the type of filling, how long your freeze them......then you have a more confident idea of how long they keep well for future event planning.

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i've been making macarons for the past few months and have no issues. We make the shells (common meringue, not Italian), no issue. Bake great, feet and all. We store the shells in the walkin freezer overnite. Next day, take them out and fill. Then they get stored in a chest freezer in airtight box until needed. my store staff loads the trays the night before. Then for the past two weeks weve come in and they are actually wet, almost soggy. I have not changed my recipe or any of the ingredients. They are being stored in a Leader bakery case on the top shelf. There is nothing that can be leaking on them. I have even put perforated containers of desicant and still not helping. I have had the refrigeration unit checked and its working perfect. Please help, these are a big seller for me. i would hate to stop making them cause of this, but I cant afford to keep throwing them away. Plese send replies to: bripastryguy@gmail.com

Thank you


"Chocolate has no calories....

Chocolate is food for the soul, The soul has no weight, therefore no calories" so said a customer, a lovely southern woman, after consuming chocolate indulgence

SWEET KARMA DESSERTS

www.sweetkarmadesserts.com

550 East Meadow Ave. East meadow, NY 11554

516-794-4478

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Hi, what filling do you put in them? That could be the origin of the issue. Because even if you under baked your shells they shouldn't get soggy. I suspect your filling to absorb a lot of humidity and release as well.

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I have been baking Macarons at home pretty successfully for 6 months or so, and have recently upgraded to larger aluminium baking sheets & silpat (from traditional Steel trays & baking paper) after a class with Adriano Zumbo (I am in Australia). My 1st batch turned out perfect (chocolate shells - replaced 10% of almonds & icing sugar with cocoa powder as per his recipe)., however 90% of the next 2 standard batches turned out as pictured below. Does anyone have any ideas? I just tried another batch this morning, the 1st two trays came out perfect, and the 3rd did this again.

 

I have made the following changes since my class;

 

- 2mm thick aluminium sheet with Silpat

- grinding my own blanched almonds (in lieu of Almond Meal)

 

With the 2 completely failed trays, I developed a theory, that I had rapped the trays a little over zealously, I did take care this morning with just some gentle tapping, maybe by the third tray I wasn’t so gentle...

 

Has anyone had a similar experience? Or any ideas, I just find my theory lacking substance

 

DSC_0362_zpsc7488a49.jpg

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Is the bottom still on the Silpat? If so, I found this happens because of either or both of two things. Not baked long enough and/or and what I suspect to be the main problem. Not left to cool long enough before taking off the tray. This should help.

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No, I know what you are saying, but the base isn't left on the Silpat. There is a fine powdery residue where the base used to be, like the base was massively over cooked to the point it disintegrated.

 

I think I might do a pure test batch next time, and reduce the oven temp further, as the outer shell is pretty crisp.

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I have been baking Macarons at home pretty successfully for 6 months or so, and have recently upgraded to larger aluminium baking sheets & silpat (from traditional Steel trays & baking paper) after a class with Adriano Zumbo (I am in Australia). My 1st batch turned out perfect (chocolate shells - replaced 10% of almonds & icing sugar with cocoa powder as per his recipe)., however 90% of the next 2 standard batches turned out as pictured below. Does anyone have any ideas? I just tried another batch this morning, the 1st two trays came out perfect, and the 3rd did this again.

 

I have made the following changes since my class;

 

- 2mm thick aluminium sheet with Silpat

- grinding my own blanched almonds (in lieu of Almond Meal)

 

With the 2 completely failed trays, I developed a theory, that I had rapped the trays a little over zealously, I did take care this morning with just some gentle tapping, maybe by the third tray I wasn’t so gentle...

 

Has anyone had a similar experience? Or any ideas, I just find my theory lacking substance

 

DSC_0362_zpsc7488a49.jpg

If all else is the same, then the new pans you used transferred heat either too quickly or too slow.  If you went from parchment paper to silpat, the silpat is thicker and the heat gets to your macs slower -- try using your new pans with parchment paper.  If heat is getting to your macs too fast, nest two exact pans together -- pipe your batter on one pan then put that pan into a second pan...then put both in your oven.

 

Since your first two trays on your last attempt came out perfect and the third did not, then your batter could be sitting out too long.....could you bake them all at once or fit as much batter onto one pan as possible? Somewhere in this thread, another member changed the brand of parchment used....and the macs come out radically misshapen.

 

The only time something like this happened -- with a handful of macs -- was during one of my experiments. I used the freshest eggs I could get at the store and separated the whites the same day I used them. I've learned that if you use an electric oven without a fan/convection feature, then old egg whites that have sat on the counter a couple of days work best.

 

Chocolate shells using cocoa powder tend to be more stable than plain shells because cocoa powder has starch, hence they tend to be less hollow. The only way I make macarons now is with aged egg whites AND tapioca starch -- via French/basic meringue! I never get hollows and they all come out perfect. I use  5 oz. fine almond flour, 8 oz. powdered sugar, 4 oz. aged whites, 1.5 oz. caster sugar, 0.5 oz. tapioca starch, and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar.. I whip the meringue on about medium-low for 6 minutes, medium for 9 minutes...then if needed, high for 30 to 60 seconds.

 

mint_chocolate_macarons.jpg

 

coconut_strawberry_n_cream_french_macaro

 

 

Hope this helps!


Edited by pquinene (log)
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If all else is the same, then the new pans you used transferred heat either too quickly or too slow.

 

Hope this helps!

 

I have done some experimenting, and I am now confident the problem is the Heat is too slow to the Base of the Shells. It is just going to take some more trial and error to find that butter zone between not enough and too much.

 

It is incredibly frustrating, because the one in the picture I posted above is so aesthetically pleasing until I remove it from the Silpat, and the ones I have since managed to cook thoroughly, have all the typical too much heat symptoms (protruding uneven feet & hollows).

 

I did try pre-heating a tray, and sliding the silpat across, but had 54 volcanoes in a matter of minutes. This is something I might continue to experiment with, but with a reduced pre-heat time (maybe 2 minutes instead of 10).

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