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Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips


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My understanding of it is that you're really just after a homogenous mass by the time you get to the piping stage.  I checked my recipes and:

- in an Italian meringue method, the only mention of non-icing sugar is in the syrup that gets boiled and added to the egg whites, while

- in a French meringue method, the only mention of non-icing sugar is in the egg whites (where they should technically dissolve completely or enough to be very small anyway).

 

I don't think the small amount of starch in the icing sugar is enough to make a difference.  If anything, I believe it would add a slight bit of body/sponginess to the macaron.

 

I think you're right about the icing sugar being mixed into the meal to prevent clumping - it just makes everything easier to mix and means less mixing overall to get a uniform mass.

 

As a guess, if you had large enough sugar crystals in the mixture before baking:

- on the shell: it may colour faster, be quicker to absorb moisture, dissolve and form small 'dimples' on the shell

- on the inside: I have no idea - I don't imagine there would be a noticeable difference.

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Like Ashley said, you really need to let them form a skin.  Then when you put them in the oven the soft batter underneath will expand and push the skin up as an intact layer, forming macaron feet at the bottom.  How long it takes depends on your kitchen conditions, drying will take more time when humidity is higher.  It sounds like the consistency of the batter is ok, just try letting them rest longer.

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I ground up the almond meal and the confectioners sugar more fine, beat the egg so it was slightly thicker and let them sit for 50 mins as it took that long to form a skin.

When I took them out of the oven they had risen perfectly with no cracks and had feet. Thanks heaps for all your help!

 

 Yay!  Happy we could help!

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These cookies are very delicate and 3 key factors are very important: temperature, moisture and viscosity. Any single one of them or combined can affect the final outcome.

 

What I usually do is the following,

 

A..Sieve my almond meal (flour) 2 times and throw out any large piece (this makes a smooth nice texture).

B. Mix the almond meal and powdered sugar  (which are my dry ingredients).

C. I beat the merengue using the French method until I obtain stiff peaks, simply beating for 6 minutes total divided into 3 steps of 2 minutes each. In the first 2 minutes at regular speed (depending on the beater, usually number 1 or 2) I add the granulated sugar after 1 minute and continue beating, then I put more power in beating at medium speed for another 2 minutes and lastly another 2 minutes at high speed.

C.Once the merengue is ready I add the color if any and beat another minute and combine with my dry ingredients and start folding giving the first three or four times quite hard whacks then fold gently until perfectly combined and the mixture has a consistency like lava flowing. (not very thick or thin)

D. Pipe onto parchment paper or silicone mat and let sit to dry usually between 20 minutes  to 1 hour depending on the humidity at your location.

 

Although I'm no expert and at the beginning I made more than 12 batches that went to the garbage, I highly recommend to do 2 things.

 

1. Take note of every step you take in every batch (weight, temperature, etc, etc) that way you know what to correct in the next batch

2. Read the following blog which I found extremely useful  and is probably the best on the web http://bravetart.com/blog/TheTenCommandments .

 

 

Best of luck and don't be discouraged

 

 

jaroj

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  • 3 weeks later...

When your macaron batter is a bit runny when piping it, this usually is a sign that the batter was not beaten enough; did a clump form in the middle of the mixer attachment (the beater, whisk attachment, etc.) towards the end?  Sifting the almond flour and confectioners' sugar may also help (some recommend sifting for 3 minutes nonstop) a great deal; using a kitchen scale to measure out the exact amounts of almond flour and confectioners' sugar makes a HUGE difference as well.  Leaving the egg whites out at room temperature for 3 days (in a cool, dry place) can also help.  Here is a very detailed, very exact recipe with step-by-step instructions for vanilla almond macarons with raspberry filling at http://thymetobake.com/?p=125

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Hi HQ pointed out many of the reasons,

Sucrose has issues dissolving in multiple circumstances.

And the inside temperature of a macaron does not arrive to the liquefying level of sugar.

It also allows you to have a smooth mixture.

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  • 2 months later...

Does anyone have a recommendation for a brand of food color that is best for macaron?  I've tried gel color, but it doesn"t stay bright.  Is powder color more stable?

I've used Americolor and it seems to work fine. They lighten as they bake, so you need to add more than you think. You need to also make sure that they are heat stable. Wilton colors say "icing" colors, and they also will make the macarons brown instead of holding the color.

I've used powdered colors before, but they seem to need a lot more to get a deep color if that is what you are looking for. The ones I've used are Crystal Colors, and they are not cheap. I used half a container to get a deeper color, and at $5 a pop, that's not worth it.

There are some European color brands that I've heard work well, but I don't have the names in front of me at the moment.

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I've used Americolor and it seems to work fine. They lighten as they bake, so you need to add more than you think. You need to also make sure that they are heat stable. Wilton colors say "icing" colors, and they also will make the macarons brown instead of holding the color.

I've used powdered colors before, but they seem to need a lot more to get a deep color if that is what you are looking for. The ones I've used are Crystal Colors, and they are not cheap. I used half a container to get a deeper color, and at $5 a pop, that's not worth it.

There are some European color brands that I've heard work well, but I don't have the names in front of me at the moment.

 

Thanks, I don't use a lot of food color, but when I do, I want it to be worth it! 

Looks like Global Sugar Art carries the Americolor, I'll have to see if I can add a few colors on to my candy mold order.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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  • 1 year later...

After almost a decade of attempts (I stopped counting at my 100th attempt...seriously), now that I've moved to St Louis and am baking at sea level instead of 6000'...very first batch was perfect. I always hoped it wasn't my skill that was messing them up. These are foraged pawpaw mole negro macarons.

Cs1NfQCVYAA4yZf.jpg:large

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4 hours ago, gfron1 said:

After almost a decade of attempts (I stopped counting at my 100th attempt...seriously), now that I've moved to St Louis and am baking at sea level instead of 6000'...very first batch was perfect. I always hoped it wasn't my skill that was messing them up. These are foraged pawpaw mole negro macarons.

Cs1NfQCVYAA4yZf.jpg:large

 

Just last week, the radio show The Splendid Table did a spot on pawpaws.  I don't think I've ever seen one.  I hope at some point you'll take us on a virtual foraging tour (in your spare time!9_9) and show us some pawpaws.  

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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16 hours ago, Smithy said:

 

Just last week, the radio show The Splendid Table did a spot on pawpaws.  I don't think I've ever seen one.  I hope at some point you'll take us on a virtual foraging tour (in your spare time!9_9) and show us some pawpaws.  

ya know...they're dropping right now and my spot has cell connection. Maybe I can do something on my facebook page...hell...maybe today!

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How do I prevent browning on the top and what are good food dyes to use in macaron making as I think the food dye I used might be the problem?

macarons 1.jpg

"Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 months later...

I have been experiementing with macarons these last few months, and I have yet to make perfect macarons. Most of the macarons I have made are hollow on the inside. They're so hollow, if I nudge them a bit, the top crust just comes right off. They still taste decent but not what a successful macaron should be like. I don't think I am overbeating my meringue at all. They are always firm and stiff. I have tried whipping a little less than I usually do but still get hollows. I did some research and saw a few people recommend adding a bit of cornstarch to the dry mix. Yep. Cornstarch.  This really perplexed me because I always see people saying not to use powdered sugar that contains cornstarch, so how could adding cornstarch prevent hollow macs? I also saw one person use tapioca starch to prevent hollows as well. This time around, I whipped the meringue at a much longer time, but no higher than speed 7 (kitchenaid), which gave me a super stable meringue. I also added cornstarch. I piped the batter out, and they looked super perfect the first few minutes in the oven. Sadly, they came out very wrinkled. The first batch was super wrinkled, but the second batch was less wrinkled, or bumpy even. Not sure if this is because of the silpat for the first batch and the parchment pper for the second hmm. Does anyone know what I did wrong to get these wrinkled macs and how to troubleshoot? Also some help on hollow macs would be appreciated! Thanks

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7 hours ago, Lam said:

I have been experiementing with macarons these last few months, and I have yet to make perfect macarons. Most of the macarons I have made are hollow on the inside. They're so hollow, if I nudge them a bit, the top crust just comes right off. They still taste decent but not what a successful macaron should be like. I don't think I am overbeating my meringue at all. They are always firm and stiff. I have tried whipping a little less than I usually do but still get hollows. I did some research and saw a few people recommend adding a bit of cornstarch to the dry mix. Yep. Cornstarch.  This really perplexed me because I always see people saying not to use powdered sugar that contains cornstarch, so how could adding cornstarch prevent hollow macs? I also saw one person use tapioca starch to prevent hollows as well. This time around, I whipped the meringue at a much longer time, but no higher than speed 7 (kitchenaid), which gave me a super stable meringue. I also added cornstarch. I piped the batter out, and they looked super perfect the first few minutes in the oven. Sadly, they came out very wrinkled. The first batch was super wrinkled, but the second batch was less wrinkled, or bumpy even. Not sure if this is because of the silpat for the first batch and the parchment pper for the second hmm. Does anyone know what I did wrong to get these wrinkled macs and how to troubleshoot? Also some help on hollow macs would be appreciated! Thanks

IMG_2090.JPG

IMG_2091.JPG

IMG_2093.JPG

IMG_2089.JPG

This macaron topic here on EG might be helpful.

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4 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

I think the wrinkled ones are underbaked. 

They're actually not underbaked. I have had a batch of wrinkled macarons before and they all have a soft texture when warm, but after they cool they become extremely chewy. 

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I've had wrinkly tops happen when I mixed a bit too much and the batter is a little too liquidy. Sometimes it will happen only with the last bit of macaron batter in the bag, because that batter has been handled a bit too much already. But it's always hard to tell why macarons behave badly sometimes, and other times not.

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