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Macarons – The delicate French invention.

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Will try one more time,with another couple of images(realisation that technology has passed me by completely) :biggrin:gallery_33888_5886_41953.jpg

gallery_33888_5886_107410.jpg

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I love how puffy your macs are. Thanks for posting the pics.

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Amrita,

First of all, your macaroons are gorgeous!!  Second, I think we might be on to something here -- every Italian meringue macaroon recipe I've tried has come out lopsided -- I always use double pans.  I've changed the temperature, changed from convection, changed recipes, etc.  I've only had luck with the French macaroon recipes -- altough I've had different problems with them as well.  But it is always the Italian meringue macaroons that turn out lopsided.  So, it must be something about the Italian meringue ... but what??

First of all, thanks LennyK!!!! The feet of my french meringue macs don't stick out. Its the italian ones that look horrid.

Khlide, I suspect it has something to do with the boiling of the syrup and beating of the meringue, So weird since they were perfect for a year and suddenly they're turning out lop sided now, even though Im doing the same things I always do.

Raggamuffin, i LOVEEEEEE that macaron tower!

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what you do is to wet your baking sheet and then put the baking paper on. this is important to get nice feet, and a nice flat base (important for filling)

cheers

t.

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what you do is to wet your baking sheet and then put the baking paper on. this is important to get nice feet, and a nice flat base (important for filling)

cheers

t.

This is a method I've never tried, and as you can see below, I need to!

I've also been getting a myriad of results from my macarons as of late. Like Amrita, using the italian meringue method, they suddenly come out lopsided. When using the french meringue method, I get a variety of results, which you can see below.,.from raggedy tops, to 'feet' that put on a pair of high heels, to high domes, bumpy surfaces, jutting irregular feet, and cracks. These are a few macarons from some batches I've made in the past week, all with their own 'imperfections' *sigh*.

gallery_59301_5864_23938.jpg

Lemon meringue - Flat, lopsided, lumpy top. Could be due to the lemon zest in the cookie itself.

Chocolate - Puffy domes

gallery_59301_5864_16493.jpg

Plain with chocolate ganache - The feet put on a pair of high heels, plus more puffy dome syndrome.

gallery_59301_5864_6248.jpg

Whipped white chocolate-black cherry ganache - Feet taking a 'walk' away from the macaron, kind of lopsided and flat dome.


Edited by Lisa2k (log)

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Lisa2K, did you try slightly OVERmixing them? That's what I have to do with french meringue macarons. I think I will leave my italian meringue recipe to rebel on its own in a corner for a couple of months.

....and Lisa, in case you would like to try the recipe that works for me,

2 large egg whites (65-70grams in total?)

100 grams ground almonds

120 grams icing sugar

2 tbsp sugar

Combine almonds and icing sugar in a food processor. Whizz and then sieve. Set aside.

In a Kitchen Aid bowl, whisk egg whites with a pinch of tartar till foamy. Gradually add in sugar and whisk till stiff. Add any coloring/flavoring at this point.

Using a large spatula, deflate meringue slightly. I do this cos I find that french meringue macarons tend to have bubble tops filled with too much air sometimes.

Dump TPT in and fold till the batter looks like it has almost reduced to half its volume and flows well. Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles onto a silpat/ baking tray lined with silicone paper.

Let these dry in a cool place till a skin forms. Bake at 155 for 6 minutes and then 145 centigrade for another 7 minutes. (Depends on your oven)

My oven @ work takes a total of 13 mins, while my oven at home only takes 10.

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Lisa2K, did you try slightly OVERmixing them? That's what I have to do with french meringue macarons. I think I will leave my italian meringue recipe to rebel on its own in a corner for a couple of months.

....and Lisa, in case you would like to try the recipe that works for me,

2 large egg whites (65-70grams in total?)

100 grams ground almonds

120 grams icing sugar

2 tbsp sugar

Combine almonds and icing sugar in a food processor. Whizz and then sieve. Set aside.

In a Kitchen Aid bowl, whisk egg whites with a pinch of tartar till foamy. Gradually add in sugar and whisk till stiff. Add any coloring/flavoring at this point.

Using a large spatula, deflate meringue slightly. I do this cos I find that french meringue macarons tend to have bubble tops filled with too much air sometimes.

Dump TPT  in and fold till the batter looks like it has almost reduced to half its volume and flows well. Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles onto a silpat/ baking tray lined with silicone paper.

Let these dry in a cool place till a skin forms. Bake at 155 for 6 minutes and then 145 centigrade for another 7 minutes. (Depends on your oven)

My oven @ work takes a total of 13 mins, while my oven at home only takes 10.

Thank you so much, Amrita! I am definitely going to try your recipe tomorrow or Monday, and report back with photos.

You know, macarons contain such simple ingredients, but technique wise, one extra or not enough folds of the tant pour tant into the whites, too much/too little beating of the whites, or the weather outside/temp in your kitchen, and they're pretty much ruined, at least aesthetically! It's amazing how simple they seem, but how incredibly finicky they can be!

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No prob lisa

Today I made 3 batches...Rose, Saffron and plain purple shells..All in french meringue

However, only the pink ones turned out. Just when I thought I had it going great with french meringue, this has to happen. I feel like banging my head against a wall till it bleeds vivid red beetroot juice :o(

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No prob lisa

Today I made 3 batches...Rose, Saffron and plain purple shells..All in french meringue

However, only the pink ones turned out. Just when I thought I had it going great with french meringue, this has to happen. I feel like banging my head against a wall till it bleeds vivid red beetroot juice :o(

Amrita,

First off, I'm sorry your macarons are acting up again. Like I said, finicky little suckers!!

I read somewhere that Pierre Herme NEVER lets any macarom, even with the slightest imperfection..probably not noticable by the average human eye..get through to sell, so they just eat those. My first thought was, these cookies are so finicky and inconsistent, depending on so many facets, that many pastry chefs groan at the thought of having to make them. I guess certain pastry chefs, especially in France and Asian countries, are just so adept at making them, that imperfections rarely occur. Not to mention, I'm sure their kitchens are perfectly conditioned temperature wise and their ovens always perfectly calibrated, for daily macaron preparation and baking. Buying macarons at bakeries here in the US, you always get a couple imperfect ones, which is perfectly ok with me, as long as they taste good! :) It's good to know that even they have the occasional 'bad' macaron day!

Anyway..I used your recipe to make chocolate macs, and they came out wonderful. Of course they're not as pretty as yours, as I can never get those circles perfect, even by piping them. Some of them always spread just a tad on one edge, giving it a little bit of 'leg' or 'stump', which I smooth back to a circle with a damp cloth wrapped around my fingertip.

This brings something to mind. Whenever the circle is smoothed out like that, that part of the cookie remains someone flat, leaving me with one perfect side with great feet, and a downward slope on the other side with barely or no feet. It's obvious I have to perfect my circles, as that 'smoothing' method is obviously adhering the batter to the parchment, resulting in the 'smoothed' side not rising properly and lopsided macarons.

Regardless, they still came out much better than my previous batches. However, 'stupid me' just HAD to try the italian meringue again on a batch of cinnamon macs, and once again...lopsided with big feet. Oh well, they tasted great, but I really want to nail the aesthetic part down so I can eventually sell them, since I've received many requests, especially from friends and family.

I'll upload the photos when I get home later. :)

Having said all that, I finally read through the whole thread, and the first 8-10 pages were about achieving 'puffy' domes, and those were considered the perfect macarons. Some of them were ultra puffy, and most wanted to achieve macs of that nature. I guess it's a matter of preference, as they still look cute, but at this time, I think we all want our macs to look like Pierre Herme's! Slight puff, ruffly, even feet, that aren't too thick..like yours!

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Hey Lisa!

I'm so glad they turned out so well for you!!! :oD When I made them yesterday, it was humid since it had been raining all day. I guess that could have affected it slightly. (Thats why italian meringue is so great! It doesn't matter what the weather is!)

Lisa, what temp do you boil your sugar syrup to? I've been getting the lop sided cum big feet syndrome as well!!!! It looks horrible, like a baseball cap.

I've tried 110, which gave me the above result, 121, like PH, which gave me crusty and hollow macarons. Will try 118 next. Silly, cos 110 worked for me for months!!!!

Also, do you have a problem with *crunchy* macarons?

Ever since I've had all of these problems, my macarons seem to be crunchy and don't soften unless I take them out of the fridge for 15 minutes or so...sigh. I think I will leave these little buggers alone for a couple of months. Maybe I am just way too drained out!!!!!

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Hey Lisa!

I'm so glad they turned out so well for you!!! :oD When I made them yesterday, it was humid since it had been raining all day. I guess that could have affected it slightly. (Thats why italian meringue is so great! It doesn't matter what the weather is!)

Lisa, what temp do you boil your sugar syrup to? I've been getting the lop sided cum big feet syndrome as well!!!! It looks horrible, like a baseball cap.

I've tried 110, which gave me the above result, 121, like PH, which gave me crusty and hollow macarons. Will try 118 next. Silly, cos 110 worked for me for months!!!!

Also, do you have a problem with *crunchy* macarons?

Ever since I've had all of these problems, my macarons seem to be crunchy and don't soften unless I take them out of the fridge for 15 minutes or so...sigh. I think I will leave these little buggers alone for a couple of months. Maybe I am just way too drained out!!!!!

Amrita,

Here's the photos of my latest attempts to get pretty macarons. The chocolate ones are your recipe using the french meringue method, except I subtracted 1 T of confectioner's sugar and added a T of dutch process cocoa. They came out much better than my previous ones, though still not as gorgeous as yours! Practice makes perfect, so I'm going to keep trying. That said, with the french meringue method, my macs were perfectly textured, slight, tender crunch on the outside and a soft, chewy middle. I had to put a lot of filling in these, as my sig other LOVES bittersweet chocolate ganache, and these are just test runs, so he's been loving it..LOL

gallery_59301_5864_7252.jpg

..on the flip side, the cinnamon macarons below (I should have colored them a darker red with a little brown and added more cinnamon), were made using the italian meringue method, and YIKES..call the Discovery channel.. I think I found BIG FOOT! Lopsided, giant feet, and much more *ugh* crunchy than the french meringue macs, even though I baked them at 325 F for only 10 minutes. I let the sugar syrup go to about 240 F, which I always do for my italian meringue buttercreams. Maybe it should be less..like 230 F? Regardless, I overfilled these with cinnamon buttercream to make them look more even. Well, at least the flavor was nice. :P

The end results with the cinnamon macs really surprised me, as the batter was perfect - flowed like 'magma', and gave me perfect circles that just barely spread, and settled into nice smooth tops without my having to dab at them with a little water. I was honestly expecting some close to perfect macarons! Weird!

gallery_59301_5864_12184.jpg

Anyway..your macarons are so perfect, I wouldn't worry about a few setbacks. I have no doubt even the best macaron bakers in France go through loads of batches that don't turn out consistently, whether it be the look, texture, taste etc. :) Like I keep saying, they really are finicky little suckers!

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Oh, Lisa! Those look really good! Even the cinnamon ones look better than before!

I am now having problems with both french and italian. They are as hard as rock and almost cut your gums :oO

230 is 110 celsius, right? Well, I used to use 244 and it worked really well before suddenly giving me lop sided feet and crusty macarons. Then I switched to 230 and it worked, and as u know, it suddenly went crazy.

I also dont like ther distinct line and seperation between the feet and the shell of italian meringue macarons. A lot of people don't get that, but I do. Strange :o(

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regarding the lopsided macarons,

do you guys use double sheets ?

I did 2 sets in the oven today,

however I only have 3 same size sheets so I doubled up on 1 set and on the other used a smaller sheet below, the one with the smaller sheet had lopsided ones presumably due to the uneven heat causing uneven expansion which is what forms the feet

also do you have a convection oven or regular ?

I did some tests with my oven and thermostat was all over the place

and there were big differences between the upper and lower racks

I also find that heating the sugar syrup to 245 makes for safer since it will have less water and the sugar will be easier to crust


Edited by lennyk (log)

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Lenny, I don't use double sheets.

I use a metal cookie sheet with a silpat..I have 5 siplats and 5 cookie sheets...and most of the time I use all sheets cos I always do large batches of macarons, so doubling up is a problem.

I use fan mode, which I found gave much nicer looking feet which didn't collapse...When baked in regular mode, my macarons kept on collapsing.

245 is 118 centigrade, isn't it ?

What doesnt make sense is that I used to use single sheets and they came out fine...:o(

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you must really do lots of them :)

I use half sheets, 2 in the oven and always have to watch the top rack as it can be much hotter than below

yeah its 118

Lenny, I don't use double sheets.

I use a metal cookie sheet with a silpat..I have 5 siplats and 5 cookie sheets...and most of the time I use all sheets cos I always do large batches of macarons, so doubling up is a problem.

I use fan mode, which I found gave much nicer looking feet which didn't collapse...When baked in regular mode,  my macarons kept on collapsing.

245 is 118 centigrade, isn't it ?

What doesnt make sense is that I used to use single sheets and they came out fine...:o(


Edited by lennyk (log)

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Lisa,

those macs look pretty good, what kind of filling are you using ?

Is it firm or soft ? I see you really packed them with filling :)

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Thanks for the tips, lenny.

Bad news : the owner of the Rez that I am working at for a month tried to force me to hand my macaron recipe over to her own pastry chefs so that they could go on making money off me long after i'm gone.

After I refused, she stopped talking to me and purposely got her pastry chefs to make mini macarons for their tea menu. They even copied my flavors! How un-professional can some people get?

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Oh, Lisa! Those look really good! Even the cinnamon ones look better than before!

I am now having problems with both french and italian. They are as hard as rock and almost cut your gums :oO

230 is 110 celsius, right? Well, I used to use 244 and it worked really well before suddenly giving me lop sided feet and crusty macarons. Then I switched to  230 and it worked, and as u know, it suddenly went crazy.

I also dont like ther distinct line and seperation between the feet and the shell of italian meringue macarons. A lot of people don't get that, but I do. Strange :o(

Thanks, Amrita..I'm getting a tiny bit closer each time, but I've got a LONG way to go! This trial and error deal is kind of a pain, especially when everything goes right as far as the flow of the batter and how they settle on the sheet pan.. and then they come out of the oven lopsided or with big feet..OR not enough or too much puff/dome on top. I look at so many photos of macarons on Flickr, and I'm just dying to get them to look like those, including yours!

As for celsius and all kinds of conversions, I'm so awful at that! I use online converters a lot, but they give me such crazy numbers sometimes, I just give up and weigh or guess temps..lol I also don't like the separation between the cookie and the foot, but naturally, I get that more often than not. :(

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Lisa,

those macs look pretty good, what kind of filling are you using ?

Is it firm or soft ? I see you really packed them with filling :)

Lenny, like I said above, I'm not quite there yet, but thanks for the nice compliment.

As for the fillings, I use all kinds of chocolate ganaches, jams/jellies/preserves, buttercreams, caramel, and curds..sometimes even combining some, so there's a 'surprise' in the middle. Even a firm mousse or fruit compote makes a great filling. I think pretty much anything goes with these, depending on your imagination. :) A friend of mine did a basic almond, and filled it with warm brie and fig paste. They were delicious!

The fillings in the above macs, are bittersweet chocolate ganache for the chocolate, which I overfilled for my guy, since they were just test macs. The cinnamon macs are filled with a cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream, but in this case, I overfilled them to make the macs look more even for these photos.. because they were so lopsided.. AND, to distract one's eyes away from the gigantic feet! LOL

When I finally succeed in getting the perfect, aesthetically pleasing macaron, I won't be overloading them with filling! :)

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hi,

has anyone heard about the Patis'Macaron product from patisfrance. its a kind of "all in" macaron mix, i tried a few made with it at the europain fair, they were pretty darn good. all you do is mix 1000g of product with 200g water, mix and your good to go....

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hi,

has anyone heard about the Patis'Macaron product from patisfrance. its a kind of "all in" macaron mix, i tried a few made with it at the europain fair, they were pretty darn good. all you do is mix 1000g of product with 200g water, mix and your good to go....

That is the coolest thing I've seen in months, haha!!!! :o) thanks!

ANYWAY, pierre Herme is in town, people! For the world Gourmet Summit. I tried to get into his masterclass but I was too late. It was fully booked! I decided to go there anyway, in case I could see him and get him to autograph some books and take a photo with me (Yes, I carried 8 kilos worth of books around with me!!)

Anyway, no luck there. I waited for 2 hours and I didn't even catch a glimpse. I then went to the hotel where he's staying, and yet again, I was too late. He checked out earlier in the morning. They are still selling his desserts, though.

If it is any consolation, the girls @ the Restaurant gave me a menu which PH had autographed. Sigh. Obesession makes a person do such strange things, LOL!

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OK..my mission to get a perfectly shaped macaron with a nice shell and good feet, is getting better, demonstrated by the Vanilla macarons filled with orange curd, below. What could have made a difference, is that this time I baked them at 325 for 6 minutes, then turned the pan completely around, and let them go for another 5 minutes. These were made with french meringue. I call them 'reverse' creamsicles..lol Some of them had a little bittersweet chocolate ganache surprise in the middle, but they were eaten before I could snap some photos of them split in half.

gallery_59301_5864_20221.jpg

However, on the flip side..I'm having so much trouble making pure pistachio macarons using all pistachio meal in the TPT instead of almond meal. They taste delicious, but turn out horrible in all aesthetic aspects, as you can see below, especially when compared to the Vanilla-Orange macaron.

gallery_59301_5864_2208.jpg

I just don't get it. The batter was perfect, and settled nicely without any peaks or too much spreading. Here's a photo of them drying. I usually let them dry anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the weather.

gallery_59301_5864_20591.jpg

Maybe it's because I use ALL pistachio meal in the TPT instead of combining some of it with almond meal? Maybe there's a different texture and/or oiliness to pistachios? I grind them to a fine powder just like the almonds (although I did use already ground almond meal in the vanilla-orange macs, and ground them down even more with the icing sugar).

Regardless, I've seen people on the net (blogs mostly) have great success using all pistachio meal, as they turn out beautiful. I don't want to just color the batter green and add pistachio flavoring, and then fill with pure pistachio paste, pure pistachio buttercream, or some form of ganache or gelee with pure pistachios mixed in. I want that really pure pistachio flavor in the cookie itself. However, even though they come out ugly, the flavor and texture is phenomenal. Now I just need to figure out a way to make them pretty. Any suggestions or ideas would be so helpful. :)

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