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Macarons – The delicate French invention.


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Hi there, can only try to help you with what I've found from my own mac experiences:

Evaporating egg whites: I found this to be too complicated and didn't always have old egg whites on hand. I find it easier now to simply sub about 10% (find your own comfort level) in weight of powdered whites for the egg whites, then adjust the final batter by adding a few drops (say 1/4 tsp of water) at a time until you reach the correct consistency. So it means I always have a too-stiff batter which I then adjust a little at a time. This is great when I'm adding liquid colouring or flavouring, I don't have to worry about it liquiefying my batter too much - I add the colour/flavour first and then continue adjusting consistency with water.

What is the correct consistency of batter? Using all the helpful descriptions on this thread, I've found practice and more practice will give you the best feel for it. That will tell you how much water to add to the final batter - and when to stop.

Measure the whites AFTER the evaporation. But if you sub powdered whites as described above, you don't have to worry about this.

Subbing brown sugar - sorry can't help you on this but again if you routinely go for a drier/stiffer batter, you can fix the final batter by adding drops of water until it reaches the correct consistency.

Texture of ground nuts - yes sieving makes the cookies smoother and more delicately textured which is what you're aiming for. Or else you could have lumpy macs. In my macs you can't really tell they're made of ground nuts - I don't know if that's correct as I haven't eaten any other macs than my own, but I'm assuming you don't want nutty chunks.

Can't really help you on your question about oil content from subbing different nuts - perhaps someone else can. I know Patrick mentioned subbing different types of nuts with no problem.

And regarding baking temperatures, I also got really confused and found the best thing to do was experiment with my own oven to find the best result for my environment, humidity, oven performance, etc. I really think this one is hard to say since everyone is dealing with different variables when it comes to the oven. So I just picked somewhere to start, and adjusted from there until I got a result I was happy with.

On your question about the internal temperature of a perfectly done macaron - I think it might be making this a little bit more complicated than it really is.

Like yourself I was intimidated by so much information and it was very easy to lose track given the sheer volume of advice on this thread despite the fact that every single bit was helpful. And yes almonds are an expensive ingredient to experiment with so I, like you, wanted the best advice in order to maximise chances of success. However, there is only so far everyone's experience can go and then it's a matter of diving off the deep end and paddling like mad from there :biggrin:

I'm still trying to figure out whether it makes an appreciable different if I spend hours drying out my TPT. But I haven't made macs recently as I haven't had time to do the dreadful grind/sift/grind routine - yes I have to re-grind the almond meal that I buy as it's nowhere fine enough.

Anyway, good luck. They really are wonderful things to eat and to give away - once you get them somewhat right.

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Been getting wrinkled tops from Patisserie PH's recipe here in humid Bangkok on our Wachtel deck and convections. The big brass tasted a Lenotre macaroon and decided we are gonna sell them too.

Anyway, here's the recipe for Macaron Azur's macaroon from PH10. My translation may not be exact, but here goes nothing!

TPT 1000g

Fresh Egg Whites 175g

Pate de Cacao Extra (Valrhona) 200g

Sucrose 500g

Water (Standard 25% of weight of sucrose) 125g

Old egg whites 175g

Egg white Powder 3g

Red Colorant 3g

(1) Break cocoa poaste and melt at 45 degrees celsius

(2) Prepare the Italian Meringue

- Cook sugar and water to 117 degrees celsius taking usual precautions

- When sugar reaches 108 degrees celsius, start whisking old egg whites and powdered egg

whites

- The egg whites should be at soft peaks (It is written something like...beat till mounted but not

too firm! So I borrowed from Nicole Kaplan's Macaron thread about her experience at PH)

- When sugar reaches 117 degrees celsius, pour it onto the soft peaked whites in a steady

stream

- Whisk cooked sugar and egg whites till lukewarm and stiff (As in Nicole's Pictures here

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=80243)

(3) When Italian Meringue is at 50 degrees celsius, fold in the melted cocoa poaste

(4) Seperately mix the TpT with the fresh egg whites and red colorant

(5) Fold in the Italian Meringue

(6) Mix to deflate the batter and continue mixing until it becomes shiny and slightly wet (Once again, look at NK's pictures

(7) PH10's recipe does not instruct to pipe and leave it to crust up slightly before baking it, but I will be doing it till a skin kinda forms. Not sure how long here in BKK, but once again...experiment experiment experiment.

(8) Bake at 170 degrees celsius in a vented oven (Doesn't specify deck or convection, but follow NK's directions if in doubt. I will use NK's temperatures tomorrow or the day after and post my results)

(9) Follow the other usual directions to remove the macs...freeze for a few minutes, peel off etc...etc.....

Really wondering how Lenotre does their macaroons. Its really humid here and I'm currently drying the TpT in my deck oven. Hopefully, this Italian Meringue version will be perfect.

Have fun!

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http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=80243)

(3) When Italian Meringue is at 50 degrees celsius, fold in the melted cocoa poaste

(4) Seperately mix the TpT with the fresh egg whites and red colorant

(5) Fold in the Italian Meringue

I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out, Nick!

Incidentally, MikeB posted a macaron recipe a few pages back, also from PH10, and his version instructs to "add the TPT to your meringue, then the fresh whites (un-whipped) and coloring." Your version on the other hand has the TpT mixed first with the fresh whites before combining with the meringue. I tried MikeB's version 2-3 times, and while they produced a macaron with excellent taste and texture, I had a hard time incoporating the dry TpT into the meringue, and the appearance was somewhat off. Now that you've posted this recipe, I'm thinking the order of combination was the problem I had.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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FYI -- the new Scharffen Berger cookbook has a macaron recipes which uses nibs in place of almonds.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Just curious-- has anyone ever tried a Swiss meringue macaron?

Yes, I believe many have, from posts upthread... some recipes specify italian meringue and some swiss. Some folks feel italian meringue produces a more stable macaron with better texture. Guess it's all down to experimentation and experience.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This was my first macaroon - I used the gingerbread macaroon recipe from the recent LA Times feature on best holiday cookies. This was Spago's recipe. In the end, the marmalade filling, and an icing I made with organic Spanish Mandarin juice never held the cookies together strong enough for me to set on their side, so we just ate them out of a bowl.

gingermacaroons.jpg

I am interested in feedback since I've never eaten one before these and now I'm not as sure that I understand the details of feet, gloss, interior consistency, etc. Most of these were dry like a meringue cookie, but some were soft. Which should it be? Can the feet bulge out like they did, or do they need to remain verticle?

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You got feet on your first attempt, which is excellent. The tops look smooth as well.

But we really do need Patrick S or a pro to answer your questions.

Also, seeing yours reminds me, is there a way to pipe 'em out without pointed tops?

I usually use the PH recipe in the chocolate desserts book and the texture of the batter is such that after piping the top smooths out provided that you set them out to dry for a couple of hours.

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http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=80243)

(3) When Italian Meringue is at 50 degrees celsius, fold in the melted cocoa poaste

(4) Seperately mix the TpT with the fresh egg whites and red colorant

(5) Fold in the Italian Meringue

I'm looking forward to seeing how they turn out, Nick!

Incidentally, MikeB posted a macaron recipe a few pages back, also from PH10, and his version instructs to "add the TPT to your meringue, then the fresh whites (un-whipped) and coloring." Your version on the other hand has the TpT mixed first with the fresh whites before combining with the meringue. I tried MikeB's version 2-3 times, and while they produced a macaron with excellent taste and texture, I had a hard time incoporating the dry TpT into the meringue, and the appearance was somewhat off. Now that you've posted this recipe, I'm thinking the order of combination was the problem I had.

Sorry, I should have mentioned I modified a step but I wasn't really thinking when I was writing the recipe down. I'd been adding fruit purées into the macaroons for extra flavour/colour (instead of food colouring), so to be able to better control my product I modified the steps, as well as the amounts (although I remembered to put the original amounts in the recipe I wrote down for everyone).

- Make meringue

- Dump TPT over meringue, fold in

- Add egg whites (smaller amount though)

- Add fruit purée and mix batter until I got proper consistency

For instance, we did a blueberry macaroon with lemon-curd filling. I replaced a bit of the almond powder with freeze dried blueberries (that we processed into a powder), and replaced some of the fresh egg whites with blueberry purée. Worked out pretty nice, the cookies themselves had huge flavour, went well with the lemon curd. Looked pretty nice too (baby-blue colour, perfect shape too).

Edited by Mikeb19 (log)
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This morning I made Sherry Yard's gingerbread macarons, recipe courtesy of the LA Times. The meringue is flavored with cinnamon, ginger and molasses. Filling consists of a not-very-sweet apple compote. Results were pronounced delicious! I also found the recipe very easy to work with.

gallery_10136_2514_63604.jpg

Edited by mukki (log)
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I cannot find any other kind of malasses except black strap?

What kind do you use with this one?

Can the recipe be found on LA times' web I would really like to try?

Thnks,

iii :smile:

Here is the LA Times recipe, but you might have to register to view it. The recipe actually calls for blackstrap molasses. I used whatever is available at Trader Joe's.

LittleIsland -- thanks! I've tried a few other macaron recipes, but this one yielded the prettiest results -- probably a result of LAT/Sherry Yard's clear instructions and learning from past mistakes (e.g., beating the egg whites until they were too stiff).

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Wow, thanks for such an immediate response.

Got a question here, kindly advise:

when putting the egg white bowl on hot water and whisk....this step is to heat up the white only...correct. We are not supposed to whip to certain stage of soft or stiff meringue, are we ( am i)?

Also, what is the result of the texture...doest it have air pocket?

Cannot wait to make this.

Thanks again.

iii :rolleyes:

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Wow, thanks for such an immediate response.

Got a question here, kindly advise:

when putting the egg white bowl on hot water and whisk....this step is to heat up the white only...correct. We are not supposed to whip to certain stage of soft or stiff meringue, are we ( am i)?

Also, what is the result of the texture...doest it have air pocket?

Cannot wait to make this.

Thanks again.

iii :rolleyes:

Yes, the hot water step is just to warm up the egg whites. I whisked them lightly while warming; I didn't use a thermometer, just heated till warm to the touch. Then, after removing the whites from the hot water bath, you whip to medium soft peaks.

As for your texture question, what stage are you referring to? After baking? The baked macarons didn't have any noticeable large air pockets -- they were just light and puffed. A thin, light crunch on the outside, with a slight chew on the interior. I've tried some macarons that have a large air pocket between the crust and interior, but these were not like that.

Edited by mukki (log)
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Learning to make macarons has become my most recent major project. I've turned out some good batches of chocolate macs, and I'd like to start experimenting with different flavors. It seems the filling can be reimagined in a variety of ways, so I'm more curious about the cookies themselves.

What are thoughts on food colorings? I'd prefer to stay away from McCormick's Red no. 40 etc., but I'd love to be able to get some of the crazy colors we see in pictures. I've looked at some options like natural food-derived colorings, which I'll probably try, and food color gels, which I don't want to use because they contain propylene glycol. I've seen color powders online but no ingredients were listed.

What about using liquids like extracts or oils to flavor them? What is the effect of adding liquids to the mix?

I'm curious about using other nuts, too. I know I read somewhere in this thread (probably from Patrick) about substituting half of the weight in almonds for another nut. Has anyone tried more than this? What were the results?

Thanks!

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Learning to make macarons has become my most recent major project. I've turned out some good batches of chocolate macs, and I'd like to start experimenting with different flavors. It seems the filling can be reimagined in a variety of ways, so I'm more curious about the cookies themselves.

What are thoughts on food colorings? I'd prefer to stay away from McCormick's Red no. 40 etc., but I'd love to be able to get some of the crazy colors we see in pictures. I've looked at some options like natural food-derived colorings, which I'll probably try, and food color gels, which I don't want to use because they contain propylene glycol. I've seen color powders online but no ingredients were listed.

What about using liquids like extracts or oils to flavor them? What is the effect of adding liquids to the mix?

I'm curious about using other nuts, too. I know I read somewhere in this thread (probably from Patrick) about substituting half of the weight in almonds for another nut. Has anyone tried more than this? What were the results?

Thanks!

Don't know about colourings but I can assure you that replacing the almond weight for weight with coco flour (ie ground coconut meat after oil has been pressed out) is not to be recommended. It soaks up all the moisture. I made something more akin to coconut macaroons, folks at work ate them, but they were little balls.

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with regard to color, paco torreblanca recommends using naturally derived colorants: dehydrated fruit and vegetable powders and etc.

there are a lot of these products out there (dehydrated fruits) that you can then pulverize to make a powder and then add it to the macaron mix.

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gallery_34671_3697_22930.jpg

My first proper attempt at macaroons. I added a couple of drops of bitter almond oil to the macaroons and filled with a bittersweet chocolate ganache made with grand marnier and some bitter orange oil.

I slipped a little adding the unbeaten egg white and added a bit too much so the magma flowed a little too easily. Next try I'll weigh out the egg white into a separate container so that I add the correct amount. I think I'll start them at 335 F for a few minutes then turn down a bit to prevent them getting quite as brown the next time around. They do have a bit of a space under their lids, which I hope will disappear if I get the viscosity correct.

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gallery_50901_4085_52777.jpg

These were my first successes. I used jgarner's recipe, and these turned out well. I'm going to keep trying different recipes to see which one I like best. I'm going to try nicolekaplan's Pierre Herme's method next (I didn't have a thermometer before). I'm also going to start experimenting with colors and flavors now that I'm more familiar with the recipes. Yay!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

hi Guys,

I tried making macaroons but they came out flat and with not foot,

I suspect my folding in the beaten egg whites with the remainder of ingredients may have been too much.

When one folds ingredients into beaten egg whites should the folding be as gentle as possible ? Is it more risky to fold too much and cause the egg whites to end up flat and not result in raising ?

Thanks,

L

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