Top Tips for making Macarons

If you’re thinking about making macarons, then you are in the right place, because these are my top tips for making great macarons every time. If you follow these tips, you won’t go wrong. The first time you make macarons will of course be a little stressful, but the reward of successfully making these delicate, sweet meringue shells is a great feeling!! And you will get hooked! (don’t say i didn’t warn you!!)

Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour at least 3 times because you want to get rid of any bigger lumps so that your macaron shells are as smooth as possible.

Use your eggs at room temperature. Egg whites seem to whip up better when they are not cold. You can separate your eggs when they’re cold and then leave them out at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Before adding the egg whites to your mixing bowl, wipe the bowl and mixing attachments with some vinegar to make sure it is clean. This is because egg whites shouldn’t come into contact with anything oily otherwise they might not whip up like they should.

If you’re using the french meringue method to make your macarons, add either a teaspoon of vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar to make your meringue more stable.

When adding in sugar to meringue, add it slowly and mix well between each addition, this is because you don’t want to deflate all the air you are whipping in to the egg whites.

If you use the Italian Meringue method to make your macaron shells, then you need a thermometer. Invest in one and you will use it for a long time, but if you don’t have a thermometer it’s pretty difficult to get the sugar syrup right without one.

Invest in a digital scale! You can use this for all of your baking, not only macarons and today most recipes are in gram measurements, because it is more accurate as cup measurements can really vary from person to person.

If you want to add coloring to the meringue, it is best to use gel or powder food coloring and the best time to add it is once your meringue is at medium peaks. This is because liquid food coloring can change the consistency of the batter.

For both french and italian meringue method macarons, your meringue should be whipped to stiff peaks to give you the most stable meringue possible.

When mixing your meringue with the dry ingredients, you don’t have to be too careful. You want to actually press the batter onto the side of the bowl. This is called ”macaronage” and is the process of actually deflating the meringue slightly while mixing together. This is what will give you full macaron shells and not make them hollow. You can watch how I do this in my 2 macaron video tutorials below.

Italian Meringue Method

French Meringue Method

Be careful to not under mix or over mix your macaron batter. This takes practice and patience, but once you know what you are looking for, it gets easier every time you make macarons. You want the batter to be thick enough to not run all over the place, but thin enough to pipe into a circle and so that it settles into a neat little disc with no peaks or bumps on top.

And don’t forget to tap your trays once you have piped all your macarons. This releases any air bubbles and you can use a skewer or tooth pick to pop them.

The last tip is to let your macaron shells sit out at room temperature to form a dry skin before baking. Some people don’t do this, but I prefer it. This can take anything from 30 minutes to 1 hour. If it seems as if they are not drying, you can open your oven and put the fan on (without any temperature) so that the air from the oven helps them to for the skin on top. , They are ready for baking when you can run your finger along the tops and is completely dry and mat.

I really hope that you find these tips useful, because they make the process of baking macarons a whole lot easier! Macarons are always intimidating for beginners and yes they might not be amazing the first time (or they just might be – beginners luck!!), but I encourage anyone wanting to try them to just go for it! You have everything you need to give them a go – this list, my recipes and video tutorials to walk you through the process!

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram when you make your macarons – https://www.instagram.com/bakewithgen/?hl=en

FRENCH MACARONS

Making french macarons can seem very intimidating and don’t get me wrong, they can be tricky to get right, but they really don’t have to be so scary to attempt. I think I can speak for anyone who has ever made macarons and say that we probably all failed on our first attempt, if not the second and third too, but we all start at the same place. The other thing with macarons is that you can be really great at making them, but then one day you make a batch and they just flop! It will happen to even the best of the best!!

I remember my first time making these…I was so nervous that I looked like a headless chicken running around the kitchen! Where’s the almond flour, has the meringue started, when do I need to mix the eggs in, how do I know the batter is not over mixed or under mixed, Oh no I lost count of how many times I’ve stirred the batter!! (just kidding, I’ve never counted how many times to mix the batter, to me that’s just plain old crazy!)

But, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get these delicious little shells done right the first time, but like many things in life, it takes time, patience, practice and lots of PATIENCE!

Firstly, there are 2 methods to making macarons. One option is to use a simple french meringue and the other is to use a more complicated, but achievable, italian meringue.

I will give you the recipes and methods for both, but for this post, I’m going to show you how to make macarons easily, using the french meringue method. So let’s get to it!!

French Macarons using French Meringue Method

Essentials you will need:

  • A stand mixer is really helpful to have, but a hand mixer will work too
  • A scale is preferable as precise measurements are better, but you can achieve great macarons without one and using your cup measurements
  • Sieve
  • Spatulas
  • 2 Bowls to separate the eggs (keep the egg yolks to use in another great dessert)
  • 2 bowls for the dry ingredients
  • 1 large mixing bowl for the french meringue

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g (1Β½ cups) Almond Flour
  • 130g (1 cup) Icing/Powdered Sugar
  • 100g Egg Whites (3 medium sized eggs)
  • 90g (Β½ cup) White Sugar
  • Food Coloring (optional, use gel or powder coloring for best results)

HOW TO MAKE FRENCH MACARONS USING FRENCH MERINGUE:

  1. Prepare 2 baking trays with baking paper or a silicone mat (your preference), I like using baking (parchment) paper. You can print out a template from the internet to place under your baking paper and this will give you a guide when piping your macarons.
  2. Measure out all your ingredients before you start mixing anything.
  3. Start by sifting the almond flour and icing sugar at least 3 times. You are looking to get rid of any big pieces of almonds and don’t push them through the sieve, throw them away rather. Your macaron shells will be nice and smooth if you don’t have big pieces of almond in your batter.
  4. Once you have sifted your dry ingredients, set them aside and start whisking the meringue.
  5. Whisk the meringue until soft peaks form and then add the white sugar to the meringue a tablespoon at a time. You will hear and feel when the sugar dissolves and that is when you add the next spoonful of sugar. You want stiff peaks so that your meringue is stable and ready for mixing. Here is a video from Martha Stewart that shows you the different stages of meringue.
  6. You can add food coloring to your meringue. Ii would advise adding it once you have added all your sugar, just before your meringue is ready.
  7. Now comes the mixing part. Add half of your dry ingredients into the meringue and combine well. At first it seems as though it doesn’t want to incorporate, but keep mixing, being gentle. You can watch how I fold the dry ingredients into the meringue here on my video.
  8. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and fold in. You want to push some of the air out of the meringue, by pressing the batter around the sides of the bowl and alternating this with folding and scraping. You will get the hang of it after some practice. Keep checking for readiness while after a few mixes.
  9. How do you know when your batter is ready? Again, check out my video to see a visual of this, but when the batter can form a figure of 8 without breaking and the batter ‘ribbons’ off the spatula. It shouldn’t be runny as then you’ve over mixed and shouldn’t be too stiff as then you’ve under mixed. I assure you, this all comes with time and practice. After a few times of making these, you will know exactly when it’s ready.
  10. Now you can pour your batter into a piping bag with a round piping tip and pipe your macaron shells onto your baking trays.
  11. The final step before baking is to tap the trays on a flat surface to release any air bubbles, (see video) you can pop them if they are quite large with a toothpick and leave them to rest until they form a skin. You should be able to run your finger across the macaron shell without it being sticky at all. After about 20 minutes of them resting, preheat your oven to 150Β°C/300Β°F.
  12. Finally, you can bake your macarons for 12 to 15 minutes. This time all depends on your oven, so you will know when they are ready when they release easily from the paper or mat. If it feels like they want to stick and are not coming off clean, then continue baking a minute at a time until they come off easily.
  13. When they are done baking, take them off the trays, leaving them on the paper or mat and let them cool completely.

Match your shells up so that they are the same size and fit onto each other well (you don’t want one big shell on the bottom and a small one on top). You can now add any filling you like and there are many, many options. My favorite macaron fillings are american buttercream (vanilla, chocolate, rainbow colored), ganache (white, milk or dark chocolate) or a zingy homemade lemon curd.

If you make these macarons, please let me know how they turn out and you can even tag me in your Instagram posts or stories and you can follow me on Facebook too!

If you want to see how French Macarons are made using the Italian meringue method, then be sure to watch my video! Happy Baking!!