Monday, January 11, 2010

Macaron Mania!




It is clear that we are in the midst of a macaron craze.  Everywhere I look people are blogging about them, talking about them, eating them, making them, swooning (or frustrated) over "feet"...  The whole buzz has made me a little nervous about trying them myself. 



One thing is for certain, they are pretty.  I love the dainty frill (or foot) around the edge of the cookie and the colorful display is perfect for joyful celebrations. The time and effort put forth in baking them makes them truly special for gift-giving.  I've seen beautiful and elaborate packaging that appears to hold a diamond necklace or something of great value, but instead encases snugly packed macarons.

"I want that." I said to myself.

And so began my study.

I think I can confidently say that I have read nearly everything, everywhere (er, online) about the delicate process of macaron making.  I've been to the trusty Giver's Log and read the beginner's tutorial.  I've also been to David Liebovitz's page containing a valuable cache of links on the subject. Delving further into the madness, I visited the visually stunning  Tartelette, tartelette, tartelette with so vast a macaron knowledge that there's a macaron echo in here.

I used the recipe on MarthaStewart.com, and had success, but only because of the reading I did in others' blogs.  The key is in folding the batter.  I folded mine until I could pick up a large portion of the batter with my spatula, and it would run off in a thick ribbon into the bowl.  With less batter on your spatula it will glop off, rather than ribbon.  I did a ribbon test, and then a glop test (I apologize for my obvious lack of technical baking jargon).  As for the recipe, I followed each step in a very deliberate manner, double checking myself on each step.



These were my first.  I literally had my nose pressed to the oven glass the entire time they baked.  While I watched I had this constant  interal dialogue- "Is that a foot?  Hmm, no. Are they going to rise?  Do macarons rise? That's a foot, I think. Oh my gosh a foot!  That's a big foot.  Can a macaron foot be too big?"  The shameless geeking out went on and on. 



Just to make sure it wasn't beginner's luck or some fluke that these turned out so well, I made another batch this morning.  I followed the recipe (again) very deliberately, with the same ribbon/glop test, same sifting, same temp reduction/increase etc... 



This is my second batch.  I feel better knowing that I'm not giving you tips from my one and only batch ever.  The new batch is exactly the same as my last. Wanting to concentrate on the shells, I didn't make my own filling.  Instead I used a French black raspberry jelly from the market, and an apple jelly that my mother had made.



Notes & Tips:
  • Your egg whites need to be room temperature, and some say aged. Mine were aged 3 days inside the eggshell.
  • I did not make my own almond flour. I bought Hodgson Mill's at my local grocers.
  • Follow the recipe very carefully and exercise each step very deliberately.
  • At first, use short strokes to fold in the almond flour mixture to the eggwhites. Your batter will be very thick. (thicker than I expected!) Use bigger folds once incorporated.  Your mixture will begin to loosen.
  • Once mixed and in a pastry bag, your batter should just start to slowly come out of the tip. If it doesn't, squeeze it back into your bowl and fold a few more times.  If it runs then I'm sorry to say... back to square 1 (This valuable tip courtesy of Giver's Log)
  • If you're curious about the flourish atop of the apple filled macarons, that's just food coloring diluted in a little water and painted with a small, clean paintbrush.  Let dry 10 minutes before serving.




French Macarons

This recipe is for the shell portion of macarons. Recipe ...

See French Macarons on Key Ingredient.


This is a good recipe that requires full presence of mind.  I was definitely intimidated, and with good reason.  Bakers with skills that far exceed my talents have had macaron misfortune.  I'm so glad to be able to share my experience with you, and hope that I may be able to help in some way.

I enjoyed this, and maybe one day a macaron tutorial will be in SB's future. But still, I know I have a long way to go, and you have to walk before you can run.

37 comments:

April said...

They're perfect!!

The Blonde Duck said...

Those are so cute!

Mini Baker said...

soooo beautiful!

Mara... said...

Oh my goodness, those are beautiful. And I bet they tasted just as good! Thanks for all the tips, makes me want to try them out!!!

Sue Sparks said...

You are a NATURAL! Your macarons and photographs are STUNNING!!!

cookies and cups said...

oh wow. I am so not ready for those yet...I think I would stress my self out way too much!

Terri said...

wow...those look great...cannot believe it was your first time. It took me 8 times to get the right foot! I love the ones with orange brushed on them...looks like you just bought them from Dean and Deluca! Congrats! (I love Amberlee
s blog too!)

Megan said...

These pictures make me want to run into the kitchen and try again. Love the painted tops!

Ingrid said...

You did it! Awesome and those painted ones. Wow, you're already takingit to the next level.
~ingrid

Anonymous said...

Well done! I've wanted to try these for so long but intimidation has held me back. With these great tips I think I just might give them a shot! The painted tops are gorgeous.

Talita said...

Great tips! Those macarons looks so lovely!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

I'm jealous and a little pissed off! I still can't make macarons and I've decided I need someone to come show me, in person, before I'll try again!

Sue Sparks said...

Heather, I have something for you on my blog:)

tspegar said...

Ok!!! Join #Mactweets with us! You are a macaron star and I am thrilled to have found your blog! It's my new favorite!!!!!!

hannah! said...

i'm so envious of your attempt! i've failed twice and hence phobic about it :(

Anonymous said...

Great first effort. I think the surface is a little too lumpy. Apparantly you need to shop around for finer ground meal to solve this problem!!!!

moonglowgardens said...

Beautiful macarons! I, too, also use one of Martha's recipes though bake at 280F.

Creating Amazing Meals said...

How wonderful! I've becomed obsessed with macarons, too, and plan to bake them for Christmas in a variety of colors and flavors. Thanks for the great description & tips!

Anonymous said...

You write so wittingly and beautifully! I want to try some too!

Anonymous said...

I would just like you to know that I'm a failure at baking, everything I do comes out completely wrong. However, I just finished making these macarons exactly to your recipe, following every tip and they came out perfect! You are wonderful! Thank you for rekindling my baking dreams!

Online Generic Viagra said...

I think this would be an excellent Valentine's day dessert to share with someone special
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pumpercake said...

Your macarons are beautiful... you're so very talented.
After much internet research and a weeks work of preparations, I attempted your macarons (as this recipe was described by others as being the best, most straightforward..and with great tips!). I followed each step very carefully but they've not turned out. I've practiced with two different batches and both times I had the same problem. The shells don't crack or anything, and I get feet, but the feet rise only on one side of the cookie, making them completely lopsided, and then its like the 'guts' of the cookie spew out the side with the feet. In tears, I remove them from the oven to find that they're not even cooked all the way through.
I don't know if its an oven problem or a batter problem, but I'd love your input, suggestions, or any advice you might have for me. I hope to one day make mac's as beautiful as yours!

acheter levitra said...

SO many times I read stupid post but this time I must say i'm impressed! Well done! Cheers!

Amanda said...

yum yum yummmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!

Juice said...

Yo quiero probar tus lindos macarones! Que ricos!!!!

Elena said...

Thanks to your great advice, I made perfect macarons the first time around...who knew? I test filled the little sammies with anything I had in my pantry- nutella, PB&J, maple-pumpkin butter, and fluff. To die for! Thanks again!

Manny said...

can't wait to give them a try. with your tips i don't feel so intimidated to give it a go. Thanks!

Tram Luu said...

Your blog is so sweet & fun. I am obsessed over all your macaron posts. Do you have any tips for fixing a hollow macaron problem? Do you ever get a hollow mac? I can't tell from your pics because I don't seem to see any pics that show the cross section of your macaron. I have tried so many different techniques... playing with different oven temps, baking times, recipes... All hollow :( It drives me crazy. The only recipe that is not hollow for me is Lebovitz but it is so sugary & grainy from all the granulated sugar added to the egg whites. If you have any tips or secrets to share, please I beg of you! I may go insane trying batch after batch only to find hollow cookies.

Alexa Fishman said...

Alas, I envy your first and second attempt beautiful macarons
I tried this recipe and I'm not sure if it was the crazy heat and humidity today or if I over stiffened my egg whites a little (I think i broke the meringue) or both but my macs came out somewhat hollow and some of them cracked, although I got that problem to stop
and alas no feet!

But this is definitely a tasty recipe, not too sweet or grainy! I shall just have to try many many more times (eating the reject macs isn't so bad ;) )

30andlearning said...

I have tried macarons several times before and your recipe is the best in my opinion. Like others have said, not too sweet or grainy. My batch had feet for the FIRST time. I almost cried. lol. My issue, however, was that the shells were super soft/fragile after they cooled. So much so that i ended up damaging most of them when I was trying to put in the filling. Any advice? Thanks so much for the great recipe and blog! Leesah

Anonymous said...

My favorite cupcakes are ice cream cone cupcakes. They are actually baked in the ice cream cones. usually use confetti cake mix with chocalate or vanilla icing with sprinkles.
calvert82@att.net

Anonymous said...

Heather,
I tried the macarons with great success thanks to your great instructions. I was wanting to make these for a shower, do you know if the recipe doubles or triples well?

Lyerin Vale said...

Hello!!!What a beautiful blog! :D
I'm Italian and I really want to try this recipe but I have a problem with cups and tablespoons.. could you please (please, please, please :) let me know the same recipes in g ?
Thank you so much!
Best wishes!

Valentina

Anonymous said...

I had a silly question. Just curious when you say age the egg whites. So do I age it in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a few days?

Heather Baird said...

Hi! Not silly at all! I aged them, unbroken (in shells) on the counter top. Since I've been making them for a while now, I can't say this makes a whole lot of difference in the end result. Just as long as the whites are at room temperature.

thanks for asking!
h

Can said...

Hi Heather,

I have a quick question, did you let your macarons till they form a shell? Your recipe mentioned 15 minutes resting period and I'm wondering if it's enough time to form a shell. Perhaps, for this recipe you don't need to let the batter form a shell before baking?

Thank you :)

Heather Baird said...

15 minutes resting/drying time is usually plenty of time for these to form a shell, but if humidity is high then you might need to let them stand longer - 30 minutes or so. In my working experience, this recipe does need resting/drying time to form a shell.

Hope this helps!

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