Saturday, February 16, 2013

I've found the secret to not-hollow macarons ;D

Hi all! I am pretty sure all of you have had trouble with macarons...especially with the outsides looking all pretty, but the insides looking terrible and ghastly, like there is nothing inside (aka hollow). I've had that problem quite a few times, and it makes me mad! However, I recently took a professional macaron class, and now I have to say that I have no more hollows. :) See?
Red Velvet Macarons with a cream cheese filling & Mango Macarons with a Mango Swiss Meringue Buttercream

These were for 3 recent orders I had for Valentine's Day. I let my boyfriend try the mango one, and he LOVED it. He said the texture was perfect, and it melted in your mouth with a good amount of mango flavor. 

Previously, most of my macarons in the past when I began making them were quite hollow, or had large air pockets. In many tutorials on youtube, they do not show you how to incorporate the tant pour tant with the meringue correctly. My macaron teacher showed us how to correctly fold it so that there is no excess air in the batter. You fold the batter, scratch the bottom of the bowl a few times, and then turn the bowl to get better leverage over the whole batter. You repeat this a couple of times until you get batter that still has shape, yet flows very well like a liquid. If you tilt the bowl, it should flow down to that side with ease, but not with too much ease that it looks like water. If you pipe them out, they should slowly go down to a flat circle, not a big lump. Here is a comparison: 


This one is undermixed..a bit lumpy and doesn't flatten.

This one is perfect! Nice, flat, circles that do not spread too much.

After proceeding with this important step, make sure that you pop all the air bubbles you see after dropping the pans with a toothpick. 

One crucial item I bought recently was an oven thermometer! Seriously, you can't trust what your oven tells you...like that one friend you think is telling the truth, but is really screwing you over....

Anyways, I always preheated my oven to 300 degrees...as so it says on my oven. However, the macarons would always seem to deflate a lot when I took them out. Then I got the idea of "Hmm, maybe I should turn up the temperature and see if that helps". So I turned it up to 310, and voila! There were no hollows! What a difference 10 degrees makes. When I put my new oven thermometer in the oven and preheated it to 300 degrees, I noticed that the thermometer read somewhere between 270-280 degrees!!! That's not right at all. WAYY too low for the macarons' structure to set, and probably that's what caused all the fluffy yummy goodness of the interiors to fall to the bottom of the shells, making the shells as light as air. So this time I turned up the temperature to 305, and it came out with better shells, yet still some air pockets. I turned it up to 310, and the shells were perfect. Not browned on the tops at all! The temperature on the oven thermometer actually read 300 degrees this time. Oven temperature is a BIG BIG factor in determining how your macarons come out. 

Another trick that I learned in macaron class was to use an offset spatula to scrape all the macarons off the Silpat at one time. It saves you a lot of time, and destroyed shells. I used to have to pick them off with my hands, but that would sometimes end up with their little bottoms still on the Silpat. You just basically scrape through them and they come off cleanly!:) 

I also learned that you should rest the batter until they are firm to the touch. Not SLIGHTLY firm, but FIRM. If it's slightly firm, it still may crack in the oven. The best way to achieive this is a fan!:) And if you are baking on not-so-good quality baking sheets (like thin ones you buy at Ross) you should double-stack them. But if you are using good quality aluminum pans like Nordic Ware, no need to double stack!

Well, hope I helped you with some tips. I should post my own pictures sometime...haha


31 comments:

  1. Hi Natalie,
    Can you post the recipe for the mango macarons with swiss buttercream? It sounds sooo delicious. :)
    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Amy! Sure I can! I don't exactly have many pictures of it, but I will put up the recipe.:)

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    2. Thanks so much! I'm really excited to try it out!

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    3. No problem just let me know how it goes :)

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  2. I tried making macarons at least 5 times and pretty much failed each time. I was under mixing my batter without knowing it. Your blog is amazing! I'll let you know how mine turn out per your recipe.

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    1. Oh well I'm glad you know now :) Are you usually using the French meringue method?

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    2. Natalie,

      Sorry, just noticed you commented on my post. Yes, I was using French meringue method and failed each time! I wanted to ask you for another advice. I used your method for the first time without adding any coloring and the macarons turned out great! But the second time I followed your instructions and added some coloring, failed again! Any advise you can give me when using food coloring?

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    3. Ohh when did you add the coloring? I usually add it when I make the mass so that way I don't overmix :)

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    4. I did the same. But my macarons came out hard and hollow.

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    5. Hmm...are you using liquid or gel food coloring?

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    6. I used gel food coloring. I'll try again today and will let you know. Thanks for all your help!!

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    7. I must have been over mixing meringue because last night they turned out beautifully and not hollow!! Yeay!! I can't thank you enough!!

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  3. Hi Natalie, I also reside in the Bay Area. I am fairly new to making macarons and would end up with hollow ones as well. I just discovered your blog and will definitely put your tips to use! Thank you for posting up tips, recipes and photos for those of us who aren't able to take a macaron class!

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    1. Hi Satsukimei! That's cool :) you're welcome! I don't mind because I hate dealing with the issues that macarons have...it's such a picky thing. Lol compared to cookies and cupcakes that is

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  4. How long did you bake the macarons in the oven for?

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    1. I usually bake them for 12 minutes at 300 F. :)

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  5. those are very lovely macarons. i'm new at making them i've had success and mostly failures with it. i always use the french method because i saw this recipe that indicates the speed of the mixer, how many minutes and how many times to fold the mixture. i wanted to try using italian method but i never found a recipe that indicates all of that. i just don't wanna take the risk of trusting my instincts because i'm new at this. i was wondering if you know how much time i need to beat the egg whites before and after adding the sugar syrup?

    thank you in advance. i love your blog!

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    1. Thank you :) Wow that is very precise, I never really kept track of how many minutes and how many times to fold the mixture. I just go by instinct haha.

      I would say that it takes about 2-3 minutes on speed 4 to beat your egg whites while the sugar syrup is cooking. Then after you add the sugar syrup, it takes about 4-5 minutes for it to stiffen at speed 7. I usually just wait to mix the egg whites with the almond/powdered sugar while I'm waiting for the egg whites to stiffen. When I'm done with that, the meringue is most likely done. :) As for the number of folds, I'm not quite sure. It really depends on the strength of your folds and the number of times you punch the batter down. and thank you :D

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  6. Can you post the red velvet macaron recipe with the filling? :)

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    1. Sounds delicious!! I would love the recipe as well! :)

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  7. Great blog. I have been making Macarons for about 6 months, sometimes they turn out beautiful and sometimes I just want to pull my hair out. I have my 1st wedding order at the beginning of October so I made some last night to try out a new filling. I took all the appropriate steps, put them in the oven and not only did they stick to my silpat they had air pockets. I left them in for 18 minutes. Sometimes they stick sometimes they don't. I guess I'm going to have to use my thermometer before I bake them. Do you think my oven is throwing out uneven temps?

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    1. haha thank you Sheri :) Hmm do you use my recipe? & do you bake at 300? There's not enough information for me to answer your question lol

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  8. I was using a different recipe when I posted earlier. Sorry if I confused you. I do cook mine at 300. I will use your recipe and your method and let you know how they turn out.

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  9. HI.
    First off, I wanted to say thank-you! I have learned a lot about these temperamental cookies off of your website. Do you have any recommendations about a coffee recipe? im trying to see how much grams to put in and take away from the powdered sugar? Second, I was wondering if there could be reason why my pistachio macarons are perfect like they way you show them. When i tried to make a blueberry one the first batch came out hollow and the second batch cracked without feet. I was wondering if that could be from under resting it and under mixing the batter..

    I am using your recipes posted. just substituted blueberries.

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    1. Nevermind! I just saw the pictures from the top of this page about the difference in how the batter should look and my blueberry one looks like the undermixed batter! it looked identical!

      If you do have any recommendations though for the coffee macaron that would be awesome

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    2. I put at least 3-4 grams of coffee powder :)

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  10. Hi Natalie! I love the look of these macarons. I really love the macarons that have good feet but have really flat level tops like the red ones here. Did you learn any good tips about that or through your experience? For example, is it mostly about mixing the right amount of do the ingredient ratios play a big part in that too?

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  11. Hi Natalie!
    Ive tried making them many times, and each time they come out hollow:( I heard that overmixing the egg whites can cause hollow shells. Do you know how i can tell when the egg whites are ready?

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  12. Hi Natalie!

    What class did you take and where? I'm thinking about taking one!

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  13. Hi Natalie! I started my macaron adventure last summer and I still seek the perfect macaron. I've watched your vids and I just wanna say that your blog has been a major stepping stone for me to guide me in the right direction! Still seeking perfection but I'm almost there. Thanks for the guidance!!!

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