Friday, March 22, 2013

How to Get Rid of Hollow Macarons...For GOOD!

Hi everyone, I know that hollow macarons are probably the most frustrating errors a baker can make while baking macarons. So this is why I have dedicated so much time and effort trying to rid my batches of the ugly, dreadful hollows. Now, I can even determine if a macaron is hollow just by looking at the outside of it.

The feet, or the spongy, airy ruffle at the bottom of the cookie, are what give it away. Here I can give you some examples of what gives away the hollow.

1. Flat, straight foot
(courtesy of thimbleanna.com & vivianmacaron.com)

This macaron above is hollow. As you can see, there are no air spaces that let the cookie rise up and become fluffy. All of the fluffiness has sank to the bottom while baking, and that is why the foot is straight with no holes. So when you bite into it, the insides are chewy since there is no fluffiness. 

2. Tall, lopsided feet
Tall feet means that most of the interior of the cookie has exploded out of the shell, causing the insides to be hollow. Also, there is no air space between the shell and the foot, so that means it will be hollow, Lopsided macarons are definitely a sign of hollowness.

3. Undermixed batter (nipples)

These cookies also have tall feet, and as you can see, there are little nipples sticking up at the top of the cookies. This means that the batter was pretty undermixed, and that plus the tall feet most definitely will make your cookie hollow.

So, what makes a good macaron then?

1. Short, ruffly feet
Short, ruffly feet indicate that you have made a fluffy macaron. The insides have not spewed outside the shell nor have sank to the bottom. 

2. Air space between foot and shell
Air space between the foot and the shell also indicate that you've made a good macaron. You can look inside this air space and see that the meringue has turned fluffy. 

I noticed that most macarons that are hollow are usually undercooked. This can easily be fixed by cooking it a bit more, and making sure you deflate the air in the batter correctly. Here is a video showing you how to do it.




This makes a big difference in whether your macarons turn out hollow or not. Air in the batter contributes to hollows. Make sure you get every single area of the batter while scratching the bottom.

To get rid of hollows aside from the batter making, you need to make sure your oven is the right temperature. Raising up the temperature a little higher than 300 (my recipe) if your oven thermometer says it is not actually 300 will help. I bake on the middle-high rack, since my heat is mostly from the top. I use a convection oven as well. You also need to bake them a little longer, like 13 minutes. This will prevent hollows and ensure a stable inside. However, the trade off is that you will have crispier macarons than normal. If you have a high-moisture filling, it will disappear with a day or two of maturation. If you have a low-moisture filling like buttercream, you can additionally brush the bottoms of the macarons with milk or whatever will go with your flavor, like jam or coffee. This will help maturation proceed faster, and your once-cripsy macarons will turn into fluffy, soft, chewy confections.

THIS IS FOOLPROOF. If you follow all these steps and analyze your macarons' feet, you will defeat the hollow problems!:)

Hope this helped.<3

67 comments:

  1. Great info. I have a question tho, what causes the "flat foot"? I hadn't made macarons in so long, about a year and now all my batches are coming out like this. I've tried cooking them longer, but it doesn't help. Could it be that I'm not doubling up my baking sheets?

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    1. Hey Vivian, I think the flat foot is caused by not deflating air out of the batter properly. The air inside the batter is pushing the macaron's insides down to the bottom, which causes the flat foot. I never double up my baking sheets anymore, so I don't think that would be the case. Did you watch my video?

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    2. yep, I did- my meringue has not been getting as stiff as i'd like it to be- i get peaks, but soft peaks. Might try beating them more. I actually just finished making a batch and i got a better foot, but the macs came out so incredibly weird. the inside was arched upward in the same shape as the outer shell- so instead of deflating and collapsing.. its floating. very weird. I am gonna have to make another batch. Ill keep you posted and see how things develop.

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    3. Do you use a stand or hand mixer? Oh i see are you using parchment or silpat?

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    4. Hi natalie! Does it really matter if i use hand mixer instead of the planetary stand mixer? And i don't have silpat so i'm currently using the parchment paper. My macaron has hollow too :(

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  2. Hello Natalie, thanks for your post..
    I have tried making macarons using italian meringue method, because my country humidity very high, i think this method is the most works for me. I let my macarons sit for a while before baking to avoid cracks. It turn out beautifuly at around 160 C . But i think my macarons are 'tall loopsided feet' type, it has hollows in it. Very frustating. I tried to raising up the temp but it wont help, my macarons started to crack because of the heat. Do you have another suggestion about hollow macarons? i already tried to cut the macaronage time and egg whites beating time.

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    1. Hi, no problem :) Sounds like you're not folding the batter correctly, because if you leave too much air in the batter in the center, you will get the tall lopsided feet. Did you try watching my video about how to fold macaronage?

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    2. Perhaps when you're piping the batter you are introducing too much air.

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  3. Hello! I was wondering if you are giving personal class in baking these goodies. I would love to take it from you. I live close to Bay Area and would very much love to personally learn from you.

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    1. Hi Grace, I am not giving personal classes at this time because I don't know how I would do it XD where are you from?

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  4. Hi Natalie, was wondering if you can offer more tips on the batter folding part...how do I know when my batter is ready? The video is great but I'm not quite sure how to judge the flow of my batter from the spatula. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Hi there!

      Okay well I usually don't time or count how many strokes...lol I just judge by either putting the bowl to the side to see how it flows. Or I pick up the spatula and if it falls down pretty quickly and leaves ribbons or texture in the batter, then it is done. It should be flowing but not runny. Thick but not stiff. Do you get what I mean? Probably I would compare it to a thick pancake or cake batter.

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    2. Will try it this weekend and let you know. Thank you!

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  5. Hey Natalie, sadly. I always have hollow macarons and I tried baking them at 13min 300F. In fact, my first tray that I made right now are hollow and I put about 2 more minutes onto the second tray thats baking right now. I hope they turn out okay ):

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    1. Hi Victoria, are you using my recipe?

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  8. Natalie, I can't tell you how EXCITED I am to have found this post. I've baked macarons about seven times trying to change little things each time to see if the results improved and while I went from this: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v92/lulikins/Photo%20Album/Food/MacawrongsB_zps93f557e2.jpg to this: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v92/lulikins/Photo%20Album/Food/MacawrongsC_zps3639c2bb.jpg I never got the inside right. It's ALWAYS super hollow.

    I googled for hours and hours during that period (7 doesn't sound like much, but I did a lot of research inbetween batches and compiled a file of tips!) and it was always extremely hard to find detailed and useful posts on hollow macarons.

    I'm studying to be a pastry chef now and I was looking forward to learning how to bake proper macarons, but my professor turned out to be pretty lenient with them and said hollow macarons were "normal". That's when I lost all hope I'd ever perfect these. If professionals didn't care, how was I going to find out what I was doing wrong?

    AND THEN I FOUND THIS POST! I can't wait to try your tips, I do really really hope this is the solution to my hollow woes ;)

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    1. Congrats to you studying to be a pastry chef!! I've wanted to do that but my parents disagree until I get a "real" degree. Lol but kudos to you for that!

      & WHAT?? I can't believe your professor said hollow macarons were "normal". My teacher said that isn't a good macaron. haha this is how I learned to make them not hollow!

      Just curious do you use the french or italian method?

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    2. Yeah, he obviously can't be bothered with macarons, so he's of no help! I mean, sure you can bake a flat sponge, but it's not a proper sponge if there's no air in it. He seems to be happy if the macaron looks pretty on the outside.

      I've been trying to master the french method, I've read about the italian one, but I feel like if I can do french, I CAN DO ANYTHING. Haha.

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    3. Hi Luli, how did you go with the hollowness?

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  9. I have a question about the almond flour to meringue ratio. Ever recipe i have seen tells you to measure out your almond flour THEN sift it then mix it. For those of you familiar with this process you know that almost half of your almond flour (with a good sifter) is too large to go into your macaron mix. So do you measure out 1 cup of unsifted and just use what falls through your sifter or do you want to use an whole cup of pre sifted almond flour?

    I get my almond flour from Whole Foods and spend quite a bit of time pre sifting. I have containers of fine and course almond flour. I use the course stuff for other recipes. Is it safe to assume that the method i have been using is correct? Sorry for such long post. This has just been bothering me and no one seems to know the answer to it.

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    1. Ryan-
      That's a really good question. I too had a hard time finding the answer. The answer is sift first then weigh. Otherwise you'll never have a consistent amount of almond flour in your macs. Also, if you process the flour in a food processor with the sugar for a couple of minutes before you sift, you'll have a whole lot less left in your sifter and your cookies will be smoother and glossier.

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  10. Dear Natalie- Thank you so much for sharing your recipes. I was wondering about the pistachios in your pistachio version. Are these the usual "roasted with salt" kernals typically found in stores or are they salt-free? Thanks!
    - Brian

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    1. Hi no problem, I use ones with salt because it evens out the sweetness :)

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    2. I just made a few dozen pistachio. I use shelled, raw, unsalted. they used to sell them at the Whole Foods i go to but now they only sell them in the shell. Its a ton of work. You should blanch them quickly in hot water then throw them into a blender/food processor to make the pistachio paste. Then put them into a white chocolate ganache. plenty of recipes out there for pistachio paste. I kinda wing it and it always turns out great.

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  11. I'm still getting hollows. Super frustrating. no idea what i'm doing wrong. I have tried every tip offered here and other places. They still taste great but cant seem to get rid of the hollow.

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  12. Hi Natalie!
    Im soo frustrated as well, I am doing absolutely everything right (in my mind lol) and they are still turning out hollow and have lopsided feet. this is only when I use the Italian Meringue recipe though, when I use the French they look pretty but are also still hollow. I did use your recipe. Help me Natalie haha what would you suggest??

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    1. Hmm maybe you are resting them too long? That's why they get lopsided and are probably a bit undermixed.

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  13. Hi Natalie!
    I come from a hot and humid country so drying these macarons are usually a pain. Do you think it is okay for me to dry them in the oven? I could get the feet but they are quite small and i notice the macaron do not rise as high. How do you get short ruffly feet for your macarons?
    Thanks!

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    1. Hello! You can probably dry them in the oven at a very low temp but I am not sure how that would work. I don't exactly know how the short ruffly feet come about...it's a mystery. Most of the time I get the air space between the foot and shell.

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  14. honest question...what is the point of the meringue (which I always assumed was to make things fluffy) if you have to deflate it?

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  15. Because you want a little air in there to make it rise but not so much that it'll be crispy like a meringue cookie.

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  16. hi! thanks for this great information! i have been adoring macarons for the longest! i have a recipe but im so scared to try it out!especially, since everybody who makes them says they always turn out hollow,cracked on the suface,not round but squared or some other shape! etc. etc.so i guess my biggest fear is me messing up with the batter! any ways to avoid that!?

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    1. Hi Ariana, you should try it out sometime!:) once you get it right, it's really a rewarding experience. For mixing the batter, just go slow and don't fold too much or too little. Just enough so that it drops from the spatula, but not too fast that it's liquid. You can always check your batter before mixing the spatula again.

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  17. Hi Natalie! I love your site! :) I have been using the French method and always have hollows. I am going to try your recipe tomorrow. :) Is the Italian method more reliable with consistent results? Thanks!

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    1. Hi there, thank you!:) Italian method is pretty consistent but I like the Laduree recipe much better since it is less sweet. :)

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  18. Hi Natalie, Thank you for your blog very informative. My question, is there a way for me to split the batter into 3 parts so I can color them differently?
    How do I go about that without ruining the consistency of the batter.
    Thanks for your time.

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    1. Hi Ann, yes if you would just weigh out the total meringue and divide that number in thirds. You would also divide the almond/powdered sugar in thirds and add the respective amount of meringue.

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  19. Hi Natalie, I too am having an issue with hollow macs. I either get small feet or flat feet. Am I over mixing my batter? Or my meringue? This is so frustrating but I refuse to give up. Your macarons look so fluffy and delicious inside.. I just want to experience the same!

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    1. Hi there which recipe are you using? because many recipes produce different feet.

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    2. I've been using your recipe. I can't seem to figure out what doing wrong.

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  20. Hi natalie! Does it really matter if i use hand mixer instead of the planetary stand mixer? And i don't have silpat so i'm currently using the parchment paper. My macaron has hollow too :(

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  21. Hi Natalie,

    Just wanna let you know that I enjoy reading your advises very much. I sell macarons too and due to LA's humidity, my macarons didn't turn out so well and I've been using the French meringue. Guess it's time to divorce the French and pick up the Italian! Haha. Thank you again!

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  22. Thanks for sharing your video. That helps a lot!

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  23. I tried the Italian method and the batter is so sticky and hard to mix and the macarons turn out tasting like crunchy chewy meringue candies not fluffy and soft and pillow like the pictures you have is my sugar syrup too hot? I use a candy thermometer.

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  24. Hi Natalie,
    I had several years of success with macarons using the French method and an electric hand mixer. This Christmas I got a kitchenaid stand mixer and all my macarons have been failures ever since. Of course my first thought is that is has to do with the meringue and the mixer, but the most common problem has been the one on this page, the hollow macaron with larger feet and chewy insides. I have tried your suggestions - being very careful about the air in the macronage, etc., and the temperature ( I have a convection oven and In the past had success with 285F for 14 minutes. Now I have tried so many test batches at all different temperatures and nothing works. I am so disappointed - I was "famous" for my macarons among everyone who knew me and I cannot make them turn out any more. Do you think it is as simple as going back to the hand mixer? I have not tried it because it just does not make sense to me, but using the standing mixer, I cannot "feel" the meringue and I don't know if it's right, despite using all the tricks of when it's supposed to be ready Any thoughts?

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    1. Hi Sheri,
      Just wondering, did you manage to rectify your issue? IF so, how?

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  25. Hi Natalie, I have made some chocolate macarons with 80% dark chocolate, I have a nice foot, but little rise and very gooey in the middle. Can you help?

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  26. Hi Natalie recently i baked french vanilla macarons and baked for 15 minutes under a 150 deg. but everytime when i take them out from the oven, the foot will crumble and become ruffles. any advices?

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  27. Hi. Please help me. How do I get macarons to be fluffy inside? The inside always settles at the bottom, thus creating air pocket. They look perfect but once you bit into it , its hollow. I hate it. I'm going crazy. Lol I don't know if I should be deflating the batter. I use the French techniques. I bake with silpat, bake at 315. Thank you.

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    1. I'm going nuts too!! I follow step for step each time. They look perfect when I put them in. . While in the oven my shell looks perfect and my feet blow out and get all flat!!":*( my fiance thinks I'm a crazy cookie lady now! :

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  28. Oops I forgot to mention that I do deflate batter and bang the pan a lot. Then pop the air bubbles. But I still get air pockets. No fluffy interior. Do you think I'm using too much meringue! I use
    75galmond flour, 75g p sugar, 55g eggwhites, 35 caster sugar.

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  29. Oops I forgot to mention that I do deflate batter and bang the pan a lot. Then pop the air bubbles. But I still get air pockets. No fluffy interior. Do you think I'm using too much meringue! I use
    75galmond flour, 75g p sugar, 55g eggwhites, 35 caster sugar.

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  30. Omg. I had my 4th batch come out almost perfect, so I thought! ! My shell was perfect and the bottoms were flat and swollen! Please help. My fiance is beginning to think I'm crazy! !! Lol also I live in high altitude!

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  31. My macaron came out with no feet whatsoever and a fully hollow inside ;_; any tips on this situation?

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  32. My macaron came out with no feet whatsoever and a fully hollow inside ;_; any tips on this situation?

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    1. Hmm..I suppose you overmixed the batter or didn't let it dry long enough?

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  33. I couldn't see the video :(
    is it anywhere else, like YouTube, where I can watch it?

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  34. Hi Natalie

    My macarons are always hollow. I've followed videos religiously about folding, but nothing changes. I've tried all different temps between 130 and 160 degrees, different trays in the oven, different lengths of baking time.. always hollow!! Any idea what it could be?

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  35. I couldn't see the video either :( I will not play in the USA. It says that Victor Entertainment is not available in my country.

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  36. Dear Natalie, It is now 2016 and you're probably not checking this any more. But I just want to say a big fat thank you for this blog. It's solved by hollowness problem after lots and lots of fail batches. So, THANK YOU!. ^__^
    My problem now seems to be to get fillings of the right moisture content so that my macs combine well with them to give the right texture. ����

    Cheers!

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  37. Dear Natalie, It is now 2016 and you're probably not checking this any more. But I just want to say a big fat thank you for this blog. It's solved by hollowness problem after lots and lots of fail batches. So, THANK YOU!. ^__^
    My problem now seems to be to get fillings of the right moisture content so that my macs combine well with them to give the right texture. ����

    Cheers!

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  38. Hi Natalie... I really wish your video was visible in the US :(. Is there another platform you have it on outside of youtube?

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  39. Dear Natalie, I had the same problem even though I have tried so many attempt and thought about giving up on baking macarons. Finally, I found out that my meringue was too thin.

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