Perfect Macarons

Perfect Macarons | With Lovely,

I know I was pretty excited about my last batch of macarons, but these tips from pastry chef Hilary Freeman of The Sugar Studio really helped me take my macarons from passable to perfection.

Crack-free shells? Check! Lovely little feet on every one? Check! Sprinkles and gold dust? Check! (I know that last one’s not really a requirement, but it certainly makes them pretty!)

How to Make Perfect Macarons | With Lovely,

15 Easy Tips for Perfect Macarons

  1. Use almond flour, NOT almond meal (that stuff you can get at Trader Joe’s). This is a game changer and is absolutely necessary to make smooth, delicate shells. It’s not quite as easy to find, but it’s 100% worth the extra bit of effort. 
  2. Use baker’s sugar(you can find it at Safeway). If you use normal white sugar, granules may not melt and can cause cracks by drawing heat to themselves.
  3. Grind almond flour and powdered sugar together, then sift through a fine mesh sieve to make sure there aren’t any lumps. If you grind the almond flour alone, it will turn into almond butter.
  4. Add powdered egg whites (not meringue powder). It helps make a sturdier batter that will hold up better.
  5. Make sure your mixing bowl is clean. Any residual fat can sabotage your meringue. You can wash the bowl with vinegar to be extra sure there’s no residue from those delish cookies you made the other day.
  6. Measure everything, including the egg whites, using a kitchen scale.
  7. Color mattersRed and purple add moisture, which can make your macarons sticky, so you may want to avoid them while you’re learning. If you want to go white, add a bit of titanium dioxide (otherwise they’ll brown in the oven). Whatever color you choose, add it after you’ve whipped your meringue to ensure the color stays true.
  8. Perfect your folding. Under-folding the macaronage (aka macaron batter) will result in too-puffy macarons, while over-folding can create hard, flat ones. To perfect your folding, use a wide bowl and a rubber (or silicone) spatula. Start with the bowl at 12 o’clock and flip the spatula over while turning the bowl, at an angle, to 6 o’clock. Make sure you don’t have any unincorporated flour or meringue on your bowl or spatula.
  9. Use a template and pipe at a 90° angle, squeezing until ending with a quick walk-around to release. This will ensure your macarons are even.
  10. Tap from the bottom. Hold the baking sheet with one hand and tap the bottom of the pan firmly in a few places with the other, making sure to tap below each section of macarons. Then do one final tap on the counter. Tapping removes bubbles, and tapping from the bottom helps ensure you don’t miss any.
  11. Use an oven thermometer. The one built into your oven isn’t always totally accurate. If it’s too hot, your shells will crack. If it’s too cool, they may not develop a foot.
  12. Make sure they don’t wiggle. After your macaron shells have been in the oven for 7 minutes, check them often by gently placing your finger on top and wiggling it back and forth. If the top of the macaron moves while the foot stays in place, they’re not done yet. 
  13. Test a sacrificial macaron (or two or three) to make sure it’s not sticky on the bottom.
  14. Don’t remove the shells until they’re completely cool. You can pop them in the freezer to speed up the cooling process or help remove shells that stick at room temperature.
  15. Refrigerate your macarons for 2-3 days before serving. I know it’s hard to wait, and I won’t tell if you want to sneak one or two as soon as you assemble them, but this is vital for getting that infused flavor and slightly-chewy-on-the-inside texture you’ll find in pastry shop macarons (they never sell them fresh out of the oven!). Just make sure to store them in a tupperware or a pastry box wrapped in seran wrap so they don’t taste like fridge (I hate when that happens!).

How to Make Perfect Macarons | With Lovely,

Bonus: 5 Decorating Tips

  1. Paint with edible gold dust mixed with a drop of vodka.
  2. Top with sprinkles. You can use piping gel to make them stick, either to the entire top or just a stripe, dot, heart, or monogram,
  3. Make a design in the shells before baking by making a second color of macaronage and piping it on top of your unbaked shells in whatever shape or pattern you like, using a small decorating tip.
  4. Brush on some pearl glaze to give them that sheen you see in the pastry shops. 
  5. Make a mini macaron cake, like this one.

 

With Lovely,

K

PS: Do you have any other macaron-making tips? Please share them in the comments section below! 

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13 Comments on Perfect Macarons

  1. andrew
    AugAug/ThuThu/2013 at 12:31 am (4 years ago)

    i have tried every which trick and i only managed to get nice macs once. all other attempts were a failure. even when the batter is just right, it seems that my oven has hot spots and cooks one side faster than the other. i stopped making macs because its too expensive for ruined batches. i might try again one day….who knows.

    Reply
    • With Lovely,
      AugAug/ThuThu/2013 at 2:29 am (4 years ago)

      Spotty ovens can definitely make things tricky! I’d try making them at a friend’s place (with an oven thermometer)

      Reply
  2. M
    DecDec/ThuThu/2013 at 11:16 am (3 years ago)

    How did you paint the far back macaron with the gold dust? And is there a substitute I can use instead of vodka?

    Reply
    • With Lovely,
      DecDec/FriFri/2013 at 2:20 am (3 years ago)

      For the far back macaron, I painted the entire top with the gold dust. You can substitute any clear extract for the vodka (but it will add a bit of flavor, as you might guess). Hope that helps!

      Reply
  3. habead
    NovNov/MonMon/2014 at 10:25 pm (2 years ago)

    do you bush the gold dust or any marking on while the Macarons are still in the oven?

    Reply
    • With Lovely,
      DecDec/WedWed/2014 at 10:50 am (2 years ago)

      Gold dust and other decorations/markings are generally added after the macarons are baked/cooled, unless you are making the marking/pattern with other colors of macaron batter, in which case you would want to do that before baking!

      Reply
  4. Sarah
    MarMar/ThuThu/2015 at 7:03 am (2 years ago)

    Hello,
    I think my macarons look ok, but they do not have feet. All attempts all don’t, but they look ok. What could I be possibly be doing wrong?

    Reply
  5. Yon
    MarMar/SunSun/2015 at 5:33 am (2 years ago)

    How do you get pastel colored macaron without browning it in the oven?

    Reply
  6. Kim
    NovNov/TueTue/2015 at 6:17 pm (1 year ago)

    Do you add the Titanium to the batter or to the meringue? I always have problem when making white color because their always turn out somehow brown. Thank you!

    Reply
  7. kathy le
    DecDec/TueTue/2015 at 12:41 am (1 year ago)

    Which brand of food coloring that you use to bring that nice pink color?

    Reply
  8. Minahil
    JanJan/WedWed/2016 at 11:05 am (1 year ago)

    Should the upper and lower element of the oven be on while preheating and baking the macarons?

    Reply
  9. Maria
    AprApr/SatSat/2016 at 3:08 am (11 months ago)

    Can i use the titanium dioxide to white macarons only? And how much do i use?

    Reply
  10. Maria
    AprApr/SatSat/2016 at 3:11 am (11 months ago)

    I was having a huge problem making a perfect white macarons coz they always end up brown. Thanks to you now i can try and perfect my white macarons.

    Reply

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