I Need A Macaron Expert Please! Pics Included In Post.

Baking By Nadiaa Updated 22 Jan 2014 , 5:55am by JWinslow

Nadiaa Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 4:35am
post #1 of 25

Hi there all of you :) I've been away from CC for a little while, I've been busy working on my recipes and having fun with cupcakes and things! I've decided to try my hand at macarons, but I'm having a couple of problems. I hope someone can help!


I'm using Bravetart's recipe, she makes it seem pretty foolproof. I've made about 5 batches of macarons so far and they are looking better (yay!) but the feet seem really small, the tops are cracking on some but not others, and they're all hollow with just a bit of chewy meringue in the bottom. They taste beautiful, especially filled with SMBC but I want them to be RIGHT! Argh!! 


I make sure I have a nice stiff meringue, I triple sift my dry ingredients, I've used both icing mixture (added starch) and pure icing sugar (no added starch), I'm 99% sure I'm getting the macronage stage right, I get nice ribbons and the mixture melts back into itself within 30 seconds. 


The only thing different to Bravetart's recipe is I'm letting the macarons rest for 30 mins before baking, where she puts them straight in. I've tried it both ways and I'm getting better results with resting. 


My first batches were baked at 150 C, but it was definitely too high. I've dropped it to 130 C, which is better, but the outside ones are cracking and the inside ones are better. So I just did a batch at 110 C, but they're still cracking! 


I've added some pics of my latest batch so you can see where they're cracking. The piping on the couple in the corner wasn't great (my 4yo decided to grab my arm when I did those and they were too big). 


I'd like to get the french method right because I don't have a candy thermometer yet to do the italian ones and the french ones are simpler. 


Thanks so much xxx



24 replies
Sassyzan Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 4:48am
post #2 of 25

ATry banging the tray on the counter after you pipe them. It is supposed to get rid of large air bubbles that cause cracking. I'm a novice macaroner myself. I have at most a 60% success rate as far as feet and cracks, and I do the Italian version from the bouchon bakery cookbook.

Nadiaa Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 4:54am
post #3 of 25

Thanks Sassyzan, I already do bang them on the counter :( I must have missed mentioning that in my original post. These delicious little morsels are driving me crazy! I think my family is going to be macaroned out. I'm determined to get these right. 

chefywendy Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:14am
post #4 of 25

ABelieve it or not, sassyzan is right, not only does tapping the tray help rid bubbles but they also help to form the classic macaron feet , as far as the cracking goes, if you had lowered the temp and they are still cracking it might be your oven, sometimes ovens can cause uneven baking, you should try switching the tray around half way through baking! Hope this helps!

Nadiaa Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:20am
post #5 of 25

I'll try switching the tray around during baking, thanks chefywendy :) I do bang the tray on the counter already. I get teeny weeny feet, but not those big beautiful bubbly feet I see in pictures. 

chefywendy Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:27am
post #6 of 25

ACan you post the macaron recipe??? I have over four macaron recipes and all seem somewhat different, for some reason lol

Nadiaa Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:35am
post #7 of 25

This is the link to the recipe. I follow it exactly except I rest for 30 mins and have decreased my oven temp. 


chefywendy Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:47am
post #8 of 25

AMmmmm i do see somethings i was very fond of with this recipe, first temp of egg whites is very important and macarons shouldnt take more than 14 mins to bake. Check out this website, http://foodnouveau.com/2011/12/destinations/europe/france/a-macaron-troubleshooting-guide-useful-tips-and-advice-to-master-the-french-delicacy/

This has everything and i mean everything! About macarons and troubleshooting. Try using one of mines 3/4 c almond flour 1 c 10x aka powder sugar 2 xtra large eggs 1/4 superfine sugar 1/2 vanilla ex 1 van bean Use the same basic process for making macarons! Good luck!

chefywendy Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:48am
post #9 of 25

ASorry meant to say i wasnt very fond of lol

Evoir Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:54am
post #10 of 25

AI use Pierre Herme's recipe, which involves cooking the sugar. I love making macarons...I do quite a few wedding cakes and towers and bombonierie packages etc.

I would try piping them a bit further apart from each other to get better heat distribution. Use a template to get perfectly sized macs. Also open your oven after 8 minutes and 10 minutes to let out steam (this is after the feet have formed). Watch how you beat your whites too. Do not overbeat them before adding your sugar. Are you ageing your egg whites? They need to be liquefied.

You are correctly letting your macs dry before baking...the tops MUST be touch-dry! This ensures the steam builds up inside them, which is what creates the petite pieds (feet) :-)

I love them sooooo much! I hope this helps you a bit :-)

[ATTACHMENT=1460]image.jpg (147k. jpg file)[/ATTACHMENT]


Evoir Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 5:55am
post #11 of 25

A[IMG ALT="Pastel toned macaron wedding tower for a vintage/country style wedding in the vineyards. Macarons were different flavours an coloured pastel pink, green, blue, and cream. Thank you for looking!"]http://cakecentral.com/content/type/61/id/3037889/width/350/height/700[/IMG]

Nadiaa Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 6:02am
post #12 of 25

Thankyou both!! It does help a lot. 


chefywendy - do you have your recipe in weight? I'm in Australia and I think our cup measures are different. I feel safer baking by weight :)


Evoir - your macarons are beautiful! No, I don't age my egg whites, what do you mean liquified? Aren't they liquid coming straight out of the shell? I'll try opening the oven too, and will pipe them further apart. 


I think I may have to try some new recipes. I'll check out Pierre Hermes recipe too. Thankyou :)

chefywendy Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 6:08am
post #13 of 25

ASorry :0( i dont but you can always use an online weight converter and a good rule of thumb is 8 oz of dry ingredients equals to 1 cup

Evoir Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 6:14am
post #14 of 25

ABasically put your egg whites (weighed) in a glass bowl, cover in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 24-48 hours. They should not have any firmer bits in them. When you crack a fresh egg, you may have noticed the yolk sits up high on a jellyfied egg white, and then there is also a runny liquid around that (watery). You want to break down the jelly- like part by ageing your egg whites.

Hope this helps!

Nadiaa Posted 20 Jan 2014 , 6:25am
post #15 of 25

No worries chefywendy, I'll consult the conversion tables :) Thanks so much xxx


Evoir, yes that helps a lot. I'll do that next time for sure. Thankyou!! 

Nadiaa Posted 21 Jan 2014 , 5:56am
post #16 of 25

I have a macaron progress report!! I decided to make some more today so I could play around with oven temps and my macronage. I do have egg whites ageing in the fridge but decided to do a batch anyway to look at some other things. 


SO - I decided to take my mixture another step further in the macronage stage. I thought I had it right, but my continuously hollow shells was telling me there was too much air in my mixture. So I went beyond the consistency I was comfortable with. It was harder to pipe, because it was runnier, but I think I'll perfect this with practice. It still held in the little rounds though, so I know it wasn't too runny. 


I made sure to bang the trays on the counter a few times and over the resting time (I didn't rest long enough, I was too impatient to get them into the oven but that's okay I knew this) and lots of air bubbles rose to the surface,, which didn't happen before. 


I switched them around halfway through the baking time and they have just finished cooling. 


THEY'RE NOT HOLLOW!!!!! Yippee!!!!! They have beautiful feet and hardly any of them have cracked!!!!! I am so, so happy. 


SO - I'm confident with the ageing of the egg whites and the proper resting time (I need to rein back my impatient self) I will have lovely little macarons in my kitchen very soon :) 


I was definitely undermixing my macs. 

chefywendy Posted 21 Jan 2014 , 10:02pm
post #17 of 25

AThats great! Post pictures soon!!

Nadiaa Posted 21 Jan 2014 , 11:01pm
post #18 of 25

I will when I make my next lot :) My last batch that went in the oven last night (with proper resting time) didn't crack at all! 


I have a couple of questions though - 


1. My macarons aren't hollow, so the crown doesn't cave in, but when I lift the macaron half off the baking paper it's not flat on the bottom, it curves upwards towards the crown and the squidgy meringue is between the curve and the crown with no gaps. Is that right? Or should they be totally flat on the bottom and domed on the top and all filled with meringue in the middle? 


2. I made my last lot of macs a pretty blue. But, when I take them out of the oven they are slightly browned on top around the edges. It's only slight, but it detracts from the colour. If I cook them for less time so that they keep their colour they are undercooked. My oven temp is already low at 110 C (my oven can run pretty hot). Do they always brown like that? 


Thanks so much for all your help xxx

chefywendy Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 2:25am
post #19 of 25

a good macaron should be domed on top, flat on the bottom and filled the soft but chewy meringue but every once in a while the bottoms tend to slightly curve up lol! As far as color is concerned what base do you use, Gel or liquid? I find that using gel based colors are a lot better for me anyway...you don't need a lot and the colors don't "bake away" in the oven.....other than that try baking them a little less..  remember to that loads of pictures inside and out!


cant wait to see them!

Nadiaa Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 2:50am
post #20 of 25

I use gel :) yay, it sounds like I'm on the right track! I see many more batches of tweaking but I'm getting there. I think I'll age  my egg whites properly and get onto another batch on the weekend :)

JWinslow Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 3:38am
post #21 of 25

Since I switched to boiling sugar added to the meringue I have not had any problems.  I use Almond four and  I don't age my egg whites.  I also bake them on a heavy pan with a silicone mat.  I take some of the egg whites and add them to the flour/sugar mixture to make sort of a mash.  I add my meringue to the mash. Fold as usual.   Bake at 300 for 10-12 minutes.  This is what works for me.  I made a bunch for Thanksgiving and didn't have any fails. 


Just another way :)



liz at sugar Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 3:56am
post #22 of 25

You can "age" your egg whites by microwaving them for a few seconds to get them thinned out.



rychevamp Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 4:32am
post #23 of 25

I sometimes warm my egg whites just until they are about 70F.  Which I guess could be along the same lines as quick "aging".  And I also only bake them on a silpat.  I've found that parchment can wrinkle and cause problems.  And using a silpat, they lift off with no problems at all.  I generally use the French meringue method, it just seems to work better for me. I've made thousands of these things, so maybe I just have that method down. The Italian meringue method has always been hit or miss, and I feel the shells are harder as well.  Everyone has their own preference, and it can take a lot of wasted almond flour sometimes to get it perfected.  

Nadiaa Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 5:24am
post #24 of 25

Lol rychevamp! I'm starting to see what you mean about the almond flour! 


Thanks JWinslow, I may have to end up giving the italian method a go if I can't get the french one perfect. 

JWinslow Posted 22 Jan 2014 , 5:55am
post #25 of 25


Originally Posted by Nadiaa 

Lol rychevamp! I'm starting to see what you mean about the almond flour! 


Thanks JWinslow, I may have to end up giving the italian method a go if I can't get the french one perfect. 

You're welcome.  I know I said I don't age my egg whites but it is important to have them at room temp - sorry, forgot to add that

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