Macaron Hell!

Baking By bellechef Updated 24 Jul 2018 , 6:46am by bellechef

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bellechef Posted 23 Jul 2018 , 3:47pm
post #1 of 4

Please can anyone advise me regarding French Macarons. I have read every blog, watched every tutorial, tried different recipes and, finally, resorted to using a packet mix and I am still having problems!

I am ENglish and live in France (a touch ironic!) and am principally a wedding cake maker, making cakes for the large number of, mainly English, weddings that take place in my area. In addition to the cakes, I am asked to make Macarons either for Macaron Towers, as an alternative to cake, or as favours. It seems that, as far as my clients are concerned, the most important thing about them is that they match their colour scheme! (I even had a client ask recently, when I told her they would be cream rather than pure white, if I could tell her the exact shade of cream - but that is another matter) When I made them from scratch I had problems with undercooking or discolouration a round the edges, they were always hollow and often the colour would change in the oven, but I used to get away with it, just about, they were at least round. But it is always so stressful. What finally drove me over the edge was when, a couple of weeks ago, we were experiencing unusually appalling wet weather and even my kitchen air conditioning couldn’t cope with the 99.4% humidity. Batch after batch went into the bin and in the end I just had to say I couldn’t make them. This client had wanted a tower but, via her wedding planner,  agreed to accept a wedding cake as a last minute substitute, decorated with a few macarons that I managed to salvage. (A week later she demanded a refund!). So, to finally get to my point, I decided to try a packet mix and was amazed by how easy they were. The white colour is really good and I even managed pale blue without it going grey or green.....but..... even though they are perfectly round when they go into the oven, they come out misshapen. What on earth can I be doing wrong? I use the same silicone paper I have always used, I follow the maker’s instructions to the letter, my piping isn’t any different to what I have always done. Does anyone have any ideas at all, please? I can’t find any information on line regarding using packet mix. And, yes, I know I am cheating, but I have to get through this season somehow. Thanks in advance

3 replies
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LindsayH Posted 23 Jul 2018 , 9:54pm
post #2 of 4

Are you letting them rest before you put them in the oven? This will allow a skin to form to keep them from spreading during baking. 

Are you using aged egg whites? Some will argue whether or not this matters, but others swear by it. 

What kind of food coloring are you using? I have heard that powdered food coloring is better for macarons than gel because it doesn’t change the consistency of the batter. 

At what temp are you baking them? And for how long? 

Can you post a pic of the misshapen macarons? Sometimes seeing them makes it easier to identify the problem. 

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rychevamp Posted 23 Jul 2018 , 10:43pm
post #3 of 4

I recently tried a mix that said no resting needed, and the first pan was a flop. But, the pan that rested till they were dry to the touch was fine. So, resting seems crucial, even for a mix. 

I always use Americolor gel, so never had trouble with it. 

Sometimes putting them in a hotter oven, then turning it down might help give the feet an extra oomph to rise. Like heat to 350F then drop to 300F when they go in the oven. 

I thought the mix had an artificial taste compared to scratch, but some people probably wouldn’t know the difference.

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bellechef Posted 24 Jul 2018 , 6:46am
post #4 of 4

Thanks for the replies. The question of egg whites does not arise as this mix only requires the addition of water, and the instructions don’t suggest a resting time. They rise fine and have little feet but they were just not round. However, I experimented some more yesterday, added 1 gram more water and piped from a little higher up and one of those two things (or both) made a huge difference, they were much better. You are right, rychevamp, they don’t taste the same but I really don’t think the clients care at all about that - their primary concern is the colour matching! I think I am probably not going to continue making them for next year - it is just too much stress on top of all the cake orders. Thanks again for the advice

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