Macaron Mastery

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the success or failure of a batch of Macaroons.  Some believe that some of these things are not true, but for me I have found them to being pivotal to the success of a batch.

  1. Know your oven.  This will help you to determine what temperature to adjust it to!  I think my oven is on the hot side, so I cook my macarons at 130°C. It will also help you to determine when your macarons are cooked. Undercooked macaroons will stick to the paper and drop as they cool creating a hollow macaroon.
  2. Always dry out the almond meal before use. Dry it spread on a tray in the oven, but watch it like a hawk you don’t want it burning. I find this helps with the next “rule”… I ended up with almond paste when I didn’t dry the almond meal.
  3. Blend the almond meal and icing sugar. I always pop the almond meal in the food processor to remove any large lumps and add the icing sugar to get a really good mix of the two ingredients. This gives a smoother finish to the end look of the macaroons not like my Luscious lemon ones.
  4. Use eggs at least one week old and at room temperature. This is a basic my mother taught me to do with anything that is meringue based…I look at it as a plan ahead step!
  5. Keep the meringue step simple.  No need to do any heating, just beat egg whites and sugar until you are getting soft peaks. No fancy machinery required, I just do this with my small electric handbeater.
  6. Liquid colour should be added to the egg, dry colour to the almond meal and icing sugar.
  7. Do not over mix. Be careful to not over mix either the macaronage (the mixture) at the meringue stage or when folding in the dry ingredients. Soft peaks and just wet are the key to a good foot. The foot is the little speckled bit at the bottom of each biscuit.  I think it gives them a nice almost lace type look.
  8. Piping gives you a nice round shape, provided you are good at controlling a piping bag!
  9. Once piped – Drop the tray from a height several times onto the bench. Close your eyes if you are too nervous to watch.
  10. Always rest the Macaroons before cooking. I tend to leave mine resting about 40 minutes before putting in the oven.
  11. Watch, watch, watch … don’t let them over cook, this is when you end up losing colour.
  12. Cool, fill and leave to mature…in the fridge for at least 24 hours, I have to say I think about 3 days is perfect…still crunchy on the outer, yet gooey and chewy on the inside.

I don’t think this list is definitive, but it is certainly my main observations to this point.

Perfect Baking Day

Miss 6 is home unwell today, it appears she may be suffering from a relapse of the dreaded Gandular Fever, that stole the first term of this year from her. Outside the southerly wind is blowing keeping things cool, inside we are nice and warm with the fire roaring. Time to get some sweet smells coming from the kitchen.

Today’s flavour/colour attempt is raspberry pink. Not the best piping job, but I am definitely improving on my loading method in terms of the piping bag. I no longer feel like I need to become and octopus to get the bag loaded, and stop the mixture flowing out the other end before I have finished shoveling it in.

Luscious raspberry pink macarons ready to go into the oven

Cooked – 15mins at 140C – a little cracked, but lifted perfectly from baking sheet

Today’s batch seemed to be perfectly cooked. I still need to play with the colour as they seemed to have faded somewhat in the cooking process.  I really believe that acheiving perfection in this are depends on the oven and you need to tweak timings, temperatures until it is just right.

I made some white chocolate ganche, so am just waiting for that to cool before I stick them together. While we wait, here is how I prepare my piping bag without needing 20 arms to do all that it involves.

Step 1 – Push Noozle in well

Step 2- Tuck some of the bag into noozle. This creates a plug so your mixture doesn’t start pouring our before you are ready.

Step 3- Fold down top by about 1/3 and put your hand underneath to form edge for scraping spoon on as you load in your mixture.

Once the piping bag is full, fold up top and start piping.

Just a little inspiration to finish – todays effort!