Here are my ten tips for making macarons at home:
1. Almond meal (finely ground almonds) will save you a lot of time, but you can also use regular almonds that you can grind yourself with a food processor. They do not have to be blanched! Other nuts also work… I’ve made successful macarons using pistachios or hazelnuts to replace almonds entirely. But make sure you do not over process them as they may turn into a nut butter!
2. You do not need to slowly add in the hot sugar syrup to the egg white mixture when beating the egg whites. Many recipes insist you must add it in slowly, but I have always tossed it all in at once in a steady stream down the side of the bowl.
3. You don’t have to use aged egg whites. I have always made my macarons with egg whites at room temperature and never had a problem. I have researched into this and found that climates that are humid or rainy tend to have an adverse effect on the macaron shells.. try not to bake them on a rainy day to avoid this from happening.
4. Buy a piping bag with a round tip. The bags are available in disposable and reusable versions; I find them handy not only for macarons but also decorating cakes and cupcakes, and there are a huge variety of tips to choose from. This allows better control when piping the circles onto the mat for baking! Also when piping be sure to pipe straight downwards onto the paper or mat, not on an angle. This will help them become round.
5. Use gel food coloring instead of liquid. Liquids can alter the consistency of the macarons and ruin results. I personally prefer gel colours as they are more vibrant. If you want to get a deep red or black try using powder colour this tends to give the best result!
6. I like to toss the gel food coloring into the egg white mixture while I’m beating it to properly distribute the color. This works better for me than folding it in, since the electric beater does a better job. I would not recommend trying this with liquid coloring as it would alter the egg whites consistency but with the gel or powdered colors, it does fine!
7. When you are beating the egg whites till glossy/stiff, beat them till they literally do not move when you turn your bowl this way and that. If you can hold the bowl above your head and nothing moves, (and you don’t have egg whites in your hair), it’s ready!
8. When folding the egg whites with the almonds and sugar, use a flexible spatula. Fold by repeatedly scraping around the bowl and moving towards the middle. Do it no more than 50 times so as not to overmix (Yes, I used to count them!). Many recipes say the consistency should be of molten lava (that comparison doesn’t help me) but if you make it to runny pancake batter, you’ve gone too far. When you lift it with the spatula, it should spread but not too much or too far. It should just make a ribbon in the batter and fall slightly.
9. After piping the macarons onto the baking mat, let the tray sit out for at least 15-25 minutes or until the tops of the macarons look dried out and are no longer spreading. Leave spaces between them when piping to allow them to spread!
10. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pans in the oven in case you have an oven that heats one side more than the other.
How to determine if you have created the perfect macaron!
The ideal macaron should be a perfect circle (achieved only with a piping bag with a round tip), and have solid smooth bases. They should have a ruffled “skirt” or “feet” along the edges where it has risen in the oven. They should comfortably slip off your baking mat, or paper, begging to be paired with a delicious filling and another shell. They should be very slightly chewy, yet crunchy and they certainly should not crumble easily.
Once you have baked macarons a few times and get the method you will be able to whip them up perfect every time!
Happy Baking xx