Macarons. You either love making them, hate making them – or you pull your hair out over and over again while trying to find the perfect recipe. Sad news – there is no perfect recipe. You just need to keep trying until you find the one that works best for you and your equipment.
You may recall my previous mac-post boasting about adapting to the Swiss method – as I had never been able to achieve full macarons with French or Italian recipes. The only issue I had with the recipe I was using: I could only successfully cook about 10 shells onto a tray lol The outer ring of macs would crack if I filled the whole tray.
That’s OK if you’re only needing a few – but for bigger lots, it’s just impractical and takes too long… So I banked up egg whites in the freezer over a couple months, and when I had a order-free weeks I went back to looking for another suitable Swiss-method mac recipe.
I’d tried a few recipes recommended on the All Things Macarons group on Facebook – but none were working no matter the tweaks I made. So I was running low on egg whites and time; I turned to YouTube. I managed to find a recipe that worked for me and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief as I needed them for an order a week away.
I did take notes on slight adjustments/techniques that I used to get absolute success with these cookies:
- I didn’t monitor the sugar/egg temperature while on double boiler (#lazycook). I only periodically checked to see if the sugar had dissolved – once it had, it came straight off the heat and I started whipping with my el-cheapo 5-speed hand mixer
- I did: 2 minutes @ speed 1, 2 minutes @ speed 2, 2 minutes @ speed 3, scrape down sides (can add gel colouring at this stage), then 1 minute @ speed 2
- Macaronaged as per YouTube video; takes me 3 scrape rotations to get the right consistency
- Used Loyal plastic tube size 9 (9mm round tip) in 12″ bag (the recipe yields a small batch of approx 12-14 cookies, you don’t need a bigger bag)
- Piped perpendicular onto Glad baking paper with printed mac template underneath (5cm diameter). Firmly rapped tray onto bench 4x, then used a toothpick to smooth out tops.
- I set my oven to Fan Bake mode (it is an electric oven – top and bottom elements are on plus rear fan to circulate air around) – looking to get a 175°C reading on my oven thermometer that I have sitting on the middle rack
- Let rest until matte finish and dry to touch. (In my area it is about 20-30 minutes)
- Double trayed and put into oven, immediately reduce temp to 140°C setting (I find that my oven doesn’t start heating again during the 14-minute total cooktime). I place a sheet of baking paper on top of the macarons at the 8-minute mark to help prevent any browning (while the oven elements don’t turn back on, the fan is still going around)
- After the 14 minutes cooktime, I check that I can remove one cookie without any sticking issues – if so, I pull the tray out. If not, I leave for an extra minute and recheck
- Once they’re out, I increase the oven temp again to 175°C to ready for the next batch to go in
- Straight from the oven I tend to crack open a cookie to check that it’s full (om noms). Once they’re cool enough to touch, I match up pairs and place into an air-tight container.
Now here is the funny thing about doing the cookies this way – they look like a macaron (smooth tops and ruffled feet); they taste like a macaron (yummm), and they’re full (#winning). But (there’s always a but isn’t there..) – I find that they are a little on the crunchy side. So I turned to Dr Google lol And here is what I found – this is actually a common practice for some pro mac bakers! (Refs 1, and 2 who themselves reference the expertise of Pierre Hermé).
They tend to slightly overbake their macs (to ensure their macs remain full) but then apply moisture back into the bottom of the cookie by way of simple syrup, milk or sweetened condensed milk! So, I have chosen to use simple syrup (1 part water to 1 part sugar, boiled until the sugar has just dissolved, with a dash of vanilla extract). I quickly dunk and then lay them bottom-side up on a cooling rack and watch the cookie absorb the syrup before piping the filling (using Loyal plastic tube size 11 (11mm round tip)). Maturation took two days (using white chocolate ganache filling). It was perfect – crunch on outside, soft filling that just melts away – divine <3