March 08, 2011

Macaroons or Macarons? - my handy baking tips

I realised that I hadn't done any baking or macaroon posts lately. That's because I hadn't baked anything lately (trying to be healthy and I know if I have macaroons laying around I will eat them all!) however here's a little post on my tips and tricks on making macaroons if you're in the mood to bake. If you're after my macaroon recipes here they are: Choc-Hazelnut, Rosewater, Choc-Mint.


Before I get to my tips, you might be wondering what the correct name of these delicious goodies made famous by Laduree in Paris are - macaroons or macarons?

Me in front of Laduree... their macaroons are heavenly!
The correct term is macaron (single 'o') although macaroons (double 'o') are also widely used here. Feel free to google macaron vs macaroon and you'll find a wealth of information about the differences. The reason I like to say the double 'oo' version is because I like the sound of it better than the single 'o' version. Macaron with a single 'o' reminds me too much of macaroni and cheese (which I don't like!), hence I've decided to go with the cuter sounding macaroon.

There... now that that's cleared, here's some tips that I've picked up in my adventures baking macaroons. I would like to say that I've only ever had one bad batch of macaroons, and that was entirely my fault for substituting icing sugar with caster sugar (does not work, do not try). So hopefully my tips will come in handy for you. These are just the main things that are important to ensuring your macaroons turn up lovely and crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, not crack, and most importantly develop "feet".

All photos here are mine except for one below which I've specified in the text.

Egg whites
  • Make sure they're room temperature.
  • Take them out of the fridge the night before, separate them from the yolks, put in a container with a lid on and leave overnight to "age".
  • If you don't have time to "age" them, the easiest thing is to put in a microwave for 10seconds (don't leave any longer as you don't want them to cook!)
  • The reason for the "ageing" is to take the moisture out  of them to ensure you get a fluffy meringue

Meringue
  • It's important to beat the eggwhites on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Soft peaks mean that the tip of the meringue will drop in on itself
  • Stiff peaks mean that the tip of the meringue will stand up straight.
  • Here are pics to show you what I mean (the pic on the left was taken from google images as I didn't have a picture of soft peaks in my own collection)



The dry ingredients
  • Make sure that there are no lumps in the icing sugar and the almond meal. Sift them well.
  • If you find these ingredients feel a bit moist, microwave it for 10 seconds. Again the aim is to get rid of the moisture. 

Mixing it all together
  • I've found it doesn't matter whether you pour the meringue into the dry mix or vice versa, so do what feels comfortable for you
  • It's important to mix quickly until "just" combined. 
  • Do not overmix, as it will become too runny. You want to make sure the ingredients are just combined, with no powdery bits. 
  • The pic below is what it should look like when mixed.


Baking it
  • Make sure you line a baking tray with good quality baking paper. Baking foil doesn't work as well. 
  • This part is very important to me - after you've piped the macaroons on a baking tray, leave them for up to 1 hour until they feel touch dry.

  • Leaving it to dry a bit is the key part to ensure your macaroons develop feet. 


  • I've also found if the weather is too hot or humid I need to increase the time I leave the piped macaroons to be touch dry, so keep this in mind on a rainy or hot day. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven at approx 160 - 180C degrees. Mine is fan forced gas oven, and I usually bake at 160C. For non-fan forced go to 180C. 
  • Bake for around 15mins. When you touch it (careful, it's hot!), the top should feel crisp but still move slightly from the base.

  • After you take them out of the oven, leave for around 5 minutes before peeling them off the baking sheet.
  • Leave them to cool completely before assembling them together with ganache, cream, nutella or jam.
  • Enjoy!

Hope this helps! I'd love to hear your feedback if you decide to follow these tips.

17 comments :

  1. wow, these look delicious!!!!

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  2. I am soo gonna try dying the chocolate ones green for Paddy's day!

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  3. Yum these look awesome, sucks I have a nut allergy though :(
    where I come from Macaroons are made with coconut, icing suger and mashed potatos and look like this Scottish Macaroon

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  4. Yummy! Really want to make some....

    X

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  5. The macaro(o)ns look AMAZING!! thanks for the useful tips - what piping nozzle should be used? I am a klutz in the kitchen so I'm not sure if I can master these babies

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  6. @christina - thanks, they are yummy
    @sinead - yeah give it a try. Or make a white chocolate ganacha and dye that green!
    @lori - oh that's bad about ur allergy. And i've never seen those ones made with potatoes!
    @chuui - give it a try!
    @vicki gabrielle - they are delicious, especially the originals from laduree.

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  7. @ling tung - i used one with 1cm wide nozzle. You can also use a spoon dollop it on the baking paper rather than piping. Give it a try, it's not too difficult to master.

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  8. your verry beautiful ;) and those look super delicious yummm (drools)

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  9. I've tried to bake macaroons today..and I followed all your tips..they turned out great for the first time! thank you encouraging me to do it :D

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  10. @passing fancy - oh fabulous! I'm so glad they turned out well. I hope u'll do a post about it. X

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  11. Can't believe I found a blog that has THIS post, AND a YSL Rouge Volupte review. I think I'm in love! LOL!
    I'm adding you to my (very) humble, (extremely) new, blogroll, is that ok?
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Can't believe I found a blog that has THIS post, AND a YSL Rouge Volupte review. I think I'm in love! LOL!
    I'm adding you to my (very) humble, (extremely) new, blogroll, is that ok?
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Can't believe I found a blog that has THIS post, AND a YSL Rouge Volupte review. I think I'm in love! LOL!
    I'm adding you to my (very) humble, (extremely) new, blogroll, is that ok?
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Can't believe I found a blog that has THIS post, AND a YSL Rouge Volupte review. I think I'm in love! LOL!
    I'm adding you to my (very) humble, (extremely) new, blogroll, is that ok?
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yum ... I might try this one day. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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