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