Mastering Macarons

I think I’ve tried a total of 4 different times to make these really good cookies. Let me tell you something too, Bob’s Red Mill almond flour isn’t that cheap either. The one we found at the store was around 13.00 for about 4 cups of the flour. I’d love to be able to get them right and to fill the macarons with Nutella, Buttercream, jam, etc..

I’ve tried two different recipes. One recipe required boiling some sugar and water together. I had to try two times with that to get it right. The recipe said to boil the sugar and water until it gets to 235 degrees and then add it to the egg whites. I thought it was odd that the sugar started turning brown around 170 degrees and I’m thinking, I don’t want caramel sauce. That guys picture where I found the recipe on his site, didn’t look like caramel sauce. So, I had to make it again and that time it was better.

Then, I thought screw boiling the sugar and water together and just use sugar. That’s when I found this really good recipe at Not So Humble pie. I was watching the cookies rise in the oven and was very happy when the cookies started getting that famous bottom they’re known for. Then the cookies started cooling and I took them off the pan and they looked like they didn’t have a bottom or an inside. Bummer. You’ll see that in the pictures soon. The recipe is a really good find too, and I’m going to try cooking them longer the next time. I also want to pick up another silicon pad mat and try adding some color to them.

First you need egg whites. If you don’t have a food scale, I’d suggest buying one.This recipe calls for measuring the sugar, flour, and egg whites in grams.

You also need some ground almond flour and powdered sugar. Also some regular sugar.

These cookies didn’t turn out. They were hallow in the inside not cooked long enough.

Bad, very bad. I will get them right one day though. I’m not going to give up!

Ms. Humble’s Scatter Plot Macarons
yields 50 (100 shells) macarons (feel free to divide it for fewer cookies)
120g almond meal
200g powdered sugar
100g egg whites
30-35g granulated sugar
food coloring gel

Line 2-3 heavy gauge aluminum baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners (more on this below). Prep a piping bag with a round tip (I use a Ateco #11 for most of my macs, though I’ll occasionally use a #804 for larger macarons). I place the bag into a tall drinking glass (or stout glass) and cuff the bag’s opening over the top, this makes the bag easy to fill hands-free.

Weigh out almond meal and powdered sugar and sift together to remove any clumps. (If you own a food processor, I highly recommend blending the ingredients and then sifting.)

Weigh out the egg whites into a large mixing bowl (stainless steel or copper), if you’re using stainless feel free to add a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or couple drops of lemon juice to help strengthen the whites. If you’re using copper you need not and should not add any additional acid (more on this below).

Weigh out the granulated sugar. (Often I’ll use homemade vanilla sugar for this.)

Begin beating the eggs on low speed. What you’re doing here is unraveling the egg white’s proteins (these are what will capture the air bubbles you whisk in), they’re bundled up and you need to gently unwind them. A light touch does this far better than scrambling them on high speed. Once the egg whites are very foamy, begin sprinkling in the sugar as you beat. Increase the speed to medium, if necessary, and beat the meringue to stiff glossy peaks. (If they start looking grainy, clumpy or dry… uh… you’ve gone too far.)

Add the food coloring (for the full recipe it usually takes 2-4 drops of gel, for a half batch 1-2 drops does the trick) and mix.

Add about 1/4 of the almond/sugar mixture and fold in until no streaks remain. Continue to add the almond mixture in quarters, folding until you reach the proper batter. (More on this below)

Pour the batter into your prepared piping bag and pipe rows of batter (dollops a little bigger than a quarter) onto the baking sheets, giving them space to spread.

Tap the pan on the counter to bring up any air bubbles and quickly pop them with a toothpick.

Allow the cookies to rest on a level surface for 30-60 minutes. Until they are no longer tacky to a light touch. If you have problems with burst shells, you may need to allow them to rest longer or double stack your baking sheets to provided better insulation from the bottom.

While they rest, place an oven rack in the lower 3rd of your oven and preheat to 275-310°F (I’ve had the most success with about 285-290°F). I do not use fan-forced (convection) heat. If your oven tends to brown the cookies, consider placing a rack in the top of the oven with a baking sheet on it to shield the cookies. Occasionally my top element in my spastic electric oven turns on and browns my cookies, upsetting me greatly.

Bake the cookies for 16-20 minutes.