French Macarons can be a very intimidating recipe for many bakers to attempt and complete successfully. However, these ten tips and tricks can make executing your recipe much easier and give you the perfect macaron! Once you have mastered making these beautiful, meringue, almond-flavored cookies, play around with the colors and flavors, adding different kinds of fillings to compliment your macaron!
The goal of creating these perfect macarons is to have "feet" on your macaron shells and a smooth dome on top. Because it has a meringue base, the shells should be light, soft, and a little chewy yet not mushy.
This is one of the most important things for any recipe, not just for your macarons. This French phrase means "everything in its place," so you should measure out all of your ingredients, gather all of the supplies and utensils you may need to execute your recipe before you begin. You should also read through the entire recipe before you begin to help everything go much more smoothly.
Sift the almond flour to make sure you do not end up with any chunks or lumps of flour on top of or inside your macaron shells. This will help you achieve the smooth domes on top.
3. Grease Free Bowl.
Use a grease free bowl to whip your egg whites! If there is any sort of grease or fat in the bowl, the egg whites will not whip up to the stiff peaks that you need.
4. Stiff Egg Whites.
Whip your egg whites to stiff peaks! You should be able to turn your bowl upside down without the egg whites moving. Without the structure of stiff egg whites, the macaron shells will not rise like they are supposed to. Another thing that will help with whipping the egg whites is to use room temperature eggs.
5. Gel Food Coloring.
First, use gel food coloring instead of liquid. You don't want any extra liquid to be added to your recipe that could mess it up. Second, add the food coloring to your egg whites while whipping them. This will prevent you from overmixing your macarons if you were to add it later on in the recipe.
6. Don't Overmix!
You want to gently fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula rather that stirring with a spoon. Circle the inside of the bowl with spatula, all the way down to the bottom of the bowl, and "fold" the mixture in on itself. This will ensure you do not overmix your ingredients and collapse the egg whites. Folding the ingredients also incorporates air into the mixture to keep it light.
7. Tap the Pan.
Frustrated with your macarons? After piping them, beat/tap the pan of macarons on the counter to get air bubbles out of the macarons (don't tap too hard though!).
8. Let Them Rest.
After you pipe your macaron shells and tap the pan on the counter, rest them for about 15-20 minutes at room temperature before baking. This will allow any extra bubbles in the shells to rise to the surface and give you a better macaron overall.
9. Rotate the Pans.
About half-way through the baking process, rotate the pans so all of your macaron shells will bake evenly.
10. Practice Makes Perfect!
Keep in mind that while these tips and tricks can help make your macaron recipe more successful, if it does not work the first or second time, just keep practicing! These macarons are very sensitive to many different things, including weather and humidity, but don't lose hope because it can be done!