La Macaronicité 3: the more reliable macaron recipe and a few tips

coloured macarons

Macaroniers, Macaronistes et Macaroneurs,

So you want to make better macarons? Welcome to the third instalment of La Macaronicité at Syrup & Tang! If you missed the introduction, click here to read it. And if you want to learn about basic technique, ingredients and method, visit the second article.

La Macaronicité: Advanced technique and knowledge

Main sections:

Ingredients
Fundamentals
Recipe B — macarons au sucre cuit
Background to my recipe

There’s a lot of information here and it’s possible that not everything applies to your kitchen or experience. I don’t know everything about them (there’s a limit to how many kilos of almond meal a poor writer can buy!). I welcome feedback about other solutions/explanations/ideas, but please don’t submit comments listing other recipes unless it contributes to a better understanding of the actual process and problems. You’re welcome to contact me directly if you prefer and I’ll incorporate helpful info into the article where appropriate.

Ingredients

To summarise the more detailed ingredient information from the previous article, the macaron batter consists of only four ingredients:

  • almond meal (ground almond) – amandes en poudre
  • pure icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar, no starch added) – sucre glace
  • egg whites, preferably old – blancs d’œufs
  • sugar – sucre

On occasion you might also see mention of cream of tartar or salt, both of which strengthen egg white foam.

The batter may be coloured (very common) and flavoured (less common, though not too difficult).

There are three types of recipe:

  1. macarons au blanc monté (1) – a simple eggwhite foam is combined with the dry ingredients; preferred in Pierre Hermé’s books
  2. macarons au blanc monté (2) – a simple French meringue is combined with the dry ingredients; in most other books, including Alain Ducasse
  3. macarons au sucre cuit – an Italian meringue is combined with the dry ingredients; preferred in most professional books

I’ll explain the third recipe type (Italian meringue) here.

The important differences in this style of macaron recipe are as follows:

Meringue: This recipe uses a so-called Italian meringue, made with a hot sugar syrup which is beaten into the whipped egg white.

meringue 'bec d'oiseau'
An Italian meringue gives this beautiful peak, called a ‘bec d’oiseau’ (bird’s beak) in French.

Mixing: As with the simpler recipe, at first the ingredients won’t mix together well. The Italian meringue is slower to pick up the dry ingredients and needs a bit more mixing to achieve a smooth batter. If you find you have lumps of powder in the batter, don’t be scared to smear the batter against the side of the bowl with the spatula. The final batter looks fluffier (some visible bubbles) than for the simple recipe. If the batter sits for any length of time the aeration becomes more apparent. That’s fine. This batter seems a little more tolerant of overmixing. This mixture dries out much more quickly than the simple one, but also remains usable for longer. Just cover the bowl with plastic film until you need it (e.g., if you’re baking multiple batches).

Crusting: I experimented with leaving some macarons to crust for an hour. The surface was actually almost hard after this time! Popped them in the oven and they rose happily, though some air bubbles made the surface irregular. The most striking difference between crusted and uncrusted macarons is that the former have a clearly defined line between the shell and the foot. On the downside, the shell was thicker than desirable. [UPDATE: after more testing, I now recommend permitting the shells to sit for half an hour or so. It helps reduce some problems if your oven has strong heat below the baking tray.]

Sugar syrup: The syrup is made by simmering off moisture until you achieve a certain sugar concentration, which is judged by its temperature. If only making a small quantity of syrup (e.g. for the recipe example quantity below), it’s best to use a small narrow saucepan or even a Turkish coffee pot.

Hot sugar syrup can cause bad burns, so be careful of splashing and don’t feel tempted to stick your finger in it! You need a digital thermometer or sugar thermometer to check the temperature. (Actually, you can check it using the old-fashioned drop test into cold water, but for that I suggest you check out one of your cookbooks — look up ‘firm ball’ stage.) Syrups harden quickly as they cool, so you need to have your equipment and ingredients ready to go.

Oven: Being slightly less touchy, this recipe doesn’t require changing temperatures and leaving the oven door ajar. You should be able to cook the shells at one temperature with the door closed. In general, you’ll lose fewer shells to burning or sticking if you use your first attempt to work out the best temperature for your oven — just cook a few macarons at a time at different temps (or trust me, LOL).

In testing, I found that at 150C the shells came off the paper beautifully, had good feet, but had air pockets. At 160C air pockets were absent, but the bottoms were just a bit sticky. At 170C the feet were more modest (still good) but the bottoms were sometimes too sticky. Permitting the shells to crust before baking gave a good rise (feet) and fairly dry bottoms, but a duller shell.


mixed or overmixed
macarons tops
macarons bottoms
This is what happens with batter at different levels of mixing when cooked at 150C.

air pockets in macarons
Experiment with temperatures: air pockets at low temperature.

Be brave and face the batter!

Recipe B
macarons au sucre cuit; (Italian meringue)

This method is rarely found on the English-speaking internet and is only mentioned in a small number of professional cookbooks. It is fairly reliable, though still requires some practice.

Decide how many eggs you want to sacrifice. Crack and separate the eggs, remembering to keep the whites and all vessels and implements scrupulously free of fat or egg yolk. You don’t need to weigh the egg whites at this point. One egg white will yield about fourteen 3-4 cm macaron shells.

It isn’t necessary to age the eggs (though probably doesn’t hurt).

Formula and method

When you’re ready to start cooking, weigh the egg whites and then scale the recipe appropriately. The formula is below.

‘eggwhite’ refers to the weight of the egg whites in grams. The righthand column provides an example calculation.

Ingredient   Amount   Example (with eggwhite=50 gm)
Almond meal 1.35 x eggwhite 1.35 x 50 = 67 gm
Icing sugar 1.35 x eggwhite 1.35 x 50 = 67 gm
Sugar 1.35 x eggwhite 1.35 x 50 = 67 gm
Water 0.33 x eggwhite 0.33 x 50 = 16 gm
Egg white 50 gm

A batter with 50 gm egg white should yield one baking tray 30 cm x 40 cm or approximately 25 shells.

Preheat your oven:
Conventional oven: centre rack, 160C. Convection oven: 140C

  1. Stack two or three heavy baking trays. Line the top tray with non-stick baking paper. If you’re well organised, mark the paper with 2 or 3 cm circles, spaced about 4 cm apart (the piped batter will spread about 1 cm).
  2. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and leave to stand.
  3. Divide the total egg white into two equal amounts, placing one half in a small bowl or glass and the other half in the bowl which you will use for making the meringue. It is preferable to weigh the amounts, not do it by volume or eye.
  4. Process the almond meal and icing sugar at high speed to achieve a fine powder. Sift (or whisk the powder by hand) to break up any lumps of powder and place in a large bowl.
  5. Place the saucepan for the syrup over low heat and bring to a simmer. Stir once or twice to help dissolve the sugar, but once it’s simmering you shouldn’t stir it again. As the syrup boils it will splash the sides of the pan and you should use a wet basting brush to dissolve the dried sugar so that it runs back into the syrup. Start to measure the syrup temperature after it has been simmering for a minute or two.
  6. If you are using an electric hand beater rather than a kitchen machine, beat the egg white until it makes soft peaks. If you are using a kitchen machine you can start the machine when the syrup is a few degrees below the final temperature (see below).
  7. The final temperature you want the syrup to reach is 118C (no drama if you overshoot slightly). Beat the egg whites to firm peaks just before the final temperature is attained.
  8. Set the beater/machine to slow speed and slowly pour the hot syrup into the bowl of beaten egg whites in a thin stream. The syrup may splash a little. If you are too slow to do this, the syrup might harden in the saucepan… there is always some wastage.
  9. As soon as all the syrup is in the egg whites, increase the beating speed to maximum and beat for several minutes until the meringue is just warm to the touch. If there was lots of splashing when you poured the syrup on, you can stop beating briefly at the start to scrape down the sides a bit. The final product should be a stiff, white, compact meringue with a lovely satiny consistency.
  10. Pour the unused amount of egg white (see beginning of this recipe) onto the dry ingredients. Then scoop the meringue on top of that. Mix the ingredients with a spatula using a circular motion around the bowl and under the batter. The mixing process for this recipe takes a little longer than for the simpler recipe in the previous article. You don’t need to be gentle, but the goal is to incorporate the dry ingredients quickly to avoid overmixing. It’s better to undermix than overmix. You can add colourings or flavourings during this mixing.
  11. meringue bowl of ingredients macaron batter almost ready

  12. The final batter should be the colour of pale ivory (if you haven’t coloured it) and smooth and thick but flowing (typically referred to as being ‘like magma’, but as few of us have visited an active volcano or been to the centre of the Earth…). A ribbon of batter dropped from a spoon onto the top of the remaining batter should take about 30 seconds to disappear.
  13. Dab a little batter under each corner of the baking paper on the tray to anchor it (otherwise it’ll slip).
  14. Spoon the batter into a piping bag/gun with a 8-10 mm nozzle and pipe evenly onto the baking paper. Mild peaks should settle back into the batter eventually. If they don’t disappear, tap the tray repeatedly on a table until the peaks have largely disappeared. Usually the batter will spread a little and any bumps will disappear. Sometimes the batter is quite runny and will rapidly flatten out. (It might be overmixed.) This consistency will often yield irregular shells. If the batter never stops spreading then you should probably scrape it all back into a bowl, gently add some more almond meal and try again.
  15. If you want, you can leave the piped batter to dry for anywhere between 20 mins and two hours.
  16. Place the tray in the oven. If you’re using a conventional oven, cook as normal (ie, with the door closed) for the entire time. For a convection oven, you will need to experiment a little, possibly leaving the door ajar for part of the time.
  17. At the 5 minute mark the shells should have lifted and developed ‘feet’. At the 6-7 minute mark they should be starting to colour just slightly. Rotate the baking sheet if the colouring is uneven. The outermost shells often have to be sacrificed in order for the centre ones to be cooked, but the majority should be no more than the palest cream colour. They are probably ready if a shell moves only reluctantly on its foot when you lightly nudge it with a finger.
  18. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for a minute or two. Gently try to lift one of the outermost shells. A slight twisting motion or a peeling motion can help. If the shells stick badly, but are firm, try spraying or brushing a little water under the baking paper. This will moisten the paper and soften any stuck bits after 1-2 minutes. Don’t use too much water or the shells may start to dissolve around the edges. Remove each shell by gently peeling away the baking paper or with the aid of a thin palette or paring knife. Another solution to the sticking problem can be to place the paper or Silpat (with stuck macarons) in the freezer for a while.
  19. Once removed from the sheet, leave the shells to cool on a wire rack, face up.
  20. unhappy macaron
    Very sticky macarons leave their bellies behind 🙁 Don’t try to peel the macarons off. Just put the paper with stuck macarons on a rack for a few hours and then peel carefully.

  • If you haven’t already made a filling, do so now.
  • The plain shells can be frozen for a few weeks quite well. Complete macarons store well in the fridge for two to three days. After that they become softer. Eat macarons at room temperature.

Background to my recipe

There’s only really one formula for the Italian meringue style of macaron recipe, as illustrated here. Alain Ducasse (in his Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Desserts and Pastries) is approximately 1.4:1.4:1.0:1.4 (almond:icing sugar:egg white:sugar). My favourite book, by Christophe Felder (Les Macarons de Christophe), uses a ratio of 1.33:1.33:1.0:1.33. I’ve used both successfully, but settled for a compromise of 1.35:1.0. I don’t know how much impact these minor variations will have in your kitchen.

If you have any doubt about the preferability of the Italian meringue approach, read what talented Joycelyn at the beautiful Kuidaore site has to say, or see what Kitchen Wench has written about her macaron adventures.

For troubleshooting and additional info on technique, remember to read the previous article.

coloured macarons raw  coloured macarons cooked

Pause for breath

I’ll leave everyone who is so inclined to play with their delicious divas over the weekend. Next week I’ll write about fillings and flavours, amongst other things.

My piping gun has cracked, my piping bag is torn, and I have fourteen neglected egg yolks in the fridge, clamouring for use!

macaron shell with ganache
Naked shell with chocolate ginger ganache. My midnight snack.

You can read La Macaronicité 1: an introduction to the macaron.
La Macaronicité 2: basic technique and simple macaron recipe.
La Macaronicité 4: fillings, flavours, frippery.
La Macaronicité 5: Macawrongs and macarights, macarons day and night.

– DM

145 thoughts on “La Macaronicité 3: the more reliable macaron recipe and a few tips”

  1. Very nice guide that you’ve written here – just a comment on the air bubbles you found that disfigured some of your macaron surfaces. I’ve had this happen a few times with this particular method, and I’ve found that the best way to work around it is to pipe the shapes, then hold on tightly onto the baking tray and immediately give it a few solid whacks against the kitchen bench. This forces the bigger bubbles to the surface (which should dissolve on their own, or you can give a helping hand with a skewer) so that they don’t become trapped under the ‘skin’ and bubble up during baking. I’ve also tried both leaving a tacky-bottomed macarons out to dry but find that the freezing method tends to be faster and do a much better job.

    As for your egg yolks…you know, Myer is having a sale on the Krups ice cream maker this week 😉 I’m eyeballing it myself at the moment!

  2. Hi Ellie and welcome. Thanks for mentioning the bubbles — I’d forgotten to comment on them. In the bubbly ones, I’d actually resorted to using a syringe (minus needle and with end cut off) in order to pipe the small batches for temperature testing. This introduced more bubbles than usual but wasn’t so important for the tests.

    Hmm… ice cream time…

  3. You are incredible, Duncan. I gathered you had the meticulous nature required to make great macarons but you’ve elevated yourself to another level entirely with this series of detailed instructions and observations. The photos of common problems are fantastic! If it weren’t all for such a good cause -I’m pretty sure these will bring world peace- I’d think you were a little crazy. 🙂

    Oh, and ice-cream makers are great for egg yolks and for more slapdash cooks like me – I’ve got a batch of raspberry ripple waiting to be churned tonight.

  4. Oh thanks Cindy! Well, when you put a former experimental researcher into the same vessel as a pedant and a slightly-modified perfectionist, you end up with … this! I gained four kilos when I was developing a Portuguese custard tart recipe (but that’s a whole other story!).

    The ice-cream prob for me is that I have to eat it alone most of the time, which is just baaaaad.

  5. Becareful what you wish for, with all those macarons and ice cream to be had, I think there is a number of us with the car running as we speak!!! You could have an ice cream dinner party, it’s summer after all!!! Vida x

  6. I can see that I should have stayed later at the bloggers banquet, or convinced you to come earlier, but perhaps you were stuck in the kitchen…

  7. Great write up Duncan. I’m going to try this on the weekend.

    I have a question regarding the egg whites. When you split them up into two batches, you don’t do anything at all to the second batch? Do you just pour that in with the dry ingredients as is?

  8. @Thanh: it seems too easy doesn’t it! But yes, you just pour the second batch of egg whites onto the dry ingredients, then add the meringue. (The whites lubricate the whole thing a bit. Some recipes actually mix these whites into the dry ingredients first, but then it can be too hard to smoothly mix in the meringue without overmixing.)

    @Neil: not stuck in the kitchen… stuck earning money! I’d been in the kitchen that morning though.

  9. Congrats on such a great and thorough description. And what fab photos too!!

    In my usual light-headedness, I just wanted to check your method for calculating the amounts of other ingredients. I’m sure it’s very clear to your readers – it’s just me and my blond hair getting in the way!

    Basically what I understood is that if your egg whites weigh 50 grams (and let’s hope they so for simplicity’s sake!), then you times that by 1.35, which gives you 67g of almond meal, 67g of icing sugar, and 67g of normal sugar.

    Is that right?

  10. @DC: nothing wrong — you’ve understood correctly. If the egg whites weigh 50 grams when you start cooking (ie, after you’ve aged them, if you’ve chosen to do that, otherwise at the time when you crack the eggs and start your cooking procedure), then you just do calculate 1.35 x 50 to determine the weight of the almond meal. You do the same for the icing sugar and the normal sugar. And you calculate 0.33 x 50 for the water. (I naughtily omitted the water in the recipe and have now fixed that!)

    If you had 213 grams of egg white, you’d do 1.35 x 213 for each of the main ingredients and 0.33 x 213 for the water. And so on… I hope that’s clear and reassuring:)

  11. Hi Duncan, I have enjoyed reading the development of this series. Congratulations on great pics and text. I see there has been good response to reward the effort too.

  12. You are correct, with the other method I usually get about 50% success rate.

    I am going to try this method today.

  13. I won’t get a chance to try these before christmas, but I’m thinking perhaps an attempt at each recipe might be in order with my mum while I visit her. If nothing else it’ll give us something to do together!

    Another excellently-written piece. I’m a little pedantic myself, and you’ve covered everything so well I can’t quibble!

  14. You have a Portuguese tart recipe…oh my…one of my most favourite sweets ever. Whenever I visit relatives in Macau I Hoover them down like there”s no tomorrow…….mmmm!

  15. Portugese tarts, where, where. I hoovered heaps of them when I was in Hong Kong and Macau as well. I’ve only found one bakery in Melbourne that sells them, and then only on some days. I haven’t looked really hard but do you know of any places that sell good Portugese tarts?

  16. No no no no no no stop it you custard lovers! No Portuguese tart obsessions in the macaron article! (Thanh, to my knowledge there is only one place in Melb that makes them, though many people think they are eating in-house product in a variety of different cafés. The place is the Magical Munch Bar in Burwood and they supply the entire city and some out-of-town places too. I did an article for Epicure a few years ago…)

  17. Well Sticky started it. Ok I will look up Magical Munch Bar. I was talking about Carrington Cake Shop in Box Hill and I’m pretty sure they make their own because sometimes I see them carrying it out of the ovens and its steaming hot. Unless they’re are just reheating it, which could be possible but probably unlikely. They make all these other things including egg tarts which are really good.

  18. LOL I probably started it with my off-the-cuff much earlier. Oh well… Thanh, are the ones in Box Hill the genuine Portuguese article, or are they an egg-tart hybrid? (And I agree, they wouldn’t be reheating someone else’s product.) It is possible others have started making them since, but they are a pain (just like all my other obsessions… macarons, remember) and their popularity appears to have waned a little.

  19. Hi Duncan,

    i’m glad i found your blog, it gives me lots macaron informations and instructions. I never had macaron before however when i was googling to find recipes for valentine’s day, then i found this beautiful and attractive sweets. I thought i must make them.

    I’ve tried to make them twice, but they’re totally disaster… very horrible.

    The first experiment was a recipe using “cups” as measurements. “cup” measurement is not a very common measurement in my country, i don’t even have the “cup” so i poorly managed to convert them to “gram” and i ended adding 200 something grams of precious almond powder to the white eggs for just one recipe. Well.. it turned out a dough instead of batter and became too hard to pipe. As you can imagine, they’re tough, very sweet and very sticky cookies.

    The second experiment was when i found “gram” measurement recipe. it’s a great batter actually until it entered the oven and i quickly know i failed again. The macaron cracked on the top, the doom was fell to the feet, sticky but less sweet than the first one. They’re very sticky, i couldn’t take them off the baking paper even i have rested them for that night.

    well, now i’m ready for my third experiment, wish me luck :).

    Thanks for the usefull information.

  20. Hello Lita. I’m very happy that the info here will be of some help — the first failures are such a disappointment, so I hope your next try is wonderful! Good luck, and do tell us how it goes:)

  21. the 3rd experiment, was last night.

    i think the batter was undermixed, the pointed top didn’t disappear, looks so much like mountain peak. after baked, they’re feetless, fat body, pointed peak, there so much air pocket inside and they’re become fragile.

    If you had a chinese steam bun before, my macaron looks so much like mini chinese steam bun than a macaron.

    And it’s weird when i piped the filling (white ganache) the macaron slightly melted.

    i wonder how many experiments will i have…

  22. Hi Lita. You have to remember that you don’t need to pipe the whole mixture in one go. You can pipe one or two, see that the texture is wrong and then fix it. In fact, you could even bake one or two to see if they come out right. Make sure you look carefully at the instructions and the pictures to help you.

  23. Hi Duncan,

    What can I say that others haven’t already!?! Love the detail and thorough-ness of this guide. Just made my second batch of M’s and was hoping you could do a quick troubleshoot for me…

    My batter seemed right – “magma-y”, peaks disappeared nicely, perhaps too runny if anything but seemed ok to my totally untrained eye.

    the resulting macs: All had air pockets (which would suggest too slow oven?) and the feet on all sets rose so well (hotter temps were best of all) but then sunk outwards ( i think it was as soon as i removed them or perhaps just before). So the feet are now outside the shell (which of course is a nono!) and very non-impressive/flat.
    i baked my first tray at 140C, second at 150C and third at 160C (fan-forced oven, used oven therm).

    so I’m a little confused at the air pockets being in all batches, and the sinking is disheartening! I hoped the higher temp might have ‘set’ the feet for some stability but by the time the macs were ready in terms of firmness and even starting to brown, the feet still weren’t set i guess.

    taste delicious, and will be totally enjoyed but want to get perfection 🙂

    cheers,
    Stu.

  24. Hi Stu. Glad you liked it. If the batter was too runny then that might explain the outward-spread feet, though I’ll admit I’ve not had enough experience of that particular problem to be able to test it myself. It has seemed worse when using the French meringue method. The feet will spread just slightly as the shells cool, but if the spreading seemed worst then, perhaps you’re removing them a little early? The height of the feet can vary a lot. Shells are usually ready when there is just a little ‘jiggle’ when you nudge the shells — in other words, the feet are still somewhat soft when the shells are ready, so there has to be some settling as they cool.

    Air pockets have been a regular complaint on one of the eGullet threads about macarons. My testing showed low temps for conventional oven — I can’t predict what happens with the dryer heat of a fan-forced oven. Seriously, turn that fan off and see what happens. If you find it makes a difference in your oven, then you’ll have valuable feedback for us about the effect of the fan (ie, pockets/feet)!

  25. Well, I’ve just had a macawrong event! For the first time, I’ve had macarons which were flat, wrinkly, porous and footless. I’ve seen this sort of macawrong on a fair few blog sites out there, but never experienced it directly. The batter *looked* ok, but did not flow correctly. It seemed a bit wet. I had added some squeezed chopped cherries for fun, but I guess the moisture was still too much. So, if your macarons come out wrinkly and porous (they look like they have lots of little holes when cooking), it might be the case that you have a too-damp, gently mixed batter. (If the batter were overmixed, I think the porous appearance would be unlikely.) Boohoo. And they were going to be a present!

  26. Hiya Duncan, just completed round 2 🙂 (warning, it’s a long one!!).
    So it was my third time making macs, second with your recipe, and i’ve had some more different results!

    When prepared, the batter was a little too thick, i decided… it wasn’t really flowing together, blobs would pretty much sit on top of the batter instead of ‘magmafying’ back into the puddle. I didn’t know how to THIN the batter (as opposed to thicken with more almond meal) but i gave it a few more turns as I had read it gets slightly runnier as it heads towards overbeating.

    Still ended up pretty firm, i smoothed the points with my finger and it was ok i guess.
    After piping half the batch I added some food coloring and this made it a bit runnier and combined with a bit more mixing i think it came close to being overdone, not really sure.

    For the baking, I started by deciding i would bake them a bit longer to maybe “set” the feet so they wouldn’t spread out and flatten.
    The first batch I tried without the oven (as we discussed before) and turns out they just weren’t making any feet. I sat there watching the oven (a watched pot never boils, anyone?!) and after about 5 mins I panicked and turned the fan back on, hehe, after which some feet did appear but were mediocre.
    Second batch I tried having the fan on at first and turning it off once I put them in, but i ended up having the fan throughout to try and keep the air circulating, it seemed that the temp. was hard to maintain when there was no fan.
    Lastly, NO fan. Feet DID appear in the end, but not great still. However this was with the *maybe* overbeaten batch so i can’t really give conclusive results as the batter was a little different throughout the tests. Next time I will have to do it more scientifically.

    I’m pretty sure I still have air pockets in them, haven’t checked them all though.
    So not much conclusive stuff except to say that for me, it seems like the fan gave more foot potential, i just need to work out how to keep them up. Cooking for a bit longer may have helped but not noticeably, and i don’t want them going too crusty.

    Will keep you posted about any more results i find, though i’m not sure when… i’m not sure how much I care anymore, heh, since i’m neglecting other delicious baking to focus on feet for a cookie that basically no-one knows should have feet (and therefore cares whether they do or not!). I’m not frustrated though, so i’m sure the itch will come again 😛

  27. Stu, I’ve been following your macaron ordeal and being a fellow distressed macaron trier, I thought I would chip in with a few suggestions.

    The one time I succeeded was when I followed the recipe to the letter. I definitely did not overbeat the batter, as that failed miserably the previous time. Also, I left the fan oven off the whole time. I also used 3 trays stacked together so the base of the macarons didn’t receive too intense heat.

    The next time I tried to make a huge batch so I only used one baking tray and that didn’t work well at all. I did try fan forced in the next run and some worked ok but not as good as without fan. The fan forced macarons tended to be stickier.

    Lastly, I know how you feel about not caring. It’s just the utter frustration of not succeeding. And like you said, no one else knows that they should have feet. I gave some of the badly bumpy ones I made from the large batch to friends and they said “these ‘cookies’ look great. I just had to laugh. I couldn’t be bothered telling everyone that they’re a macaron and are suppose to be the divas of baked goods.

    I think the point though is that we KNOW they should look a certain way. And I don’t know about you, but I like to perfect things. Hence I was not satisfied until I made a perfect macaron, which I thankfully did. I too haven’t made them in a while, for fear of more failure, but I am going to try them again soon, maybe next week. I’m looking forward to hopefully perfecting a technique and also trying new flavours. The bad looking ones do taste as good as the good looking ones, so take heart in that.

    Do you have a blog Stu? I would like to get recipes for other things you bake. I only started baking for about 6 months now but am really enjoying it. I don’t cook, just bake sweet stuff. 🙂

  28. Hey Duncan (and Thanh),
    I must admit actually, that I haven’t followed the recipe exactly. *shame*
    I am usually very good at following them and have no problem with doing so until i get the hang of it, but there’s one thing i didn’t do which may have mattered by the sounds of it…

    I only used single baking sheets. We have good quality, thick ones and so when i read that I just thought it was probably talking about people with the flimsy cheapo ones and didn’t bother with it. But i will definitely do this next time and see how we go. I only ever do one tray of cookies at a time anyway so it should be fine just to finish one then slide the next tray on top.

    Thanh, I don’t have a blog for my recipes… i like reading other ones and occasionally comment, but dont’ want to get too sucked into it all which could easily happen!! I have too many other things that should be taking up my time 🙂
    I do like the sharing/friends aspect to it but really just don’t think it’s something for me at the moment at least!

  29. Thanks to Thanh for giving his feedback to Stu and to Stu for coming back with more reports. With this sort of project, people easily forget that there are a variety of goals and it isn’t necessary to achieve all of them in one fell swoop. If we assume there are, say, four goals, then each of these can be worked on separately in some way:

    * smooth shiny dome
    * nice feet
    * not sticking to paper/tray
    * no air pocket

    I think that would be my order of priority. So, four separate goal parameters, multiplied by all the method parameters = nervous breakdown and tears… but delicious joy when you learn to recognise the correct consistency, oven temp, etc etc etc

  30. Stu, I have thick baking sheets too but found that using a few as Duncan suggested does work much better.

    I understand what you mean about a blog, it does take up time. But I’m really into my food so it’s something I do with joy. The sharing aspect of food blogs is very good indeed. People encourage each other and give tips and point out good things.

    Duncan, you’re right that once you cook it more, you do get the hang of it and can probably pick when you’ve done things wrong and correct it.

  31. Hello, I was wondering, how else can I measure the sugar syrup as I do not have a thermometer on hand.. Thanks! And great page I’m saving it to try it out this weekend!

  32. Hi Vicki. Sorry I couldn’t respond earlier. Most serious cookery books will tell you how to judge temperature by texture — you pour some syrup into cold water and then feel it between your fingers. At this temperature (usually called ‘soft ball’ stage) the syrup should form a – you guessed it – soft ball. Unfortunately at these relatively low syrup temps, this test isn’t great without practice. It’s better to actually dip wet fingers *very briefly* into the syrup and then feel the texture of the syrup on your fingers as it cools. *Please* be very careful in trying this as it is very dangerous if the syrup temp has passed beyond soft ball stage.

  33. I had my first macaron 4 years ago from a box from Laduree that a friend had brought from Paris (pretty good start, right?). Since then I’ve been dreaming about those little cookies and, with nowhere near here to buy even a mediocre one, I’ve been hoping to make them myself. Thanks for a great start on the quest.

  34. Duncan,

    After many many many trays of macs down the garbage, I finally tried your recipe and it worked amazingly, especially with a convection oven. But now, I was wondering about making chocolate flavoured macarons. Is there a specific formula for these or formula for adding flavour to the shells?

  35. Cathy, I hope you’ve taken the first step on your quest:)

    Vince, welcome and I’m so glad to hear of your success — it’s really nice to know that people have found the recipe and instructions correct for their conditions!

    Regarding chocolate macarons, just try dropping the almond and icing sugar to compensate for the added weight of cocoa. Recipes vary widely in how much cocoa they use (60-180 g per kilo of almond+icing sugar). I’ve only tried the higher end of that range (and successfully). So, for instance, if your basic recipe calls for 500 g of almond and 500 g icing sugar, I’d try 150 g cocoa and reduce the other two ingredients equally so that the totally weight was still 1000 g. Note that the choice of alkalised (Dutch process) or unalkalised cocoa *might* affect the outcome slightly, but I haven’t done any testing. And just as a tip, professionals will often add a few drops of red colouring to make the shells a darker brown.

  36. Thanks for the tips. I will try them today…off to buy some egg whites and more almond flour (I ran out after making multiple batches the other week!!!)….will let you know how they turn out!

  37. Duncan, thanks for great tips. First macs I tried to make (not using your recipe) were grainy, too hard and cracked. People were still asking for recipe 🙂
    The first “Italian” try was bad. It seemed like overmixec, but I think it was due to great syrup losses in meringue preparation. I was doing a 50 g whites batch and when you try to mix 25 g of it in standard Kitchenaid bowl, lots of syrup ends up on bowl walls, hardened and not doing its function.
    Question: what batch size would you recommend for standard Kitchenaid bowl? I wouldn’t mind doing a larger one when I would know it would be OK but throwing away almonds can be quite costly.
    Overmixing could also be the result of coloring. I added powdered color (I bought it in a professional store in Paris) at the end and it needed quite some mixing to incorporate. It was still not complete and macs had spots of intensive color. Next time I will try mixing the color with sugar and almonds.
    Another question regarding mixing: how long should it take (with your recommended batch size)? It would be easier to judge knowing whether you do it with 10 turns in 20 seconds or with 30 turns in 3 minutes.
    Anyway, I managed to get glossy tops but completely flattened macs, not even good to eat since they were not baked enough.
    Last question: you do not mention how long the baking should take (at 140 oC normal oven which I used).

  38. G’day Mat. Syrup can always be troublesome. Some practice needed there, that’s all. I often do batches of the size you describe. Adding colouring can be tricky. If you’re using dry, why not mix it through the dry ingredients at the start or add it to the reserved eggwhite? THe time for mixing comes with a feel for when the batter looks right, but I’d say I spend less than 60 seconds mixing (never timed it). And the time they take depends too much on the individual oven, etc. As the recipe says… they’re ready when the shell only moves reluctantly when you nudge it.

  39. Duncan, thanks. I already designed the next experiment – knowing that the 50 g batch size is OK, I will use a smaller bowl (not the KitchenAid one) to mix the whites; it will probably also be easier to pour the hot syrup into it and make sure that the contact to the whisk and splatter is minimal.
    For the coloring, it’s simply experimenting. I’ll have to see whether the color dissolves (partially) in the reserved egg white (to ensure better spread when mixed) or is it better to blend it with the dry ingredients. But I will leave that until I master the basic macs (easier to judge when they are done if they are not bright blue).
    Based on your comments, the mixing is done as soon as there is a total blend of all the ingredients (something like for muffins), right.
    And for the baking time (actually at 160 oC, regular oven) – what is the approximate time when they should be done (just to know and not be nervous after 5 minutes and not to wait for 45 minutes). My oven has options to heat just at the bottom or bottom+top; any experience or suggestion what would be preferred?
    Now back to experiments. It’s lot of disappointment, but then when you get it right you are more proud. I know the experience from canelles de Bordeaux (spent 3 months experimenting and I am *almost* there, at the point of total perfection).

  40. It worked!
    A smaller bowl to make meringue with 25 g of egg white without any syrup loss.
    The first batch was undermixed – little tips on the top of macs remained through the baking process. The next one was OK.
    Size: 4cm (when piped; 14mm plain tip for piping) Baking time: 17 minutes. Heating: just the bottom of the oven, temperature 160 oC.
    The only thing I am not satisfied with is the height of the foot. It is only 2-3 mm while on all photos it looks thicker. What is the factor that influences that? What is the optimal foot thickness by your opinion?
    And one more: do you recommend any cookie sheet brand?

  41. Well done Mat. Good to hear! Baking time of 17 minutes is waaaaay longer than I would expect for 4cm macarons… but if it worked for you then that’s marvellous:) I work with a gas oven with heat from the bottom only, of course, so I’m not sure what other parameters are coming into play in your kitchen.

    Foot height varies a lot. I like the height of those on Ladurée’s macarons. You’ll find the feet almost always look amaaaazing in the oven but shrink back a bit towards the end of cooking or even during cooling. Almost certainly, heat sources and locations has a role to play, as does the type of tray. I’ve seen a tip in a French book which mentioned moisture in the oven, but I can’t think why that would help… but try it, why not!

  42. Duncan,
    I would say that the baking time was due to provisional insulation I made (one baking tray+one bottom of springform pan+one aluminum plate). There was definitely air between springform bottom and aluminum plate and therefore additional insulation.
    I will resume testing once I get the cookie plates (do you recommend any brand?).
    I assume that the inside of the macs has to be quite dry after cooling but still soft when hot. Correct?
    And about the feet: I had about 2mm height which is less than it looks at for exapmle your chocolate mac photo. How many milimeters would you say is OK?

  43. Goodness, Mat, I never thought I’d hear myself say it… but it’s possible you are dwelling too much on detail! The brand of a baking tray would be irrelevant. The material/construction is of more concern and depends somewhat on the function of your oven. Much of this is discussed in the articles and comments:)

    The long baking time is unlikely to be attributable to the baking surface, as I would have expected your shells to have been clearly (undesirably) browned on top after such a long time. Check your oven temp with a reliable thermometer.

    The inside of a macaron is always somewhat soft and lightly moist (which is why they lose their tummies sometimes). I think it would be fair to say that a macaron shell should never have ‘crunch’ or ‘chew’.

    Is anyone producing them where you live? Ladurée and Hermé always have quite high feet, some other manufacturers less so. Although form is important, remember that seeing what happens as you experiment is also important… you might decide you prefer them one way or another.

  44. Duncan – indeed I am trying to get as much of your knowledge and experience as possible and not reinvent the wheel.
    I read some comments about “professional” cookie sheets being better than “regular” ones and thought that you might have a preference. I guess I will simply buy the best ones I get and then resume experimenting since I think the final tuning has to be to one´s equipment (oven, mixer, sheets,…).
    I agree that the timing is not about the surface but if you have air between several sheets as I had, it functions as an insulator. The macs were perfectly white (I suspended the colors until I get the form right), a very delicate top and they melted in mouth (they were not chewy like for example pavlova interior). To me, they seemed perfect except for the height of the foot. That is why I was asking about potential parameters that you know influence this (e.g. mixing time, temperature). Would you be satisfied if yours would have 2 mm foot 🙂
    Unfortunately, we don´t have macs in Slovenia (yet), but I am in Paris in 2 weeks again and will do extensive tasting again.
    Anyway, I can´t wait to master it and move to the Portugese tart (I found your recipe in the web article; is that the proper one?).
    Let me know if/when you decide to try canelles (if you haven´t done it yet).

  45. Baking trays: thick aluminium.

    Oven temp: even if you have created insulation below the macarons, the temperature of the air above the macs should be at least the temp on your thermostat (unless the trays are blocking all airflow, in which case all sorts of things aren’t happenign correctly because the heat will be trapped underneath the trays). Under normal circumstances, there’s no way your shells should still be white after 17 mins at 160C. [additional comment: I take it back, I’ve just seen a recipe which says shells might take 14-17 mins to bake at 170C. Just goes to prove that different ovens can give very different results!]

    I’m going to be working on a revision of the Portuguese tart recipe. It’s a few years old now and my baking skills have improved, so I hope to offer a better one sometime in the next few months. As for canelés… ai ai ai… Last year I almost bought moulds, but stopped myself. This year in Paris I resolved to buy moulds and then ran out of time… we’ll see! THey’re certainly something I’d like to try, as they’re delightful. I look forward to your wisdom about those eventually.

  46. Hi Duncan,

    I’ve been admiring your recipe for months and finally got up the courage to try it!

    It was an amazing experience and I really really enjoyed my macaron making experiment this time (my third one, the first two were other recipes)! Thank you thank you for this recipe!!! =D

    I did my best to follow the instructions and sadly, made a few mistakes:

    (apologies for this long post!)

    1) I overcooked the sugar solution a little (have a little experience with making italian meringue buttercream so I kinda knew it was a little beyond soft ball stage)

    2) i whipped 25 g of the egg white up to soft peak stage and then as I was fussing over the sugar syrup, i forgot to whip the egg white until they were stiff before pouring in the sugar syrup. I whipped the mixture for 10 min with my electric hand mixer and it was shiny and nice but not stiff and compact. i knew then that it was because the egg whites were not stiff enough to begin with. I got desperate and poured in the other 25 g of egg white and kept whipping. When i folded the egg whites into the dry mixture, i managed to get the magma-ish texture, i even rapped the bowl on the counter to see if any peaks would settle back into the mixture. THey did!

    3) In my convection oven at 140C, the feet appeared after 5 minutes! =) my first batch was underbaked after 11 minutes so the feet slid out and the macaron shells collapsed. For the 2nd batch i made the mistake of overbaking the macarons so they took on a slightly brown hue…. but they had nice strong feet and they came off the baking parchment quite easily after a few hours of cooling. They were slightly sticky at the bottom but that could be because I didn’t cool them on a wire rack. (oops again!)

    Just like you said, there were air pockets in the macaron at 140C but I kept to the 140C as the fan in my oven cannot be turned off. =(

    Will be trying another time with the oven door open for part of the time, but do you think I should stick with 140C, even with the oven door open? THanks so much in advance!

  47. Hi Anna. Congratulations on your successes! There’s never any absolute rule about oven temperature… ovens function in many different ways (and the thermometers aren’t always right!), so just experiment with the temp 🙂 Making macarons is a lot about experimenting until you know your oven. So you could try higher or lower temp, door open or not. I believe Pierre Hermé’s latest book recommends 180C with fan, but opens the door briefly twice during cooking. Sounds weird, but who knows … 😉

  48. Thanks for your advice – I will experiment some more with the temperatures and opening the door. Really appreciate your reply. =) I’ve been telling my marathon-running husband that this is kind of a maca-thon. harhar

  49. Hi Duncan,

    I am another macaroon fanatic (from New Zealand). I have a stall at our local farmers market selling macaroons. I have never been totally happy with them, although people that buy them think they are amazing. I was so happy when I found your web site giving some tips I had not thought about. I am currently trying a new batch as i write this and they are loking perfect. Ill let you know how they go.
    Big Thankyou for thsi site.!!!

  50. They look great – except there is an air pocket just under the crisp top. Temp issue??? about 160oC for about 11 mins .Does that sound right? Thanks

  51. Hi Duncan,

    I finger-walked upon your blog when looking for infos about Macaron. Thank you for sharing tips and recipes about this delightful yet elusive morsel. I haven’t attempt baking macaron but love it to bites. Never missed hunting for pastry shops that made macarons each time I travelled.

    I asked a local dessert seller about almond meal. He sells almond milk, lotus seeds & gingko desserts,etc for years since I could remember 😀 He told me that he used the traditional Chinese granite grinder for his almond milk dessert! :-O *fainted*

    My question is does the almond meal has to be that fine because I can’t find any almond meal locally 🙁

  52. Hi Duncan,

    After three attempts to reach macaron glory, I am still overmixing my batter. Do you have any tips on how to avoid overmixing?

    Thanks!
    Tina

  53. I am really, really, really, grateful for your amazingly accurate and specific view in to your world of Macarons!!
    I have tried and failed miserably with other authors recipe and feel on top of the world having used your instructions with great success.
    I shall credit you till the cows come home on my blog and other places I frequent!
    You ROCK, (for want of a better phrase!)
    X

  54. Hi Duncan,

    I need your advice. I made some italian macarons. Its very nice & the feet rose quite high. I am so happy !! But i realise that after i kept it in the freezer, the surface became wet, I understand that the surface is suppose to be dry. i am wondering whether i should have left it in the over for a longer time ? Please help me.

    Thanks,
    elizabeth

  55. Hi Elizabeth,
    Glad to hear the macarons were a success. In my experience, placing them in the freezer as soon as they are cool works. The (non-)secret is to place them in zip-lock freezer-safe bags in a single layer. You may opt to remove them from the parchment before carefully arranging them inside the bag flat in one layer, or you may cut the parchment and place them inside the bag, still stuck to the parchment, so you can take them out as one layer in one go. Just be sure also that nothing is on top of them inside the freezer- they’re still quite delicate. I don’t have problems with wet surfaces even in my country’s humidity.

  56. Hi Duncan

    Do you have a fullproof recipe (not ganache) where fruit puree can be added and when taken out from the refrigerator, the cream won’t melt too quickly so the macarons can survive some travelling time? What’s italian buttercream?Thanks!

    Angela

  57. Hi Manggy,

    Tks for your advice ! I usually just put all the macarons together in a container & just freze it. I guess its not the right way. Will try out your method. Tks 🙂

  58. I must say this is an amazing guide i stumbled upon!! Thanks so much for this!! Simply love the calculation methods for ingredients too.

    I’ve been making Macarons the French method and the amount of pain and inconsistent results each batch produces, kinda drained me…till I decided to try your method today.

    Amazing results I must say! Managed to whip up 3 trays of cute little perfect macarons! (i piped it smaller). Had feet, came off the parchment paper without a fuss & a hard crust with soft insides.

    Just to share with the rest this is what i did extra (or didnt quite do):

    1. Use aged egg whites (well i was gonna embark again on my french method)

    2. Added some egg white powder to egg whites that went into the beater

    3. Didn’t have a candy thermometer, so had to make my own estimation on the syrup. Once all sugar has melted, left it boiling for a minute or two. Syrup was relatively watery, not a thick paste.

    4. Poured unused (half) egg white onto dry ingredients and mixed it up as much as I can. Then scoop some egg white onto that and mix it furiously again.

    5. Added remaining meringue in 2-3 batches onto dry ingredient (which now should looked like a super thick paste). This is when you’ll need to be gentler as opposed to earlier.

    6. Pipe it. Left to stand for 30 mins max. Baked at top 1/3 of my oven shelf at 140-150 degrees for about 12 mins.

    Renewed confidence! Hope i can whip up the same results next time with this method! 🙂

  59. Hi Duncan,

    stummbled in a sense of frustration across your website and can’t quite believe there are people out there going through the same mental trauma as me!.
    Anyway – I have a minor problem which I don’t think others have mentioned yet, and I seem to get this with both the french and Italian meringue method.
    In summary..

    – My “Magma” sounds about right – Dr evil would be proud.
    – Feet, Getting plenty of rise on my maca’s – no worries there
    – shape, very happy with my size
    – Outer shell…. this bit is driving me nuts..

    My macaroons look like macaroons, come off the tray easily after a couple of minutes resting, taste wonderful – but.. I think their shell gives just a little too easily, If I compare with Hemme’s Laudree etc.. I’d say that they have slightly more crunch on the very outside shell. (note I’m not trying to re-create AU Masterchef’s abominations here – they were wrong and they should be suitably ashamed, but I do feel I’m loosing a little bit of bite)

    Too try to get this right I have…

    – Varied the oven temperatures in so many different ways I’m losing count (no noticable difference to this particular issue – but many others can occur of course!)
    – Cooked for longer – well, they just go brown don’t they.
    – sulked for a few days..

    anything glaryingly obvious to you?

  60. @Andy: thanks for the comment! Really thin shells can often be due to overmixing (though this would often be accompanied by some surface wrinkling as soon as they cool). Otherwise, I’d suggest letting them sit for longer before baking.

  61. Hi Duncan,

    I recently returned from a trip to Paris and can’t wait to give your macaroon recipe a try! I’m a little confused about the stacking of the baking sheets. What is the reasoning behind this?

  62. Hi Duncan,

    Your information on macaron is really helping me to understand what went wrong with my macaron. With your tips i will try and try again. I think this is my second love after my first love – baking sarawakian layered cakes;-)

  63. I am having a macaron breakdown, I have made 3 failed batches today! I made them for the first time last week and they turned out pretty well-I was very surprised, cleary beginners luck.
    So today i tried a batch of David Lebovitz and they turned out flat, cracked and without feet and very gooey. I then made a batch that was successful last week, some of them cracked, they had a bit of a foot but they were sticky. Tried again, this time mixing less: all cracked, kind of had wonky feet and very sticky. This is so disappointing since my batch last week were almost perfect!

  64. @Meghan: stacking baking sheets can be useful to insulate the bottoms of the macarons. Depends on your oven.

    @Nomie and Shannoncita: may your cooking go well!

  65. Hi Duncan, could you please tell why feet dont develope and what could make a macaron crack?

    Thanks

    Laura

  66. just a curious question: I was just wondering why you had to divide the egg whites into two instead of just putting it all in the italian meringue and just incorporate it with the dry mixture?

  67. @FriFrou: in part, it lubricates the meringue, facilitating mixing. It’s harder to incorporate meringue straight into the dry mixture.

  68. Hello,

    I stumbled across your post while researching French macaroons a few days ago. We’ve been making them for some time now, but the texture’s always been off. Thanks to your posts, I’ve finally figured out why– we’ve been using a common meringue method instead of an Italian meringue method! It seems bizarre that a professional kitchen would use the homemaker version, but then, I’m not the one who introduced the recipe in the first place… At any rate, I re-formulated using your suggested formula, and they turned out much better. I got air pockets, but I’m hopeful that my next batch will be a vast improvement. Thank you for all the wonderful information!

  69. Dear Duncan

    First off thank you so much for your detailed instructions. The first set of macs I made was from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook and they turned out flat as pancakes. Then after much internet research, I found your recipe, and on my second attempt the macs turned out great!

    Would it be possible to reduce the amount of sugar? They were a little too sweet, especially after I added the ganache filling. If I can reduce, up to how much can I reduce without seriously affecting the structure? And should I reduce sugafrr om the almond mix, or the melting sugar mix?

    THANKS!!!

  70. for Macaroon making, can you substitute the almond flour with any glutten free flour that has comparably the same amount of protein? almond flour is crazy expensive!!!!

  71. @Michele: You can’t easily play around with the sugar content and especially not in the syrup. Macarons are just too sweet for some people.

    @Rick: I’ve heard of people successfully using hazelnut meal and perhaps one other nut. But it’s a different creature you then create, isn’t it.

  72. Hi Duncan,

    I tried your recipe and the macarons were unbelievable! It was so easy to follow. I have tried many recipes before and none of them worked. Thank you for this article!!!
    I do have one question. How can I store them? I left them outside and they became very soft and chewy the next day. You mentioned I can freeze them. Can I freeze them with the filling or without?

    Thanks again!

    Zuzana

  73. Macarons should not be stored at room temperature as their texture will change quite quickly — sometimes they go soft, especially in an open container, but sometimes they go crunchy. Depends on the humidity and the filling. Always keep macarons in the fridge until about two hours before serving. I know some people freeze shells without filling, but I haven’t tried doing that approach.

  74. Hi, Duncan

    I’ve tried your recipe almost a dozen times and haven’t managed to make the Italian meringue properly. I’m using a good quality 9-speed hand mixer, and the first few times I tried it, I used a candy thermometer to measure the temperature (it broke, so I’ve been using the cold water method since). Each time I’ve attempted, the egg whites whip up nicely to firm peaks before the addition of the syrup, but as soon as I add the syrup and start beating faster, the whole thing deflates and gets gooey and runny. I’ve tried everything I can think of, and I’ve triple checked my measurements. I’ve made meringues (the French way) many times before with no problem. What is wrong with the way I’m adding the syrup? I do it ever so slowly, and it looks great until I increase the beater speed. Help!!!!!

  75. @Holly: I’ve seen this happen once and I’m afraid I don’t know the cause. Perhaps the egg whites have been beaten for too long (they should reach stiff peaks shortly before adding the syrup). I don’t know… And if you’re not using a thermometer, there are also too many additional factors. Rather than using a candy thermometer, just buy a cheapish digital probe thermometer.

  76. @Holly: As Duncan says, having a thermometer is essential. The syrup temperature can be from 118 to 121 oC (so not much room for an error); you make hotter syrup if your kitchen is humid (121 oC for 70% RH).
    Start beating egg whites when the syrup temperature reaches 115 oC (i.e. just before the syrup is done). Beat them just a bit, to get frothy, not to full soft peaks.
    When adding hot syrup, have the speed on max. The addition of syrup should not be too slow (for the batch size in Duncan’s recipe, about 20 seconds).
    Beat for 3 minutes; the meringue should be warm. Use immediately (I first mix in 1/3 of meringue fast to get uniform colour and dissolution of sugar in the TPT mix, then add the rest).

  77. HI Duncan,

    Thanks for your recipe and instruction on the website. It’s very clear and easy to follow. My first try was ok. I think I was lucky. However, my 2nd and 3rd attempt were fail. First of all, the batter were too sticky. NO matter how much/ long I mix the batter, it’s still to sticky. It doesn’t run down like ribbon or magma. I know it because my first batch I didn’t have this problem. i don;t know how to thin the batter. So when I pipe out the shell, they don;t flatten out at all.
    The only different I made between my 1st and 2nd/3rd batch is that in my 2nd/3rd batch I added food coloring (power) into the italian meringue after teh meringue form a shiny/ stiff peak. In my first batch, I mixed the colour power with my dry ingredient. DO you think this is what make my 2nd and 3rd batch fail. Please suggest.
    thanks a lot,
    Jib

  78. hello duncan, i’m emailing from ireland and have been trying various approaches to making italian macarons but with no real success. My question is this How do i get intense colour into my efforts, I’ve been using liquid food colouring but too much seems to affect the consistency and always appears pale and wishy washy. Cheers

  79. Hi Brendan. Liquid food colouring is unlikely to yield the result you’re looking for — you’ll need to use icing colour gels/pastes or powdered colours.

  80. Hello Duncan!

    I’m new at baking macarons and have tried twice but failed miserably. I’m using the french meringue method as it seems easier. However, my macarons ended up chewy. And I mean like really chewy.. I got tired chewing them. Do you know what might’ve gone wrong?

    And the second time I baked them, there were many mini pores on the shell though I knocked the tray on the tabletop before letting them rest for 30 minutes.

  81. @natalie: I never recommend the French meringue method. Chewy? Either a bit overcooked perhaps? And pores… perhaps a little undermixed. If you’re in a humid environment, perhaps let the shells sit for longer. These things are very hard to troubleshoot.

  82. Thanks for your reply! I’ll try it again next week 🙂 And yes, I happen to be in a very very humid environment. Thanks again! Your guide is really helpful 🙂

  83. Do you know how to adjust the recipe for high elevation? For some reason my macaroons turn out incredibly hollow (big air pockets) and the feet actually bulge way out, making the macaroon look like a fried egg. i blame the Elevation because I’ve made them successfully before in Sea level… and they never turned out quite like this.

  84. @Rick: I can’t help for elevation, sorry, but keep in mind that you’ve obviously changed ovens as well, and that can have drastic effects on air pockets and on the outward-foot problem (more common for French meringue method too).

  85. Greetings. I made my first macaron yesterday. Awesome things they were! Most had feet, about half cracked but gosh they were yummy! However, now is the time to move ahead and do better. My friend passed the link to your site on to me and I am eager to try the Italian method. I have eggs to spare as we raise some lovely ladies who graciously provide us with all the eggs we could ever want and then some.

    I highly recommend using the yolks for custards and zabaglione. I’m planing on several versions as fillings for my macaron to be.

    I live in a culinary desert but surrounded by marines. Some of whom are very health conscious. They are quite interested in having a high protein sweet. Angel food cake gets dull after a bit.

    So thank you very much and I hope to post some follow up in the not to distant future.

  86. Hi!!!… I have a question??.. I have a electric oven and I been trying and trying to make the macarons but they aren´t working.. they are like sticky and don´t have the “foot” that the should have…. You know if the oven maybe is the guilty??

  87. Thanks so much for your very detailed Macaron series — they’re such a big help, most especially the photos with the different test cases. My first attempt to make macarons was last Christmas (I used Francois Payard’s recipe for chocolate macarons) — they were a disaster — puffy, cracked tops (even with 30 minutes of drying time) with no feet and most of their insides were left stuck to the parchment paper. After reading Kuiadore and your blog I decided to try Pierre Herme’s rose macaron recipe this time (which includes a small amount of egg white powder in the formula). They came out perfectly! Yay! Cute little feet and smooth tops! I did a full hour on the drying time and then ended up doubling the baking time prescribed in the recipe (from 8 to 16 minutes). They were still gooey on the inside after 8 minutes — i think that may have been caused by my baking sheets. They were already tri-ply to begin with and I still stacked them as recommended. Next time I’ll try it with a single baking sheet. One surprising observation I made was that the ones I baked on Silpats had smaller, less pronounced feet than the ones baked on parchment paper.

  88. Duncan, i would like to ask how do i make flavored macaron shells? fruit puree? or essence? how much puree or essence do i put? thanks! glad i found this interesting blog!

  89. @Jojo: I can’t comment on whether the baking sheets were a cause of problems. In the end, neither precise time nor temp are especially important as long as the outcome is correct!

    @ichiro: you can’t easily add liquids to the batter, so it’s much better to use dry or concentrated flavourings. As every flavouring can have different intensities, you need to experiment.

  90. batter i piped, has feet appear at one side only and made it lopsided.. anyone can help why? is it because of my poor piping skill ?

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