Macaron FAQs

macfaq
 

Welcome to the Macaron Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. I’ve been making macarons for more than 3 years now and would like to believe I may have some answers to your pressing questions regarding what could be the world’s most intriguing cookie.

1. What recipe do you use?

My recipe has changed over the years but I have come up with a standard as basis for all my recipes:

 140 grams almonds
200 grams powdered sugar
40 grams sugar
100 grams egg white

A lot of books don’t touch on how to grind your almonds when in fact this is very important to your end product. When using a food processor, try grinding the nuts a bit first and then put your powdered sugar in and then grind further. I started with a home food processor and I always had to sift.

2. Do I need to age my egg whites?

Not necessarily, if you have the patience to whip the moisture out of your egg whites.  Please note that the longer you beat there is a greater risk of your meringue breaking. The purpose of leaving out your egg whites for 24 hours is to concentrate the albumen of your whites, the less moisture, the better for your macarons. A recipe from one of my baking classes used fresh whites and did not dry the macarons and just put them straight in the oven. {please note for italian meringue for macarons less than 2″ diameter, you put them straight into the oven after piping} and the macarons were fine. This recipe uses more sugar and produces sweeter shells which I am trying to avoid. More sugar keeps the water in your meringue and stabilizes it. So really it’s a matter of choice. Here’s the recipe:

8 ounces almond flour
8 ounces confectioner’s sugar
7 ounces egg whites
6 ounces sugar

3. How do I know if I have mixed my batter enough?

Ah, proper “macaronage”. First, you need the proper tools. I always have a spatula and bowl scraper for every batch I make.

macfaq01
A spatula and a bowl scraper

I use the spatula to lightly mix the dry and the wet ingredients and use the bowl scraper to start mixing the batter with minimum strokes. Macaronage takes patience, I do a test and then walk away to maybe prepare the piping bag and when I come back and the batter still looks like this, it needs a few more strokes.

macfaq02
Not ready

The batter above probably needs 3-5 more beat downs with the scraper, I repeat the “wait” and when it looks like this…

macfaq03
could use one more beat down

The above batter when tapped strongly should flatten out. Note- it is better underbeat than overbeat. If your macarons have peaks just soften with a wet finger or tap on the countertop.

4. Why don’t my macarons have the foot? Why are they flat?

Remember what I said about overbeating? You’ve unleashed all the trapped water in your meringue and now your batter is too liquid it spreads into odd shapes. 

5. Why do my macarons have air-pockets?

From my years of making macarons, I can see 3 reason why they would have air pockets.

a. The macarons are underbaked. If the shells on the outside look done and baking them longer will burn them, try lowering the temperature so you can bake them longer.

b. Your almonds are not ground fine enough. The truth is home food processors cannot grind the nuts fine enough in a single pass without turning the mixture greasy. Break up your nuts in the food processor, add the confectioner’s sugar and give it a whir. Pass the mixture through a sifter and re-grind the bigger particles. What sifting does to flour does the same for your tant pour tant in that it makes it easier to mix into your beaten egg whites. 

*Choose a sifter whose mesh is not too fine, otherwise you’ll sift forever.

c. I do not sift any longer which means I have to spend more time with “macaronage” . I also like to beat my whites to very stiff white peaks which make it harder to beat down but it produces better shells with less moisture in the whites. This makes them too “poofy” and have air-pockets if not beaten down enough. 

B and c are related in a way. It basically bakes down to how good you get your dry ingredients meshed within the matrix of your beaten egg whites to give it enough structure to hold up without deflating after it cools down. I have also suggested adding more almonds to some folks so you will have more dry ingredients to add to the mix.

22 thoughts on “Macaron FAQs

  1. Hi, :)

    Thankyou so much for the FAQs, my fears have quelled, partially. :)

    By the way, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but a lot of the links on this page and sidebar are broken. So you might want to fix that.
    x

  2. Hello, greetings

    Your Herme macaron training looks great, could you tell me how you registred ?
    Kind regards Oli

  3. You are an angel! Thank you for answering my questions. I’ve been making macarons for a little over 1/2 a year, and each time they have inconsistently come out correctly. I will try your tips and see what I am doing. Thank you again

  4. You are absolutely not correct in your statement that La Duree macaron fillings are mostly buttercream based. Nearly all of their fillings are a ganache base, with they only exception being Rose and perhaps the Lemon flavor.

    I’ve eaten hundreds of macs from la Duree discussed the fillings with the employees who stated this directly to me.

  5. Hi Brian – I was told during my macaron stage about this but I do know now that more macaron shops are switching to ganache. Since Laduree opened in NY, I might have the opportunity to taste their macarons again. I certainly was disappointed when I tasted them in Paris. Thanks for your input on this.

  6. I was in NY back in December and Laduree was one of my first stops. They fly the macs in from Paris, which is what I expected, and they do not have every flavor.
    Very surprised that you were disappointed with LD. Personally I do not feel one is better than the other — They are both very high quality. However I do tend to love certain flavors at each shop. I literally walk back and forth between PH and Laduree when I am in Paris!
    Finally, I wanted to say that I am EXTREMELY disappointed with the PH “Macaron” book. Since receiving it I have found numerous errors in the formulas (on at least 7 of the flavors in the book). For example: several recipes reference ingredients in the instructions which are NOT listed in the formula. Also, several recipes have ingredients listed which NEVER appear in the instructions. Another example: They state “6g gelatin leaves, 2g each”. This makes NO sense. Is it 6g or 6 leaves?? Finally, I find that some of the filling formulas just do not work, which combined with the mistakes I have found makes me question the accuracy of all of the recipes.
    I’m not sure if the mistakes occurred in the translation to English or if they were also in the French version, but I feel they are inexcusable based on the PH reputation.
    If you have the book I would be interested to hear if you found the same problems.
    regards,
    -brian

  7. I’ve found out from taking the class that there are techniques that need to be seen rather than read. There are problems with the recipes in some of PH’s books. I’ve also noticed that the French are not very wordy with instructions. Regarding the gelatin it’s 3 leaves, 2 grams each which would come to a total weight of 6 grams. I have tried the chocolate macarons from the French version of the book but have not tried any from the English version which I also have.
    The fillings normally become very fluid, you have to refrigerate them for them to be pipepable. PH bakes their macarons to almost biscotti-like texture and lets the soft fillings moisten them.

  8. Regarding the gelatin, that is exactly what I was thinking.
    Yes, the fillings definitely need to be straight from the fridge, however some of them are still too lose.

    Quick tip: I place the unfilled shells on a tray and place it in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to filling. This way, as the filling warms up from the heat of your hands on the piping bag when it hits the cold shell it instantly firms up again. Perfect!

    Recently I also have been baking mine to be much drier as it does give you a more predictable outcome. Also really helps with the air pockets but it does make the critical aging process take longer.

  9. Hi Veron, I have a question but I’m not sure if you will be able to help/encountered the problem before. My macaron batter does not become shiny/running no matter how long I mix it. Instead it stays grainy (not actual bits, but the texture looks v grainy). I presume this has something to do with the meringue breaking down, but I’m not sure if the meringue is under or over beaten. I currently beat it to stiff peaks (no curling of beak). Would really appreciate if you could help! Thanks!

  10. I’ve baked macarons twice and both times the shell gets wrinkly. But during halfway time they weren’t wrinkly yet. Why is that??

  11. heavenwildfleur – are you using almond flour? You might have to reduce your almond if the batter appears to stiff.
    Frances – I get them from Big River Packaging
    Maddie – try drying it a bit more. Wrinkly may also mean your almonds are too oily or for chocolate macarons, the cocoa is too moist or oily.

  12. Veron-My Macarons look beautiful but when I tasted them the day after, they are still crunchy .
    I baked them at 300 conv for 18 min.,I think I overbaked .Can you please advise what temp you use please
    and how long.I have to get it right !!

  13. hi veron,

    This recipe of yours:
    140 grams almonds
    200 grams powdered sugar
    40 grams sugar
    100 grams egg white

    Could you please list out the steps? Italian method or french method for the meringue?

    TPT: 140g almonds + 140g icing sugar
    almond paste: mix TPT (280g) with 50g egg white

    IM: 40g sugar at 119 degrees celcius, poured into 50g egg white (whipped)

    Mix almond paste and IM till the right consistency.

    Is this correct? I also note you mentioned you used the french meringue method, please clarify thanks!

  14. Please help me. I’ve almost given up macaron baking. No matter what recipe I try, my macarons Dont dry during the resting period and form shell. I age the egg whites for 2 days. The meringue is stiff and not dry. I do proper machronage. Sometimes I try to leave it overnight so it forms shell, but then the macarons crack and no feet. Pls help.

  15. I am also a little disappointed with the obvious mistakes in the book, plus the method results in a biscuit like shell the a ganache does not soften. A flavoured butter cream softens the shell slightly, but not sufficiently to make a pleasant eating experience.

  16. Hi,
    My question is…what can I do with my leftover macaron mix…I only have one baking sheet. So while those bake…can I refrigerate the mix while I wait!?!

  17. Thanks for the great tips! Is there such a thing as over tapping the macaron before resting? Does the size of the pastry tips affect the result? And if I only put a teaspoon of granulated sugar into the meringue (or completely skip that since there is so much powdered sugar,) will that also affect the result?

    Sorry for all the questions. Thank you so much!

  18. I have a question for you. Why do my macarons always be sticking to the parchment paper or aluminium foil?

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