I’ve heard so much about how difficult it is to make macarons, as a baking enthusiast, I’ve set out to tackle this baking mission. It started out, of course, unsuccessful, I wanted to strangle the person who invented this evil dessert (just kidding). At my fifth attempt, they finally look like good macarons. If they turned out right, they should have a slightly crispy shell, a tender and slightly chewy center. I can’t say I am an expert at making these of course, I am sure I will encounter more problems.
I’ve always liked the flavour combination of Matcha (Japanese high quality green tea) and chocolate, it is the perfect match of east and west flavours in my opinion.
So this recipe was adapted from My Food Geek’s “Almost Foolproof Macarons” recipe. It uses the Italian meringue method, it requires cooking a sugar syrup and combining it with whipped egg whites, creating a meringue. One of the advantages of the Italian meringue is that it is more stable than the French method (whipping together sugar and egg whites) because the egg whites are cooked by the hot syrup.
- 120 grams Egg Whites (room temperature)
- 35 grams Granulated White Sugar
- 150 grams Ground Almonds
- 150 grams Icing Sugar
- 2 tbsp. Matcha Green Tea Powder
- 150 grams Sugar
- 50 grams Water
- 115 grams Semi Sweet Chocolate - chopped (I used melting wafers)
- ½ cup Whipping Cream
- 2 tbsp. Unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (room temperature)
- In a small sauce pan, cook syrup: combine sugar and water and cook until the temperature reaches 230 F/110 C.
- In a stand mixer, beat 60 grams of egg whites and 35 grams of sugar until it forms soft peaks.
- When the syrup is ready, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in hot syrup. *Be careful as the syrup is VERY hot.
- Slowly increase mixer speed to the highest setting, beat meringue until it cools down and becomes shiny. (10-15 minutes).
- Blend ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor, sift mixture into a large bowl, mix in matcha green tea powder.
- Add in the other 60 grams of egg whites into the almonds and icing sugar mixture - no need to mix together. At this point, you can also add in gel food colouring into the egg whites to boost the colour (optional).
- When the Italian meringue as cooled down, gently fold it into the ground almonds mixture. Mix with a spatula until it has reached a "lava" stage. *This is where it might be tricky because it is easy to over-mix or under-mix.
- Scoop meringue into a piping bag with a plain tip (10 mm), pipe out 4 cm rounds.
- Tap baking sheet to get rid of large bubbles, let them sit on the counter for 30-40 minutes so the tops get dry.
- Bake at 325 F/160C for 10-15 minutes. After about 5 minutes, the macarons will start to develop their "feet".
- Let cool and carefully remove from baking sheet.
- Place chocolate in a small mixing bowl.
- In a small pan, heat whipping cream just until in boils, pour hot cream into chocolate. Let it sit for about 30 seconds, untouched.
- After about 30 seconds, you can start mixing it with a spatula.
- When it becomes smooth, you can start mixing in the cubed butter little by little.
- Refrigerate mixture until it is the right consistency so it can be piped.
- Match the size for each pair of macaron shells.
- Pipe in the appropriate amount of filling, carefully press them together until the filling reaches the sides of the macaron shells.
- Refrigerate for at least 24 hours (maturation).
- Macarons are best consumed at room temperature so before serving them, take them out of the fridge and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Troubleshooting from my experience:
These are some of the problems I encountered when
- Cracked Tops: oven temperature was too high from the bottom, so I had to used 2 stacked baking sheets for these.
- Protruding Feet/Tops Sliding Off: I think I under-mixed this batch, they are a bit high in height. The sliding tops might be a result of my baking sheets having an uneven surface.
- Sticky Bottoms: I have way over-mixed this batch, it was too liquid-y when I piped it. They also turned out VERY thin and impossible to get off of the baking sheets without destroying them.
- Uneven Feet: I have no idea what caused this, I think I have over-mixed a little because they are quite thin as well. I also think I did a bad job of making the sugar syrup because there were little chunks of sugar in the meringue.
Notes that I have for successful macaron baking:
- Invest in an oven thermometer. My oven is probably more than 20 years old so the temperature is always off so having a thermometer is helpful in determing the right temperature.
- Know your oven VERY well. Okay, every oven is a bit different so you will need to adjust temperatures, racks, baking times etc. according to your oven at home.
- Don’t over-mix or under-mix. As you can see from my photos above, getting the meringue in the right consistency is one of the important factors. Too much will make the batter runny and too little might cause weird feet. I can’t really tell you in words what is “right” so you will need to experiment a bit.
- Get good baking sheets. Non-stick surface baking sheets are actually very bad in conducting heat and may warp easily so I got myself aluminum baking sheets which are much better in conducting heat and the surface is nice and flat. I also bought silpats, it is not necessary but it saved me a lot of parchment paper.
- Give your meringue a lot of LOVE. Macarons are quite delicate so if you treat it with care, they will turn out nicer (It’s TRUE!).
- Powdered Sugar vs. Icing Sugar – you don’t HAVE to use powdered sugar (100% sugar), icing sugar (contains up to 5% corn starch) will work fine.
- Aged Egg Whites vs. Fresh Egg Whites – I have tried baking with aged and fresh – they both work, just make sure they are at room temperature and isn’t contaminated with any yolk, oil or water.