"Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life. "
- Thich Nhat Hanh
One of the trickiest cookies to work with in this wet season is Macaron. To get the perfect type in one go is very difficult. I don’t even remember now how many batches I must have binned. But with every failed batch I was left with one learning. So in today’s Tuesday scoop I decided to write about few issues that can lead to failed batches.
Almond meal seems too moist/wet. Place it in a warm (not hot) oven, spread the meal thin on a pan and allow to dry out over several hours. Almond meal has seed coat in it .If the meal is finely ground, seed coat is fine, it just produces speckled macarons.
- Meringue is over beaten and broken. Try beating it on medium-low speed and checking often to ensure you don’t push your meringue too far. There is no rush here, this isn’t a race to make the fastest meringue. Meringue is loose foam; it won’t come to a firm meringue
- Not beating the mixture long enough.
- If you are using a plastic bowl that isn’t impeccably clean ,it’s another reason for a failed batch.
- Trace of yolk in the whites. Beat in a very clean (VERY CLEAN, not a trace of grease or oil) stainless or copper bowl. Add a little acid to help strengthen your meringue if you’re beating in stainless steel (couple drops lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, or a small pinch of salt). Macaron batter appears too thick
- Under-mixed or Over-mixed batter
- Incorrect measurements of ingredients Macaron batter appears too thin
- Almond meal too coarse. Grind the almond meal into a fine powder or sift out the larger particles. Macaron tops are domed and lumpy (fine, bubbly lumps, often lack feet)
- Cooked at too low a temperature
- Not rested long enough
- Under-cooked Macarons tops are lumpy (bubbles)
- Not taping the pan on the counter before resting
- Not popping air bubbles with a tooth-pick before resting Macarons tops have peaks that don’t settle down (even if I tap the pan)
- Incorrect measurements of ingredients Macarons have scattered lumps of almond powder in them
- Not sifting the dry ingredients thoroughly before adding them to the meringue Macarons have lopsided feet
- Warped baking pans or using thin pans that buckle in the heat
- Resting the pans on a surface that isn’t level
- Strong heat from the bottom of the oven or if the Oven has hot spots
- Using Fan-forced heat Macarons have protruding feet
- Resting too long
- Not using a piping bag and tip
- Not piping straight down onto the pan
- Reusing parchment
- Using wrinkled parchment
- Using warped pans Macarons had feet in the oven but once they came out and cooled the feet were shorter. This is normal. The feet will shrink a little coming out of the oven. The shrinkage is more pronounced on silicone baking mats than on parchment, in my experience. Macarons stick to the pan
- Baking the cookies on something other than the recommended silicone baking mats or baking parchment, like aluminum foil (NO!) Ideally, the cookies should release easily while still in the oven. Test by trying to lift one of the cookies from the pan with an offset spatula. Allow the cookies to cool on the parchment or silpat, or pop them into the freezer for a few minutes and they should be easier to remove. Macarons are completely hollow. (Low profile shells. Interior is gummy and pooled in the bottom of the shell.)
So, while making macarons make sure you check out these pointers to avoid failures.