I finally did it – I took the plunge and made macarons! This has been one of my goals/ New Year’s resolutions for two years, but I never had the inspiration and time to test out this notoriously difficult-to-create treat.
One of my excuses was that I didn’t have silicone baking mats, which theoretically help prevent the cookies sticking to the pan. Since I was given two silicone baking mats for Christmas, I told myself this would be the year that macarons are made. However, I’ve also read that parchment paper works better than silicone mats, so who knows!
I thought I would share my adventure with you to show that it is possible to make these cookies, but they aren’t without their challenges. I’ve referenced resources for recipes, techniques, and troubleshooting in case you also want to try making macarons!
- They tasted delicious!
- Crisp, yet marshmallowy
- The buttercream tasted of fresh strawberries
- Tops were smooth-ish and didn’t crack/ point
- Had feet!
Areas for improvement:
- Butter cream split – this can happen when using high acidity fresh fruit in butter cream, but it still tasted good.
- Hollow cookies
- Sticky bottoms
- I used a large nozzle piping tip, which made it impossible to control the amount of mixture being squeezed into circles .
- Environment – I baked on a hot and fairly humid day, which probably didn’t help.
After reviewing this macaron troubleshooting guide, I think the hollowness of my cookies was because I slightly over-beat the meringue. The sticky bottoms might have been because they needed a few more minutes in the oven, or my macronage technique (figure 8 folding) wasn’t up-to-scratch and I either over-folded, or didn’t fold enough.
As you can see, there are lots of things that can go wrong when making macarons, so I take my edible, sort of round, risen, and un-cracked cookies as a success!
Have you made macarons before? If so, how did they turn out? Tips on baking this French delight are most welcome!
- 3 Egg Whites (room temperature)
- ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 cups Icing Sugar
- 1 cup Almond Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- ¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
Strawberry Butter Cream
- ¼ cup Salted Butter (room temperature)
- ¾ cup Icing Sugar (sifted)
- 1 cup Fresh Strawberries (strained to extract 2 ½ tbsp. of juice)
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar, and granulated sugar and beat for 8-10 minutes.
- Whip until they form a peak that stands upright.
- Add food colouring, if using.
- Sift the almond flour and icing sugar. Fold into the egg mixture. Use about 70 "figure 8" strokes.
- Transfer to a piping bag, and use a standard size nozzle (not too large!).
- Pipe out 1 inch rounds on the silicone mat lining a cookie sheet.
- Tap the sheet hard a few times to release the air bubbles. This prevents cracking.
- Let them sit for 30 minutes, up to an hour to dry out. They should be tacky, but not stick to your fingertip. This step helps the "feet" develop.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Underbaking will result in the cookies sticking to the tray.
Strawberry Butter Cream
- Beat the butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
- Slowly add in the sifted icing sugar.
- Add in the strawberry juice.
- Transfer to a piping bag with a small ¼ inch tip.
- Once the cookies are cool, flip the shells on their backs and pipe a small amount of icing on one half. Add a second half to create the sandwiched cookie.
- Store in the fridge.