by Sharon Wee

Curse and swear, tear your hair out in frustration, sulk, come close to giving up, do more research, get some fresh air, get hopeful, buy more ingredients and try, try again.

And when you do succeed, keep your fingers crossed and pray to the baking gods that you can keep succeeding.

In the last 2 years or so I’ve been stumped by the humble macaron. When done correctly, they look beautiful. However, a slip of the hand in any of the steps means that you can end up with some pretty mutated macaron shells. I’ve pretty much seen them all… lop sided, exploding from the top, feetless, hard, oozing…etc and the list of faults go on.

The recipe is very deceiving… calling only for approx 5 ingredients, all easy to get. The technique of putting it all together did not sound too hard when I read it either. How hard can it be? I’ve seen lots of people talking about the whole process online and how temperamental macaron batter can be. I could not believe something with less than 5 ingredients could be so difficult to put together. That is, until I tried countless recipes (both the french and Italian method) and was staring at what was probably the 8th batch of failed macarons that I begun to feel completely defeated. What did I do wrong?

Well, after some research I discovered that there is A LOT I could have done wrong. The sugar temperature, how the meringues are beaten, the way I combine everything… Gosh!

But then, 2 days ago… it happened. The ingredients all decided to align and I managed to make my best lot of macarons. I think this was either a fluke or I have finally managed to make this whole macaron thing work.

I think I’ll just have to make more just to double check that I’ve got this right 🙂

In case you are wondering, here is what I have learnt on my macaron adventures… It may not all be right, but it’s what worked for me.

  • I find that the Italian method is more ‘durable’ because the meringue is actually cooked so it makes the batter more firm.

  • Make sure EVERYTHING is exact – the weight of the ingredients, temperature of the sugar syrup…etc

  • When pouring in the sugar syrup into the egg whites, make sure the egg white have formed stiff peaks. Then when the recipe says slowly, it means pour it in a steady stream (kind of how you would pour milk into a glass). Make sure your mixer is still running (at medium speed). Once the sugar syrup is poured into the egg whites, whip on high to get all the heat out. It’s ready when the sides of the bowl is cool enough for you to touch it.

  • I used a really fine sieve for the almond meal and icing sugar, somehow I think this helped because it made it much easier to incorporate the wet ingredients.

  • Use a piping bag with a nozzle to pipe the macarons. Make sure they are piped evenly.

  • Learn to know how hot your oven is. Mine is a fan forced oven and I find that I had to subtract 10 degrees or so from the recipe.

If you are curious, I used Adriano Zumbo’s macaron recipe which can be found here. Follow everything exactly and you should get some great results 🙂 (You can leave out the Cinnamon and colouring). For the filling I just made some ganache and piped it in.

I found that Adriano’s recipe gave me approx 40 small macaron shells which will make approx 20 macarons.

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10 Comments on If at first you don’t succeed…

  1. Simon Food Favourites
    January 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm (8 years ago)

    wow. they look perfect! how much would you sell these for? i’m looking for ideas for my birthday cake this weekend 🙂

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Richins
    January 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm (8 years ago)

    They look fantastic…almost like little cheeseburgers.

    Reply
  3. Sharon
    January 6, 2010 at 3:36 am (8 years ago)

    Simon, fingers crossed I get these results each time 😉 As for selling them, I don’t think I’m ready to just yet, but you are always welcome to have a taste test! Hope you have a great birthday! You should also check out Adriano Zumbo’s, you’ll find some awesome stuff for your birthday 🙂

    Jennifer, you’re not the first person to say that! A few people have told me they look like burgers. Next time I should put some sesame seeds on them too 🙂 and maybe find a way to put a slice of ‘cheese’.

    Reply
  4. Simon Food Favourites
    January 6, 2010 at 3:43 am (8 years ago)

    hi sharon, you know taste test is music to my ears 🙂 if you’re ever in need of someone to come by and sample anything just drop me an email. i’ll be more than happy to try anything and blog about it of course too 🙂 ps. yeah, they are a bit like hamburgers hehe i like your idea of the sesame seeds and something sweet that looks like cheese inside — zumbo move over, we have a new crazy flavour lord in town now 🙂

    Reply
  5. Ladybird
    January 6, 2010 at 4:03 am (8 years ago)

    Wow! They look perfect! Well done Sharon..

    Now I know who to call and cry to for guidance when I attempt macaroons for the first time one of these days 😉

    Reply
  6. Sharon
    January 6, 2010 at 6:21 am (8 years ago)

    Simon, I will definitely keep you in mind for a taste test 🙂 A lot of the times when I just feel like making stuff, I always end up with too much and end up force feeding my friends and work mates :$ Next time I know who to call 😀

    Anna, I hope you do try them some day. Although they can be challanging they are also a lot of fun. Maybe you’ll have better luck than first time I tried. But if you ever get stuck, give me a call…. I just don’t know if I’d be much help!

    Reply
  7. Phuoc
    January 6, 2010 at 7:11 am (8 years ago)

    YAY! Congratulations! They look pretty..

    I had that same feeling of accomplishment when I made them for the first time the other week. I was glued to the oven and was jumping for yjoy when I saw those little feets! Now heres to hoping that our next batches provide the same success 🙂

    Reply
  8. Sharon
    January 7, 2010 at 5:52 am (8 years ago)

    Phuoc, I’m glad I’m not the only one that stares into the oven every 2 seconds with my fingers crossed! Here is hoping they keep turning out like these 🙂

    Reply
  9. La Pasticceria
    July 30, 2011 at 11:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Sharon, I read your post of macarron and I would like to try to do this recipe. I have a problem with coloring, what color do you use? liquid? because when I used food coloring paste I see that the color dissapears when it was cooked. Thanks a lot!

    Reply

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