French Macaron 101

If you’ve been around for a while, you know I have a thing for macarons! Due to non-existence of any bakeries with fresh macarons in my area (I live in the middle of nowhere!), I was forced to learn to make these little treats at home.



And I have to tell you I’ve had many, many trials and errors, as well as picture-perfect winners in the last 3 years since I discovered these gems! Earlier this year, I tried the famous Ladurée macarons while in Paris, so now I kinda know what considers as a perfect macaron.

Over the years I’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to perfect these finicky little delights. And today I decided to share an extremely long post to put together all the tips and tricks I know in one place. In order to bring you a complete guide, I even purposefully made the common mistakes like under-mixing and over-mixing the batter.

By no means I claim I know everything about macarons. I’m just sharing my experience and what works for me. And although I tried to cover most of the common problems, I’m sure there are some I’ve never encountered. Sometimes, macarons fail for no apparent reason and leave me scratching my head. I encourage you never give up on making macarons though. There is no such joy as watching your macarons grow lacy feet as they bake in the oven and pulling out perfectly round macarons with shiny smooth tops and pretty ruffled feet out of the oven. I swear, every single time, when I see my macarons through the oven door puffing up and baking perfectly, I can’t help but do a little happy dance in my kitchen! Pure joy, I’m telling ya!

Ok, without further ado, let’s get started with some general tips.

Meringue

Good stable meringue is the foundation for perfect macarons. There are 2 different techniques to make a meringue: French and Italian. Italian meringue is made with egg whites and cooked sugar syrup, while French meringue is made with egg whites and sugar. Some argue that Italian meringue is the easiest and foolproof, but I find French version is much more approachable for us home bakers.

Here are my tips to make fluffy and stable French meringue:

Weigh the egg whites. All of my recipes call for large egg whites, which should yield about 30-33gr of egg whites per egg, or no more than 70gr of egg whites total.
Be sure to use crystal clean (read: completely grease-free!) bowl and whisk to whip the egg whites. Just a touch of oil has a power of ruining your meringue, preventing egg whites to reach perfectly fluffy and sturdy meringue. Some advise to wipe the utensils with vinegar, but I don’t go that far. Just washing and drying with a clean towel does the trick for me. Also, try to use stainless steel or glass bowl, because plastic bowls tend to absorb oil.
Along the same line, be careful not to include even the smallest drop of yolk in the egg whites. Egg yolk = oil.

https://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com/french-macaron-troubleshooting-guide/

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