Here’s the information you have all been waiting for…
I believe I have been quite confusing with subtle changes here and there and the reason for that is because I (like you) am still experimenting and after each batch, I always learn something new! (hence the constant addition of notes)
Take note that the following recipe is a plain, almond macaron…
Think of it as a blank canvas! You can play around with it by adding flavours and colours!
So here it is…The blank canvas macaron…(or…plain almond macaron with white chocolate ganache)
Age your egg whites.
Separate 3 large eggs. Place the three egg whites into a bowl and cover with glad wrap. Poke the glad wrap to create some holes in order for the egg whites to ‘dehydrate’. I age my egg whites for 1-3 days but you could age them for even up to 7 days! Place the bowl of egg whites in the fridge to age and when you’re ready to use them, take them out and rest until they reach room temperature. It is very important that the egg whites are room temperature before you use them.
Make your filling.
Personally, I’m a fan of using chocolate ganache to fill my macarons. Below is a recipe for a simple white chocolate ganache.
Simple White Chocolate Ganache
It is better to prepare the ganache (or whatever kind of filling you choose) one day before you start making the macaron shells.
Here is a basic white chocolate ganache recipe to start off!
50ml (about 1/4 cup) of thickened cream
100g white chocolate (I use Cadbury’s ‘Dream’)
1. Break up the white chocolate into pieces and place into a separate medium/large sized bowl
2.Heat 50ml of thickened cream in a saucepan, bring to boil and remove from heat.
3.Pour the boiled cream into the bowl with broken white chocolate pieces and stir until chocolate dissolves. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, glad wrap the bowl and place into the fridge to chill until set. (Usually, 2hrs or more. Over night is even better!)
You can play around with the flavouring of the ganache by adding things like, frozen berries for something fruity or even by infusing various teas into the cream!
The Blank Canvas Macaron
It’s good to start with the basics. The following recipe creates a plain, almond macaron. Later, you can play around with flavours and aesthetics!
130 grams Almond Meal
160 grams Pure Icing Sugar
3 large egg whites at room temperature ~ 90 - 100 grams total (aged 24 hours minimum)
65g caster sugar (5 tablespoons)
NB. The amount of almond meal and icing sugar noted above may at times, be more than needed. This is good for those who use liquid colouring as a common problem with macaron is a mixture that is too runny! This allows for ‘back up’ dry ingredients to counteract that.
1. Combine almond meal with pure icing sugar and sift three times. Set aside.
Try and use this sifter! It makes the job a whole lot easier.
Notes: At this stage, you can add various flavours to the dry macaron shell mixture e.g. matcha powder, cocoa powder, hazelnuts etc.
OR, if you own a food processor, you can quicken the pace by processing the almond meal and icing sugar together instead. It definitely creates a finer powder for smoother shelled macarons.
I use my handy dandy Cuisinart Mini Prep Food Processor . A recent purchase, which I absolutely LOVE!
Fine powdery goodness…
2. Beat egg whites until foamy (*Add liquid food colouring here) and then add caster sugar 1tabespoon at a time until mixture is thick, shiny and stiff.
Foamy egg white (below)
Egg whites, thick, shiny and stiff enough to hold over your head! (below)
3. Fold in half of the dry mixture with the egg whites until combined. Then add about 80% of the rest of the mixture (This is to make sure that the batter doesn’t end up being too dry) mix lightly in a circular motion. Then commence operation macaronnage* which involves spreading out the batter against the bowl’s sides and then scooping the batter from the bottom and turning it upside down. Plop, swipe against side of bowl and repeat. Many recipes note down a certain number of times to fold but the best way of telling whether your batter is ready or not is by scooping a spoonful of batter, let it drop back into the bowl. If it slowly drops back into the bowl, lands on the rest of the batter in a small mound and slowly sinks back into the batter, then you are done. Do not over fold as this will result in runny batter and consequently, flat macarons without feet.
Macaronnage Video (below)
The ‘Scoop, Drop, Plop’ test helps to determine whether the macaron batter is ready for piping. (below)
* The Macaronnage process is when the dry ingredients are mixed with the stiff egg whites to create macarons. It is important to get this part right in order to produce successful macarons
4. Line tray/s with double layers of baking paper (This helps to prevent heat from passing through too quickly. Some recipes even suggest using double trays! You’ll need a lot of trays…) Using a piping bag or syringe, pipe out small mounds of macaron batter (About 2-2.5cm diameter) onto the lined trays. Rap the tray firmly against the counter or other flat surface as this helps the macarons hold their rounded shape and helps the pied or little ‘feet’ to form. Then set aside to dry** in room temperature. (I lay a tea town on my counter bench before hand to lessen the noise!) Do not be afraid to really BANG. The drying duration varies but usually, it’s about 45min - 1 hr.
At this point, you may pre-heat your oven to 140°C – 150°C* (Fan forced oven).
I prefer using syringes as they allow more control than piping bags. I’ve converted to piping bags! A bit of practice makes it bearable.
The required temperature depends on each individual oven. For a fan forced oven, I found that anything higher than 150 °C caused the macarons to burn on theoutside too quickly, leaving the inside uncooked. Knowing what temperature to set will come with experience so it’s time to get to know your oven! Preheat your oven to at 150°C but, bake at 120°C-130°C. Yes, it takes longer to bake however baking at lower temperatures for longer, prevents your shells from ‘burning’ or ‘charring’.
** The drying process of the macaron batter is very important. In order for macarons to form a smooth, shiny dome, the batter must not stick to your finger when touched. Once the batter is dried, you may place them into the oven.
4. Once the batter has dried sufficiently, you may place the trays into the oven and bake for about 15-20mins. If baking two trays at once, make sure you swap the top and bottom trays at half time so that they both get equal amounts of heat.
To check whether or not your macarons are ready, take the tray out of the oven and slowly try and lift a macaron from the baking paper. If you find that you are unable to, this means the base is still uncooked and sticky – put the tray back into the oven. If you are able to lift the macaron off and you find that the base is smooth and flat, your macarons are ready! – This test is important because each oven is different.
Generally, 12 - 15mins is a good duration however, it doesn’t hurt to check in order to avoid your macarons from being burnt. Baking at 120°C-130°C with a fan forced, electric oven generally takes about 15-20mins for the shells to be ready.
ALSO, macaron tops cook faster than the base. To prevent your macarons from burning on the outside before the inside is cooked, cover the tray with a layer of foil. This helps prevent the macaron tops from charring. This worked but then it didn’t another time. Best to just bake at a lower temperature for longer!
Macarons baking in the oven. – About 5-7mins mins into baking.
Shortly, ‘feet’ will form at the base of the macarons. Jump for joy when you reach this stage!
Macaron shells, freshly baked from the oven.
5. Once you take them out of the oven, place the tray on a cooling rack and once they cool, you will hear crackling paper sounds. It’s just the macaron shells naturally peeling themselves off the baking paper (if you are using baking paper…)
When you remove them from the baking paper, the base of the macaron should look like this:
(NB. Yes, this image is from a different batch! Wasn’t diligent enough to take photographs of everything in one round, sorry!)
Once the macaron shells have cooled, you make begin to sandwich the shells to complete your macaron! Some recipes suggest using a piping bag to pipe the filling onto the macaron however, I find spreading it with a knife is much simpler. (unless you made a runnier ganache)
Completed Almond macarons with white chocolate + hint of cocoa powder ganache.
Please bear with me as I make edits and add notes to this recipe. Each batch has its differences and it’s so hard to stick to a single recipe for macaron. I hope the notes have helped!