Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Macaron Attempt 2 - Success

After my first miserable attempt at making a macaron, I wasn't as confident this time about making a good macaron.

This time, instead of using the "simpler" but more unreliable recipe from Duncan, I tried the "harder" but more reliable recipe. You can read all about Duncan's post of the recipe to get tips and explanations of things. It helps makes things a lot clearer if you read the recipe first. So go and read the recipe first.

So here is what I found.

I went and bought a sugar thermometer and it works a treat. I followed the steps exactly and watched until the thermometer hit as close to 118 deg C as I could judge. My whipped egg white did turn out really satiny as shown below. The combined mix with the dry ingredients and other half of the egg white was a nice "magma" consistency. A drop of batter from a spoon did take about 30 seconds to sink into the rest of the batter.

I really hate piping so did the spoons method that Duncan suggested. I used a large tablespoon to scoop the main mixture and the back of a smaller teaspoon to scrape the mixture onto the baking tray. I then sort of smoothed the mixture with the teaspoon. After all the mixture was done, I tapped the tray repeatedly to flatten out any bumps. I forgot to photograph the mixture on the tray, but below is a photo of them in the oven. Size wise, they were a bit big and small, but I will try to make them more similar next time.

At the start, I cooked the macarons at 160 deg C with the fan off in my oven. When I saw the edge macarons start to burn after about 6 minutes, I quickly took the whole tray out.

After two minutes of cooling, I tried to lift the burnt macarons, only to discover that they stuck to the tray. The centres were also still uncooked. All I did was put the whole tray back into the oven at 120 deg C, fan still off. After 10 minutes where they had risen again so the feets were higher, I took them out. After they cooled for two minutes, all but one peeled off the baking paper without a problem. I broke one open and it was perfect inside, cooked and with no hollow gap between the crust and the base.

Just because I couldn't resist, I took two of them and sandwiched some nutella just for a quick taste test. They tasted fantastic. While a macaron by itself tastes fairly bland and a bit too sweet, added with the nutella, it was excellent. I can see how well they will work with a dark chocolate ganache. The almond and icing sugar in the macaron really give it that hint of something extra and makes it very "fragrant", for lack of a better description.

So I'm going to be making more macarons for Christmas presents now. I just hope they all turn out this well. What I'm not sure about is whether to start the oven at a higher temperature (160C) and then drop it (120C) as that worked this time, or start it at a low temperature and cook it at that temperature the whole way through? Hmmmm.


  1. Hey, well done! Those look great.

  2. Well done you!!

    Simply put, these terrify me.

  3. Thanks Cindy and Ella. I followed Duncan's instructions exactly, even using different bowls for everything so as not to cross contaminate ingredients before required.

  4. Congratulations, looks like you slayed the macaron monster! Hope your xmas cookie recipients appreciate the trouble you went to :)

    Ellie @ Kitchen Wench

  5. Stop trying to make Macarons you MARACON!!!

  6. Thanks Elie, but it turns out the monster was only feigning death to lure me deeper into the cave where it ate me. My third attempt at making the macaron was another disaster.

    Anonymous, no macarons for you then.

  7. Hey, any success is a good start! At least now you know you CAN make them well. Keep that in mind.

    I'm so impressed! I'll definitely need to try this at my mum's.

  8. Anna, this success lured me into a false sense of comfort since the next batch failed rather badly. But like you said, at least I know I can make a good batch.

    Definitely give this a try with your mum. It will be challenging and will get you both either working together wonderfully or yelling at each other. So seeing as its about Christmas time, yelling at the relatives would just be the norm anyway.

    Let me know how you go.