Step by step photos from my macaron making class with tips!


For some time now the blogosphere has been abuzz with talk of feet, aging egg whites and perfect shells. Everyone seems to have been bitten  by the macaron bug- "the dessert sensation that swept the nation and indeed the world". 
I got a chance to share in the macaron madness before it disappears for good- and that would be a pity for with a crunchy exterior and chewy interior filled with ganaches and creams these delicate delights that come in a myriad flavour combinations are definitely worthy of all the fuss surrounding them.
There are many stories about the origin of the macaron (Not to be confused by the coconutty macaroons) my favourite is the story of two nuns seeking asylum during the French revolution, who baked and sold macarons to support themselves. Today almost every bakery worth it's sugar from Delhi to Dallas stocks macarons (priced here at about $2 a pop)
If I could make a trip to Paris just to taste the macarons at Laudree I would.
Meanwhile I'll just bake them myself! I got signed on to  macaron making class as a birthday present from T and am sharing with you some tips I learnt to conquer these moody creatures. Let me warn you though! They are addictive!
If you are interested in the classes or the recipe you can contact the wonderful Namthip of Bonbini. Under her guidance all of us who attended the class including one self professed cake-mix fan turned out dainty little macarons, with perfect feet - the elusive almost ruffle-like looking underside of the macaron.
We made chocolate, matcha green tea, coffee and raspberry shells and also learnt how to make coffee chocolate ganache, raspberry, matcha green tea, raspberry and banana ganache.


For the Macaron Recipe:

Since the class I have made several batches and the recipe that I have found most success with is this one from Helene of mytartlette.com  so you can check her site out for the recipe, but below are the critical steps to follow:

Step 1: 
The key to good macarons with the ruffle like underside is to use aged egg whites. The reason is that aging them reduces the moisture in them and also breaks up the protein strands. You can age them by leaving the egg whites in a clean bowl on the counter for atleast 24 hours or covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Else if you are in a hurry, simply microwave them for 10 seconds at a time dipping your finger to check that the thick texture of the whites has become more liquidy. Careful! Don't cook them! two short 10 second bursts in the microwave should do. 


Almond meal ( powdered almonds) is available here in the US in several stores including Trader Joe's ( best price) or online from Bob's Red Mill Else you can grind blanched almonds ( without the skin) in your foodprocessor/ mixie along with the sugar until powdery but careful, not too much or else it will become oily and wet and not suitable for macaron making. 


Also make sure you use powder ( confectioner's ) sugar which contains corn starch. If using granulated sugar, make sure you use this method to substitute:


For 1 cup powdered sugar: Measure 1 cup granulated sugar. Add 2 tbsp corn starch. Pulse in grinder until fine and powdery. Do not use straight granulated sugar in place of powdered sugar. You will get a grainer texture. Plus the cornstarch helps to manage the moisture and without it, your macarons will flop.

Yyou can also grind your store bought almond meal along with the icing sugar quickly for about two 30 second pulses to ensure that the almond meal is fine and so you get smooth tops. Also sift, sift sift! 


Step 2:

Mixing the dry ingredients with a little egg white, holding on to the mixing bowl and rotating a wooden spoon until it just starts to come together. It's OK if its a little lumpy at this stage. ( The photo below is for a chocolate macaron which is why it is such a dark brown- if trying for the first time, use a plain macaron recipe) Note this step is optional many recipes do not call for it and I have recently stopped doing it too. 




Step 3:
Whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks that stand up at 90 degrees.




Step 4:
Folding whipped egg whites into the dry mass, very carefully in circular motions, splitting the mass and rotating in different directions to ensure the whites are well incorporated and mixture is not streaky. Careful! don't deflate the mixture or over mix! You just want the mixture to be able to move slightly, not be too runny, or else it's done for! Its always better to under mix than over mix, because once your batter becomes too runny you won't be able to pipe them.



Step 5
Pipe the batter on a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper kept on a baking tray, into a little larger than coin sized circles, by holding the bag at 90 degrees, lightly pressing down and using a finger to hold the bag steady. When all most done, quickly release the bag so that you don't end up with a long pointy tail. The idea is to have uniform smooth shells as far as possible. If you want you can print out this template here and place it under the baking sheet to make it easier to pipe out neater circles. However make sure you remove the template before popping them in the oven else it will burn!

How to hold the bag: Hold and apply gentle pressure to the top of the bag
and use your  other hand as a guide so the tip is steady

Step 6:
Pick up and drop/rap the tray on the counter to get rid of air bubbles, sprinkle with coffee powder, chocolate sprinkles, cinnamon, grated nuts zest or other unmeltable topping and lay to rest for about an hour to form a skin on the surface. You can speed up this step by using a hair dryer. Drying the shells is important in getting the ruffle like underside and a smooth un-cracked top so make sure you do this!




Step 7:
Then take the baking tray and put another one underneath it (doubling the tray) and bake after lowering the preheated oven temperature from 350 to 325 F for 9 mins. Remember to rotate the pan half way so that they bake evenly. After baking make sure that if using a dark coloured tray that you remove the parchment paper containing the macarons to the counter within 3 mins else they will get overbaked. Remember each oven is different and you may have to play around with the oven settings to make sure it works for you. I found that 325 F was fine for me but that I had to bake them for about 15 mins. So test with a small batch for the first few times. 

See my babies straight from the oven with their perfect "feet"- the ruffle like underside which is the subject of much contemplation amongst the macaron pundits. According to Namthip, aging the egg whites and doubling the pan, along with the dry tops helps to ensure that the foot develops



Step 8:
Once cool, peel off the parchment paper to release the shells. Sometimes they may stick to the paper. If this happens it migh tbe a sign that it is underbaked, especially if the inside seems too sticky. In that case quicky put them back in the oven and bake for a few more minutes. To make it easier to release, you can try putting the whole sheet when it is still warm, into the freezer for about a minute and it will be much easier to peel off the paper/mat

Next, hold the shell steady to pipe some filling onto it. Then top with a similar sized shell and "twist into place so that a little of the filling is seen sandwiched between the shells



For more info check out this wonderful document by Helene of mytartlette.com called Demystifying Macarons

Here are some more tips from Namthip's site www.namthip.com:
Before piping, check for:
- Shine
- The folded batter should slowly spread
- Put a drop of batter and see if it holds its shape
-Check for doneness after baking– Lightly jiggle the shell
- It should not slide off
- It should move slightly
- It should spring back
If under baked, you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes so that it hardens. Remember under baked is better than over baked!
Other tips:
-- Use flavorings with low moisture content; oil, extract, powder, zests, coconut flakes
- Bake on two sheet pans (Keeps the heat away from the bottom longer allowing the foot to develop)

Here is Namthip's cute dog Yindi joining in on the fun. he was pretty involved in the class too and seemed to know exactly when the macarons in the oven were done!

The classes were at San francisco and here are some pics from the rest of the day :)

Ommm nom nom.. the hungry cable car can't have enough!




There was also a little store called Chocolate Covered where the floor to ceiling is covered in little sweet boxes printed with famous SFO landmarks, signage and people, made by the owner. He can also custom make one with your pictures. Pretty cool.


Because my colourful assortment of macarons reminded me of my colourful festival memories I am sending them to this month's Mactweets Mac Attack  with the theme of Childhood summer memories this month.




I have always wanted to take part in macattack, and with my very first batch now I can!
I am so proud of my lovelies I am also sending them to Sugar High Fridays: Bite sized desserts,  hosted this month by the amazing Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.
Thank you T for an awesome day and for fueling my macaron madness!

26 comments:

  1. Gosh, I so envy you! They have come out perfect!

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  2. Thanks Ria! It was so much fun. And now I'm afraid I'm addicted :(

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  3. A boxer! I love boxers! Ok, sorry to mention the dog before your gorgeous, perfect macs but we had a fabulous boxer and miss her so much and your friend's dog is fantastic!

    SO thrilled you took part in our Mac Attack and these colorful macs are perfect for the theme and just beautiful! Wow! I could definitely get addicted to these! Really perfect! Thanks so much for joining our kitchen!!

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  4. Yindi was a sweetiepie. She was amazingly well behaved too. Well you would be too if you got rewarded with freshly baked treats I guess :)
    Thanks for the warm welcome Jamie, I'm just waiting to bake my next batch!

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  5. Your macs are perfect and beautiful. I also love the color connection to your childhood. Now I can say how jealous I am you got to take a macaron class ;-)

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  6. Lora I just saw your beautiful ballerina macs and I must say that you don't need classes!

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  7. Your macarons look amazing! Way better than mine, I'm a total novice really cakes I know inside out macarons I'm still mastering x

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  8. COngratulations on your perfect macarons. Having failed at it more times than I care to remember, I'm always in awe of macaron successes. :)

    Thanks for sening them to SHF: Bite Size Desserts.

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  9. Your macarons look amazing! Thanks for the great tutorial, I need all the help I can get!

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  10. Fantastic...your feet at purty! Sorry to gush, but you just lived my dream. These are GORGEOUS!! I've yet to find success in the real sense! Got to try them your way. Thank you for joining us at MacTweets. Lovely to have you there!!

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  11. Oh forgot to say... love the boxer! Cutey!!

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  12. Thanks you all!So happy you like them too :) Lora,Sue,How to be perfect,it's so great to meet you'll and your blogs! Deeba, Jamie, Aparna and ofcourse Ria, I'm really kicked about connecting with you'll since I've been following your blogs for a while. You'll are like celebrities for me :)

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  13. Very useful and interesting post - you've really got the hang of these little beasts. Yours look beautiful. I'm bookmarking this page for when I make them,

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  14. Thanks Sally! Don't be disheartened if they don't come out well the first time- my first attempt was a disaster! You'll learn a lot though- about your oven, the humidity- in which case use a hair dryer to speed up the drying of the tops. Drop me a mail or a comment if you have any questions and I'll reply as soon as I can! Have a comment noticifation system enabled so will not miss comments on older posts now :)

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  15. Hey sweetie, long time no hear! Hope all's well.

    Okay, I'm writing to let you know that I've linked this post to my post on macarons: Pretty pink macarons.

    So sorry I didn't ask your persmission first. Hope you don't mind!

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  16. Of course not Nashi, am so happy that it helped you!

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  17. Oh my god!!so perfect they have come out....so inspiring!

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  18. The two times I made these they were either really flat or had tiny little feet which were better off not being there. Last we/end found this page of yours while baking and finally, finally it looked like it needs to be. Thankyou so much magpie.

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  19. Thank you so much for letting me know Rachel! You made me a happy girl!

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  20. I fell in love with macroons the first time my travelling husband brought some home from NY and eah time I read the recipes,I am intimidated. They still fascinate me and with all the info and links in this post of yours,I think I will soon try making them. Thanks Rose

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  21. Authentic preparation :) Photos are stunning :)

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  25. Just made these today, filled them with almond butter cream…My husband said it’s pretty much the best thing he has ever eaten!!! Thank you so much for posting. :)

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