The instructions on back of the package are pretty thorough, but for those of you who are feeling a little nervous about your first macaron adventure, here are a few extra tips, pictures and video clips to help you along. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you have.
1. Preparing your Egg Whites
It is REALLY important that when you are separating your eggs you are careful not to get any yoke in with the white. Any kind of oil will compromise your meringue making it so that it will not firm up properly. It will wreck your cookies sooooo really try to watch out for this.
Every baker has techniques that work best for them. I have found that when separating my egg whites it is better for me to crack the entire egg into my hand and then let the egg white slip through my fingers into a bowl like so.
2. Making your Meringue:
If you plan on using a stand mixer this method will work like a dream!
- 3 minutes @ level four
- turn off mixer, add entire bag of egg white powder & sugar
- 3 minutes @ level six
- 3 more minutes @ level nine
- add food colouring (gel or powder is fine) and beat on ten for a final 20 seconds.
3. The Fine Art of Macaronage (aka folding in your almond flour).
When the meringue is all beat up there is a lot of air in it. When we fold in the almond flour and sugar we are trying to get rid of some of that air. I like to take my spatula and press the batter up against the sides of the bowl. I find that for me it takes about 50 strokes to get to the "right consistency."
Finding what the "right" consistency can be tricky. All the macaron making blogs tell you to mix until you get to a point where the batter "flows like lava." That sounds vauge but once you start working with the batter it will totally make sense. Basically what this means is that when you pick up a little bit of the batter with you spatula and dump it on back into the bowl it forms a mound and then after about 10 second totally reincorporates into the rest of the batter (you shouldn't even be able to tell you poured some batter). Don't feel like you need to rush this process. Take your time and everything will turn out just fine. It should look something like this:
4. Pipping your Cookies
If you have a pastry tip and coupler go ahead and use them. They provide a little bit of extra stability in your pipping bag. You don't have to use them, however (they aren't included in the mix because I often don't use them).
Hold your pipping bag at a 90 degree angle from your pan. You'll want the tip of your bag to be about 2 mm above the pan. This is important because it will ensure you get a nice perfectly round macaron. If your bag touches the pan sometimes the cookies shapes warp a little bit. (This doesn't bother me all that much when I am making macarons for myself or my family--but if you want to get technical and make a perfectly round cookie, this is important).
5. Letting them Rest.
Check my post here to find out why!
Anything I missed? Shoot me an email and I will try to address your question!