Practicing Macarons

Cinnamon and nutella macaroonsMacarons are one food that I am yet to master. I am always inspired by my friend Holly's beautiful macaron creations (she's such a fantastic baker!). I find them so intimidating that I put it on my birthday list to attempt them again this year. If you are not familiar with birthday lists, it's something Elsie and I (and others!) do every year. We make a list of goals for the upcoming year that corresponds with our age. For example, last year my list included 26 things to do before I turn 27. I will be celebrating another birthday the end of this month, so I'm trying to wrap up any unfinished goals and make my plans for next year. One thing I had yet to accomplish was to attempt macarons again. I wish I had a picture of my first attempt (almost 3 years ago). They were a DISASTER! Ha!Macaroon practiceAs you can see I still have some more practicing to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ But these were MUCH better than my first attempt. And although they were not cosmetically perfect, they were definitely delicious. They are cinnamon macarons (they taste like a snickerdoodle cookie!) that I filled with Nutella. I will share the recipe but for instructions on the method I would highly recommend this blog, and she also provides links to other fantastic bakers who have offered up more instructions as well.Macaroon feetEmma makes macaroonsFor these cinnamon macarons I used: 110 gm slivered almonds, 202 gm powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 100 gm egg whites aged at room temperature overnight and 50 gm granulated sugar. 

My main issues with this batch was that some of them cracked while baking and the tops still had a prominent tip from piping. (I also have a suspicion that I didn't fold the batter enough.) I got some suggestions from friendly IG users on how to remedy these problems. Snickerdoodle macaroonsTo keep macarons from cracking, it was suggested that I lower my baking temperature and allow them to bake a little longer. Or I can try letting them rest for 30 minutes to an hour before baking. And for getting rid of the piped tips it was suggested that I could give my baking sheet a tap on the counter before baking to level them off.

I was proud to have gotten some decent "feet" out of this batch at least. ๐Ÿ™‚ What about you? Have you ever been intimated by something you wanted to do? Or have you ever baked anything challenging? xo. Emma

  • I have always ALWAYS wanted to make these bad boys…. but they are a tad terrifying when I can’t even make cakes right most of the time ๐Ÿ˜‰
    xo

  • I have attempted these several times and failed miserably as well. However, i did read a recipe for a different technique recently from Annie Eats where she uses am Italian Meringue method instead of the French method, and assures that it is more fool-proof. I have yet to find an entire afternoon to attempt it without interruption, but when I do my hopes are high for success! Congratulations on making it pretty darn close!

  • I’ve just started baking macarons, too, and I’ve had varying results. I’ve made two batches now, sandwiching them with an egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free orangey chocolate spread, much like the beloved Nutella! It was just what I had to hand, but it actually made for some very luxurious macarons. I’d like to try making some flavoured macarons, rather than just plain almond ones. I also adore the brightly-coloured ones – they’re just SO purty.

    Just about to take a Chocolate Buttermilk Cake out of the oven! Thank so much for all your gorgeous and stylish posts – your blog has made my life more beautiful.

    Liz

  • They don’t look that bad. It is so hard to get the base right. Practice make it perfect.
    (just a thing: it is ยซmacaronยป with only 1 ยซnยป; macaroon is another kind of biscuit :)).

  • Kudos for attempting macaroons (twice)! They really do look delicious -great job! You’ve inspired me to give them a go and also start a birthday goal list! Thanks for all the inspiration- love your work!

  • Oi desperately want to give macarons a crack too! They are sooo popular here in Australia (look up Adriano Zumbo, his macarons are to die for! He’s the Willy Wonka of baking!)

  • I like the piped tip, it makes it look homemade which makes if feel all the more special!

  • Thanks for the blog link!!! I made macaroons 3 times and none of them met my expectations!! Well, atleast they are getting better each time ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh and LOVELY feet on those!:)

  • This was on my list of things to do last year! I made them twice, but I couldn’t get them pretty. Yours look great!

  • I love the idea of a birthday list! My birthday is in 7 days, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to make one and complete it this year (26 things is a lot to do in 7 days!) but it might be fun! And I’ve always wanted to master macaroons, too. But I’ve made this, which I think are close, and I LOVE! http://www.bakerella.com/chewy-chocolate-meringues/

    I love your perspective, too, that you’re “practicing”. It’s refreshing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I tried making them the other day! and the pooled and didn’t even bake, I didn’t some research on why and found that its best to under beat the eggs as its possible that I over beat them and thats why they pooled!

    Lessons learnt!

    Your looks and i bet they tasted fantastic!

  • Baking has always been more intimidating to me then cooking, I think it is all of the exact measurements and timing that prove to be scary! Their is less forgiveness for errors!

  • I can’t believe you’re making these! I LOVE cooking but I have not attempted macarons because I am very intimidated by them. I hear it’s incredibly hard to get them right. Good luck tho!

    ps. Macarons are the french one you’re making and macaroons are coconut cookies xx

  • I loved this post. I have wanted to try macarons for awhile now. (not to be a pedant or anything, but “macaroons” are an entirely different cookie) I’ve always been scared to go for it. But I might just give it a try! Thanks!

  • For some reason Hard Candies stress me out so much that I’ve never tried to make them, even though I think it’d be so fun to make lollipops and things for gifts. Maybe I’ll try them this year in honour of your birthday list.

  • I LOVE macarons. Thankfully my sweet friend Chef Tariq at Sucrรฉ does all the hard work for me. If you and Emma ever find yourselves in New Orleans I’m sure he’d be glad to show you around his kitchen!

  • They look delicious! I love Macarons, I work in a french inspired bakery and we are obsessed. Letting them rest on your baking sheet will definitely help prevent cracking. Another technique that we use is to double up your baking trays, this helps to regulate temperature. Happy Baking!

  • I visited the Laudree bakery in the Paris airport almost two years and and fell in love with macaroons when I took my first bite into a salted caramel one. Then I ate the other 5 in the box within minutes… no regrets (I could have bought more, but those babies are expensive). I’d love to master macaroons too, but there are so many details in making them perfect, but you have to start somewhere, right? I’m going to try to make some for Valentine’s Day ๐Ÿ™‚

    M.

  • I have wanted to try making macarons for a long time and after seeing your post I feel it’s time I give it a go ๐Ÿ˜‰
    P.S. I like the birthday list idea – so I’m totally stealing that. I think it has a better chance of working out than New Year’s Eve resolutions ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Mine were a disaster the first time I made them too – but the second time I got them right. Letting them sit before baking is a myth. It didn’t help me at all. But like you wrote, you probably didn’t fold them enough.
    I always pipe them from the side. It makes it much easier and you’ll avoid the tips.
    And before baking them I always slam the baking pan onto the table 4 times.

  • I hear ya! I’ve tried macaroons too! Not easy. I’m sure we will get them eventually! Best of luck

  • I was told the cracking occurs if you bump the tray (even slightly) when they’re hanging out invetween piping and cooking. I was told to treat those trays like newborn babies!

  • Hey Emma! I am not a great baker (AT ALL), but when I came back from France this summer I decided I needed to try to make some macaroons. I found this recipe-http://www.marthastewart.com/318387/french-macaroons. It has some great tips! I’ve made like 5 batches of them now, and I am honestly proud to say that they have turned out pretty perfect! Oh, and to get rid of the little bumps on each one, when piping just drag the tips down around the side. It really does work. (: Hope this helps!
    -Grace

  • I am so impressed. I was never a baker, so this year I have spent my maternity leave becoming (or more realistically attempting to become) a domestic goddess including learning to bake! Macaroons will be on my list this year, although I am very intimidated. I have been documenting my attempts to be a domestic goddess on my blog and the public nature of it is making me try harder!

    Thanks again for your fabulous blog.

    Bec
    Little Ivy Blog

  • I practiced making making macarons for the better part of last year, and I’m glad to say are now repeatedly gorgeous and wanted by many ๐Ÿ™‚

  • When I read your blog post today I chuckled to myself. I am TERRIFIED of making macarons! We had a girls only high tea at a friends house not so long ago and I promised the girls I would make macarons. Well in the end I was so scared I baked something else entirely. But seeing your attempt (and a good one at that) I have decided to give them a bash. Thank you for keeping us all so inspired!

  • I always give up making my own macarons when I look at the recipes – they are just too complicated for me. So I envy your for trying again and again! WOW!.

  • 3 slams of the tray on the worksurface after you’ve piped gets rid of the lumps, and you need to leave them to form a ‘skin’ for 30 mins before you bake ’em.

  • My firt macarons were almost perfect!
    http://beba-conceited.blogspot.com/2011/11/homemade-macaroons.html
    And I was asking myself why do people say that they are so hard to make and bla bla.
    My second attempt was a disaster I got out some stone hard cookies,
    and my 3rd attempt was also disaster. Okay, it was delicious, but no one could say, that I was trying to make macarons.
    I don’t now if I will ever make them again… But as far as I now myself I’ll probably give them one more shot.

  • The tap is essential to get rid of air bubbles, that’s how the patissiers do it in Paris.
    โ™ฅnic

  • Macarons definitely are a huge challenge. I’ve made them before and believe I did a lot of research beforehand. They turned out pretty good, but I wasn’t fully satisfied, either. Someday I will need to try it again.

  • Macaroons seriously scare me. I’d say I’m a pretty good baker but those bad boys are in a league of their own. I’ve been given the Laduree Macaroon book for Christmas and I am attempting them again this weekend. Even if they go wrong – at least I’ve got a beautiful cookery book to look at ๐Ÿ˜‰ – yours look amazing though and loving the mix of cinnamon and nutella. Xx

    http://ettas-corner.blogspot.co.uk

  • I’ve always wanted to try making macaroons, though I’ve never really eaten them so Im not sure what they are meant to taste like!

  • I turn 27 tomorrow and I don’t have mastered macarons yet. I think I’ll postpone that to… whenever it seems less frustrating. (I cried over macaron-desasters far too often (uhm… twice) last year.) I’d be happy if mine looked like yours.

  • Macaroons are hard! I really want to practice them more often, but after I didn’t place my first batch far enough apart and they merged together to make an uber macaroon I’m a little scared! These look really good though, will have to try following the instructions you linked to.
    Jodie xx | Future Freaks Me

  • They look great for only a second attempt! I work at a french bakery where we make macaroons on a regular basis. My tips for you would be to bake them at 250 degrees for anywhere from 15-25 minutes (this really all depends on your oven – get a thermometer in there to make sure your oven is even at the proper temperature!!), tap the sheet pans on the counter to flatten the tops and then let them sit for about 20-30 minutes so they form a skin, which will help with forming the ‘feet’. The other thing we do is bake them on stacked sheet pans (we put two more sheet pans under the one they’re sitting on before they go in the oven!). This helps distribute the heat and ensure that it’s mostly the tops baking and not so much the bottoms. I think having a convection oven helps quite a bit too, if you are so lucky. Best of luck!

  • I have always loved the look of these, only I can’t make them as I have a nut allergy, they are solo pretty especially in purples and pinks. One day I hope someone creates something similar foe people with nut allergies, now that would be a popular cook book!

  • You can also use your finger dipped in water to smooth down the piped tip before baking… and you really must leave them for an hour before baking, that’s essential!
    My boyfriend is obsessed with making these (and now extremely good at it!) but he finds that the Italian method (hot sugar poured onto the meringue as you whisk it) works better.
    Good luck at making more ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Failed several Times too. Wanna be able do make them so bad. Think I need a new stove cause I think mine isn’t correct heating and that’s one of the things perfect macaroons need…

  • WOW! They look delicious,

    I used make macarons and they get always cracking, now I find this 2 tips, and for me it Works:

    1. I use eggs whites aged up to 3 days (I leave them in the fridge till 3/4 hour before use )

    2. I allow the piped macarnos to dry at least 3 hours

    I’ve baking them for the degree party of my niece in Novembre.

    I will try also your receipt thanks for sharing,

    ciao

    Luisella

    http://dolcicoccoleetantivizi.blogspot.com/

  • the most helpful tutorial I have found was Martha Stewart’s (of course). I use her method every time, and every time they come out perfect. It includes some resting time, turning the oven up, then lowering it, rotating the pan, etc. Check it out, you won’t be sorry. (:

  • Keep trying Emma! One day I hope to be able to make macaroons half as beautifully as you have here! I love love love themโ€”so yummy!

    Here’s a post I did earlier in 2012 about the famous macaroons of Pierre Hermรฉ in Paris, whose boutique is right down the street from my apartment, happily ๐Ÿ˜€ Hope you enjoy it!

    http://untetheredasacloud.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/pourquoi-les-macarons/

    Smiles and all the best,
    Savannah
    untetheredasacloud.wordpress.com

  • I made chocolate macaroons once with Nutella but I’d love to attempt some rainbow colored ones! the one thing I vow to make one year but am slightly intimidated is croissants!!

  • Hi Emma

    If I may give you a piece of advice:

    once you’ve put your macarons on the tray and before you put them in the oven, a good tip is to tap the trey on your kitchen table in order to remove air bubbles.

    This will make your macarons look smooth and perfect, because you’re not supposed to see the little drop on the top like we can seee on your pics. Sorry if my English is not so clear but technical terms are difficult! Cheers. Julie

  • I have been practicing making macaroons for the past few months and they are definitely tricky. I always let them sit out until the outside has dried (if you lightly touch one, no batter come off on your finger). Lowering the temperature will help with cracking. I find that under-folding the batter is better than over-folding it. At least with under-folding, you get something. If you fold it too much, they just deflate. I’m definitely still learning after dozens of batches, but that makes it so much more rewarding.

  • I’m on a search to make the perfect lil macaron!! Thank you for posting this!! I’m going to check out the Annie eats site!! =)

  • I’ve always wanted to learn how to make my own batch of these. They are so good! I’ll admit too that I have been intimidated by these. I feel like I would need a whole day and an arsenal of baking supplies. It’s my new goal now to try baking some ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Love the birthday list idea! I’ve only tried to make macarons once – they’re so hard to master! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I would suggest not adding extra ingredients (like cinnamon) until you get your technique down. Good Luck!

  • For me it’s pastry: it’s so delicate and easy to mess up and I always pass on recipes that involve some form of it. So one of my new year’s resolutions is to bake it and learn to bake it well! My mum taught me choux pastry over Christmas…did you know it’s *really* easy?! Surprisingly so! It only has about 3 steps and you don’t have to pipe it or anything to make amazing profiteroles ๐Ÿ™‚ Next up maybe…shortcrust? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You’re getting there! They’ve always been my favourite and I’ve only tried to make them once, and they came out perfectly first time, but I have a feeling if I tried to do it without my mother doing it with me they’ll be a disaster – she’s basically a Nigella Lawson in the kitchen! I’ve been too scared to try…

  • I think you did a fantastic job! Attempting macarons is on my list of goals for this winter. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I have been trying to perfect my macrons as well!!! I used many different recipes but found Pierre Hermes to be the most successful!! If you want you can check out my post on it here!! http://laminlouboutins.blogspot.com/2012/06/mad-for-macarons.html

    Definitely let the macarons rest about 30 minutes. When you touch them they shouldn’t be sticky! Pierre has some good tips in the book!! They also say to make sure it’s not humid on a day you make them to keep it from cracking.

    Hope this helps!!

    -Stephanie
    @LaminLouboutins.blogspot.com

  • Forgot to mention that one of the reader’s is right! The Italian recipe is much more foolproof (which is what Pierre Herme uses)!!

  • I’m french and I love making macarons; to keep them from cracking while cooking I let them dry out for 2 or 3 hours before baking them. The time allows a “crust” to form at the top and they will have the soft spongy part right under that crust.

  • I have been very intimidated by macarons as well, but you trying on (and the great tips for it) make me want to try it again. they are sooo good, so it would be grad to be able to make them myself!

    thanks for this post!

  • I can’t wait to make these in class! Anyway a tip to get rid of the “tips” left from pipping is to stop putting pressure to the bag before you let go and pull away. Also another tip I used when I had to make tiny rosettes with no “tips” on my cakes was to pull away from the side rather than from the top. Hope this helps and that you get to make your perfect macarons ๐Ÿ™‚

    xo Amber P.
    http://theowlsden.blogspot.com

  • These are intimidating to make! Never attempted here, but now I want to! Definitely going to check out that blog!

  • if you want perfectly smooth macaroons: you must beat the plate on a table. It’s good when it’s all smooth. After allowed to stand 10 minutes before the “hulls” (coques) to put in the oven. It’s even better to let the macaroons one day in the fridge! I hope you understand ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Emma, I’m completely flattered by your compliment!! Your macarons look great, and just keep making them! I try to make them once a month to keep the recipe fresh in my mind, but my batches still crack sometimes, or they don’t get feet. I love the size of these ones, they look nice and big! The next time I make them, I am going to adapt the recipe from Beca: http://www.talesofatumbleweed.com/2012/12/a-tumbleweed-tutorial-french-macarons.html
    Happy baking, Emma! xo

  • I’m inspired! I’ve always wanted to make macarons. I shall attempt them next week. You had me at Nutella and cinnamon ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey Emma! I feel your pain for making macarons right! I am french and I always used the “laduree” recipe. As you probably know, Laduree is the reference for Macarons in France. Send me an email if you want the recipe!
    For the problems you mentioned:
    The little “tip” that stays on top: after you pipe the dought on you baking sheet, just dip your finger in water and smooth the tip off.
    And to avoid them crackling, it might be useful to actually take a little bit of the “bubbles” (pardon my poor English) in your batter by moving your spatula vividly in your dough after folding in the dry ingredients (just a little, not too much!)
    Have fun with the recipes!

  • I tried making macarons a couple years ago, and the recipe I followed said to leave them to rest for up to 4 hours after piping before putting them in the oven. I left them about an hour and half and they turned out alright with a nice shiny top, and it also helps to the little tip to flatten down naturally over time.

  • I might give them a try! what about a dulce de leche filling? By the way, any suggestion on a good cooling rack? I cannot find one in my hometown and I want to get a couple of them online. thanks!

  • It’s weird, the first time I made these they turned out perfect! I’ve only had issues once and I realized it’s because I used powdered sugar instead of bakers sugar. So I never understood how people had problems making them! Cinnamon macarons sound so good, gotta try that!

  • Mmm. Aren’t Macaroons just great! They are like the perfect little sweet treat!
    I not long ago did a Macaroons class! I wrote about it on my blog with as much of a method as I could from what I did at the class! Maybe it will help you with yours..? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a look and let me know! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lori x
    http://www.theangeldiary.wordpress.com

  • bless your soul for taking on this endeavor… yikes. i’m scared but i wanna bite so badly lol

  • Emma,

    It took SO MANY failed (but delicious) batches to finally get my macarons to look right. Keep trying!

    Looking at your photos, I’d say you’re def right to rap them on the counter (this forces out air bubbles in addition to forcing the batter to spread and peaks to hide) and let them rest for a few minutes (that way the batter gets a nice tough skin so the domes don’t rupture quite as easily). BUT ALSOโ€”

    1: There’s a good chance you’re over-whipping your meringue. That’s why the batter is so stiff and doesn’t flatten out. I’ve read a ton of recipes that insist on very stiff peaks, but soft peaks work best for me.

    2: If your oven is like most electric ovens and has the heating element on the bottom, try double-stacking your baking pans, so the bottom one will shield the bottoms of the macs from direct heat.

    Good luck & bon appetit!

  • Ah macarons… Even being a French girl, they are a pain for me ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have a friend who learned pastry and gave me a macarons lesson and what I have learnt from this is, aside the tips that were given to you, that you have to know your oven very well (which part heats more than others and such things) and also that very good quality baking stuff helps a lot! Oh, and that you should use rather powdered food colouring instead of liquid if wanting to make coloured biscuits. Liquid colouring will result in a too wet batter and your macarons won’t be good-looking (I know what I’m talking about ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Have fun baking and show us improvements! As for me, after a very intense macarons period a few years ago, I have quit baking them cause I’m looking for more simple desserts (and because my tiny student oven and my poorly equipped student kitchen does nite allow me making such delicate pastry…) hope I’ll try it again though!

  • I just baked a bunch for third time on NYE (under stress/deadline for a party too!) and they turned out great. I’ve got the recipe here if you’re interested, I adapted it from a French macaron bible I bought back when I was living in Paris: http://helario.us/post/41008904083/dine-in-lime-macarons

    I learned that by resting the piped mix for 1/2hr before putting them in the oven, is how you create the feet – which you did too, yay! The crackling I think is probably attributed to your mixing process in the beginning. I’d definitely love mine to be much smoother in future, surface-wise but happy with the outcome. Good luck with your subsequent macaron adventures, they take some time but turn out delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Pineapples tarts! They were really challenge because the eggs came in different sizes so the measurements were different every time I tried baking. There were times my tarts kind of cracked, or the dough wasn’t fragrant enough… But your attempts at these macaroons were really great and risk-taking too! I mean, I won’t try to bake something I’m not 80% sure because that would mean a waste of resources :p