My daughter (the gluten free one) had been asking me for months to help her make these special almond delights. While they have been popular for some time, I had never made them before. Last week she had a day off from work so we made Macarons our day’s work and were rewarded with sweet success!
I read over several recipes before we started and opted for one that includes a true meringue made by drizzling hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites. With our summer heat and humidity I was worried that non-stabilized versions wouldn’t hold up. Don’t be afraid of making the sugar syrup, it isn’t hard if you follow directions and use a candy thermometer to get the temperature right.
Here are my tips for baking Macarons:
- Convert the recipe to ounces or grams and weigh out the dry ingredients.
- Sift the almond flour with the powdered sugar, don’t skip this step.
- Color the batter with water based food coloring (the good old-fashioned kind that comes in the tiny squeeze bottles), as natural colors, gels or pastes may be too acidic and curdle the mixture. Add coloring a drop at time.
- Use only a silicone baking mat or parchment paper to bake these on.
- Watch them carefully as they bake, if they begin to take on too much color, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees.
- Let them cool completely on the silpat/parchment before removing them carefully with a thin metal spatula.
- To re-crisp them if the texture is too soggy in the middle, turn them upside down and let them cool in the oven with the heat off and the oven door slightly ajar.
- Store them un-filled in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to fill and serve, mine kept that way for 3 days.
We had difficulties with sugar crystallization in our first attempts with the sugar syrup. This was remedied by adding a tad more water to the mixture (a teaspoon), using the smallest saucepan I own, and covering the pan just after the sugar melted for just a minute (on low heat).
Our first batch over-browned a little. I made notes for next time to bake them longer at a lower oven temperature, and use a lighter baking sheet instead of my heavy sheet pan.
I attempted to color a very small amount of batter with blackberry juice, but it curdled the batter. Thinking I could “science” the problem, I added a tiny pinch of baking soda to neutralize the acid in the juice. It solved the curdling problem, but turned the mixture grey! Yuk.
We filled them with homemade Pina Colada Jam and they were a hit! For more jam filling ideas, scroll down to the search widget and use the word “jam” to get a bevy of jam posts.