art in themselves

Tears. Frustrations. I've done it all. I spent hours on these delicate little treats so you don't have to. It is true, they are not for the faint of heat, but they are not impossible. Delicate yet, so incredibly elegant.

Macaron 101: The Recipe

baci.bakes Italian Method Macaron Recipe

INGREDIENTS - For the Meringue:

  • 55g Egg Whites

  • 1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

  • 35g Water

  • 150g Caster Sugar

INGREDIENTS - For the Paste:

  • 150g Ground Almond

  • 150g Powdered Sugar

  • 55g Egg Whites

Reach the sugar in Celsius
Baking Temperature in Fahrenheit

I usually do the egg prep about 6 - 12 hours before I do my macarons.
The night before I prep my eggs, if the next morning I will make my macs.
The morning of I will prep my eggs if in the evening I will make my macs.

Egg Prep:
1. A) Take out two metal bowls → One will be for the paste and one will be for the meringue.
TIP -I use my metal mixer bowl for the meringue and a large metal bowl for the paste.
B) Wipe both of these bowls with white vinegar. Let them dry.
(This will degrease them and remove any fat there was - lemon also works yet, I have never used it myself). Set Aside.
2. Take out 5 eggs and separate the yolks and the egg whites. I place all the egg whites in a airtight container because we will not need all of them, thus, makes it easier to store them away after.
TIP - DO NOT get any egg yolks into your egg whites !
3. With a scale, measure out your first 55g of egg whites in your Mixing Bowl. Set aside.
Then, measure out your second 55g into your second metal bowl. Set aside.
Then, cover both with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
IMP - When you are ready to make your macarons, make sure to take out your egg whites out of the fridge approximately 30minutes before, to let them come to room temperature.

The Paste
1. In a separate bowl, measure out 150g of almond flour. Sift it out and then pour into the egg whites that are in your large bowl (NOT the mixer bowl).
2. Then, measure out 150g of confectioners sugar into the bowl. Sift it out and also place into the bowl with the egg whites and almond flour.
3. Mix the almond mixture together with a spatula. It will slowly become a paste. Keep on mixing until it becomes one uniform mixture. You should not see any separate ingredients. It all must be mixed to become one.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

The Meringue
1. Place the egg whites that are in your stand mixer bowl on your mixer. Get the balloon whisk and also wipe it down with white vinegar. Make sure it is dry. The mixer should remain off.
2. Now in a metal, small saucepan, measure out your 35g of water and 150g of granulated sugar.
Tip: First measure and place the water in the sauce pan. Then, measure out the sugar and pour it carefully in the middle and try your best for it not to touch the sides of your saucepan. This will help the sugar melt better without burning.
3. Place the saucepan on the stove and turn on the heat to MEDIUM and do not stir. At the same time turn on your mixer to Medium-low Speed (Level 4 KitchenAid Classic). Set your stop watch!!
IMPORTANT - Do not increase the heat. You want the sugar to melt evenly. Too high of a temperature will not yield the same results. Too slow will also not help because the eggs may over whip. Slow and steady.
4. After about 3 minutes, place the 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar into your egg whites.
TIP - You may stop the mixer, pour it in and continue to mix. This will help for the cream of tartar doesn’t get stuck on the edges as the mixer moves in circles.
5. Keep on mixing at the same speed (level 4).
6. When you see your sugar begin to bubble at a light simmer, check the temperature. Once it reaches 115C turn up your mixer to Level 6 (Medium Speed).
(From the time you started mixing and heating the sugar, it should have taken about 8 minutes.)
7. Now keep on checking on your sugar. You will see that it will bubble a bit more aggressively - so keep checking the temperature here and there. When the thermometer shows that the sugar is 117C and nearing 118C turn the mixer to level 8 (medium-high speed) and pour in your sugar syrup slowly towards the side of the bowl and the whisk.
Tip - Pouring the sugar in should take about 30 seconds at a slow continual speed.
IMP - DO NOT exceed the 118C temperature, you will change the consistency of the sugar! It’s better to be a bit below 117 - 117.8C than over!

8. Once you have poured in all the sugar, start a timer and mix at Speed 8 for another 3 minutes to bring down the temperature to 41C.
9. Once that temperature is reached and the timer goes off. Turn off the mixer.

The Macaronage
1. Place 1/3 of the meringue into your paste. Mix until it is combined - For me this takes 20 stirs.
TIP - a stir is splitting down the middle and then scraping the bowl’s edges in a circular motion.
Tip - After every 5 stirs, make sure to scrape down the back of your bowl to make sure nothing gets left at the bottom of your bowl.
Tip - After 15 stirs, grab another spatula/butter knife to clean off your mixing spatula and place in the bowl.

2. Now place, another 1/3 of your meringue into your batter until just combined. Again, for me this is another 20 stirs.
Tip - a stir is splitting down the middle and then scraping the bowl’s edges in a circular motion.
Tip - After every 5 stirs, make sure to scrape down the back of your bowl to make sure nothing gets left at the bottom of your bowl.

3. *Baci Method: Place your last third of meringue into your bowl. Stir another 15 times.
Tip - a stir is splitting down the middle and then scraping the bowl’s edges in a circular motion.
Tip - After every 5 stirs, make sure to scrape down the back of your bowl to make sure nothing gets left at the bottom of your bowl.
Tip - After 10 stirs, grab another spatula/butter knife to clean off your mixing spatula and place in the bowl.

4. After the 15th stir, I sort the colors out into 4 - 5 mini bowls since I usually do different colored macarons from one batch.
5. After I separate my batter, I add the equivalent to 1 drip of GEL coloring into my batter. I then stir another 15 times. The consistency I check for is of lava but better explain as:
When I pick up the batter and pour it, I should be able to make 2 figure 8s without the batter breaking. The moment I achieve this, I stop.
6. Once I am done mixing one color, I pour that batter onto a piece of plastic wrap. I make a “burrito” out of it and set it aside. I then begin mixing the next color until all of them are done.

The Piping
1. Get your piping bag and cut out a hole to allow the piping tip Wilton 1A to fall comfortably at the bottom.
2. Grab one of your macaron burritos and cut off the end of the plastic wrap. Place that end into the piping bag.
3. Pipe out your macarons at exactly 90 Degrees on a silicon mat with a template of standard sized macarons.
TIP - The baking pan I use is an industrial one. Bake right side up (No need to turn the pan upside down!)
4. Let your macarons rest for 30 minutes before you place in the oven.
5. As the first batch rests, preheat your oven to 330F (NO CONVECTION/FAN). After 30minutes, bake for 16 minutes.
Repeat with all the other colors.

Out of the Oven
1. Once the macarons are out of the oven, let them cool down by themselves for at least 30 minutes!
2. They should peel off by themselves and no longer be sticky at the bottom!
*If you decide to peel them before, they might stick to your mat and rip .

shift-tilt lens photography of French macaroons
shift-tilt lens photography of French macaroons

Macarons 101: Tips

Scheduling & Egg Preparation Work:

TIP: DO NOT get any egg yolks into your egg whites since the egg yolk is fat and can affect your meringue to not be stable enough.

To save time, you can do the egg preparation beforehand. I usually prepare about 6 – 12 hours before I do my macarons.

Example 1: I prepare my bowls & measure out the egg whites the night before I prepare my eggs, if the next morning I will make my macarons.
Example 2: The morning of baking, I will prepare my bowls and measure out the eggs if I will be making my macarons in the evening.

IMPORTANT: In either case, Once prepared and measured, I place plastic wrap over the bowls and place in the fridge. Before I begin making the macarons I need to allow my egg whites to come fully to room temperature.

To NOTE: When storing your egg whites into your fridge you can choose to poke a couple small holes in the plastic wrap. By doing so, your egg whites will have had some moisture evaporated from them while in the fridge. I have found that this helps having a less liquidy macaron mixture which can be helpful when adding more food coloring in your mixture.

SHORTCUT: However, the above is not mandatory. I have even made Macarons without preparing the eggs in advance. On the contrary, when in a hurry, I have taken out eggs straight from the fridge! Let me share how: Prior to measuring out your eggs, be sure to place your cold eggs into warm water to bring down to room temperature. Depending on your initial egg temperature, you might have to change the water after the first initial submersion to continue bringing up the temperature of the eggs. After having my eggs come to room temperature, I dry them off and measure out the quantities needed as per the instructions.

*&& yes, I still achieve full shells as if nothing changed!

four colorful cupcakes with sprinkles on them
four colorful cupcakes with sprinkles on them
white and pink cupcake on white table
white and pink cupcake on white table

Macarons 101: Coloring

Color tip:
You can add your coloring in various ways! Either :
1. The paste – if you’re making just one color for the whole batch
2. Your meringue – Again if you’re making just ONE color for the whole batch
3. Homogenous Macaronage but not lava consistency (baci bakes method) – This allows you to separate your mixture into different bowls to have different colors → The one in the recipe
4. All 3! – For a rich, dark color (red, black etc.) – Add coloring into the sugar syrup, paste AND your meringue

Coloring Info:
- Gel Food coloring – adds color yet also adds more liquid/moisture to the batter, thus may need to macaronage less.
- Powdered Food Coloring- Will require more macaronage to reach the desired consistency due to not introducing any additional moisture.

*Some Powdered Food Coloring will make the inside of the macaron vibrant but the outside very pale. While others make both the inside and outside vibrat! So be on the lookout for those distinct outcomes with various brands!
*If you use too much food coloring this will affect your batter!! This added moisture can throw off the balance of the ingredients and thus, end in exploded, fragile macarons and human tears/frustration!

Weather & Climate:
Oh boy! This one really frustrates me. I have noticed that when there is any change in humidity – especially during rainy days – either I’m postponing my baking or closing all my windows to stop any extra moisture being added into the batter indirectly!

But do not fear! On days in which I have no choice, I either:
1. Bake anyways, hope for the best & t try not to cry (half joking)
2. Rest my macarons for longer to help them dry out
3. Close all windows, do not use the washing machine/dishwasher and even turn on the A/C to dry the air a bit

Baking temperature & Time:
Have you ever heard, “baking time & temperature depends on your oven”, rolled your eyes and/or even gotten so frustrated? Yup, me too! But I hate to say it, it’s true.

  1. The first oven I had was really outdated as it came in the place we had gotten. Mind you, that little ”oven that could” was unbreakable! I wish I had kept it. Anyways, either due to being old or not tuned up in forever, I found that I needed to bake at 330C for 16minutes.

  2. We bought a new oven and bang! That did not work anymore. In the end, I had to bring the temperature way down to 310C and bake for 19minutes! That’s right – 18 minutes wasn’t enough and 20 minutes burned them. They truly are finicky things!

In addition to “different ovens = different temperatures”, different sized macarons will result in change of baking times. Let’s look at an example:

  • a large macaron cake will require baking for a longer time due to its sheer size!

  • Baby macarons will require much less time to bake of course!

  • Different colored macarons (such as light colors & white) may require less intense temperature and longer baking time

A general rule of thumb is:
“As you increase temperature, you decrease time” – bake at a higher time for a shorter time period. For example, I baked at 330F for 16minutes.
Or (explained differently)
“As you decrease temperature, you increase time” – bake at a low temperature for a longer period of time. For example, I baked at 310F for 19minutes.

a stack of three macaroons with hearts on them
a stack of three macaroons with hearts on them