Argh. My first attempt at baking macarons was a disaster. I ended up eating 1/3 o fthe batter raw because it wouldn't pipe!! I think I overmeasured the powdered sugar (didnt have a scale, was just using volume) and that ended up giving me a batter that was ridiculously thick. thicker than brownies. I tried piping them, but it was almost impossible to get the batter inside hte pastry bag. Stupid pastry bag. THe opening is tiny, I can't fold down the sides, etc etc. The bag is made out of some stiff plastic material and it was a#$*$ to clean because I couldnt fold it inside out. Then, when I went to bake them, they spread sooo much. The circles were maybe 1.5 in, and now the cookies are like 3in wide! I have lots of almond powder left, but I think I might just go make a tart with it or something. ARGH!
Pipe? I drop them using a small ice cream scoop.
They may hold their shape better if you chill the tray of macarons BEFORE you bake them
I use the drop method. Piping the dough might make for a prettier cookie... but a blob is better than nothing!
Hey, forget the piping and the pastry bag! Relax. . . . I am here to help by giving you the easiest foolproof macaroon recipe courtesy of Martha.
I made them several times. Easy-peasy. Simple drop and shape into a pyramid of sorts.
She also has recipes for almond and other variations. Start w/ the plain coconut, is my advice and you will be happy and de-stressed!
tartelette has many macaron recipes on her site, including more traditional varieties, lol. i've made other recipes from her and they have come out very well.
2 things -- invest in a digital scale. it will pay for itself and you will wonder how you ever baked without it. delicate pastries like this will not be consistent with volume measures. second, i tossed my pastry bag long ago and use sturdy ziploc bags that i snip off the end. piping tips fit and i can toss it rather than wash.
until you find a recipe you like, DO NOT WING IT. follow the directions exactly until you find a winner. these are much like baking meringues. temperamental, not impossible!
I made picture perfect macarons using Sherry Yard's recipe for Gingerbread Macarons in the LA Times. You might want to try it.