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Help Me Fix My Macarons!

I've been baking macarons a lot lately. They turn out pretty good, but they're not perfect just yet - I usually end up with hollows - a small air pocket between the filling and shell of the cookie - and my feet protrude a bit.

I'm trying to figure out what the problem is...maybe I don't beat enough air out of the batter? Perhaps its over-mixed? Maybe the oven temperature or cooking time is off? My recipe? Whatever it is, the filling doesn't quiet set up making them a little chewier than they should be.

I'm trying to mimic the look of these...notice how the feet don't extend past the cookie? http://www.cakejournal.com/archives/h...

Here's the recipe I follow:
90g of aged egg whites
110g of almond flour
200g of confectioners sugar
30g of sugar

I bake at 290-300F for about 14-18m until I can lift the edges off the parchment paper.

I see a lot of variations of the recipe above...sometimes more egg whites, sometimes powered egg whites, sometimes 125g of almond flour and 210g of confections sugar.

Any suggestions on how to fix hollows and protruding feet?

Here is a link to what my batter looks like:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/50108238...

And the finished shells:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/50108238...

Thanks!

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  1. I can't help you on your other questions, but the feet of the macarons in the photo from Cakejournal have been trimmed to remove the protrusions. And I've seen other recipes that suggest you trim off the excess protruding feet.

    1. I had this problem as well because every source I found on the internet said to bake at a lower temperature (300 degrees). I finally decided to divide a batch into 4 and then tested baking at different temperatures.

      I found that higher temperatures, baking for a shorter time, finally got rid of the hollow. 10-12 minutes at 360 degrees was my magic number but it's best to experiment with your oven. My oven is electric with the heating element on the bottom.

      I think most people say to bake at a lower temp to prevent browning, so that is something you have to watch out for if you up the temp. I put another rack two positions above the sheet and then put an empty sheet pan to try to delay the browning process. I really don't mind having them a little browned since the insides turn out well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hangchaysu

        Hey thank you so much for experimenting and sharing your results. I was getting really frustrated with the hollow shells last night (and they'd stick to the parchment too!) and increased the temperature today, which fixed the hollow shell problem.. but yeah, now I have protruding feet too. The problem I had today though was that mine (strawberry shells) over browned too. I'll have to try your technique next time.The only recipe that has always worked out well for me is David Lebovitz's chocolate macaron recipe and he bakes his at 350 for 15-18 minutes.

        http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/10/...

      2. I make them a lot and still get failures now and then.

        try an Italian meringue recipe such as on syrupandtang.com website.
        This method is more reliable.

        The air pocket is puffyness issue.

        the batter may be undermixed which is causing them to puff up but then the innards will retract a little, so mix a little more but its a fine line. Try overmixing some just to see the difference.
        severe overmixing will result in a wrinkly dense cookie.

        the higher temps may help as it will make them "set" harder quickly so they don't get time to retract, if you notice the feet etc always retract a little.

        also leave the whites out a day or so to lose some moisture which will also control the puffyness as well.

        yes, they are a pain sometimes.

        1. I have been experimenting with macarons for a while now - and thankfully even the ugly ones taste great.

          After trying both methods for a while, I prefer the "italian" method (so I've heard it called, where the sugar and water and brought to 230 and then beaten into the whipped egg whites. I always get great feet that way and a nice cap on top. I know - heresy to many but hey it works for me and I think they taste the same in the end.

          As far as the air pocket on the inside - that is still hit and miss for me. Most times I now either get none or a small air pocket. I've found 3 things impact that:

          1) the temp of my oven as suggested - but I am back at 350 now

          2) how long I cook them for - I don't know if this is "true" or cooking "superstition" but I now believe that when I was getting "big" air pockets I wasn't cooking them long enough. So when they cooled the "still too gooey" egg white center was collapsing - i.e. it wasn't set quite enough

          3) just dumb luck and environmental conditions

          1 Reply
          1. re: thimes

            "2) how long I cook them for - I don't know if this is "true" or cooking "superstition" but I now believe that when I was getting "big" air pockets I wasn't cooking them long enough. So when they cooled the "still too gooey" egg white center was collapsing - i.e. it wasn't set quite enough"

            YES! I was trying a few of the macaron recipes on Tartelette's site and I was getting so frustrated because the blueberry shells that I made had feet (when they first came out of the oven) that deflated AND were hollow AND I couldn't get those darned things off the parchment paper no matter how many different tricks and tips I tried.. I finally came to the conclusion that I probably didn't bake them for long enough. Oh well, I now have a bunch of hollow & broken blueberry macaron shells that I'll have to find a use for.

          2. I made macarons for the 1st time recently, was *not aware* they should be flat, I was delighted with the perky little peaks, oops!

             
             
            2 Replies
            1. re: blue room

              Hehe.. nice feet though. I saw from another website that you can wet your finger and gently flatten those little peaks after you pipe them.. that is, unless you like/prefer them that way. ;)

              1. re: tiffany

                after you pipe them out
                bang the sheet with your hand from below or slam it against the ground or a table to
                make the flatten out evenly

            2. it's about the folding technique, you need to get rid of the air by pressing the batter against the side of the bowl...

              1. For 2 years and 3 months my issues have been wet macarons, very short feet, and sunken tops. Finally, I read something regarding not over mixing during the macaronage stage (mixing the meringue with the almond flour/confectioner’s sugar) and I now stop short of what has always seemed to me to be the correct consistency. Don't let the mixture get runny.

                While reading, I came across a curious reference to using a pizza stone. After finding the oven tutorial at Syrup and Tang, I discovered that my oven had its heating element at the top, and my macaron shells were not getting sufficient heat to thoroughly cook them on the bottom, resulting in wet macarons. I now have my old pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and bake my macarons on the middle rack at 300 degrees for 18 minutes, rotating the pan at the 9 minute mark.

                Another change has been that I no longer use 2 pans stacked inside one another, as my macarons don’t get enough heat as it is. They are baked on parchment paper on one baking sheet and have perfect feet every time, feet that do not deflate after being removed from the oven.

                Hope you reach macaron perfection!

                1. Hi your first picture link worked fine but I can't see the second.

                  Maybe it's just me.

                  1. Ditto. I couldn't see the finished shells either.

                    1. Lovely macarons. And the filling sounds delicious. I'll add it to my filling repertoire. Practice makes perfect!