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Jun 6, 2013 10:56 AM

Meringues too sweet?

I've recently experimented with macarons and pavlova. To me they are way too sweet. Is it just my taste? Can I maybe increase the almond flour and slightly decrease the icing sugar for my macarons? I'm willing to sacrifice some structure for a less sweet taste. As for pavlova I'm not sure what I would change about it (I used epicurious brown sugar pavlova recipe).

Maybe it is just my taste... I tried macarons at Berthillon and Laduree. The laduree macaron was caramel flavored and much too sweet for me. The Berthillon macaron was chocolate and was just right. It seems like the sugar amount is slightly decreased to compensate for cocoa powder in macaron recipes, maybe that's why I preferred it?

I've made macarons 3 times and the cookies are quite sweet, let alone once I add filling.

I understand meringue recipes are basically egg whites and sugar so maybe they are just supposed to be that sweet... I generally measure by weight if that helps. And all of the recipes I've used call for salt.

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  1. Yup. They are just sweet, IMO. I like meringues but I pair them with either something nutty, tart, and/or fatty like whipped cream.

    I have had very good macaroons and no matter the flavor they are too sweet for me. But a pav with lots of cream and raspberries or strawberries can be a nice treat.

    I'm not sure I'd devote a lot of time into making them something they are not--esp. since once you start cutting back on the sugar, you
    will definitely affect structure.

    1. They're basically super sweet. Pavlovas are paired with a tart fruit and the unsweetned cream to balance out the sweetness (I suspect brown sugar makes it taste sweeter, too). Meringues are just sweet, as are macarons. Chocolate are better because the bitterness in the chocolate ganache filling balances out the sweetness in the shells. If you want to make a caramel, I'd do a dark, almost bitter salted caramel - the bitter and salt help counterbalance the sweetness.

      1. I don't know if someone who understands molecular gastronomy can help but I had a savory "macaroon" at Volt as part of the tasting menu (celeriac root macaroon w/ foie gras). It was amazing but it didn't occur to me at the time about the lack of sugar. I did say it was more of a meringue, not a macaroon. Here's a description of it (not mine):

        1. How about skipping the filling? The sandwich is only one style of macaron. Admittedly it is the most popular one. The French blogger Chocolate and Zucchini writes about other versions.

          3 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            Tried that lol. I think they are just very sweet. But as I mentioned I had a chocolate macaron at Berthilon and it wasn't overly sweet. I think the addition of cocoa powder to the macronage made a difference, so maybe that will be my focus.

            As for meringues I think they are just not for me lol. But I did try my pavlova with some whipped cream and fruit and it was much better. I would just love a light, airy, crisp cookie that's not overly sweet.

            My mother suggested I try "sans rival" which is basically meringue with some flour and lots of ground nuts, often a mixture of cashew and almonds. I think I will try that. The quantity of sugar is far lower than in typical meringue or macaron.


            Thanks for the responses everyone.

            1. re: youareabunny

              How about using a dark chocolate ganache as the filling?

              When you make the macarone batter, could you start with half the sugar, and possibly add more almond flour, aiming for the same piping consistency?

              I suspect that with less sugar, there will be less of contrast in texture between the crisp outside, and soft interior. The crisp exterior is probably due to the sugar becoming candy like.

              1. re: paulj

                Hi Paul. Yes dark chocolate ganache would be the best bet but the cookie itself is still sweet for me. I am planning on doing some experiments with a bit less sugar and a bit more almond flour and see what happens. As long as it stays cookie like ill be happy.

                I can call my creation bunnyron... or macabun. Yeeaaahhhh

          2. While you can play with the proportions a little bit, I don't think you can reduce the sugar enough to make much difference and still have them come out right. You could add espresso powder or a sour citrus (or just citric acid), or fill them with a very tart fruit or dark chocolate. Or just admit that macarons and meringues are inherently very sweet and not for you.