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Jun 20, 2013 08:22 AM

Worst. Macarons. Ever!

This is around my 6th time making macarons. I'm trying to figure out exactly what I did wrong here.

From left to right
1. Color: never mind the shape and lack of feet for now :) these macarons started off as pale pink. I read that I have to color them darker than I want them because they will bake lighter. I don't feel that I overcooked them because the texture seemed right, although the insides were still pink.

2. Feet: the shape is nice here because I think I achieved a better stage at macronnage. However, no feet! I made this batch with Swiss meringue (where you heat the eggs and sugar so the sugar dissolves). These were chocolate macarons.

3. Shape: so this time I aged the egg whites several days because supposedly it helps with feet. So I got feet this time, albeit tiny ones, but now my shape is quite amorphous. While my piping skills could use some work I know I'm not that terrible. I think I did not achieve correct stage of macronnage. The green macarons were created by adding matcha powder to remaining batter. I think these came out rounder because they were stirred more, hence achieving better macronnage, so when I banged the tray against the table they rounded out more easily

-I've always gotten feet when I aged the egg whites. I always let the macarons sit to form a skin and noticed that even after sitting in front of a fan for 20-30 minutes the macarons made with fresh egg whites never formed a skin. I've read that some people don't bother aging them but for some reason it doesn't work for me.
-I've baked the macarons anywhere from 300-350 degrees. The higher temperature helps in lift but I think I sometimes burned them. I've seen recipes that called for temperatures as low as 280. Maybe I can try that.
-color: I've used that dye before when coloring white cake and it worked fine, so I'm not sure about that. I've tried pale pink and pale purple and both turned light brown but remained colorful on the inside.
-lift: the last batch had very little lift. Either I'm not piping enough batter or I'm over working them at macronnage stage or both.
-almond flour: I'm currently using almond meal from TJ which I sift and grind. Sifting gets rid of the larger skin particles and then grinding them achieves better texture. While I could be getting them finer, and without skins, I think I'm having issues in too many other categories to lay fault on this.

Any thoughts? Every single batch has its own multitude of problems lol. Strangely enough my very first batch was my best, of course I hadn't photographed that!

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  1. What are you using for color? That could be part of the problem related to feet as well. Powder or gel is best. If you're using liquid color that could be affecting the batter/feet issue. Coloring may be thinning out the batter too much. If you aren't using blanched almond flour it's already got more of a brown tint, harder to color the way you want it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jpan99

      I read that as well. I believe my dye is gel, either way I don't use much of it. And I've gotten feetless macarons when I've dyed them and when I haven't.

      I find I get specks of brown than just brown tinged macarons due to the skins. I'm not too concerned with color, just I don't understand why the color goes away. It's almost like it cooks away.

      Just need to eat most of this batch and ill be experimenting again!

    2. If I made macarons like this I'd be delighted! Mine come out completely hollow, just a thin crisp shell while the gooey filling clings to the baking paper.

      1 Reply
      1. re: limoen

        Macarons are no easy task! Ive read that hollowness occurs from too-low of heat and the gooey cling sounds like the heat may have been too high and they appeared done on top but weren't cooked all the way!

        My latest batch are definitely amorphous blobarons :(.

        Will try again this weekend or so!

      2. One thing I've discovered is the lack of little feet is due to overmixing. Your batter should be quite viscous. The description I've seen to describe viscosity is the batter should be like slow moving "lava".

        I was watching an older Jacques Pepin episode, before macarons became the passing rage.

        He macarons had no feet. :-)
        My point is if the macarons taste good, the appearance is just secondary.

        1. Don't let the macaroons form a skin. They should be moist on top when you place them in the oven. If they become dry on top, moisten a bit with a damp paper towel and then bake right away! While moist sprinkle with a little white sugar (not powdered)and bake immediately. The sugar will make them crack beautifully on top. Good luck!

          2 Replies
          1. re: LindaAndrows

            Why would I want cracks on top? I want smooth tops and "frilly" feet.

            1. re: LindaAndrows

              I was taught the exact opposite. You want a skin on them before baking.