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Macaron Questions

Hello everyone,
I've been looking at different macaron recipes and realized I did not 'punch' my batter as described here http://www.wikihow.com/Make-French-Ma... in my first attempt. I was wondering if punching the batter bursts the air bubbles that I try to keep intact when folding in the meringue? Would this punching cause a lack of puffing in the macarons when baking?

Also, has anyone tried using whip cream/flavored whip cream for macaron filling? I do not have a stand mixer for creaming butter and am leery at creaming it by hand for fear of it melting in mid-creaming (I do not have any experience creaming and I am making macarons for a party the day after so I prefer to use what is familiar

)

Would the whip cream turn the macarons mushy after 15 hours? What if I solidified it a bit with some gelatin?

Thank you for your help

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  1. I've only made one batch, but it came out OK, so here goes:

    Everything I've read says you need to "thunk" the tray of macarons good and hard before you put them in the oven -- it gets rid of big air bubbles, but not small air bubbles. Mine came out OK. Just drop the tray from about 12 inches (30 cm.)

    Creaming butter is not that difficult. If you are in the northern hemi, it's summer. Leave the butter out at room temperature for a few hours, and it will cream very easily by hand. (If room temp is over 90F/35C, um, you might want to use a jam-based macaron filling instead.)

    I think the whip cream would turn the macarons mushy. You could try using gelatin, but I know that gelatin/whipped cream mixtures turn graham crackers mushy overnight. I wouldn't experiment here.

    Have you considered using an easier recipe for your party, and saving the macarons for Christmas, after you've had a lot of practice? Mine turned out OK on the first try, but I think that's really somewhat of a miracle. I would try to make them at least three or four more times before I made them for guests.

    Whatever you decide, good luck! I would love to hear how they turn out.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MickiYam

      Thank you for your reply. Does butter cream not turn the macarons mushy overnight? If so, I may try using that then if it won't melt that easily. It's 60-70F here so it's not too bad.

      1. re: mjyang

        It's actually recommended. Macarons are never best fresh. I honestly wouldn't eat them fresh. You should age them in your refrigerator in an air tight container for 24 hours to allow some of the flavor of the filling to permeate into the macarons. It also helps improve the texture and helps them yield softly to the bite whereas fresh macarons are too dry and crisp.

        I hope you have a backup recipe though. Macarons are very easy to mess up. You can get hollow shells. Feet don't develop. They can be flat. Everything.

    2. Macarons are finicky to say the least. There are lots of recipes and instructions on the web (including here in CH), so I hope wiki isn't your only source.

      But to answer your question, yes, the "punching" down is a necessary step and yes it does deflate the batter some. But this step is critical to getting uniform macarons and limiting huge random air pockets that will deform your perfectly round, pretty macarons.

      I could definitely NOT use whipped cream as a filling. You can use all sorts of jams/ganache/butter cream frosting/etc. If you are looking to cut time/effort with the filling, I'd go with a really nice jelly/jam, but butter creams are really tasty - though a lot more effort.

      Yes, whipped cream would turn them mushy, too much liquid. However, that said, you are right that the filling in general will soften the macaron slightly. That is in fact desirable. Many instructions will tell you to fill them and hold them for a day or two for just that reason. But the filling needs to be thick enough that it really is only softening the bottom of the macaron (and some of the interior) but the top shell stays crisp.

      Good luck. They are one of my favorite things but there are times when they just don't work and it is one of the hardest things to trouble shoot. Even having made them many times, with recipes I've gotten to work many times before, there is the occasional batch that just doesn't come out right. So don't get too discouraged on your first go round or too confident ;)

      1 Reply
      1. re: thimes

        Thank you for the reply. Would you say that I still need to be gentle when punching the batter then? I was able to get the macarons to rise on my first go, but that was honestly the first time I folded my meringue well, so I want to make sure I'm preserving as much air as I can

      2. I have made macaroons successfully several times before and never "punched" my batter. I did do the whole thunking of the tray against the counter several times to get out air bubbles. I would not use whip cream for filling. I think its too soft and liquidy. A chocolate ganache is pretty easy to make by hand and works well in a macaroon.

        4 Replies
        1. re: foxspirit

          What the wiki and the OP are calling "punching" the dough to me is the macaronage phase. Sometimes when folded together the batter is still too thick and so you mix the batter a little more vigorously to get the right consistency. That is how I interpreted the instruction though it isn't the terminology I would have used.

          1. re: thimes

            I was not aware that the punching was for when the batter was too thick. What would you define as the right consistency? For my first try, it flowed out well enough with the consistency of thick icing.

            Thank you

            1. re: mjyang

              It isn't just because it is too thick but I does help the batter "run" a little. It is the part that is so hard to describe in words and why helping troubleshot can be hard.

              I pulled this description from another site, it is as good as any. But a royal icing that runs just a little sounds about right too.

              WHEN THE BATTER IS JUST STARTING TO TURN GLOSSY, IT IS AT THE RIGHT STAGE FOR PIPING. THE BATTER SHOULD FLOW IN VERY THICK RIBBONS WHEN THE SPATULA IS LIFTED. OTHERS DESCRIBE THE BATTER AS BEING LIKE “MOLTEN LAVA.”

              1. re: thimes

                That's a good description. Thank you. Mine was actually kinda...chunky; maybe that's why there was some cracking at the top

        2. If you don't have a stand mixer, at least use a hand held mixer. As for the whipped cream filling, it will turn them mushy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: treb

            I was wondering about that; would it be possible to use a hand-held mixer with the regular think metal whisks? I heard that I am supposed to attach a fatter whisk to beat the butter, but can I deviate with the choice of whisk? Thank you.

            1. re: mjyang

              A hand held mixer with the regular beaters will cream butter just fine. Most home cooks have been using this method for years for all kinds of baking. Just make sure the butter is at room temp. Even leaving it out overnight is not a problem.

              1. re: mjyang

                Use the beaters, the whisks will get clogged with the butter.

            2. I would describe maccronnage step as scrape and fold. I once totally forgot the step, was in pure meringue mode, and my macarons were large, airy, and crumbled easily. The man didnt mind but I was defeated lol

              If you did whipped cream filling definitely stabilize it, or do a chocolate whipped cream but you would have to serve them immediately. Most of the time, macarons are filled then served 24 hours later. This wouldn't work with WC.