The Real Macaron Company

Exquisite macarons for every occasion

Macarons, macarons, macarons

47 Comments

Not bad!

Not bad!

Macarons, as you know, are my abiding passion.  Macaron thoughts and ideas fill most of my waking hours! I seek out other macaron-obsessives with whom I can share the joys and horrors of  macaron creating and baking. Everybody’s macaron foibles are different, but equally quirky and we are all excessively precious about, and, protective of, our recipes and methodology.  We sit and admire the fluffy feet, the smooth, domed tops, the purity of the colours and the creaminess of the ganache.  Then there are the tasting tests, which, as you can imagine, are extremely exacting and highly critical – in the nicest possible way, of course. “A little too sweet”, “too crispy”, “too soft”, “not enough chocolate”, “a bit heavy-handed with the ganache”, “could be fruitier”, “possibly slightly overcooked”, but….”perfectly delicious!”  Making macarons is both an art and a science and there is always room for improvement.  Let me know if you want to compare notes!

Author: therealmacaroncompany

baking parisian-style macarons for you

47 thoughts on “Macarons, macarons, macarons

  1. Hello, my name is Brigitte and I’m addicted to macarons! Not so much eating them, although I am rather partial ot scoffing several in one go, but to making these fickle little beauties. I am a newcomer to the world of macaronage and still very much a novice but it’s become a real passion and time and money allowing I would be forever whisking up a batch or three. My shells have a little way to go yet before they look perfect and I still have to cross fingers and toes every time they go into the oven. But I love the challenge and experimenting with flavours. I’ve even started dreaming about them, which is a little worrying!! I must be doing something right as I’ve been approached by a cafe to make batches for them , but I’m not confident enough to take that step just yet. I would very much love to compare notes and talk all things macarons. What a fab idea!

    • Hi Brigitte,
      Lovely to hear from you. Sorry for not replying sooner, I ‘ve been busy this weekend with creating some lovely macarons for Father’s Day, based on some fantastic suggestions from macaron friends who entered my little competition. Will be releasing the results later today. Also tried out some new silicon mats which I am delighted with. Have you tried these at all? I know what you mean about crossing fingers and toes! I still sit watching through the glass door of the oven to assess their progress!
      Gaye

  2. Hi there, my name is Vicki. I’m a fellow macaron obsessive, haven’t made any in a while though as I ave realised that when my kitchen is too cold they are doomed from the start, now the weather is warmer ill be trying again though! I use the French meringue method at the moment, want to learn Italian meringue but all that hot sugar makes me very nervous! lol
    I started a little blog of my own after my hubby encouraged me to share my love of macarons but as you will see I’m not a regular poster… http://mactiki.blogspot.co.uk/
    I love to experiment with flavours, I absolutely love violet macarons, especially if I can get the authentic Parma violet flavour, it’s like a grown up trip back to my childhood. I’ve also made battenberg theme macarons, they tasted just like the cake! My biggest hits have been my pistachio macarons which seem to never let me down but I have had terrible trouble with my chocolate macarons, only one (semi) successful batch so far…I guess that’s where I will start again and see if I can get them right at last! 😉

    • Hi Vicki, battenberg macarons sound very interesting. Tell more! I also find pistachio are a big hit – have filled with different pistachio and chocolate and pistachio and buttercream fillings and found them all to be delicious. I actually find chocolate macarons the most reliable ! You see what I mean about foibles! My suggestion would be to reduce the amount of icing sugar by the amount of cocoa powder that you use and possibly slightly increase the amount of egg white. It’s naturally a slightly sticker mixture so is harder to work and manipulate so a little more liquid can’t hurt. Let me know how you get on.:)

      • The battenberg macarons had one pink she’ll and one yellow shell and were filled with vanilla buttercream with a hidden centre of apricot conserve and a little square of marzipan in the middle, some people found them to be too sweet but they turned out to be people that don’t particularly like Battenberg cake, fans of the cake thought they were delish, must admit I ate quite a few myself! 😉
        For my pistachio macarons I use pistachio in the shells as well, it’s a bit of a pain but worth it to grind the pistachios myself, I then push them through a sieve to filter out any big chunks. I fill them with a pistachio and white chocolate buttercream, I keep getting requests from my family for these and they’re my hubby’s favourite. I grind my own cashews as well, I find cashews even better than almond sometimes, their flavour makes them perfect for more delicate fillings as they don’t have such a dominant flavour.

        I will try your suggestions for my next batch of chocolate macarons, I’m determined to get them right. Increasing the amount of egg white is easy enough as, shock horror, I use carton egg whites!!! I know, blasphemy, but I have found them to be extremely reliable! 😉

  3. Hi Gaye and Vicki. I love the battenberg macaron idea. Must give it a try! I made my first batch of chocolate macs yesterday and was really disappointed with them. I knew as I was mixing it that it was too thick and needed a little more egg white added but went ahead and piped them. Of course they came out of the oven lumpy and some splitting, but the actual texture and taste was perfect. Maybe thats because I ave finlly bought an oven thermometer and no longer guessing if the oven is at the right temp! Now I’m wondering to go ahead and fill them regardless or just make a new batch. I’m with you there Vicki about being determined to get them right! xx

    • Hi Brigitte, sorry your chocolate macarons were disappointing – but keep trying – it really is about mastering the technique and finding what works for you. You’ll get there! Do you weigh out your egg whites or use per egg? Actually I find either works. It may have been that you hadn’t mixed it quite enough if it was lumpy – or that there was too much cocoa powder. I bet they were delicious anyway so I hope you did fill them or at least serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce!

  4. Hi Gaye, I’ve a feeling the problem lay with the eggs. Normally I use a recipe that uses 6 medium egg whites, but this time I used 4 medium and I large. The mixture felt thicker from the start and no matter how long I mixed it for, it just woulden’t loosen up. Lesson learnt, don’t deviate from a recipe that works! I will fill them with the chocolate cherry ganache I was planning to use and I’m sure that my school staffroom guinea pigs will enjoy them lumpy surface and all !

    • I use carton egg whites, I use 85g egg whites/75g caster sugar, 100g icing sugar/75g ground almonds(sieved)… I actually tried a batch of chocolate ones today. The recipe I adapted this from originally reduced the amount of nuts for the cocoa but from advice earlier I tried reducing the icing instead, turned out ok, but I think I left them standing too long for such a warm day as the didn’t have any feet, I also don’t think I mixed them quite enough….will keep at it till I get it right…the basic recipe has worked fine once so I know it is sound, I just don’t know what I’m doing differently now. I do keep notes sometimes but I guess I will have to be more detailed in what I note down! If all else fails I’ll just make a plain brown coloured macaron shell and fill it with something amazingly chocolatey! 😉

      • Hi Vicki, I think carton egg whites are a fantastic invention. I did use them for a while, mainly to avoid having so many egg yolks to use up – or throw away! However, they are more expensive and so I have returned to using medium-sized eggs and I try to use as many of the egg yolks as possible, in lemon curd, biscuits, mayonnaise, etc. I would certainly reduce the amount of icing sugar, not the almonds, in favour of the cocoa powder. When I make chocolate macarons I find the mixture is stickier and thicker than normal. I keep the amount of cocoa powder to a minimum – enough to give a good chocolaty flavour and a bit of colour – but not so much that it becomes too difficult to mix – and if more colour is required I add a bit of brown colouring. I think filling with “something amazingly chocolaty” is definitely the way forward!

    • Hello Brigitte, why not try with a smaller batch – ie less eggs. I find its much harder to manipulate large batches – from macaronage through to piping and baking – and it’s so disappointing to “waste” so much mixture. I started with small batches – one or two eggs – and practised the techniques that way. I only moved to larger batches once I was really confident – and even now I rarely make a batch bigger than four eggs. I find a four egg batch makes about 45 average size macarons – and that’s loads even for a staffroom of hungry guinea pigs!

      • Hi Gaye. That’s a really good idea. It is disappointing when a batch isn’t up to scratch and ingredients and money is wasted. Do you age your eggs? It’s always annoying when something’s not gone right and I can’t try again because I don’t have anymore aged egg whites available. Maybe I should try a small batch with eggs straight from the shell ! I must be making my macs big as I get around 20 in a 6 egg batch !

      • They must be enormous! Mine standard size is 4cm diameter. I do age my eggs – but am going to test the necessity of that soon – room temperature straight from the shell might work. Bye for now. Gaye

  5. Just to say that I have been experimenting further and have tried a few batches with un-aged eggs with very disappointing results. No feet and hollow insides! It could have been a coincidence but it did happen several times. Extremely disgruntled and quite disheartened, I microwaved the next batch of un-aged egg white for a few seconds prior to whisking – and the results were perfect! Strange but true! How are you all getting on?

    • There’s no denying that these little morsels of yumminess are fickle at times ! I’m about to make a few batches that will be for sale at a big charity event in Bath next weekend. Exciting but terrifying at the same time as my macs have just been all about sharing before now and not let lose on the general public ! I will definitely be ageing my eggs for this. Not a time to experiment !

      • Completely agree, stick to what you know works! I’m sure they will be fab! Send me some photos.

        Wonder if you have any experience with freezing macarons? I have frozen quite a few recently and found that they freeze quite well. Quite helpful if you need to have a large quantity for an event.

        Good luck.

        Sent from my iPad

      • Never thought about freezing them. What a great idea. How did you freeze them? x

    • I have frozen a few myself and they were just as good after defrosting, not done any extensive testing on how long they last in the freezer but will be trying again next time I have a successful batch! I froze only the shells but a freind of mine freezes hers filled and they came out ok too, I guess it depends on what you are filling them with!
      Brigitte, good luck with your first launch on the public, I know how nerve racking that can be. A few months ago a freind was helping organise a charity bake sale and before I knew what I was saying I had volunteered to make macarons for them, I was in total panic but the macaron gods were smiling and all 5 batches turned out pretty much perfect, I was so chuffed as they sold every last one! 😉

  6. Gaye, I’m intrigued by the idea of microwaving the egg whites…how long and on what power level did you do it? I’m wondering if this might help stabilise the batter and prevent hollows too. Do you use French meringue or Italian meringue method? From what I read Italian meringue makes a more stable macaron batter but I’m a total novice when it comes to working with hot sugar so I stick to French meringue. Easier to mix but more difficult to get a good macaron, and just lately I haven’t had any good batches! 😦
    Time to forget everything I have learned so far and start from scratch, see if I can get it right again. 😉

    • More and more interesting! I have only frozen complete macarons, ie. filled, either with chocolate ganache or salt caramel, and they’ve been fine even after several weeks in the freezer. It seems that some people freeze the shells and then fill them and re freeze. Not sure about that personally, but seemingly it’s a well recognised methodology with obvious advantages.

      Regarding microwaving the egg whites, I make sure my bowl and whisk are ready and waiting, put the egg white in a ceramic bowl, pop it in the microwave on normal setting for 10 secs ( for 2/3 egg whites) and pour quickly into the mixing bowl and commence whisking as quickly as possible. Really think it does help stabilise the batter and therefore prevents hollows. To date I have only tried the French meringue method. Will have to get brave sometime soon and try my and at the hot sugar, Italian method just in case it does produce a superior macaron! Am sure you will get it right again – sometimes it’s about how you feel yourself. An inner calm and confidence definitely helps. Good night x

      Sent from my iPad

  7. It’s 11.30 and Ive just about finished my first big batch of macarons after a mammoth 7 hours in the kitchen ! First batch were a disaster as they split and ended up in the bin ! Mad dash to the supermarket as not enough almonds for another attempt. then I forgot to turn over my baking parchment for the pink macs and the black ink from my circles transferred onto them. Despite having an oven thermometer the little blighters still tend to colour despite doing everything possible to stop it happening. I’ve come to the conclusion that its because my oven is fuelled by gas. And doesn’t it just take forever when you can only use one oven shelf at a time ! On the plus side. My chocolate macs worked a treat ! I still have to fill the pink ones as the white chocolate ganache is misbehaving in this heat.
    I have to transport them by train to their final destination tomorrow, and as they are going to be for sale I’m disappointed in them as they look so home made and imperfect.
    I think it’s time to hang up my apron and call it a night. How on earth do you do it every day. Phew…I’m shattered !

    • Oh crikey, sounds like a day and a half of macaron hell…I think sometimes we are our own worst critic, they were probably fine and I’m sure they were delish! I have seen some macarons come from professionals that look extremely homemade to me but I have a little OCD for very smooth shells and perfect circles too!
      As for split macarons and other not quite right batches, I won’t be throwing them away anymore, not since I saw a brilliant idea on facebook, make macaron tiffin with them! Check out Lou Lou P’s Delights (https://www.facebook.com/missinsomniatulip) on Facebook! The idea made me feel a lot more zen about my macarons, if they work they work, if not its tiffin time! 😉

      • Tiffin time sounds like fun! There are lots of ideas about how to use up the less successful macaron shells – let’s see what else we can come up with. I think crispy ones could be broken up and incorporated into home made ice cream, perhaps with some summer fruits. Have made some delicious ice cream this week with the leftover egg yolks and am looking forward to making some other flavours.

    • How did your macarons get on? Hope it all went well.
      Just a thought regarding your baking parchment – I find it better to make a template on an ordinary sheet of A4 or A3 and slide this under your baking parchment. You can reuse it over and over and no issues of “ink transfer”. Don’t forget to take it out before you put the tray into the oven. It’s also quite a good thing to do as you can have several templates of different sizes ready to go depending on your mood and your orders!

  8. Apparently people really liked them ! Getting them to Bath from Swindon was a bit of an ordeal. I was so worried that after 2 busses and one train ride in the heat would end up with a soggy mess, but thankfully they behaved themselves and it was me that was the soggy mess ! Love the A4 template idea…genius ! No more ink transfer accidents and tedious circle drawing. I will definitely be using your suggestion. Thank you ! Not long now before the school holidays and for me, just over five weeks of holiday. Bad news , no staff room guinea pigs to bake for. Oh well, just have to make smaller batches, experiment with flavours and enjoy them myself ! x

    • I have a a piece of card cut to the size of my baking tray with circles drawn on, every bit of space used to fit 28 shells on one baking tray, and I use sainsburys non stick baking paper which is white rather than brown so a lot easier to see through! It’s the little things that help make it less stressful! 😉

    • Fantastic! So pleased the macarons were well received. What an epic journey you had to deliver them safely. I know what you mean about being a “soggy mess” – lovely as it is this weather is only good for lounging!

      Re: the template I will send you copies of the templates that I use – drawn on the computer – 3 sizes, colour coded. Makes it even easier as you only have to print them off next time you need a clean one ( they can get a bit messy – or crumpled if you forget to take them out before baking the macarons!). Hope they help. like Vicki, I would use good quality white baking parchment or baking/greaseproof – not only is it less easy to see your template through brown greaseproof paper, but I have always found brown greaseproof paper much more difficult to work with. I rarely, if ever, get a full tray of perfect macarons on brown paper Also, would highly recommend the silicone macaron mats that are available in places like Lakeland. I know not everyone rates them, but I have found them a god-send, especially when filling large orders for a wedding or similar, when its important to create macarons of the same size and shape. They are not fool proof and all the foibles that we have spoken about previously still impact but they have certainly helped me to achieve some measure of consistency. Worth investing in one and seeing how you get on – particularly if you are going to be making smaller quantities during the hols.

  9. Hi there, just wondering how the gooseberry creations were going, Brigitte? Thought of you at the weekend when I was selling macarons at a shopping event in quite sticky conditions. The chocolate ganache was very gooey by the end of the afternoon, but seemed to add to the delightful decadence of the mini chocolate macarons that I offered as tasters!

    Experimented with lots of pale, pastel colours for the occasion, baking them at low temperatures – 130 C – with some very pretty results. Made variations on white chocolate ganache – which as you said previously is even more temperamental in the heat – rose water, almond, pistachio, blueberry… as a lighter, more summery filling than dark chocolate. A cream cheese based filling would have been ideal but wouldn’t risk that in the heat. Will keep that for private consumption!

    • Really liking the idea of a cream cheese filling !
      I haven’t had time to make my gooseberry macarons this week as its the end of the school year which is always a bit manic, but I have done a little research and I think my best bet is to make a small batch of jam and use an elderflower buttercream. I haven’t made jam since school days (a very long time ago ! ) so my whole experiment may well fail ! I will keep you posted.
      I’m going to give baking my macarons on the lower temperature as well. If there’s one thing that I get frustrated with is pastel macarons with a beige tint. I hope my family don’t get tired of my experiments.. I have over four weeks free to try out new flavours and perfect my somewhat rustic little numbers !

  10. Elderflower buttercream sounds delicious – how do you keep it from being too runny and making the macaron soggy?
    Vicki came to Master Class on Saturday – and we had a great time. Super results in some lovely colours – pale lavender was a favourite. Am making various shades of pink for a Breast Cancer Awareness Charity day this week – not so hot now so hopefully white choc ganache will work but also thinking of some fruity variations on buttercream.

  11. Instead of white choc ganache try white choc buttercream…60g chocolate, 90g icing sugar, 80g butter. Mix the butter cream, if its a but warm chill slightly before mixing in melted chocolate and beat quickly with hand mixer so the chocolate doesn’t melt the buttercream. Unless its a particularly hot day you shouldn’t need to chill it before piping. This makes about 220g of buttercream (there’s always a bit lost in the bowl and the mixer) and I usually allow 5g to fill a 4cm macaron so it will fill quite a few. You can add extra flavourings to this, I usually mix up a large batch and then scoop off a portion and colour it and flavour it depending on what macaron I’m making! For a chocolate macaron I just use dark chocolate instead of white! 😉

  12. And Saturdays masterclass was indeed fun, definitely got my confidence back, will be making macarons again at home very soon!

  13. Hi Gaye and Vicki. I really need to attend a masterclass ! I baked a small batch this afternoon at 130c and they still ended up with a beige tinge. I use an oven thermometer so I know that its not the oven temp thats wrong. I am convinced that its because it is a gas oven. I had a go at the gooseberry filling today. I decided to make a gooseberry puree and thicken it with cornflour. It wasnt the prettist of colour so I added just a drop of gooseberry food colouring. The puree was lovely and sharp. Delicious! I also made a buttercream and added some of the puree to that, but I couldnt really taste it. I think that I will use both to fill and keep my fingers crossed that they don’t become soggy ! xx

    • Hi Brigitte!

      Why not try piping a ring of buttercream around the edge of your macaron leaving a space in the middle for a blob of gooseberry purée!
      Or maybe you could make a gooseberry curd? That might be thick enough to not make the macaron go soggy! 😉

      As for your gas oven…is it the entire batch that has a beige tinge or just a few? If there’s just one part of a tray that regularly colours then just keep that part clear, it might just be a hot spot in your oven. If its the whole tray then maybe try dropping the shelf and see how that works out. Even so if its only a slight tinge then I wouldn’t worry too much, my pistachio macs occasionally have the same problem I usually put it down to a slightly too warm oven, it’s been temperamental ever since the fan broke, and I’ve seen whole trays in Selfridges that have a tinge too so you’re not alone! 😉

      • But we don’t want to be like Selfridges, now do we!!!!

      • Oh no, definitely don’t want to be like Selfridges but I should be happy with a few imperfections. Shows that they were handmade and not mass produced!
        I use Sugarflair paste colours. Is there a better brand I could be using? I will try turning off the oven and see how it goes. I think that they are browning near the end of cooking. Fingers crossed then! Good luck with the gooseberries. They were a big hit with my family ! Oh, by the way, do you use Pinterest? There are lots of lovely macaron images on there. Great for flvour ideas too. x

      • I think Sugarflair pastes are the best – but some of the pastel shades seem to be more prone to browning. Had quite a serious case of it with a lavender batch in a Master Class this week – although Vicki used the same colour the week before to great effect. Sometimes think its to do with how evenly the batch is mixed too.

        Have looked at Pinterest but need to have a closer look – sounds fun. x

      • I mostly use Wilton pastes although I was quite pleased with the sugarflair lavender colour I used in the masterclass, yet to try the grey I bought! The Wilton are good and so far no problems with browning. I’m actually a bit worried as I have been told Wilton pastes soon won’t be available in UK as the company that imports Wilton has replaced them with their own colour pastes! I’ll have to start testing all over again!

    • Just wondering what kind of colorant you are using? I have found vast differences between the results achieved depending on the type and brand of colorant used. Another tip is to turn the oven off for last few minutes and just leave them in the cooling oven a little longer. Have you checked to see at what point they are browning – ie later in the cooking time? Gooseberries definitely sound worth persevering with though – I can just imagine the sharp, tanginess with the sweet nuttiness of the macaron shell! Delicious! May have a play with them myself later this week. Chat soon x

  14. Hi Gaye, I spent yesterday in the kitchen in full on macaron mania…. Have posted a photo on your Facebook page with a selection of my handy work for you to see! 😉

  15. Something interesting…. In my never ending reading of different macaron recipes I found this one…it recommends refrigerating the batter before piping…anyone want to join me in testing if this makes a major difference in piping/baking?

    http://hungryrabbitnyc.com/2010/06/my-sweet-wild-thing/

    (Incidentally this is a really good blog, I made the vanilla malt milk cake from the recipe on there and it’s delish!)

    • I wonder what difference it is meant to make – does hungry rabbit give any clues? I’ll give it a go – how long does it recommend refrigerating for – and is it in the piping bag or in the bowl still? I have tried refrigerating the piped but uncooked shells, and also refrigerating the tray that they are to go into the oven on – I think the idea is that the temperature difference gives them a bit of a shock into rising and making lovely feet! Who knows?!!

      By the way how did you make your macarons so shiny? x

      • In the recipe it says something about refrigerating the batter (in the piping bag) to make the batter easier to pipe!
        Strange recipe too, includes cornstarch, which is odd as, if I remember right, a lot of American icing (confectioners) sugar apparently contains cornstarch already and many American macaron recipes I’ve seen recommend trying to get sugar with no cornstarch!

        As for getting my macarons so shiny…complete fluke I’m not sure I can repeat… It’s either that I was a bit heavy handed with the colour, usually make 2 egg batches and accidentally used too much for a one egg batch, or due to my whites not whipping up enough. I think I might have accidentally part frozen my egg white in the fridge and it wasn’t beating into a stiff enough meringue…best I could get was slightly floppy peaks! The meringue was very glossy looking though before I mixed the nut mix in so maybe that’s the answer? 😉

  16. Made a perfect batch of pale green macarons this week, then promptly ruined them by filling them with home made lime curd….in the morning they had all but disintegrated from excess moisture! 😦
    Back to the drawing board for this filling, the curd is delicious but too delicate a flavour to stand being mixed into buttercream, maybe a reduction of the juice before making the curd to intensify the flavour?

    • Hi Vicki, sorry for long silence. Lime curd sounds delicious – would cornstarch help at all to thicken it and perhaps reduce the moisture problem? Or perhaps combine it with mascarpone – probably still a bit moist but might stand a few hours of maturation in the macaron shell – and then you can just eat them all at once! Personally, I love lime in dark chocolate ganache – with coconut macarons. The Real Macaron kitchen is closed until 9th September – but will give some time to this little conundrum after that.

  17. Hi Gaye. I hope you are ok, you made our daughters wedding favours. Jo and Wayne for Sept.13th 2014. I hope you don’t mind me asking as im thinking of starting to make macarons and Jo particularly likes pistachio ones, the recipes that I have all mention pistachio paste? Is this necessary, if so where can I get it? Or can u suggest an alternative. I think its only in relation to the filling. Thanks Lynda Whittle

    • Hi Lynda, I am sorry for the delay in responding. I hope you are well and that Jo and Wayne are settling into happily married life. I use ground pistachios in the mixture – replacing about 1/3 of the ground almonds, and then make a filling with ground pistachio and a drop or two of almond essence/oil either in a chocolate ganache or in a buttercream. I hope this helps. Let me know. Kind regards Gaye

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