See that macaron pictured in the photo right above this line? I did that.
Well, to be perfectly honest, my mom and I did that.
The second time I made macaron shells proved far more successful than the first, and I’m chalking this up to two reasons:
- I made them with someone who made them before. Granted, my mom had only made them once, but once just so happened to be enough.
- We had all the right tools. A food processor, a fine-holed strainer – you name it, it was there. And it made all the difference.
We followed this Martha Stewart recipe and combined it with tips my mom had transcribed from a ‘how-to’ baking session on the French treat. While both my mom and I embarked on this challenge together, there were many a few times when I took a step back and just watched. This isn’t a cake or batch of cookies. I consider macarons ‘advanced baking,’ and as such, sometimes the best way to learn is by shadowing someone who knows what they are doing.
Must-have tips when making macarons
Have the right tools
This is a food processor my mom has had since the 1980s. I always hated it growing up because it made an incredibly loud noise that would usually interrupt my Saved by the Bell viewing. But now I credit this ancient kitchen appliance for making the night-and-day difference from the batch of macarons I made myself.
See the fine powdered substance being poured into the sugar and egg white mixture? The powder is a combination of almond flour and icing sugar. Its dusty texture is imperative when making macarons, and you can only get this desired texture via a food processor.
Bang your baking pan down and let them rest before baking
Once you’ve prepared the ingredients, mixed the food colour (the fun part, and you all know it), and piped the small circles onto the pan, you must bang the pans flat onto your countertop a good three times. This gets rid of the air bubbles, ultimately allowing them to keep their smooth surface.
Next, as if it wasn’t already clear, patience is required when making macarons. In order to get the desired look, you must leave the freshly piped macaron shells in their raw state to dry for at least an hour before placing the pans in the oven. This wait-time allows the macarons to later grow – and I truly hate this term – ‘feet.’ The feet are the frilled ruffles on the side edges of the shell, and this, along with the shell’s smooth, flat surface, is what gives a macaron its classic look.
And practice makes perfect, right? Admittedly, they aren’t all perfect circles or even the same size, but that will come with time. We didn’t fill all of them. Instead we froze the shells so we could save them to fill for a later date. Like I said before, this isn’t just a cake or batch of cookies. I think I’d rather wait for some special occasion before I present them to be eaten.