This time, rather than rushing into it, I compared the ingredients and each of their quantity in a number of recipe books and blogs. Below are 3 recipes that I found to be particularly insightful and helpful! The fourth column was from my previous macarons attempt - it was from a kids' easy macarons kit. My macarons didn't turn out perfect, but at least, they had feet and smooth shells.
Comparing the three expert recipes, I found that their dry ingredients all add up to be in the range of around 340-360g. The temperature that they use to bake is between 140-160 degree celsius, much lower than what I used to set. Now, of course, this is only part of the success story for the perfect macarons.
I tested using the recipe from Tartelette but included the cream of tartar from Sweet & Skinny. Because I did not have enough fine almond meal, I substituted the balance amount with cocoa powder, just to make up the amount of dry ingredients required.
My ingredients for this batch:
- 1 egg white from "Pasar" - 35g
- 21g caster sugar
- 78g icing sugar
- 2g or 0.4 tsp cocoa powder
- 31g almond meal
- 0.5g or 0.1 tsp cream of tartar
For future reference, I made this conversion table.
In macarons making, it is THE TECHNIQUE that is the most important. I used to whip my whites until it became very stiff. This is incorrect. It should be a MEDIUM peak - see picture below from the book "Sweet and Skinny, by Marisa Churchill". Do NOT over-whip or meringue will become very dry and the macarons will not work.
When mixing the meringue and the dry stuff, fold in half of the dry mixture in a few quick sweeping strokes to break the mass and slow down. When it is mostly incorporated, fold in the remaining mixture. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount of the batter to see if it has the correct consistency before piping.
I have a small tabletop oven and I find the heat to be somewhat higher than that stated in most recipe books. Hence, I lowered the temperature by another 5 degree celsius.
- Sift the almond meal and icing sugar & / or cocoa. Or blitz in a food processor until very fine. Otherwise, the macarons will have a rough surface.
- Whisk the whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar.
- With the mixer running, add caster sugar slowly - one teaspoon at a time.
- Continue to whisk until medium peaks form. Do NOT over-whipped. The meringue should curl over softly when you lift the whisk.
- If you are adding colouring, add now. Mix just until the whites are evenly coloured.
- Fold in half the almond mixture in a few quick strokes to break the mass and slow down. Fold in the remaining almond mixture, mixing until combined. Do not over-mixed. The entire folding process should take no more than 50 steps.
- Check the consistency of the batter. It should flatten on its own after counting to ten. If it stands with a pointed top, it is under-mixed. Scrape the mixture back and give it a few more turns.
- Place the piping bag into a jar so that the batter can be poured in nicely.
- Pipe the macarons, leaving 2cm gap between them.
- After piping, leave macarons to dry for at least 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Let the macarons cool down before peeling them off the baking paper.