Mad about Macarons Again

Heart-shaped Ispahans

A Baking Session
It’s been a while since I posted an entry on this blog and an even longer while since I baked macarons. Given the amount of time and effort that goes into macarons, I had no problems avoiding macaron making. That is until H invited WL over for a baking session one Saturday.

I was initially hesitant about WL’s suggestion to bake macarons for 2 reasons. First, the weather had been horribly wet and humid, which is generally bad for meringue making, not to mention macaron making. Which meant it would be safer to go with italian meringue instead of french meringue. Which in turn led to the second reason for my reluctance.

              Rose & Lychee Macarons

Italian Meringue Macarons
The last few batches of italian meringue macarons I’d made had a huge air pocket between the shell and the base. Since I’ve had many successful batches before with italian meringue, this is something that still has me puzzled. There are just too many possible reasons. Drying time? Baking temperature? Baking time? Unstable meringe? Still, we forged ahead.

Macarons

The Result
The flavours of the day were cocoa shells with dark chocolate ganache and hazelnut shells with salted caramel buttercream. As I’d expected, the shells did end up with an air pocket each, but once filled and bitten into, it didn’t matter at all. The overall texture and taste were still right. Most importantly, WL seemed more than happy with the salted caramel ones. :)

Heart-shaped Ispahans

French Meringue Macarons & Heart-shaped Ispahans
Unhappy about the air pockets, I made another batch of macarons with french meringue the following week. The weather was once again far from ideal; it was pouring outside while the egg whites were being whipped in my Kitchen Aid mixer. Fortunately, the heart-shaped Ispahan macarons turned out fine (1st and last photographs of this post) as did the regular sized ones, which I filled with rose cream and lychee pieces (2nd photograph of this post).

The Ispahans were visually impressive as always and my sister loved the combination of the tart raspberries, lychees and vanilla cream. But the best part for me was the lack of air pockets, which more than made up for the smaller feet that macarons made via the french meringue method seem to have.

29 Responses to “Mad about Macarons Again”

  1. Rachel (Heart of Light) Says:

    Just looking at your macaron pictures helps satisfy my cravings! I keep saying that someday I’m actually going to attempt to make some, but maybe I’ll keep living vicariously through you.

  2. Julia Says:

    Just lovely macarons. Well done. What recipes did you use? I just attempted my first Italian meringue method macaron - had previously only tried French. Seems you have the most success with French though? I was very disappointed with my efforts, but will persist…. :)

  3. Jill Says:

    They look great, especially the rose macarons..! I hope to try macarons one day but they seem to be so much work… By the way, do you know of any good Banana cake recipe? One that’s soft and moist and very banana-ish?

  4. Lisa Says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Your macarons are just fantastic looking! Just curious, do you use gel, liquid or powder food colorings?

  5. Magic Beans Says:

    Very very lovely macarons. I have been following your blog for a while and it is such a wonderful inspiration to make macarons.

    Maybe the consistency of whipping the eggwhites changed because of the humid weather. Which influenced the structure of the batter when combining the meringue with the ground nuts. The eggwhites might be “broken” through the heat and causes the air pocket. I guess the Italian method is in this case more sensetive because the meringue and incorporating the nuts/or paste is wetter than the french method with the dry nuts and the beaten eggwhites.

  6. Evan Says:

    hi karen! nice to see u baking macarons again. they look really lovely, french or italian meringue! i haven’t tried any other recipes (other than the one i use) coz i’m not adventurous enough to :p

    looking forward to see your other lovely bakes!

  7. Karen Says:

    Rachael: Thank you!

    Julia: You might like to try Helen of Tartelette’s macaron recipes. She has shared both french and italian meringue versions. I’ve tried her french meringue macaron recipe and it works great.

    Jill: I’m not big on banana cakes, but the recipe I have posted here works great both as muffins or as a banana loaf cake.

    Lisa: I’ve tried all 3 methods of colouring and I have to say that I prefer liquid.

    Magic Beans: Thank you! You might be right about the eggwhites, although I’ve found french meringue to be less stable than italian meringue and less forgiving in terms of overmixing.

    Evan: Thank you! It’s really nice to hear from you. :) You should give italian meringue macarons a go, especially now that you have a KitchenAid mixer. I really like your photographs of all the places that you’ve been eating at! They always turn out so pretty.

  8. Evan Says:

    hey karen, you’re right. i shd give italian meringue recipe a go. i’m really enticed by the “fatness” and tall feet compared to the french ones. and thx for yr compliments on my photos, i’m sure you’ll do better than me when you go out to eat. i really like your yanting/st. regis ones!

    also i saw you on cuisine & wine asia mag! you’re really fair & pretty :D

  9. lisa (dandysugar) Says:

    Ooh, I love your gorgeous macarons! They’re so pretty and so tempting! Lovely photos too.

  10. Yael Says:

    Hi Karen,
    I love our blog :-)
    I first saw it when I searched the web for Macarons recipes.
    Yesterday was the first time I had succeeded at making pretty good Macarons, shape and taste, but I still get it wrong with the colour:
    the macarons seem to “get tanned” in the oven, while baking at 160C.
    Any thoughts? I tried baking just one pan, tried different locations in the oven, tried with and with no Turbo program, but they always seem to get caramel-brownish, thus not showing their true colours.

    Would appreciate some help,
    Yael.

  11. Karen Says:

    Evan: Thanks! I’m embarassed to say that I haven’t seen the article; still waiting for my copy in the mail. :)

    Lisa: Thank you!

    Yael: You might like to try blocking the heating element so that the heat doesn’t reach the macarons directly or just baking on a lower shelf at a lower temp, say 150 degrees C for a longer period of time.

  12. Fen Says:

    Wow, I have been popping by your blog a couple of times but have always been welcome by your December bread entry…

    Lovely macarons and I like the colour…

  13. Nikki Says:

    Welcome back Karen,. great to see you back at macarons again! I’ve been on a macaron-break myself, because the weather last January simply left me stumped. I’ve just tried the sucre cuit method once more, and arghhhh!! air pockets, and tiny feet!! I dont know why I keep on getting tiny feet with this method. and the shells always look domed and smooth like an egg. i have to say i fancy the french method better because of the shiny surface i get (which you seem to be getting even with the italian method).. Sigh. Is anything ever predictable with these meringue madness? Any thoughts on the shape of my italian method shells would be much appreciated :)

  14. A Says:

    Do you have baking lessons? :)

  15. Anne Says:

    Dear Karen,
    I’m just starting with my cookie hobby and will refer to your designs for inspiration, they are beatuiful. You have great technique and a talent for design!

    Can you tell me if you have a special technique for the bright icing colors? I have difficulty with the bright reds and dark blacks. The icing color fades or is never as saturated as yours.
    thank you!
    Anne

  16. velvina Says:

    Hi karen,

    I’m looking for macaroons or wedding cake for my wedding on 6 june. wonder if you do make and sell? i’m impresed by the reviews and the colourful and varieties of macaroons u hve. Pls help as my HTB insist on having them. Thanks

  17. Karen Says:

    Fen: Thank you!

    Nikki: I get air pockets with italian meringue a fair bit. I think I might be undermixing the batter. As for shiny shells, they always turn shiny after I put them in the fridge and take them out; it’s caused by condensation.

    A: Yes, I do conduct one-on-one, hands-on private classes by appointment for macarons and decorated cookies, but only on weekends.

    Anne: Thank you! Leave the coloring overnight. They always turn darker the next day.

    Velvina: Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! I’m afraid I no longer take orders. You can try Canele or Royal Plaza on Scotts; I think they make good macarons. There is also a counter at the Tangs basement (Orchard) that sells macarons at a low price.

  18. Vivi Says:

    Your macarons look so beautiful, especially the high feet! My feet always sink back into the shell after they cool off. Any idea why that might be? My main question though concerns the color and shine of the shells: I can’t get my macarons to look glossy! I use wilton gel/paste colors, I use the cooked sugar syrup method to make the macarons, and I allow the shells to dry anywhere between 30-90 minutes — the shells never shine. Is there something I’m not doing (or doing) that keeps the shells from being glossy??? Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures, and any helpful information on the glossy/shine issue. Your heart-shaped Ispahans are AMAZING btw. Cheers

  19. Shelby Says:

    First of all let me say your macarons are lovely. But I have a question. I have been trying different recipes and I am having the same problems. they all have an air pocket in the top.
    When I use french meringue they either crack on the top or they get good feet and are hollow at the top.
    When I use Italian meringue they puff up and the tops side to the side resulting in hollow crooked tops. Am I under mixing or over mixing? I have attempted they about 7-8 times, UGH.
    I also live at high altitude, could this matter?
    Any tips or pointers would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Shelby

  20. Penny Says:

    Now I’m going to faint! My current oven from the 70s and ill-equipped for making macaroons, but I hope to be making them soon!
    Urs look absolutely perfect!! So many people mess them up or don’t get the “feet” correct.
    I’m sure you’ve seen this lovely Paris blog, but if you haven’t, you MUST go to http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com/

    AMAZING!! :)

  21. bella. Says:

    aww, heart-shaped ispahan!
    that’s such an adorable idea.
    i should totally make heart-shaped maccies for my sisters birthday party.
    she’s turning six next week, and i’m in charge of the cakes and sweets.
    (i’m thinking macarons, guimauve and cupcakes. all pink of course)
    my macarons are never as pretty as yours, though.
    the feet aren’t tall enough.

  22. Jacqueline Says:

    Hi Karen!

    High time I said Hi. Been following your blog for a long time now. Lovely blog full of ideas, colours and most importantly, passion! Fantastic creations… I really enjoy your shoots on macarons, in particular because I bake macarons for a living. I hope you’ll always have time to play in the kitchen!

    Cheerios
    Jacquelin (La Menagere)

  23. Erin Says:

    Your macarons look breathtaking! Amazing. I have never tried to make them, I am intimidated by them to say the least. I hope to try some day!

  24. jen Says:

    I second Shelly and Vivi’s questions! My macarons always are one giant air bubble on top of a pancake..I don’t know what to do. Also, how does one make them shiny? Is this from over mixing? under mixing? Thank you1!

  25. betty Says:

    these look fantastic :O)

  26. Sahar Says:

    Hi,

    We are having trouble with the shells of our Macaroons; after a day in the fridge the shells become moist and very fragile. Any thoughts?

  27. jon Says:

    This macarons are very beautiful.Cake is my favorite. But i cannot make it at home. I think macarons belongs to cake. Is it right?

  28. Helen Says:

    My goodness! Beautiful blog, beautiful pictures! I want to make these for Valentine’s Day: http://www.histoiresucree.com/recipes/macarons_roses.html
    Can anyone tell me how to make the shape of hearts?
    Thanks!

  29. ianes Says:

    Hi,

    I love the turnouts and the colors on your macarons. I’ve only tried making chocolate, lime, and ube macarons. I’ve been having problems getting “feet” on my macarons tho. Any tips? Also, what’s the difference between the French and Italian Meringue? I’m not sure which one I’m doing. LOL..

    Cheers,
    ianes

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