We’ve all been there. You take out a good 3 to 4 hours of your day to attempt the afamed macaron, a delicate French cookie that seems to be taking the world by storm. And, after those 3 to 4 hours, as you sit by the oven, watching your creations, terrible things happen. From cracks, to macarons stuck together, to hallows, the marks of a failed macaron are endless. You’re about to pull out your hair because you spent so much time on these finnicky cookies.
I’ve been there, several times, before I learned the tricks and quirks of this cookie. But still, I even have failures in cookies from the same batch. Really Macarons? You can’t even stay consistent and perfect throughout the whole batch? Nonetheless, these are some failures that I captured and hopefully some cause and remedies for your macarons.
Ok, I know the solution is kind of obvious. Why don’t you pipe them further apart? Yes, that is the only solution, and far too many times even though I stress my Mom to pipe the macarons farther apart she still tries to squish them into one pan. Please don’t make this mistake. Take heed, and pipe the macarons at least an inch apart to ensure they have adequate space to spread while baking.
2. Uneven/Bumpy tops
Possibly the mark of a true macaron is it’s smooth shiny top, along with the ruffled feet (more on that later) and sometimes, I’ll buy a macaron that has a wavy texture atop with some odd bubbles that seem to adorn it, too. To fix this, just grind your almond meal or almonds much more finely, and triple sift them to ensure that only smooth powder makes it to the batter of your macaron. To avoid bubbles, after rapping the pan against the countertop, take a toothpick and quickly pop any bubbles that get to the surface.
I hate hallows. Not the Deathly Hallows, but hollows in my macaron. This was the most difficult part of the macaron that I had to overcome. You take out a batch of seemly perfect macarons, and once you take the first bite all you find is… air. Like a bag of chips from a vending machine. There are so many reasons as to why a macaron hallows.
1. Underbaking: Underbaking causes the merigune to undercook, resulting in its collapse as you take it out of the even. No matter what, overbaking is always better than underbaking. Overbaked macarons soften as they age, while nothing really fixes a hallow macaron.
2. Underbeating: How annoying. You can’t neither overbeat, or underbeat a macaron batter. The point of the macaronage is to take the air out of that merigune and combine it with the almond flour. If you beat too delicately, there will still be some air left behind. The result? Air in your cookies. Try to aim for a lava-like texture in your batter. You’ll know that you’ve beaten your macarons enough that when you pipe them, the batter settles down into a smooth circle.
3. Overbeating your merigune: I know that many, many food bloggers instruct to beat your merigune until it is stuck inside your whisk. If you want hallow macarons, go ahead. But, I found that beating them to just merely stiff peaks helped a ton. I don’t know why, but it does. Perhaps you’ve incorporated just the right amount of air into them at stiff peaks?
4. Not resting your macarons: Resting your macarons gives 2 things to your cookie: Feet, and no hallows. Drying out your cookies causes them to rise up rather than out in the oven. Also, I think letting your cookies rest calms down the air pockets. It sounds crazy, but trust me, it works.
5. Footless Macarons
I’ve never actually gotten footless macarons before. But, as said before, the true mark of a macaron happens on the smooth, shiny tops, and at the bottom feet. What is a macaron foot? Well it’s the trademark ruffle underneath the macaron.
I think the key to getting macaron feet is letting your macarons sit to dry out about half an hour before putting them in the oven. Thus, the macarons are forced to rise up, and the little feet sprout out!
These are really, the main problems people have with macarons. Other than that, all the other steps are pretty self explanatory!
I hope this post is helpful in resolving your macaron issues. There are tons of other reasons why your macarons might have not been so perfect, but I have yet discovered why. Feel free to check out other food blogs for macaron opinions!
Not So Humble Pie has a great macaron troubleshooting post.
Don’t forget to check out my macaron tutorial for pictures aside each step to pull your through this cookie.
Happy Baking, and Good Luck!