Delectable Arts

appreciating the tastier things in life


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Macaron Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Hollows

As I continue to master the macaron, something strange (and terribly annoying) started happening – I started getting hollow macarons! <Insert sad face here>

I don’t know what exactly changed. It could be that the weather fluctuates so much in my city which causes rapid changes in humidity (which affects baking, or so I’m told). When I first started baking french macarons, they were just right. My macarons were full and chewy on the inside, and crisp on the outside.

But then, one day, I started getting hollow macarons. The large pocket of air inside each macaron made my macarons very fragile. My poor hollow macarons lacked the full, chewy goodness that macarons are supposed to have.

I researched this problem and found out that I’m apparently not the only person who has encountered this annoying issue. Many bloggers have documented this issue and have found their own ways of troubleshooting it. I’ve tried some of their troubleshooting tips, and after four attempts, found a way to deal with the hollow macaron fiasco that was occurring in my kitchen.

Here are the things that I started doing differently:

  • Use a stainless steel bowl to whisk the egg whites and sugar, instead of using a plastic bowl. Plastic bowls are porous, thus they don’t allow the meringue to reach its full volume.
  • Add just a pinch of cream of tartar to the egg whites before whisking. This will stabilize the meringue.
  • Cut down on the whisking time. Instead of whisking the egg whites and sugar for a total of 5 minutes, I cut the time down to 3 minutes, thus whisking in less air into the meringue.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 275°F and bake the macarons for an extra 2 minutes. If the macarons become too hot too quickly, the top will puff up quickly, but the bottom part doesn’t rise to produce the perfect feet that you want.
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Baking French Macarons: Is it necessary to age the egg whites? (Macaron Wars: Episode I – The Aged Egg Whites)

As I continue my quest to become a macaron master, I came across many recipes that instruct you to age the egg whites prior to whisking them. What that means is you separate the yolks from the whites, put the whites back into the fridge (covered or uncovered), and then leave them for at least 24 hours. Then, you take the egg whites out and let them sit on the kitchen counter until they reach room temperature before you use them. They say that this process of aging the egg whites is to ensure that your macaron shells develop “feet” when you bake them. Macaron feet are the risen part of the macaron, as shown below.

macaron feet

macaron feet

I’ve tried this process of aging the egg whites, and it did not work out for me at all. It could be due to a number of factors, such as the temperature in my fridge, the oven I’m using, or the way I whisk the eggs. Whatever the reason might be, when I tried aging the egg whites, my macaron shells ended up looking like this:

epic fail

epic fail

MONSTROUS FEET! ZOMGS! I give myself an E for Effort (or E for Epic fail).

Yeah, that’s not the look I’m going for…

Maybe the egg white aging process works for some people, but I ended up with hideous-looking macaron feet. On the other hand, my macarons look just fine when I simply take the eggs out of the fridge, separate the yolks from the whites, and use the whites immediately.

Have you tried aging your egg whites? How did your macarons turn out?