Sucre Cuit

Sometimes trying something new yields better results. In my case it's using a different method to make macarons. Before this I'd been using the traditional French method (see here) but for the past 2 attempts I used the Italian method which requires you to boil sugar and water to use in the meringue. I've read in several places that it's a much easier recipe albeit more tedious (I feel) and after yesterday's batch, I think I've found what suits me.

The recipe I found is from the food blog Dessert First. I like how Anita Chu (who is a published cookbook author and professional pastry chef) had a ton of pictures and explained the method very clearly. I highly recommend this method especially if you've never tried making macarons but want to start. It's a lot more forgiving and seems less finicky. There are a few more steps and the timing has to be right but once you get the hang of it, you won't stop.

My next step is to try different flavors for the shell, maybe even use hazelnut meal instead of almond.

The biggest lesson I've learned from my few years of attempting macarons is that there's no one method that will suit you and that trying several and even combining them (which I have ended up doing) is going to be what's best for you and your oven. Here are some tips for this recipe though, from my experience:

  • Get a candy thermometer. If you do any sort of pastry or dessert baking, you'll need one anyway.

  • Get a good kitchen scale. Measuring the ingredients is far more accurate than using the cups/spoon method.

  • Three words: mise en place. Prep is very important for macarons, you want everything within reach in the right amounts. Your ingredients all need to be at room temperature, and you'll often need more than one item (spatulas, baking sheets, parchment paper). Read through whatever recipe you have from start to absolute finish and take note of everything that's used.

  • Know your oven. Mine needs to be a couple of degrees (F) higher than what recipes specify. Again, it takes playing around and experimenting (which might mean a few sacrificial batches of macarons) to figure out what works. Also, time of year is a factor.

Don't be discouraged the first ten couple of times you make them. And you might have success that very first time but don't be surprised if your next attempt doesn't work out quite as well, they're finicky little buggers but man, when you get it right, it feels AWESOME.

Good macaron resources:

I love Macarons - David Lebovitz

Syrup & Tang

And of course Dessert First!

Good luck, have fun and bon macronnage!