Macarons 101

Macarons are such an amazingly indulgent treat for the senses and are that perfect take-home gift experience. We often get asked often “What Makes A Perfect Macaron?”. Since they can’t be highly automated like a Cupcake, an Experienced Chef is most important part you can’t do without. On their watch, a perfect symphony of Meringue, the Dry Ingredients prep, the “Macaronage” and the Shaping and Baking comes together in harmony. It takes months of dedicated practice to get these right consistently, and if you’re curious, here’s why.

The Meringue

A strong meringue is foundation for the Macaron’s you’d expect to see. French meringue is a little trickier, but we and our clients prefer its consistency and taste. The most important aspect is to avoid any oil of any kind being part of the egg-whites so great care is taken in separating the yolk completely from the room-temperature egg-whites. Using metal or glass bowls and utensils are preferable as plastic can absorb oil which will make it less fluffy. Using small eggs is preferable, to X-Large most people typically use for baking. You need to beat the meringue just right, to create “hard peaks” as you’ll risk drying it out and creating air pockets inside if over-mixed. Lastly, we don’t use liquid colouring but instead use a gel base, as it maintains a more vibrant colour.

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The Preparation

Using a digital scale we weigh all of our dry ingredients and sift the ingredients into a bowl. This gets rid of big chunks of almonds, properly aerates the mixture, and removes any big chunks of that could ruin your batch. Our flawless Macarons are sifted 3 times to ensure nothing gets through. Our Macarons use our own ground Almond Flour as many store-bought versions can be too oily and create blotches on the surface of these treats.

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The Macaronage

The most important step in creating Macarons a folding method called Macaronage. It’s easy to be fooled by this deceptively simple process, but if not done correctly it can result in undeveloped, dense or very flat shells. Instead of carefully folding the meringue, we need to “BEAT OUT” some of the air in this step. An airy Macaron will hold it shape too well as the batter is quite thick. We fold it over 50 times, creating a lava-like consistency when you lift the spatula out of the bowl. We take care to not over-mix it however, which can lead to hollow shell or have it missing the signature “feet” of the treat.

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The Shaping

We use a printed guide to ensure we pipe uniform circles. This way we know that each cookie is baked evenly and some are not too brown or chewy. Afterward we let the cookies rest for an hour to create a skin which helps trap the remaining air in the cookie so they rise and remain “airy”. Finally we Tap & Rap the baking sheet to pop any air bubbles on the surface ensures that you have an unblemished surface we can then engrave after they are finished.

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The Baking

Thick baking sheets are key to having the cookies cook evenly and prevent discoloration on the bottom of the Macaron during baking. We use parchment paper to line the sheet instead of a silicone mat which tends to slow the baking process leading to an uneven “crunch”. Each oven cooks differently, so we test small batches in any un-tested appliance and adjust the cooking temperature or time needed to get them coming out flawless.

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