• French Macaron Troubleshooting

    Posted on April 5, 2015 by in Desserts, Recipes

    Macarons V3 600

    1. Meringue won’t beat to stiff peaks / take too long to achieve stiff peaks.
    2. Macaron shells are rough and remain peaky.
    3. Cracked Shells
    4. No feet / very small feet
    5. Hollow shells
    6. Shells seem too dry or crunchy
    7. Browning or dark shells
    8. Sticky on the bottom / sticking to baking paper
    9. Uncooked insides
    1. Sticky on the bottom / sticking to baking paper

      • Shells are undercooked: Bake longer, checking every minute for doneness. Properly cooked macarons are firm on their feet when you tap lightly on the shell. If you see them budge even slightly, they are not cooked enough.
      • Shells still warm: Let them cool completely before lifting. If you feel shells are cooked enough but they are still sticky, chill the sheet in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes before removing.
    2. Shells seem too dry or crunchy

      • Shells are over baked: Oven maybe too hot or they may have baked for too long. Reduce temperature or time.
    3. No feet / very small feet

      • Meringue was not beaten stiff enough: Increase whipping time.
      • Not long enough / no resting time: If the weather is rainy or very humid, the resting period may take longer.
      • Oven temperature too low: If shells take more than 18 minute for the feet to set, try raising your oven temperature by 5-10°C.
    4. Macaron shells are rough and remain peaky

      • Batter is too stiff: The pulsing stage of the batter preparation aims to give the macaron a “lava-like” consistency. Batter than is too stiff will not smooth out during the resting period.
    5. Meringue won’t beat to stiff peaks / take too long to achieve stiff peaks.

      • Fat or oil residue on bowl, beaters or measuring cup: Before starting, clean equipment with warm soapy water, rinse and dry with clean paper towel. Avoid plastic bowls as they trap oil.
      • Bowl size too big: Use a bowl with a narrow base and straight sides. If the only bowl available has a wide base, mixing time to achieve stiff peaks may be significantly longer.
    6. Cracked Shells

      • Batter was not homogenous/uniform: Almond meal was not incorporated fully and evenly distributed. As the meringue has a very stiff consistency, the almond meal can be mixed through quite vigorously before pulsing. After pulsing, fold batter until it is uniform before transferring to the piping bag.
      • Oven temperature too high: It’s best to bake at a lower temperature for a longer period of time so that the shells rise slowly but consistently.
    7. Hollow shells

      • Oven temperature too high: If macarons cook too fast, the feet can set before the insides are cooked. This will cause the insides to collapse when the shells are taken out of the oven. It’s best to bake at a lower temperature for a longer period of time so that the shells cook slowly but consistently. Additionally, cooling the macaron shells on the tray for 2 minutes before transferring to the bench can help.
    8. Browning or dark shells

      • Uneven heat in the oven: Ovens with poor circulation can burn shells on the edges while those in the middle of the tray are undercooked. This is especially true for gas fired ovens. When available, use the fan forced function.
      • Baked on oven’s top rack: Always place the baking sheet(s) on the middle rack.
    9. Uncooked insides

      • Oven temperature too high: If macarons cook too fast, the feet can set before the insides are cooked. It’s best to bake at a lower temperature for a longer period of time so that the shells cook slowly but consistently. Additionally, cooling the macaron shells on the tray for 2 minutes before transferring to the bench can help.