I consistently get asked how I bake macarons, because unlike baking muffins or cookies macarons are finicky. This blog is not meant to be an exhaustive list of macaron recipes, you can find plenty online. Instead, I’d like to provide you with some additional insight on how to be successful at it. Don’t give up and throw in the towel just yet.
Macarons are delicious desserts made from a meringue base and almond flour. When you bite into them, there should be a crispy exterior followed by a soft pillowy centre. Macarons come in all shapes, colours, sizes and flavours. Trust me, they are worth the time and effort!
So, here are the top 5 things to be successful at making macarons:
1. YOU NEED THE RIGHT TOOLS
2. PICK THE TECHNIQUE THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Macarons can be made in several different ways. The French and Italian method are the most popular. I used to bake macarons with the French technique, but have permanently switched to the Italian method as it produced the most consistent results. Try them both out, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Here is the perfect French versus Italian comparison infographic – How-To: Macarons – Photo by Jocelyn Wong on Behance.
3. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
To master anything in life, you need to practice. Make small batches that are manageable so that you can get the hang of the technique. Macarons are made of two components, the shells and the filling. Start with the shells first, once you’ve got that under your belt, then move onto filling.
4. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Know the pitfalls of making macarons and learn how to troubleshoot them when something goes wrong. The most common errors happen simply because the ingredients weren’t weighed properly or if the egg whites are over whipped. Shinee’s (Sweet & Savory by Shinee) got you covered with her French Macaron 101 visual troubleshooting guide.
5. KNOW YOUR LEARNING STYLE
This is important because you want to have the best learning environment to set yourself up for success. Visual & Read/Write Learners: Books or blog posts are great because the recipes come with lots of step-by-step images. My favourite book is Les Petits Macarons (available in most book stores or online). For Read/Writers – you can write notes in the margins of your books, or take notes in your own personal notepad. Auditory: There are several instructional videos on youTube that can help you learn by listening to the audio instructions. I recommend this fantastic step-by-step instructional video by Entertaining with Beth: Beth’s Foolproof French Macaron Recipe by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride. Lastly, for hands-on learners: if following a recipe isn’t working out, register for a class. There’s no better teacher than one where you can ask questions. Find your local macaron baking class. If you’re in the Mississauga/GTA area, The Cake Collective offers macaron classes facilitated by Val Krampac. She will teach you how to make them from beginning to end, and you’ll have an opportunity to practice what you’ve learned.
Have fun and happy macaroning!