Sunday, July 25, 2010

Macarons - Finally, success!

I made macarons. Yes, you heard right - I FINALLY made macarons. Did I ever share about my previous two failed attempts at making this lovely french cookie? Perhaps not, cos it's supposed to be stored away in the deepest end of my memory. not to be dug out. Those experiences are too painful to be worth recalling.

Half a year on since my last attempt at making macarons using the French method, I decided to muster my courage and attempt the Italian meringue or sucre cuit method. Pastry chefs swear by it, even the famed Pierre Herme uses it, what excuse do I have to not try it? None. None at all.

Looking at the recipe, it does look a tad more tricky than the French method. But after breaking down the steps, the only additional one was the cooking of the sugar syrup to 118 degrees, which is supposed to yield a more stable meringue structure. There were a couple of differences in the ingredient composition as well, but after peering closely, this doesn't seem much more difficult than the French method.

After doing some more  research and scrutinising various recipes, I decided to use Pierre Herme's. Since he's the pastry king, it should be fine right? If it isn't, it would be my fault, not his, narrowing down the error sources ...haha.

This time round, I put my heart and soul into making these delicate cookies. Sifting ground almonds can be such a pain, but I did it patiently for almost 30 minutes straight. Even mum was really encouraging, telling me to take my time in the kitchen. I didn't do everything according to plan - my instant read thermometer didn't quite reach 118 degrees, possibly because of the shallow level of liquid. Once it passed the 100 mark, saucepan brimming with bubbles, I decided to pour it in. The meringue turned out thick and glossy - just like how the recipe described, and the macaron batter looked really promising.

Once the pan was in the oven, I couldn't bear to look. I lay my head on the kitchen table and prayed that it will be a success. 3 minutes on, I peeped - no feet. Sigh. 6 minutes on, I couldn't resist and peeped again - ahhhhh I see feet! Finally! I was so happy I swear I could have danced right out of the kitchen...haha.

Finally! the elusive macaron is no longer elusive to me...
Finally! I no longer shudder with fear at the mention of its name...
Finally! no more disappointments...
Finally! I can make these lovely cookies in the comfort of my very own kitchen :)

These may not be the prettiest macarons, but it definitely gave me hope. Hope to try again, to refine and perfect the recipe according to the way I like it. And hope does not disappoint :).

Since I wasn't expecting to succeed, I didn't colour the macarons. My previous attempts turned out to be one gloppy mess. Thank God this didn't happen to me this time. I sandwiched the macaron shells with a simple chocolate ganache made with Valrhona Manjari. The deep chocolate flavour with a slight hint of bitterness offsets the sweetness of the shells perfectly. However, mum felt it's still on the sweet side. Guess I'll have to try to reduce the sugar content in these cookies next time.

But for now, I'm happy and relieved to be spared of failure once again. Chocolate and macarons (especially from my own kitchen) makes me a very happy girl! :)

Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
adapted from Pierre Herme
150g ground almonds
150g confectioner’s sugar
120 g egg whites (divided equally into two portions)

150g castor sugar
40g water
100g Valrhona Manjari (coarsely chopped)
100g heavy cream

1. Sift together the ground almonds and confectioner's sugar. Set aside.
2. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook till the sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, beat 60g of the egg whites in the electric mixer on medium speed till soft peak form. When the sugar syrup is ready (both should come together at about the same time), pour the syrup in a steady stream into the egg whites with the mixer running on low. Increase the speed to high and beat till you get a thick, glossy meringue and the mixture is cool to the touch (around 10 minutes).
3. Mix the other 60g of the egg whites with the almond/sugar mixture. Add a third of the meringue into the mixture and fold gently. Add another third and fold before adding the final third. Fold gently till it flows like lava, with a thick, steady stream flowing from the spatula. Be careful not to overwork the batter as a couple more turns will result in over-runny batter.
4. Transfer the batter into piping bags fitted with big round tips. Pipe onto pre-drawn circles on parchment paper. Leave it out to set for around 25-30 minutes before baking it at 150 degrees Celsius for 13-15 minutes.
5. Once done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the parchment onto a cooling rack. Let cool for a few minutes before removing the shells from the parchment.
6. Heat the cream in a saucepan till its boiling point. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let steep for a few minutes. Stir till smooth and let cool till it firms up and is ready to be used.
7. Sandwich macaron shells with chocolate ganache.


  1. Good on you for conquering the elusive macarons! Sure looks pretty to me :)

  2. Ovenhaven: Thank you! It definitely wasn't a pleasant process...I'm just glad they turned out fine this time :)

  3. Hi Allie,

    Congrats on the success of these macarons. The macarons look really good with moist centres. It will be some time before I attempt macarons again. Have'nt had much luck with macarons, especially chocolate ones which require more attention.

  4. Bakertan,

    Thank you! Do try them again, it'll be worth it I promise. Looking forward to your good news :).

  5. Congrats to you! It only took you twice to succeed!? I took four ... Agreed, painful memory ... Money wasted, waistline expanded. =(

    I've not tried IM method though. Been using FM method. When I feel confident enough, I shall give IM a try. I don't have candy thermometer though.

    Actually, I made some back in early May. Dunno if I should blog about it as I'm still unsure whether I've truly mastered macaron making skills. However, gotta say though, this post is very inspiring. Thanks for sharing your excitement and joy. =) No longer have to pay $$$$ for one macaron.

  6. Aww, congratulations! I can definitely emphasize with what you had to go through to get them right and that feeling of euphoric when you see their feet form as they bake!

    Your macarons sure look as perfect as they come! :)

  7. Congratulation!!
    I really like the color of you macaron, for me I feel excited every time I make it, haha.

  8. Pei Ling: 4 times, really? These cookies are real delicious but finicky huh. Believe me, I totally understand how you felt :). According to some blogs I read, if you don't have a thermometer, you can heat till the syrup reaches soft ball stage. The IM method's really good though! Can make bigger batches and it's more stable over time :).

    thecoffeesnob: Haha yes! The feeling's priceless! Such a bittersweet journey...but definitely made me appreciate success more. Thanks for your sweet comments!

    dailydelicious: Thank you! Haha do you? I love how macarons have a tendency to get people cute!

  9. they are gorgeous!!!...and although i am not a big fan of macaron, i cant help but feel intrigued and wanna try making them :D

  10. Woots! Congrats Allie!

    They look absolutely gorgeous... which reminds me, i've 6 egg whites sitting in the freezer!

  11. Mochachocolata Rita: thank you :). Try try!

    Cherie: Haha, there's no reason not to make macarons now with ready egg whites ya?

  12. Hey Allie, ur macarons lk fab!! btw the other 60g of egg whites.. do we have to beat them before mixing with almond or just mix it all together in its liquid form?

  13. Cosa Bella: Thank you! Just mix them, in original liquid form without beating, together with the dry mixture before folding the mixture into the meringue. Hope this clarifies! :)

  14. hi, came across ur blog from happy home baking... seeing ur lovely macarons, i m so tempted to hv a go at it! but i juz pick up baking recently, m worried it will not turn out well...

  15. They look perfect! Absolutely flawless - and delicious! Congratulations!



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