Troubleshooting Macarons: Color and Oven Temp

Today I end my quest for the macaron.  I have achieved a certain level of success, certainly not perfection but they are pretty and they taste good.  But I just don’t think I can make one more batch.

I set out to achieve a good, unbrowned color today.  So my intention was to replicate yesterdays batch # 10 with one variable — put a sheet pan on the top rack to block my heating element.

I also used real eggs this time for the first time but,  honestly, I didn’t notice much of a difference except that the meringue beat up faster. I also used clear (imitation )vanilla extract to see if that would make the color more vibrant but it didn’t make a difference and there was a difference in taste.

I learned a huge lesson today about heat and my oven.  I got inconsistent results between trays of the same exact batter because my oven was overheating over time.  

Tray 1: starting from the left: 300F with convection on — beautiful; Tray #2: I threw it in the oven right after the first tray and I didn’t pay attention to it until the timer went off — Most of them had ruptured from the top like little volcanoes; Tray #3: I tried to solve the problem by decreasing the oven temp in 5 degree increments down to 285F which saved most of them from rupturing but they were all hollow! Tray #4: I left the temp at 285F and left the oven door open to cool it down for a few minutes.  Then I reset it to 300F and put the last tray in — nearly perfect results again! Silly oven.


 

 

Yeah! Filled with Nutella Swiss Meringue Buttercream

 

 
So here are the lessons I learned from this batch:
1  
      1)Real eggs vs liquid egg whites did not make a huge difference for me.
       2)My oven is completely unreliable and fluctuates wildly in temperature but at least I figured out how to work around it.
       3)Putting a pan on the top rack helped keep the macarons from browning but the color still faded significantly (they were supposed to be violet, oh well).
And here is MY troubleshooting guide (its mine because my solutions won’t work for everyone but it may give you some ideas):
No feet = Not enough drying time.  I dried them I got feet. It was that simple.
Hollow macarons = not cooked long enough (lower the temp 10-15 degrees and bake longer) or dry ingredients not ground fine enough/not sifted enough.
Browned macarons = too much heat from above.  Block your heating element with a pan on the top rack.
Nipply macarons = undermixed macaronnage
Pancake macarons = overmixed macaronnage
Inconsistent macarons on the same tray = uneven heat in your oven.  Turn on the convection fan or as I did above– vent the oven between trays to prevent overheating.
Rain does not make a darn bit of difference if you do everything else right.  I live in Florida.  It rains for 6 months out of the year.







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