I felt that macarons deserved their own page separate from the cakes and other pastries if only for the amount of physical and mental labor I have invested in their development. I started keeping tedious notes at one point in the journey and I logged about 50 batches before I started giving myself a 4.5/5 rating — and this was after I started keeping track. I still refer to it as “the macaron year.” You will find many posts in the blog about macarons but this formula and notes are anchored to the home page because it is my current preferred method.
I. Equipment: you must use a scale to weigh out your ingredients. Making macarons is all about precision– precise measurements, precise temperature and precise baking times. Do not even speak to me about macarons unless you are using a scale. You also should use a stand mixer especially with the Italian method. It will be very difficult to pour in hot syrup while using a hand mixer. You should also use a candy thermometer if you are using the Italian method.
2. Ingredients: The almond flour needs to be finely ground. There are a few brands like Kirkland’s or Domino’s that are already finely ground but if you can’t buy it then you have to grind the almond flour and powdered sugar together before you sift them.
The egg whites need to be at room temperature but they don’t need to be aged. You can also use liquid pasteurized egg whites but you will not get the same volume in the meringue.
You can use gel or powder food color but only a few drops or about 3 grams of powder or it will affect your outcome (hollows), baking times, etc. If you are just starting out leave the colors out — it is just one more factor that you have to take into consideration when tweaking your method.
3. Oven: You will need to experiment with oven temps and times. I recommend you get an oven thermometer to gauge the accuracy of your oven’s displayed temp vs the actual temp inside. The “macaron year” was all about 2 things: perfecting my macaronage and adjusting my temps up and down by 5 degrees at a time until I found the sweet spot. A minute more or two in baking time can decide the outcome of your macarons.
All I can say to someone attempting macarons for the first time is be patient, be diligent about keeping notes and good luck!