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My third failed attempt to make macarons

I really hoped the third time I made macarons, I’d have learned from my mistakes and mastered the French dessert, no problem. Sadly, that was not the case.

I was close to getting it right this time, but cracking and cooking time were big bullies.

I used Martha Stewart’s Parisian Macarons recipe again. I figured that it’s better to stick to a familiar recipe and gain experience with it rather than trying a new one. Everything was going so well.

The egg whites were nice and foamy…

Foamy egg whites, beaten

Foamy egg whites. Photo by Jennifer Melo

The egg whites and sugar whipped to a stiff peak stage like this…

stiff peak meringue

Stiff peak stage. Stop here. Photo by Jennifer Melo

But then I doubted myself and thought I needed to keep beating the meringue so I think I took it past stiff-peak stage…

overbeaten meringue

Mixture is just starting to separate. Photo by Jennifer Melo

So I stopped here (uh oh! Did I go too far?) and then I folded in the dry ingredients until the batter mixed to a soft oatmeal consistency, like this…

Macaron batter consistency

Soft oatmeal consistency Photo by Jennifer Melo

When I piped shells, I thought I had achieved the right batter consistency. It was soft enough to lose any peaks and settle into an even circle after tapping the cookie sheet on the counter a few times.

piping green macarons

Piping green macarons. Photo by Jennifer Melo

But the drying time took WAY longer than expected. The recipe suggested leaving the macarons out to dry for about 15 minutes. But after three hours on a humid summer day, my macarons were still wet and they didn’t pass the “touch test”.

The touch test is when you lightly touch the macaron — if the batter doesn’t stick to your finger, the macarons are dry and ready for the oven.

So I left them out to dry  overnight and baked them the next day. I lined one cookie sheet with parchment paper and the other with a silicone baking mat.

piped macarons on a baking mat

Dry macarons on a baking mat. Photo by Jennifer Melo

Dry macarons on parchment paper. Photo by Jennifer Melo

Dry macarons on parchment paper. Photo by Jennifer Melo

I saw better cooking results with the baking mat but those macarons cracked. The macarons on the parchment paper didn’t crack but they were overcooked, flat and footless.

The bottom of a macaron should have a ruffled edge, called “feet.”

The recipe calls for a baking time of 15 minutes. Because I piped the macarons a little larger this time, I experimented with cooking time, leaving the parchment-paper-lined sheet in the oven for 17 minutes and the baking-mat-lined sheet baked for exactly 15 minutes.

Cracked macarons with three intact macaroons

Cracked macarons with three survivors. Photo by Jennifer Melo

I got decent results with the 15 minute-cooking time but I think some shells were undercooked because they stuck to the mat.

17 minutes was a tad too long because the macarons on the parchment paper were slightly overcooked.

macaron baked on parchment paper vs. baking mat

Parchment paper (left) vs. baking mat (right). Photo by Jennifer Melo

But both were cooked through. See?

Macaron cooking time test

Macaron cooking time tested. Photo by Jennifer Melo

So once again, this batch of macarons was plagued with inconsistent results. There were a few good shells but the rest were cracked or flat and footless. Boo! Hiss.

Remember when I mentioned in my last post that this recipe instructs to leave your oven door ajar? Here’s how “ajar” my oven door was while baking and now I think it’s probably too wide open. The hinge on my oven door doesn’t stop short of this width on its own.  A recipe reviewer mentioned using a mixing spoon to prop the door open just a crack. I hadn’t thought of that. But maybe that would’ve been just the trick I needed to keep the macarons from sticking to the baking mat.

Oven jar too ajar

Oven jar too ajar for this recipe? Photo by Jennifer Melo

I’m thinking of jumping back over to the original recipe I started my macaron-making adventures with. I seemed to be closer to achieving good results with it and now that I’ve gained experience and learned some lessons, I just might master macaron-making next time. Wishful thinking?

3 Comments on My third failed attempt to make macarons

  1. Suzy
    September 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm (5 years ago)

    Don’t give up

  2. Kevin
    September 27, 2015 at 10:18 pm (3 years ago)

    I let them stay on the tray for 5 mins and using comes off fine:)
    Make sure the mats are clean

    • Jen Melo
      October 3, 2015 at 12:41 pm (3 years ago)

      Good tips, Kevin. Thanks for posting ’em. 🙂


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