finally it happened to me…


I’m talking about macarons!

Emboldened by my recent success with the French Yule Log (and needing something to do quite a bit of leftover egg whites), I decided to try my luck once again with the humble macaron. I’ve tried making green tea and chocolate macarons before with mixed success. They certainly met the requisite “tasty” factor, but fell short in the “pretty” aspect. Namely, they were lacking the frilly feet so coveted by macaron makers. Well, with expectations low, I tried a basic recipe for practice and lo and behold…a New Year’s gift…success!


These macarons are filled with praline whipped cream (again, ingredients from my last Daring Baker’s challenge).
This time, I decided to plop myself in front of the oven window and watch the whole baking process (it only took just over 10 minutes), so I determined that the most critical factor that had been throwing me off was the oven temperature. I’ve been bemoaning the oven that came with our condo ever since we moved in and the temperature fluctuations and their effect on the little feet became quite apparent during my observation. It was an illuminating discovery. I haven’t had problems with larger cakes, but little macarons are quite the sensitive little things. Hopefully, I’ll get a convection oven one day.

I should also note that I was able to determine this by piping two sheets of macarons. I decided to hold off on baking the second sheet until after I made the first one. The first sheet was not as successful. The oven was too hot and the tops cracked, but the ones towards the front of the oven came out fine with frilly feet, leading me to believe the temperature (where the front of the oven is cooler) was the culprit. I know about oven hot spots from working with glass, and there were certain tests you could do to determine their exact locations by suspending glass rods across the annealer to see where the rods were sagging. Perhaps I should try a comparable experiment with my oven!

I also tried something I had read about – to place one sheet on top of the other to prevent the bottom from getting too hot. That is also likely a factor in the success of the second batch. Anyway, these were my personal notes. I guess no matter how much you read about making macarons, it’s just a matter of actually making them and developing your own experiences. For me the most interesting thing about this process was developing an increased awareness of heat. Anyway, I’m happy the year is off to a good start!

6 Responses to “finally it happened to me…”

  1. Rosa Says:

    Wow, very well done! Your macarons looks perfect! I love the flavoring!



  2. Genoise Says:

    Your second batch might also have had better results because you let them rest after piping, giving them a chance to dry and form a light shell before baking. I always let mine air dry for at least an hour after piping and have never had a problem with feet-less macarons.

    Yours look lovely!

  3. prettytastycakes Says:

    Rosa – Thanks!
    “Genoise” – Thanks, I actually let the first batch rest as well, but probably not for long enough (about 30 minutes).

  4. Hilda Says:

    I would peg the first sheet failing on your oven temperature rather than letting them dry (since you did let them dry for half an hour) because the tops usually crack as a function of oven temp whereas if they’re not ready and would benefit from drying more, they usually collapse completely on themselves. The food blogger who is considered the “Queen of Macarons” in France, Mercotte, only uses the sheet trick and she doesn’t let her macarons rest and dry at all. I suppose that’s also a function of whether you use French or Italian meringue (she uses Italian). Either way, they’re finicky little suckers and can often fail for completely unknown reasons even if you’re a star at making them. But these look fantastic. Chocolate macarons, btw, are the hardest kind to make right because of something chemical to do with the cocoa powder. I know this because that was the first kind I tried to make and it took a bunch of tries to make them right (then I found out they were considered the hardest kind to make), so take heart.

  5. prettytastycakes Says:

    Hilda – thanks for sharing your experiences! I used the French method, which I have heard should rest, vs. the Italian method which doesn’t, which basically reiterates your comment.

  6. yujai Says:

    Delicious! I had quit macarons after a while since I think it’s tooooo sweet, but still very pleasant to the eyes 😀 Love the combination that you have here!