Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers' Macarons

The Daring Bakers' do Macarons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

French macarons are notorious for being difficult to master. Type in “macaroon,” “French macaroon” or “macaron” in your search engine of choice, and you will be inundated not only with bakeries offering these tasty little cookies, but scores and even hundreds of blogs all attempting to find the perfect recipe, the perfect technique. Which one is right? Which captures the perfect essence of macaroons? The answer is all of them and none of them. Macaroons are highly subjective, the subject of passionate, almost Talmudic study and debate. Chewy? Crisp? Age your egg whites? Ground the nuts or use nut meal or nut flour? Cooked sugar syrup, or confectioners’ sugar? In the words of a therapist, what do you think is the ideal macaroon? The answer lies within you.

Sour cherry and coconut shells with home-made "white nutella"
First drying out it seemed to cause some feet already
The second baking
Final filled macarons

I followed the recipe except that I had 3 day old egg whites that I had left out (covered with a paper towel) on the counter. I found the drying phase of the baking caused small feet to appear but the second baking caused the feet to increase in size a lot I usually use Helen of Tartelette recipe.

The macarons are sour cherry/coconut and the filling is home-made "white nutella". I used 1 tsp of sour cherry tea powder and 1 tsp of instant coconut milk powder added to the almond meal and icing sugar when you grind them. I used only 2 egg whites and I got 2 dozen filled pairs of macarons that where 30mm diameter.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways of adding flavours and colours to the macaron shells I have found is to use pure herbal teas they are cheap and come in many different flavours (mint, rosehip, apple, mixed berries...) just grind them along with the almond meal and icing sugar.

I have made macarons many times before and I always use 3+ day old counter-dried egg whites and 1 tsp of egg white powder which really stabilises the egg whites. I always grind the almond meal with the icing sugar in a processor to obtain very fine meal and shift it THREE times this gives the smoothest shells and also I dry the piped shells for about one hour also. This recipe is unusual in that you dry the shells in a low oven initially!!!

One tip is to draw circles on the parchment paper if your piping skills aren't good enough to get even shells by eye-balling.

I think the biggest tip is to use 2 or 3 baking sheets stacked on top of each other this ensures that the bottoms don't burn before the crust and feet are formed.

Watermelon & walnut macarons with tzatziki/bluecheese filling

These macarons worked out much better than the first batch the feet went up straight and not to the sides.

Everybody knows how nice watermelon, walnut, cucumber and blue cheese salad is so I thought I would macarons flavoured on this salad. I made the macaron shells with half walnut/almond meal and 1 tablespoon of watermelon powder which really made them taste of watermelon and walnuts. Then the filling was tzatziki (Greek cucumber dip) and blue cheese. These macarons were sublime the sweetness of the macarons perfectly foiled by the savoury filling I will be putting these in my MUST-MAKE list for every BBQ I'm doing from now on. These were eaten immediately I wish I made a lot more now. I used 2 egg whites and still got 2 dozen filled pairs of shells

Macarons can be very sweet so I usually temper them with a slightly 'savoury' filing.

If you want a long list of hints and resources links go to this post I have very very detailed instructions about how to do each step. (I used Helen of Tartelette recipe which is very similar to the reveal challenge.)

Baked shells

Filled macarons

Where do you get powdered flavourings and colourings? I usually use pure herbal teas (they contain no actual tea) from the health food store or the tea/coffee section of most big supermarkets they are very cheap and I grind them along with the almond meal and icing sugar it seems to work. Specialized food or colouring powders can be very very expensive about $10 for one type while a box of ten kinds of herbal teas are about $3 and they seem to work. I got the watermelon powder from the local Japanese shop it was a 'tea' $1.50 for ten tea bags. I used one whole teabag for the above recipe.

For your information below are some links to the three methods for making macarons. A lot of bloggers like the Italian method since it gives more consistent results.

There are three methods for making macarons:-
French - which uses a simple medium hard meringue
Italian - which uses a heated sugar syrup to stablise the meringue
Spanish - which uses extra sugar in the meringue to help stablise it
Tartelette had written a long article called Demystifying Macarons (in Dessert Magazine #2 p36-43 see this link and go to page 38) on the French method which gives a whole host of tips and hints on the process.
David Lebovitz web page on macarons has an extensive listing of links about making macarons.
Syrup and Tang A macaron round-up which goes through the French and Italian methods in great detail and has many links to other resources.
Julia @ Mélanger has a beautiful description of the Italian method
Mecotte has a long descripton of the Italian method.
My Food Geek has a great Italian recipe with lots of photos.
The Spanish method is detailed in this article

Raspberry/blueberry macaron shells with mint milk chocolate ganache
I used a 1/2 tablespoon of raspberry/blueberry tea powder in the tang tour tang (the almond meal and icing sugar mixture) and I added a mint tea bag in with the boiled cream when making the ganache.

Inspite of the incessant rain they seemed to work out just fine.

Chocolate Mint Shells with ganache filling

Chocolate Shells with chocolate ganache

Macaron Technique Explained in detail
The Meringue
Start beating the egg whites at low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium-high. If you start at high speed the air bubbles created will be less stable as they are too large. Continue beating the whites and once they have reached the soft peak stage, gradually add the sugar (this ensures that the sugar fully dissolves into the foam). The egg whites should be beaten until you have moist stiff shiny pointed peaks when the beaters are raised. Test by holding the mixture upside down and if they don't fall out of the bowl they are done (this is the classic test for firm peaks). If you are using fresh egg whites (as Helen mentioned) then continue to beat until you have 'firm-firm' i.e. very firm peaks a couple of minutes more. Since the DB recipe has so litttle sugar in the meringue (as compared to most other French method recipes) you might have to whip it longer than normal to get the correct stiffness.
Tant Pour Tant
I used a mini food processor to finely grind the meal I placed the meal into a bowl added the sifted powdered sugar combined using a spatula and shifted the mixture twice I found that this makes mixing the 'macaronage' (the whipped meringue and nut meal together) much easier. Most recipes insist on pure icing sugar (i.e. no cornflour but this is very hard to obtain in the USA and I felt I should use it in this recipe). The tant pour tant (the almonds and sugar) should not be over-mixed or over-heated while processing because the nuts can become too oily - add vanilla in the tant pour tant to reduce oil leakage. Some sites suggest that the almond meal ideally should be allowed to dry at room temperature for up to one week prior to using. You can bake the nut meal of 5-10 mins at 140C (285F) to dry it. When using other nuts use 50% almond since almonds have the least oil content of all nuts. You can add dried zests or dried herbs at this stage and grind them along with the nut meal if you wish.
You must deflate the meringue at the start of the folding process when making the final piping mixture (the macaronage). When you start to make the piping mixture you must use hard and fast strokes to release the air in the meringue this is important you don't want the batter to be light and airy or fluffy, you don't want to have air pockets or bubbles in the final batter. Use a 'fold and press' against-the-sides-of-the-bowl motion that deflates the meringue.
I will explain in detail how to make the macaronage below:-
For your next batch when you are doing the folding of the macaronage (the piping mixture) watch closely. When you add the almond meal and the icing sugar the mixture (tant pour tant) will go dull now start folding hard and fast for six to seven strokes (could take more depending on your technique) to break the air out of the mixture (you are trying to deflate it) don't be gentle then slow down and fold more carefully. It is difficult to mix the almond meal/icing sugar and the meringue at first but it gets easier and a few folds later it will come together quickly, after some more folds the piping mixture will become shiny again about half to almost the same shininess as the original meringue mixture depending on how finely you have ground the almond meal and the type of colourings/flavourings used, now all the ingredients will be incorporated with no streaks and the piping mixture will be smooth, have no visible aeration (i.e. not light and fluffy and no bubbles in the batter) and it has lost about half of its starting volume, and the batter will level itself in the bowl and it shouldn't be able to hold itself up when left, also the piping mixture at this stage should fall from the spatula in gentle slow continuous ribbons, these points are what you are looking for, now start testing by placing a tablespoon of the batter in a thin line on the remaining macaronage mixture it should disappear in 30 secs if not do a couple more folds. For me a 3 egg white batter takes about 35 strokes BUT this is different for everybody you might take 50 or 20 this is something you have find out for yourself. Also the piped shells will smooth out and spread out and flatten somewhat after a short time (a minute or so) see the first video below.
Piping the macaron shells
It is much easier if you draw circles on the parchment paper so you will get even sized shells. Draw the circles in an alternating pattern so that the circles are offset to each other (not lined up in rows like soldiers) this gives a better heat flow and makes for more evenly baked batch of macarons. Take some of the the batter (called macaronage) and smear a little on each corner of the baking sheet and place the parchment paper on the pan this stops the paper from moving while you are piping. The best piping technique (for beginners) is to pipe vertically (i.e. the bag is straight up and down) about 5 mm above the tray surface directly over the centre of the traced circle using one smooth squeeze of the piping bag until the macaronage has almost spread out to the size of marked circle on the parchment, this will give you circular shells instead of misshapen ones. It is important to maintain the same height (5 mm) above the baking surface when you pipe each shell this ensures that each shell receives the same amount of batter so each macaron will be the same size when baked. Do not use a spiral of batter to form your shell this technique is for professionals. Move the pan and not the piping bag so you can pipe directly over the centre of each marked circle on the parchment paper. Try to do the piping in one smooth motion which gives the smoothest shell. You know you have a good macaronage batter if by the time you have finished piping the whole baking sheet the surfaces of the first shells you piped have smoothed out. Then confidently bang the completed baking pan of shells down onto the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles and to help smooth the shell of small beaks and imperfections.
When you hold the bag, it feels like you are holding a soft football. Start by holding the top of the bag in the 'V' of your right hand (if you are right handed) between your thumb and index finger while the left hand helps to support and guide the bag. When you are piping the macaronage batter squeeze the piping bag from the top (not the middle of the bag) and apply steady pressure, to force the batter through the tip. Move the hand on top of the bag down when the bag begins to empty of batter.
Here is a video showing a chef piping macarons.
I use two stacked up-side-down baking pans this helps distribute the oven's heat in a way that promotes the crisping of the shells and the formation of the feet. I cut the parchment paper to fit the top surface. I found using up-side-down pans (which means the piped shells don't have metal sides around them) promotes better heat flow notice the sides and lips of the baking pans are under the baking surface. I don't own a heavy level double insulated baking sheet without sides so this is what I do to improvise one.
Baking the macarons
I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees F (175C) and then turned down the temperature to 325 F (160C) as soon as the shells were in the oven. I use two baking sheets turned upside down stacked on top of each other to bake the macarons this helps in the baking process. The stacked upside down baking sheets ensure slow even heat distribution underneath the shells which means the outer surface is dried up first before the inside starts to lift it up. This is what makes that all important ‘foot’ and a smooth surface that is not cracked. I baked the shells for 6 minutes and then turned the baking sheet around and baked for a further 4 mins then I turned up the heat as high as possible and baked for two minutes longer watching to make sure that the shell did not brown). Temperature seems to be the most variable parameter in baking macarons some sites suggest 285F (140C) for 13-15 mins while some other sites preheat the oven to 390F (200C) and then drop the temperature to 320F (160c) to finish baking. The most common specified temperature seems to be a constant 300F (150C) try this temperature first then try 320F (160C) then try 285F (140C). Most ovens have hotspots (usually near the back of the oven) you can place folded tin foil or another small baking pan on a lower oven rack in these spots to even out the temperature. If your macarons are browning try placing an empty baking sheet on a shelf above your shells this delays the heat from above, Remove the shells from the parchment paper once they are cooled. They are fragile when hot.

Removing the macarons
This is a common problem (try a few degrees hotter next time or slightly longer next time) the bottoms of the macarons didn't dry enough and are very sticky and leave the belly of the macaron behind when you lift them off the parchment paper.
Solution 1 - don't peel the macarons off the paper just leave the stuck macarons on the paper on a drying rack for a few hours (or overnight) and then peel the paper off the macaron carefully. I usually use scissors and cut out a row of macarons and then peel them so that way I can handle a few at a time instead of the whole sheet.
Solution 2 - Leave the macarons out for about 10 mins and then place back into the cooling oven with the door ajar. Make sure the oven is only warm should be ready in less than an hour.
Solution 3 - Place some barely moist paper towels on top of the hot baking sheet and place the parchment paper with the sticky macarons on top of the towels. This creates steam which helps with the removal of the shells. A lot of sites said to use a few drops of water under the parchment paper but I found this to be a little "miss-and-hit" where the steam is formed.
If your shells are crisp, the feet have formed and are firm but the bottoms are sticky then the only things you can do is
Solution 1: Dry the baked shells at room temperature or
Solution 2: Use a very low drying temperature (a cooling oven) (which will not cook the shells anymore) until you can remove them safely or
Solution 3: Steam them off using a small amout of steam under the parchment paper
Solution 1: Leave on the paper and let them air dry for a few hours or overnight on a wire drying rack - no they will not "sweat" and in fact macarons store at room temperature really well and really need a few days to taste their best. It's a matter of patience they will dry out.
Solution 2:Turn the oven off for 10 mins and then place the stuck macarons back in the cooling oven (check that the oven is warm) with the door ajar this helps dry out the shells and not cook them. I usually leave them for an hour in the cooling oven and then check to see if I can remove them.
Solution 3: Is the traditional solution and mentioned in nearly all recipes but to be honest I don't like this method too much it's too hit and miss and I never know how moist to make the paper towel (too finicky).
Understanding the technique
Also the peaks didn't sink after being piped – did you test the batter by placing a tablespoon of the batter in a thin line on the remaining batter and seeing if the line disappeared in 30 secs if this doesn't happen then do a couple more folds and test again.
The batter was a bit lumpy. I used almond meal from a packet which I sifted and mixed with the sifted icing sugar yesterday. Am I supposed to grind this in a food processor to get it finer? If you want a smoother batter yes you can grind the almond meal and the icing sugar in a processor but this is an appearance issue a slightly lumpy shell due to coarse almond meal doesn't affect the taste just the looks of the macaron shell.
I tried to count the strokes because I didn't want to overfold again but accidentally counted strokes when I was getting batter from around the side of the bowl so I think I would have done more than 18 strokes, maybe 25ish. Everybody has a different folding method so has a different number of strokes so don't be worried about this too much it just gives a rough idea when you are near to the correct consistency. Do the test mentioned above (the line of batter disappearing in 30 secs) which is the best method until you get more experience and can see and feel when it is correct.
My stoke technique must need some practice because I always go waaaay over 20 and that's with just one egg white so it should be less. No no no the number of strokes is dependent on how you fold if that number is waaaay over 20 well that is your number and that is right for you and looking at your last batch you are doing it about right.
I definitively had stiff peaks coz I held the bowl upside down for a while and it didn't fall out. Good to hear this helps a lot, this means we know the problems are in the later stages of the macaron making process. As Helen mentioned in the other thread to John of eat4fun..... "Using new eggs increase the chance for flat macarons with tutus instead of feet but you can still get very good macarons with new eggs. The trick is having your meringue stiff enough before adding the nuts. Make sure your meringue is stiff-stiff not just "it's stiff I am stopping whipping now" if you know what I mean."
I have lots of bubbles in the piping batter
1. lots of 'bubbles',
2. 'ill-formed shells' and
3. 'no feet' have formed.
It seems to me that you didn't fold enough and maybe your folding technique might need to be looked at because you have lots of bubbles could mean that you didn't fold hard enough at the beginning of the 'macaronage' stage (the stage were you fold the almond meal and icing sugar into the meringue). At the start of the macaronage stage you have to fold hard and fast (the first half dozen stokes) to knock out some of the air in the whipped egg whites this helps form smooth baked shells, then you fold more slowly and carefully as you continue until you get the consistency of “very cold honey” or "lava" or "magma" as it is called. It is difficult to incorporate the almond meal and icing sugar at the beginning but it does become easier. I found when the batter becomes shiny again it is about right. Check by placing a tablespoon of the batter in a line on the remaining macaronage mixture it should disappear in 30-60 secs. When I make a full batch I check after about 30 stokes. And yes I do count out loud when I make macarons it makes me concentrate on the 'macaronage'.
Also lots of bubbles might mean that your folding technique is incorporating air into the batter and forming extra bubbles. With the spatula cut into the centre of the mixture then scrapping along the bottom of the bowl bring up the batter from the bottom and fold it over the top then turn the bowl a quarter turn and continue cutting, folding and turning until your batter is ready. Don't be gentle at first you want to mix all the ingredients quickly then once all the ingredients are combined slow down and concentrate on the look and feel of the batter.
Also when you have formed the piped shells pick up the full baking sheet and confidently bang it on the counter this helps to smooth small imperfections in the piped shells. This really does work I was very skeptical at first but it does seem to work.
Also if you find that the shells were firm and chewy then bake them for less time or at a lower temperature.
Use two or three stacked baking sheets on top of each other to ensure correct baking of the macarons. The stacked baking sheets ensures slow even heat distribution underneath the shells which means the outer surface is dried up first before the inside starts to lift it up. This is what makes that all important ‘foot’ & the smooth surface that is not cracked
Another thing it could be is that you have overmixed your meringue causing them to become dry. Only whip the egg whites until soft peaks then add the sugar slowing until they become shiny and firm the way I judge is to hold the mixture upside down and if they don't fall out of the bowl they are done (this is the classic test for firm peaks).
Start beating the egg whites at low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium-high. If you start at high speed the air bubbles created will be less stable as they are too large. Continue beating the whites and once they have reached the soft peak stage, gradually add the sugar (this ensures that the sugar fully dissolves into the foam). The egg whites should be beaten until you have moist stiff shiny pointed peaks when the beaters are raised.
If you accidentally over-beat the egg whites, add one unbeaten white and whip again until stiff peaks form. Remove 1/4 cup of egg white.
Did you use large eggs 59 grams (2.1 ounces) for the recipe? Maybe your ingredient ratios are out.
Do you weigh or measure by volume the macaron ingredients they really need to be weighed out, the ratios are important in this recipe. Icing sugar volume is heavily dependent on the moisture in the air.
Understanding your oven
The issues with your oven – it seems that your oven is very temperamental it seems to overshoot the required temperature, is erratic in behaviour when going from a high temperature to a lower temperature, has 'hot' and 'cool' spots, each oven shelf has a different temperature and the oven turns itself off if you open and close the door too often. In your case I would pipe all the macaron shells and let them air dry on the counter until they are touch-dry (about 30-60 mins) and then bake only one lot of piped macarons at a time on the middle shelf in a 300F (150C) oven for 12-15 mins (it could take longer). This procedure means that the shells are dry and your oven only needs to keep one constant temperature instead of two temperatures and you won't have different shelf temperature problems. It might take longer but you will be able to reproduce the same temperature conditions for each lot of macarons that way you will get more consistent results. Because at the moment your oven conditions are confusing the baking results.
In fact I think it is worth the time and effort to test your oven by using your oven thermometer and just heat the oven to 300F (150C) and see how long it takes to settle to that constant temperature so you know when to turn the oven on to get the correct temperature when you do your next batch, For example it might take 15 mins for your oven to settle to a constant 300F (150C) so you know after that time you can start baking your touch-dry shells. Another test to do is open the door for the same time as you would do when you are placing a baking sheet of macarons in the oven then close the door and check how long it takes for the oven to get back to 300F (150C) if it takes longer than 5 mins you might have to preheat to a higher temperature (for example 320F or 160C) and when you place the real macarons into the oven then immediately turn down the temperature to 300F (150C) this way the macarons are at the correct temperature for most of the baking time.
As I said a lot of macaron making is understanding your oven and the other half is technique.

How to use ratios
The ratios in the DB recipe are below
egg whites : icing sugar : granulated sugar : almond meal
1 : 1.35 : 0.15 : 1.14
If you have 64 grams of egg whites (the typical weight of two aged egg whites) then you multiply by the ratio as in the following example
weight of egg whites
1 x 64 = 64 grams
so the weight of icing sugar is
1.35 x 64 = 86.5 grams
so the weight of granulated sugar is
0.15 x 64 = 10 grams
so the weight of almond meal is
1.14 x 64 = 73 grams
Another example using Helen of Tartelette's recipe
egg whites : icing sugar : granulated sugar : almond meal
1 : 2.00 : 0.50 : 1.10
If you have 32 grams of egg whites (the typical weight of one aged egg white) then you multiply by the ratio as in the following example
weight of egg whites
1 x 32 = 32 grams
so the weight of icing sugar is
2.00 x 32 = 64 grams
so the weight of granulated sugar is
0.50 x 32 = 16 grams
so the weight of almond meal is
1.10 x 32 = 35 grams
Hope this make the use of ratios clearer.


peasepudding said...

They all look stunning Audax and I feel better about mine being chewy and I will just pretend that is how i like them best ;o)

Simones Kitchen said...

I love all your macarons Audax! Ofcourse I had seen them already in the forums, but they keep amazing me... Unfortunately mine turned out less then perfect and I am a bit disappointed, but will continue the search for the perfect macaron! lol...

Trissa said...

Great job Audax and as usual thanks for keeping everyone updated on the forums!

Alpineberry Mary said...

What a truly amazing variety of macarons! Thanks so much for all the advice you provided in the forums - don't know what we'd do without you.

Wic said...

As always I am stunned and awed by your post. I will not tell you that I adore you and your talent because I don’t want you to know that I am a fan.

Kris Ngoei said...

As inspiring as always. I love all your macarons :-)


Jenny said...

Your macarons all look stunning! I'm especially intrigued with the watermelon and tzatziki/blue cheese one - would have loved to taste that! You're right it's fun to play with more savory fillings since they are so sweet (we made gingerbread-blue cheese mac's for the challenge).
I need to see if I can find those pure herbal "teas" here in Sweden, it sounds like a great way to flavor the shells without adding liquid!
Wonderful job as always Audax!

Anita said...

Wonderful job Audax! Very detailed and great choice in flavours!

Anonymous said...

Your macarons are perfects!! stunning job as always! Thanks Audax for all valuable tips and helps!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Audax you put everything into perspective with your ratios. this is a lovely post and i thank you for it. great and unique flavors here!

sweetakery said...

WOW!! amazing variety of macarons and are perfect as always!

Jo said...

Stunning macarons and you've come up with so many .. you've done it again this month!

Jamie said...

Just wonderful! I love seeing your DB challenges as you try so many different things and experiment that it makes me dream, gives me so many ideas and makes me think I can do them all! Wonderful! And the watermelon macs? Wowee!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your wise words about macarons!

Esther said...

wonderful macarons and what an amazing amount of info!

maybelle's mom said...

your watermelon ones are my fav. great job as always and thanks for visiting.

shaz said...

Wow Audax - your posts are so detailed! Where do you find the time? Love all the flavour ideas and I think I am most intrigued by the watermelon/tzatziki one !

tonic said...

You never fail to amaze and inspire! Great job Audax!! Thanks for all the help!

Dharm said...

Superb! As usual that is...
I love how you gave step by step explanations of the whole process. Kind of makes me think that I got mine to turn out okay by fluke!! Just realised you posted a comment as I was typing this...!!!

MandyM said...

Fantastic as always! I love all the different flavours you've come up with.
I struggled when I tried chocolate macs so I'll be practicing those until I get them right :)

Isabelle Lambert said...

Encore un défi parfaitement réussi Audax ! :)
Je suis curieuse de savoir ce que l'association melon d'eau et fromage bleu, peut donner...je n'ai jamais essayeé :)

Unknown said...

As always perfect cooking/baking! I love all the information you give to help those that need just a little bit more to get it just right :)

A said...

Amazing job once again Audax! I think yours have the most impressive feet out of anyone's so far!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

OMG, they look so perfect and beautiful! You are a real macarons pro!



Anonymous said...

So many creative flavor and homemade nutella! You really did a great job with this. Very nice pics too.

emicat said...

Hello! Your macarons are lovely! Your tips have been invaluable and this is one post I will definitely be coming back to when I try to make these again.

I never got feet to develop on my macarons, but I'm satisfied w/ the result. Now that I've got past the fear of making these, I'll use the knowledge I now have and try it again :)

A said...

Hey Audax! Double post I know!

Just to tell you I'm giving you a Daring Baker shout-out this month for having the most amazing feet on your macarons, and for your amazing flavour ideas!! Great work!!

Barbara Bakes said...

What a wonderful collection of macs, tips and techniques. Your are now the Mac King!

Dianne said...

Your watermelon & walnut macarons with tzatziki and blue cheese filling are INSPIRED. I am very jealous...and very hungry. Nice work!

Valerie Gamine said...

Audax, I can't decide which one of your macaron creations look (and sound) the best! The watermelon, walnut and bleu cheese are a creative combination.
And I want to thank you again for your help. I could not cut my recipe in half had it not been for your well explained ratios. :)

Winnie said...

As usual your post is incredibly informative and over the top in an awesome way. Why can't I see the pictures of your posts though? Everyone else can, so why not me :(
Because I just know they're stunning...
Anyway, great job, as always!

Rose said...

Oh Audax! You are so AMAZING! Great job on all of your macarons. Your tips were priceless in making the macarons feasible to do :) Beautiful flavor combinations as well - I love the watermelon - WOW!

Lauren said...

Audax, everything looks wonderful! I love the colours & flavours & feet! Awesome and very informative post!

chriesi said...

Beautiful macarons!

Deeba PAB said...

You brilliant Audax.Just too brilliant. Look at the beauties you turned out & with so much ease! each flavour combination is unique.Love your baking passion!

Parita said...

What a fantastic post!!!
Bookmarked, i'll refer to this post for macaron making :-)
Hats off to you for making these gorgeous creations in so many different flavors and filling!!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

great detail, and great variety!

Rachel said...

Great and a very useful writeup!

Rachel said...

And yes love all the flavours..

zorra said...

Your macarons are perfect. Next time I will follow your tipps and use Helen's recipe. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully done Audax!! If it weren't for you wonderful instructions I wouldn't oh had any success at all. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

what great looking macarons you make! I too shall one day succeed like you! and thank you for the words of encouragement congratulations on amazing macarons!

Anonymous said...

You're a wealth of knowledge and upser sweet for sharing it with the rest of us!

Wolf said...

Do I really need to tell you how jealous I am of your Macarons?

Fahrenheit 350° said...

That's awesome! I needed every last sentence in this post! I'm off to age my whites now!

Peggy Bourjaily said...

What an ingenious idea for making dry flavorings! I'm going to remember that for my next go-round. Your cookies turned out beautifully! Those feet! I never got them, but they were tasty:)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see your macaron book coming out. You should consider selling your macarons. The people in your neighborhood will be very happy. I'd consider moving to Australia to get close to those macarons. Great post full of information. Thanks a lot!

Simon said...

Seriously long post. I think this is the first time I've had to go for a tea break mid-post. Very informative though. Thanks for taking the time to put in all that detail!

Unusual flavouring for the salad-inspired macaron. Not in a bad way; I'm very much interested in seeing what this would taste like :)

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

What a bunch of gorgeous macarons!! Thanks for all your tips!!

kristenly said...

beautiful macarons! just wanted to thank you for all the help you always are on the forums. and i just love australians in general ;-)

KMDuff said...

The tip to use 2-3 baking sheets would have been useful to have yesterday! I will use that on my next attempt and I"m sure it will help. Thanks for all your awesome tips. Tasty looking macarons!

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful, Audax!

Memória said...

These look great! You are so awesome! I admire your dedication to these challenges.

Hilda said...

You are a machine, truly, and I mean that in a good way. I am amazed at the watermelon macs (amongst so many!) and wanted to tell you that I think you do a wonderful job of being supportive & incredibly helpful in the forums. Thank God I already hosted, but if I were to host now I'd know I'd be in good hands with you.

Sarah said...

Thanks so much for your comment and for all your helpful posts. My first macarons wouldn't have been nearly as successful with your guidance. Your macarons are gorgeous!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

What a fantastic run down of your tips and hints. Surely a great reference for everyone. Your macarons are lovely.

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

I just knew that you would have some AMAZING flavor combinations--and I was right! :) Thanks for all your helpful posts with great information. Beautiful macarons!

anna said...

Very pretty and epic feet!

Janice said...

They all look so pretty and colourful! loved all the tips along the way.

billy@ATFT said...

great tips, and I like the thicker macaron shells in your second baking cuz you can put more filling in! HAHAHAH

dollydoesdesserts said...

Hi Audax! I love your post, it's really like an online guide to making macarons and your chocolate shell macarons are gorgeous!

Mme said...

I definitely will revisit your post before attempting to make these again. You've included valuable information and in reading your description, I can see several reasons why my macaron ended up the wy they did. Yours, on the other hand, look perfect and you were quite creative with the flavors.

Olive said...

Audax your post is so informative, so thorough, I will use this as reference next time I attempt to make macarons again.. thanks again for your nice words. Nice day to you! :)

Anonymous said...

I love your creative take on this recipe, your a real inspiration! Thanks for all your macaroon tips, if only I had read them earlier...

Hannah said...

I can't believe how many flavors you made! And oh, those colors... You always outdo yourself for these challenges. :)

Valérie said...

Wow, Audax, so much information! Not wonder your macarons all look so perfect! I'm amazed! And I know you only started making macarons a couple of months ago; it's taken me two years to begin to have control over how they turn out (although I've just been too lazy to really dive into the chemistry of it). You are truly inspiring!

Prasukitchen.blogspot.com said...

After Preparing my macarons got to see your information which would really require for novice like me ...
You have an awesome blog dear ...and your macarons are perfect .. awesome
you have done a gr8 job Audax with updated info ...
i have a small question Audax
if i want to use Peanut Powder
How much i need to add for 1 Egg white recipe if it requires 65 gms icing sugar 15 gms castor sugar and 40gms almond powder but if i use Peanut Powder how much i got to use it .

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

thank you!!! what a great post to help de-mystify (to the extent humanly possible) the making of macarons.

too many recipes say things like 'beat enough but don't overmix' which I find more than a litle unhelpful. You've given me the encouragement I need to try these at home!

Sue said...

Oh Audax...SO BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the pink! Perfection!

Andreas said...

Wow, that's a seriously long post. :) Astounding selection of flavour combinations.
Thank you for all your helpful postings on the forum.

QueenForOneDay said...

Oh my God! They look so good! Thank you so much for the advices! :)

Celeste said...

Audax - Of course, your macs are perfection! They all look beautiful...Thank you again for all of your helpful tips and tricks on the DB boards...You are so talented!

Kelly said...

Those look amazing! Excellent work! Thanks for the tips. =)

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

You did a fabulous job on your macarons! So many flavor variations...blue cheese! Wow! I have got to try that version out.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

CarrieZ said...

What is the trick to getting beautiful feet? Your macarons are so perfect!

Michelle Dargen said...

I have serious macaroon envy! Reading your post has given me the courage I need to try these again!

Cathy/ShowFoodChef said...

Thanx for stopping by mine. Yours is, as always, stunning! I love your talent and your ease and care in explaining directions.

Unknown said...

Your Macarons are fantastic! Thanks for all your hints on the forum. It really feels like we are one big family helping each other out!

Ivana said...

guauu!!! so perfect!!
looks so delicious!!

Anonymous said...

From Gourmeted.com
Audax, thank you! I need to find a way so that the meringue cookies aren't hollow. Mine are. But it's a good first try, for sure. I'm excited to make more and perfect it. :)

Olga said...

wow, that's one detailed post! I bet that is why yours came out so perfectly! Maybe next time I should read ddirections better.

Laura said...

I enjoyed reading all your tips! I think that most people are scared when they mix the mixture because it deflates, but that is how you get the smoothness of the macarons. Great job on the flavors as well.

Anonymous said...

Your macarons turned out so well! they look great! and the fillings sound delicious!

hexe said...

Truly lovely! I am so impressed.

Anonymous said...

Great looking macarons!Love the variations.

sharonw said...

yours look so amazing! love the colors

alana said...

This is an unbelievable post. I didn't think this was possible, but it makes me want to try again! Thanks for that...

spicyicecream said...

You were a huge help this month Audax, and I'd just like to say thanks for sharing your experience with us! Your macarons look great, some very interesting flavours!!

TeenieCakes said...

Absolutely beautiful macarons!!

Audax thank you for sharing your techniques and all your successful tips. I don't think I would've had a successful second run had it not been for them.

Your flavor combinations are inspirational. I'll have to give some of them a try. =)

Lisa said...

Aud - I have to say with the utmost conviction that your macarons are definitely one of the most gorgeous set of macs in this challenge, if not THE most gorgeous..and the flavors..OMG. I'm awed, awed, awed, AUD! ;D Also, thank you so much for converting Helen's recipe and taking the time to give us 1 to 3 egg white ingredients. You have no idea how much that helped. You are AMAZING *hugs*

Penny said...

What a great post...You are amazing! I must try the Watermelon & walnut macarons with tzatziki/bluecheese filling...they sound incredible. Thanks for all your guidance :)

Unknown said...

Wow...glad to hear the feet are necessary b/c I totally didn't get them! Yours are beautiful!!!! I love the flavor combos.

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Okay, I tried again, but had air bubbles so I came back to check what I did wrong, and I don't think I whipped hard enough or long enough. Trying again today! P.S. I gave you a blog award!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for that link [to Syrup&Tang]! Can't wait to experiment more with these death-by-sugar things. :)

Linda@eatshowandtell said...

Bowing down!!! Thanks heaps for all your help and guidance Audax. I think the tips given actually helped me succeed. Thank you!

Emma said...

Amazing work as ever Audax! I love all the detail in your blog!

Emma @ statistical baking

lisa @ dandysugar said...

All stunning, indeed! These are truly lovely. Wonderful flavors and colors- yet another source of inspiration for me!

Corry said...

Once again, Thanks for your generosity and sharing.
Your macarons are fantastic as usual.

Re: Removing the macarons

I have found that if they stick to the parchment paper, if I put them in the freezer for a few minutes, they just peel straight off.

Faery said...

Bravo, I knew yours would be perfect.
I did my macarons but it was a desaster,maybe I did not understand due to my bad English but for the instructions were not so clear.

Suzana Parreira said...

Wonderful macarons, Audax! Thank you so much for all the info and tips - I really can't thank you enough. :)

Lisa said...

Audax - you are so rad. You are awesome and amazing and your macarons rock nearly as awesomely as your phenomenal, detailed advice and descriptions of the process. Honestly. I am going to print out your post next time I try these things. It was worth failing dismally just to get this excited about trying again.

Namratha said...

You are simply the best Audax, love all of your macs. Thanks a bunch for all the useful tips and info too.

♥peachkins♥ said...

Those macarons are lovely. I wish I could bake.

BTW, thanks for visiting my blog. Nice to meet you.

Lara said...

Just perfect your macs!! Here is someone at the other side of the earth being very impressed ;-) And I also found out that foodie-heaven lies in Australie ;-) :-D Great blog, Audax and thanks again for all your very very good advice!!

vibi said...

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog... I was two days late, for I was sick and still, you came. How faithful of you!

Now your macarons are much better than any I've seen... Icluding mine, since what the story doesn't tell, is that I had to try over and over to get a few nice ones!

Thank goodness for spliting recipes... or I would have used over 3 or 4 dozens white!

You keep on amazing us, don't stop!

LtlLori said...

I just wanted to say thanks for all the helpful tips this month. I ended up using a recipe somewhere in between yours and Tartelette's. Now that I've got feet, I want to try every color/flavor combination! Thanks for the help!

Unknown said...

Amazing. I love how your Macarons turned out. I will have to try some powder flavors next time.

linda said...

Love the creativity in flavours! And your macarons look just perfect and delicious!

Anonymous said...

Audax, Thanks for popping by my "Macarons" earlier..
Yours are stunning, what a beauty!!!!!!!
And your post is so thorough... any novice can learn baking macarons reading your post..Awesome.

alice said...

Your macs are amazing.. I would love to know what a tzaziki blue cheese filling one taste like.

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Display Name said...

Awww cheers Audax. I'll definitely have this post up on my laptop when I next try and make them. I'm moving house at the end of this week so I'll take some time getting to know my new oven!!!

Elk said...

Ah fab... those watermelon, walnut and tzatzki blue cheese numbers definitely have a touch of the Zumbo craziness to them...

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