Light, fluffy, and incredibly tasty, macarons are heavenly treats where every bite will make you feel as if you're walking on clouds made of sugar. Most people who have tasted this delectable treat have been tempted by the thought of trying to bake it themselves. However, macarons are notoriously tricky to accomplish for beginners – though not impossible when attempted with the right knowledge, guidance, and practice.
This beginner's guide will tell you everything you need to know about making macarons, including baking tips from our workshops and classes in Singapore.
1. Macaroons are Not Macarons
A very common mistake amongst beginners to baking is confusing macarons and macaroons. The taste, appearance, and recipe for macarons and macaroons are night and day. Macarons are meringue-based sandwich cookies that require extreme precision and a multi-step recipe to make. Macaroons, on the other hand, are a type of drop cookie made with coconut shavings. If you’re attempting to bake these on your own, make sure you’re following the right recipe before you start.
2. Decide on a Method for Your Macarons
The appeal of making macarons that has captivated both novice baking workshop attendees and experienced bakers alike is that there isn't just one way to make them. In fact, there are three different methods of making the meringue used in macarons. Each method produces different tastes, textures, and appearances in your macaron, so your final bakes might vary depending on which method is covered in the recipe use or baking class you attend.
Egg whites and sugar are whipped together to form firm peaks to make French meringue. The simplicity of this method makes it popular among beginner baking classes and macaron workshops.
This method involves first putting water and sugar in a saucepan to boil. The resulting syrup is then slowly dripped into the egg whites as they are being whipped, until stiff peaks form and the mixture cools. This method can produce more stable macarons and is taught in more advanced baking classes.
In the Swiss method, the sugar and eggs are heated over a double boiler while being stirred together continuously. It is then mixed using a mixer on a low setting until it cools and then whipped on a high setting until firm peaks form. This method is becoming more common in macaron baking classes because it produces strong meringues without the complicated steps of the Italian method.
3. Use Accurate Measurements
Every baking class and macaron workshop will tell you to always use accurate measurements when making macarons. Too much or too little of any particular ingredient can significantly alter your outcome. Always remember to check your ingredients, properly measure them out with a scale and measuring utensils, and follow the recipe steps in the exact order.
4. Use Double Baking Trays
A useful tip taught in workshops and baking classes to avoid hollow macaron shells is to use double baking trays. Preheat an empty baking tray in the oven. Afterward, place your baking tray with macarons on top of the preheated empty tray and place it in the oven. This will help to make sure the heat is distributed evenly across your macarons, helping to avoid hollow shells.
5. Go All Out with Decorations
Being able to decorate your macarons however you want to is a huge part of the baking experience. There's nothing more rewarding than baking macarons that both taste and look heavenly.
One way to decorate your macarons is by using gel food colouring to turn them into your desired colour. Mix the gel food colouring into your stiff egg white mixture and watch it slowly take on the colour. Couple it with some edible colouring paint and you can get some quirky and interesting designs like Corgi Deco Macarons or Disney Italian Macarons made in our baking classes here at Baker’s Brew!
Remember that Practice Makes Perfect
Even the greatest bakers in the world started out as complete beginners at some point. So don’t feel discouraged after your first failed attempt at baking macarons.
Attending one of our baking classes in Singapore or baking courses for beginners can help give you the baking know-how and confidence to absolutely nail baking macarons. We also offer classes on baking fundamentals, baking artisan breads, and assorted chocolate techniques! Take a look at our baking class schedules and start your baking journey with us.