Macarons not to be confused with the coconut-infused cookie that is called macaroon with an extra “o”, are baked in a precise way, this desert, which originates from France can be an airy delight to consume and its crispy and lightweight texture depends on what method is used to prepare it.
We all want a perfectly baked macaron that is as close to the traditional recipe as possible but sometimes, mistakes happen that can cause the macarons to end up hard, burnt, or chewy, this might have caused you to wonder where the mistakes in preparation came from and simply why are the macarons chewy when it is not supposed to be.
This article would provide tips that would help you avoid disaster scenarios like having your macarons chewy, dense, or too sweet. The tips listed are easy to follow and would help ensure that making chewy macarons would be a thing of the past.
Why Are My Macarons Chewy?
Macarons can end up becoming chewy due to the following reasons: Very high temperature, overbaking, overmixing, wrong ingredients, mistakes when making the meringue, etc.
First, when you bake your macarons at a very high temperature for a very long time, it causes your macaron to be chewy, an overly high temperature and overbaking ultimately ends up having negative effects on the macaron such as making the texture chewy and this is a result no one wants.
Another reason includes overmixing and using the wrong ingredients, while mixing the batter for the macarons, the batter mixed should have a thick consistency and should be whipped, preferably with an electric mixer, the texture at the end should be smooth, not runny.
Using the right ingredients also plays an important part, almond flour should be used for the best results and not a substituted all-purpose flour or bread flour, it helps to also ensure that no yolks are in the batter and only egg whites are used, getting the correct ingredients and avoiding these mistakes would go a long way in helping you bake a macaron.
Are Macarons Supposed to Be Hard or Crunchy?
No, macarons are not supposed to be hard or crunchy, instead, macarons are to be light, slightly crunchy, and soft but not so soft that it is squishy. If your macaron comes out hard, then it has been overbaked and proper adjustments should be made for the next time you are preparing it. A macaron can also
become hard when it is not preserved properly, so store any leftovers in sealed containers in the fridge to keep the texture from changing.
Understanding the Macaron Recipe
Macarons are a delicate French confectionery that consists of two almond meringue shells filled with buttercream, ganache, or jam. Understanding the ingredients and process used in making macarons is crucial to achieving the desired texture and taste.
The basic macaron recipe consists of almond flour, powdered sugar, egg whites, granulated sugar, and food coloring. Almond flour is made by grinding almonds into a fine powder, and powdered sugar is used to sweeten the macaron shells. Egg whites are whipped with granulated sugar to create a stable meringue that provides structure and volume to the macaron shells. Food coloring can be added to the batter to achieve the desired color.
The macaron-making process involves several steps. First, the almond flour and powdered sugar are sifted together to remove any lumps and create a smooth, fine mixture. The egg whites and granulated sugar are whipped together until stiff peaks form, creating a meringue that holds its shape when the whisk is lifted. The almond flour and powdered sugar mixture is then folded into the meringue in several additions until the batter is smooth and has a thick, ribbon-like consistency.
Piping the batter onto baking sheets is the next step in the process. A piping bag is filled with the batter and piped onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The macaron shells are then left to rest for about 30 minutes to form a skin, which helps create the distinctive “feet” or ridges at the bottom of the shells when they bake.
There are several factors that can affect the texture of macarons. For example, if the almond flour and powdered sugar mixture is not fine enough, the macaron shells can be grainy. Overmixing the batter can cause the shells to spread too much and lose their shape, resulting in flat or cracked shells. If the meringue is not whipped enough or the oven temperature is too low, the macarons may not rise properly, resulting in dense or chewy shells.
By understanding the macaron recipe and the factors that can affect its texture, it becomes easier to troubleshoot and make adjustments when necessary to achieve perfect macarons.
Common Causes of Chewy Macarons
Chewy macarons are a common problem that many home bakers experience when making these delicate French confections. There are several factors that can cause macarons to be chewy rather than light and airy, including overmixing the batter, underbaking or overbaking the shells, incorrect oven temperature, humidity and temperature in the kitchen, and the use of old or improperly stored ingredients.
Overmixing the batter is a common cause of chewy macarons. Overmixing can cause the batter to become too runny, making it difficult for the macarons to hold their shape during baking. When the batter is overmixed, the macarons may also develop a chewy texture because the meringue has been deflated, which can lead to dense and sticky shells.
Another common cause of chewy macarons is underbaking or overbaking the shells. If the macarons are underbaked, they may be sticky and undercooked in the center, resulting in a chewy texture. If they are overbaked, they may become too dry and crispy on the outside, also leading to a chewy texture.
Incorrect oven temperature can also cause chewy macarons. If the oven temperature is too low, the macarons may not rise properly, resulting in dense and chewy shells. On the other hand, if the oven temperature is too high, the macarons may be overbaked, resulting in a chewy texture.
Humidity and temperature in the kitchen can also affect the texture of macarons. If the kitchen is too humid, the macarons may absorb too much moisture from the air, causing them to become soft and chewy. If the kitchen is too warm, the macarons may spread too much during baking, leading to a chewy texture.
Finally, the use of old or improperly stored ingredients can also cause chewy macarons. If the almond flour or powdered sugar has absorbed too much moisture or has gone bad, the macarons may become chewy. Similarly, if the egg whites have not been stored properly, they may not whip up properly, resulting in dense and chewy macarons.
To avoid chewy macarons, it is important to follow the recipe carefully and use fresh, high-quality ingredients. Proper mixing techniques, accurate baking time and temperature, and managing humidity and temperature in the kitchen can also help achieve perfect, light and airy macarons.
Tips to Avoid Chewy Macarons
Avoiding chewy macarons requires careful attention to the mixing and baking process. Here are some tips to ensure that your macarons come out light and airy:
- Proper mixing techniques: It is important to fold in the dry ingredients gently and carefully to avoid overmixing the batter. Overmixing can cause the macarons to become chewy and flat. Fold the dry ingredients into the meringue in several additions until the batter is smooth and has a thick, ribbon-like consistency.
- Perfecting baking time and temperature: Use an oven thermometer to ensure that the oven temperature is accurate. The ideal temperature for baking macarons is around 300°F (150°C). Check the macarons regularly during baking to ensure that they are rising properly and are not becoming too brown. Baking times can vary depending on the oven, so it may take a few tries to get it just right.
- Using a reliable oven thermometer: An oven thermometer is an essential tool when making macarons. It helps to ensure that the oven temperature is accurate and consistent, which is critical for achieving perfect macarons.
- Managing humidity and temperature in the kitchen: Humidity and temperature can affect the texture of macarons. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to reduce humidity in the kitchen. If the kitchen is too warm, try turning down the temperature or opening a window to allow fresh air in. Baking in a cooler room can also help keep the macarons from becoming too chewy.
- Using fresh, quality ingredients and storing them properly: Use fresh, high-quality ingredients when making macarons. Store the almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. Be sure to check the expiration dates on all ingredients before using them.
By following these tips, you can avoid the common pitfalls of making macarons and ensure that your macarons come out light, airy, and delicious every time.
Troubleshooting Chewy Macarons
Chewy macarons can be frustrating, but there are ways to troubleshoot and fix them. Here are some suggestions for fixing chewy macarons:
- Salvaging under- or overbaked shells: If the macarons are underbaked, you can put them back in the oven for a few more minutes until they are fully cooked. If the macarons are overbaked, you can try steaming them. Place a damp cloth over the macarons and steam them for a few minutes to help soften them. Once the macarons have cooled, they should have a better texture.
- Fixing overmixed batter: If you overmix the batter, it can become runny and difficult to work with. To fix this, you can try adding a bit of egg white to the batter to help thicken it. Be careful not to add too much, as this can cause the macarons to spread too much during baking.
- Adjusting baking time and temperature: If you find that your macarons are consistently coming out chewy, you may need to adjust the baking time and temperature. Try lowering the temperature or reducing the baking time. You may also need to experiment with different oven racks to find the perfect position for your macarons.
- Using different ingredients: If you find that your macarons are consistently chewy, it may be time to try a different brand of almond flour or powdered sugar. You may also want to experiment with using different types of sugar, such as confectioner’s sugar or caster sugar, to see if this improves the texture.
- Practice makes perfect: Making macarons takes practice and patience. Don’t get discouraged if your macarons don’t turn out perfectly the first time. Keep practicing and experimenting until you find the right technique and recipe that works for you.
What Happens If You Overmix Macarons?
When you overmix macarons, it causes the shells of the macarons to lose shape, they become flat and break apart easily. When the batter is too runny and contains a lot of liquid, it cannot stay put to form a good macaron shell, a smooth batter is what the French call “macaronage” and it is the exact texture that would ensure your macaron forms perfectly.
What Is the Right Consistency for Macarons?
The right consistency for macarons is formed when the batter looks like lava and also forms ribbons when dropped from the spatula, another way to check if the batter for your macarons is the right consistency is to drop the batter in the shape of a ribbon back into the bowl, if the shape is reabsorbed within 10 seconds, then your batter is set to be used for baking.
What Is the Best Temperature for Baking Macarons?
According to Edible Times, the best temperature for baking macarons is 300F for a period of 14 to 17 minutes, when half of this time has elapsed, rotate the pan so it can bake for the remainder of the stated time.
Since baking a macaron at an excessively high temperature can make it chewy, it is advisable to get an oven thermometer and know how your oven works, dark baking sheets also cause an increased temperature so if you’re making use of them adjust the temperature accordingly.
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Can You Overcook Macarons?
Yes, you can overcook macarons, this is because like all baked goods, it has its optimum time for preparation and after that stipulated time, it would end up overcooked. Overcooking or in more appropriate terms, overbaking your macarons can cause a variety of problems such as macarons that are too chewy, browned, or burnt shells and unsavory texture of macarons.
What temperature is best for macaron?
The ideal temperature for baking macarons is around 300°F (150°C). However, it is important to note that oven temperatures can vary, so it is recommended to use an oven thermometer to ensure that the temperature is accurate and consistent throughout the baking process. It may also be necessary to adjust the temperature and baking time depending on the type of oven being used and the size of the macarons being baked.
How long should you let macarons rest?
Letting macarons rest before baking is an important step in the macaron-making process. Resting allows the macarons to form a skin or dry layer on the outside, which helps to create the distinctive “feet” or ridges at the bottom of the shells when they bake. The length of time that macarons should rest depends on several factors, such as humidity and temperature in the kitchen.
Typically, macarons should rest for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. During this time, the macarons should be left uncovered on the baking sheet so that they can dry out slightly. The resting time can vary depending on the conditions in the kitchen. If the kitchen is humid, the macarons may take longer to dry out and may need to rest for up to 2 hours. If the kitchen is dry, the macarons may only need to rest for 15-20 minutes.
To determine if the macarons are ready to bake, gently touch the top of a macaron shell with your finger. If it is no longer sticky and a thin skin has formed, it is ready to be baked. If the macarons are still sticky, they need more time to rest. Over-resting can also cause issues with the macarons, so it is important to keep an eye on them during the resting period.
Signs of A Badly Baked Macaron
The top signs of a badly baked macaron are visible things that would help to tell you what kind of macaron you’re consuming. Examples of these signs are:
- When the macarons are either too small or too large, this can cause problems when you want to bake it, the ideal size of a macaron is a bit bigger than a coin.
- Air pockets in the macaron.
- Using an almond flour substitute changes the taste of the macaron completely and not for the better
- Lumps and bumps on the macaron shell are caused by using almond flour that is not finely ground.
- Adding very little filling as well as incorporating too much sugar would cause your macaron to have a cloying sweetness that is not edible to most people. You want a balance with the sweetness of the sugar
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Making a chewy macaron can be avoided if you follow these steps and you’ll soon be well on your way to creating a macaron that you’re proud of. Baking a macaron also comes with a lot of creative tips such as adding food coloring to make it pop and decorations to make it more appealing to the eyes as well as delicious to eat.
When you bake a macaron, remember that it is a science that does not go well with shortcuts. Learn from your mistakes with each batch of macarons that you make and embrace the changes to your recipe as you move forward, do not be quick to give up when the first batch turns out less than stellar as baking a macaron that is not too chewy lies in constant practice.