Hello friends! Good news! My new oven is on and I am baking macarons again! Which is why these Brownie Macarons showed up today!
See, I had to take some time off baking macarons. The reason is that my old oven had a broken thermostat. It couldn’t regulate the temperature in the oven, and the temperature would fluctuate and keep going up and down while the macarons were baking.
It was actually quite frustrating. If you have been baking macarons for a while, you know how delicate they are. And you know that the slightest alterations in humidity, oven temperature, flour quality, time mixing, can generate… ahm… not so satisfactory results, to put it mildly.
Now, can you imagine my reaction when, in the middle of writing a macaron eBook, and making macaron video tutorials for my blog, I couldn’t consistently bake macarons anymore!
Well, I was a bit distressed for a while there, but I knew everything was going to work out.
I even went out of my way to buy an oven on Amazon, I bought a small convection oven I had seen someone recommend on a Macaron facebook group, and that was a mistake, or lesson learned, as I prefer to call it.
The oven you use to bake your macarons needs to be a sturdy oven, with thick walls, because those ovens with thin walls won’t be able to keep a constant temperature.
And the temperature will fluctuate up and down too much since the oven will lose a lot of heat through the thin walls.
So anyway, my solution was to wait to get a new oven! And it arrived!! Yay! So these Brownie Macarons belong to the first batch I baked on my brand new oven!
Seriously, how important is the oven when baking macarons?
It’s EVERYTHING, guys! But when it comes to macarons, each detail is everything! One little thing that goes wrong in your macaronage, you lose the whole batch. A small mistake when whipping the meringue, and that’s it. Humidity goes up, that’s it! And yes, with the oven it couldn’t be any different.
A lot of the issues you can encounter when baking macarons, could be due to hot spots in the oven, wrong temperature, etc.
Tips on how to bake macarons
Let’s discuss how to master your oven when baking macarons!
Read this Vegan Matcha Macaron post for more detailed information. Yes, the macarons are vegan but the information on the post applies to any and all macaron.
- Make sure to bake one tray at a time!
- Have one or more thermometers in place, at different spots of your oven, to find out if the temperature is constant and accurate. But make sure to have at least one thermometer in there. Home ovens are not great at keeping the temperature you set it to, and there’s no way of knowing what the actual temperature is in there if you don’t have a thermometer.
- Find out, by experimenting, where is the best spot to bake the macarons, it’s usually the middle of the oven, however, my old oven used to be better to bake macarons on one of the lowest levels. This is something you will find out only through trying for yourself. Make sure you try with the same batch, so you don’t have other issues that may have occurred during other stages.
- Find out which temperature works best for your oven, and for the method you bake. For me it’s 325F, using the Swiss method. And I usually bake my macarons for 15 to 20 minutes.
- If you have a convection oven, consider turning the temperature down a bit (by 10%), and baking the macarons for less time.
Troubleshooting oven issues when baking macarons
Notice that I am only discussing the problems due to oven issues here in this macaron troubleshooting list. Sometimes other conditions may cause for these issues to happen. For example, if you have macarons with no feet, could be the oven temperature being too low or inconsistent, but it could also be a problem with the meringue not being beaten long enough. So, if you believe your oven is fine, and you are encountering the following issues, the answer might lie somewhere else.
Macarons sticking to the mat/parchment
- Temperature might be too low
- Macarons need to bake for longer
- Convection fan too strong, if using
- Hot spots in oven
- Didn’t rotate trays in time
- Baking temperature might be too low, or inconsistent (like in my case where the temperature kept fluctuating too much)
- Underbaked shells
- Baking temperature might be too low
Feet that come out to the sides, or that are too tall
- Baking temperature might be too high
- Baking temperature might be too low
- Oven temperature might be too high
- Hot spots in the oven
Try to experiment with your oven, again, using the same batch of macarons, but different trays, and play around with the temperature and tray placement, so you can try to pinpoint how to achieve the best results.
These Brownie Macarons were a joy to make, and an even bigger joy to eat! Because 1- it was my first batch in a while, 2- I love brownies, 3- Do I need a number 3?
The recipe for brownies I used here is a bit different than I would use for actual brownies, and that’s because I wanted something a bit more sturdy. I promise you the filling will be super gooey, I mean, just look at the picture above. But also, feel free to use your favorite brownie recipe too, just make sure you bake them very thin, so they will be appropriate to serve as filling between two shells.
Make sure the brownies have cooled down all the way before you cut the circles, specially if they are more on the gooey side. You might want to refrigerate them before cutting the circles.
Also, make sure the cookie cutter is smaller than the diameter of the macaron shell, leaving a 1/4″ border around the brownie circle, so you can pipe the frosting on the edges.
First, make sure to place the brownie in the center of each macaron, before piping the rich chocolate frosting on the edges.
This will help your Brownie macarons have a neat look.
My shells measures a bit over 1 1/2″, I used a 1 1/4″ cookie cutter from this set to cut the brownies.
And the tip I used to pipe the frosting around was a 348, from this set right here.
Dip the top shells in melted chocolate, or coating chocolate, and place a little brownie decoration on top, if you want to. I love the way the hearts made these Brownie Macarons look.
Make sure the chocolate is still wet when you do so, this way the decoration will stick on top of the macarons.
Make it a heart, a star, or get creative with different shapes!
And of course, the results are clearly very delicious, as you can see in this irresistible bite shot of these scrumptious Brownie Macarons.
If you want to see some more Macaron ideas and recipes, you came to the right place.
Here are some ideas you might like:
- Caramel Popcorn Macarons
- M&M’s Macarons
- Cherry Macarons
- Cookie Dough Macarons
- Chocolate Macarons
- Toffee Macarons
- Samoa Cookie Macarons
Make sure to check out my other posts, because I have a ton of tips on how to bake macarons, macaron tutorials, and other resources that will help you on your macaron journey.
Making macarons can be tricky. I always get the questions: Are macarons that hard to make?
And the answer is: yes, and no! They can be extremely delicate, but as long as you are invested in a journey of learning the process, and dedicated to understanding why things work the way they do, you will be forgiving of yourself when you make mistakes. You will also understand there’s no such thing as a foolproof method or recipe, and that it’s up to you to figure out what works best for you, in your kitchen, with the level of experience and skill you have at the moment.
I hope you liked today’s recipe and my tips about macaron troubleshooting when it comes to your home oven! Keep practicing, keep trying! You can always dm me, or email me with questions, I try to reply to every question as soon as possible. Because my goal is to help you bake macarons and achieve your wildest baking dreams!
Have a lovely day! Thanks for reading my blog!
Ps. this is the container I use to store my macarons and specially if I want to freeze them.
Chocolate Macaron Shells
unsweetened cocoa powder
Rich Chocolate Frosting
unsweetened cocoa powder
fine sea salt
or chocolate candy melts, or chocolate chip (99 grams, 1/3 cup)
Chocolate Macaron Shells
Before you start, get all of the ingredients ready. Prepare a large piping bag, fitted with a large round tip.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
I prefer using a silicone mat.
Measure out all of the ingredients.
Sift the powdered sugar, almond flour, and cocoa powder together. Set aside.
Place the egg whites and granulated sugar in a heat proof bowl or in a double boiler. Over a pan of simmering water, whisk the whites and sugar until frothy and sugar completely melted. It will take a couple minutes.
- Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the simmering water.
With the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture on low, and gradually increase the speed over the next 2 minutes, until you achieve high speed. Then continue to whip for a few minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Best way to check this is to keep your eye on the whites. Once they get glossy and you start seeing streaks formed by the whisk, it might be time to stop.
Whisk until stiff peaks have formed. When you pull your whip up, the peaks should be shooting straight up. The peak should be stiff, forming a slightly curved shape at the top, but not bending down to the side.
Pour the powdered sugar and almond flour into stiff whites.
Start folding gently forming a letter J with a spatula. Add food coloring at this point, if using any. I like to add a bit of brown to enhance the color.
It’s time to stop folding when the batter is glossy and has a thick and flowing consistency. There are several ways to test this.
First, pick up some batter with the spatula and try to form a figure 8 a few times. If you can draw a figure 8 with the batter falling off the spatula a few times, without the batter breaking up, that’s one indication that it might be ready.
Then, you can perform what I call the Teaspoon Test. Grab a teaspoon of batter and spoon onto the parchment paper or silicon mat, then tap the tray gently against the counter and wait one minute.
If the batter stays stiff and doesn’t spread out a bit, fold the batter a bit more, then test again.
Once the teaspoonful of batter smooths out on top and starts to look glossy on the parchment paper/silicone, without forming a peak at the top, transfer the mixture to the piping bag.
- You don’t want your batter to be too runny either. So be careful not to overmix. It’s always best to undermix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.
Once you’ve piped as many 1 1/2” circles as you could, bang the trays against the counter a few times each. This will release air bubbles that are in the batter and prevent your macaron shells from cracking. Then use a toothpick to poke any remaining air bubbles from the surface of the macarons.
Let the trays sit for a while so the shells will dry out a little bit. I usually leave about 20-40 minutes, depending on how humid the day is. You’ll know they’re ready when you gently touch the surface of a macaron and it seems dry.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325F.
- Bake one tray at a time.
Bake for 5 minutes, and rotate the tray.
Bake for 5 more minutes, check if it needs to be rotated again. You will know if it needs to be rotated again depending on how the macarons are baking. Take a look at them, if one side seems taller than the other, maybe you have to rotate the tray again.
Bake for a total of 15 to 20 minutes.
When baked, the macarons will have a deeper color and formed feet. And they will peel off the tray easily.
- Remove from the oven and bake the other tray.
- Let the macarons cool down before proceeding with the filling.
Rich Chocolate Frosting
- Start by sifting the powdered sugar, and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add softened butter to the mixer bowl, and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
- With the mixer off, add powdered sugar, and cocoa powder sifted mixture.
- Mix on low until dry ingredients are incorporated with the butter.
- Raise speed to medium-high, and cream from 30 -60 seconds, until smooth.
- Add vanilla and mix.
- Add milk if necessary for consistency.
- Frosting should be smooth, thick, not too stiff. Add more milk if the frosting is too stiff, and add more powdered sugar if your frosting is too runny and you went overboard with the milk.
- Always remember the a little bit of liquid here goes a long way, so you don’t want to be adding too much milk to your frosting.
- Place frosting in a piping bag fitted with a small tip.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper and grease with oil spray or butter. Set aside.
Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a bowl. You can use the microwave or a double boiler. If using the microwave, simply microwave the mixture for 30 second intervals, whisking in between.
Whisk until smooth and melted together.
Add brown sugar and granulated sugar to the chocolate/butter.
Whisk until incorporated.
Add the egg and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
Add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt to the bowl. It’s best if you pre-sift the dry ingredients before adding them, or sift them right into the bowl.
Mix until combined.
Pour the batter on the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until set.
Let it cool down before cutting.
- Once the brownies have cooled down, you can use a small circle cutter to cut brownie rounds. Make sure the cutter is smaller than the diameter of the macaron shell, in a way that you will have a ring around the macaron about 1/4” thick for you to pipe the frosting. You can also cut heart shapes to decorate the top of the macarons, or whatever shapes you prefer.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave, until melted evenly.
- Dip the top part of half of the macaron shells in the melted chocolate. Place a heart brownie on top immediately, if you wish to do so, because the chocolate will still be wet, and it will make the brownie stick to it.
- Place a brownie round in the middle of each bottom shell. Pipe a ring of frosting around each brownie circle.
- Top with the chocolate dipped shell.
- Let macarons mature in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Store macarons in the fridge for up to 1 week. If you want to freeze these, make sure to place them in an air-tight container for up to 2 months in the freezer.
Scale: Please use a scale when measuring the ingredients for accuracy.
Macaron amount: it will vary greatly depending on how big you pipe the shells, and on how runny or thick the batter is.
Baking time/temperature: Baking time and temperature will vary according to your own oven. I recommend experimenting with your oven to find out the best time, temperature, position of the baking tray.
Oven thermometer: Make sure to have an oven thermometer to bake macarons. It’s one of the most important things about making macarons. Home ovens aren’t accurate at all at telling the temperature, and even a slight 5 degree difference can make or break your whole batch.
Tray rotation: Lots of bakers don’t have to rotate the trays 180 degrees in the oven every 5 minutes, but I do have to with my oven, or I will get lopsided macarons. Please adjust this according to your oven.