Hi friends, today I am here to debunk some popular macaron myths. You often see people giving wrong advices in Facebook groups, and even bloggers in their blog posts (not calling anybody out, I am myself guilty of giving a couple of the following advices below in the past). But you live and you learn, and I am here to debunk some of these common myths we see floating around.
I will start with my favorite one!
You shouldn’t make macarons when it’s raining or humid
Should you make macarons when it’s raining? The answer is: absolutely yes! Do not let the rain get in the way! Same thing with humidity. One of the biggest macaron myths if that you shouldn’t bake when it’s raining or humid.
The misconception is that making macarons when it’s raining will make your macarons fail because the air is humid.
This is far from the truth. While there is a bit of adjustment when it comes to humid climates, it’s perfectly possible to make macarons in humid climate, or during a rainy day.
A few things you can do to minimize issues that could come from humid climates: turn the air conditioner down (make the room where you are baking/resting the macarons cold), turn the dehumidifier on, rest the macarons near a fan, use egg white powder, use a no-rest method.
Humidity can be your friend! Check out my whole article about Macarons and Humidity here.
The shells can crack if you don’t bang the trays against the counter
I am guilty of spreading this myth in the past. The idea that if you don’t tap the trays against the counter, the shells will have trapped air that will make them crack is simply a misconception.
I do like to tap my trays against the counter, that helps release air bubbles that might make the shells bumpy, however if your macarons have cracked you can be certain it was NOT because of not tapping the trays!
Macarons crack because of: weak meringue (under whipped), shells didn’t rest enough (if they have a lot of added food coloring).
Macarons need to form a skin before baking
This is also a misconception. Many recipes and methods work very well with a no-rest approach. For example, on my large oven, the no-rest method doesn’t work well due to my oven being extremely inconsistent with the temperature. But the no-rest method does work for my small countertop oven.
The only times I really make a point to rest my macarons, regardless of the baking tray or the oven I am using is when I add a lot of food coloring to the shells. In that case, they must absolutely rest before baking and form a skin as well.
You should use aged egg whites to make macarons
I’ve tested aging egg whites many times. And even to this day I will bake with aged egg whites (not on purpose, but just because I’ll have leftover whites sitting in my fridge from a different recipe or from another day), and I don’t notice any difference at all.
What the aging process does is that it relaxes the proteins in the egg whites, which can benefit the whipping process because it primes the proteins for the denaturation process, which is the uncurling of the proteins that will get reorganized into the structure that forms the meringue. The whites also dry in the process and lose some of the water content that evaporates, which also means you will have a bit more protein than water in there. However, the differences aren’t even noticeable for me personally.
Since I heat the egg whites over the double boiler when making meringue (Swiss method), that takes care of priming the proteins for uncurling more easily, and I also add egg white powder to the whites, which is much more effective in lowering the ratio of water to protein in the egg white composition than if I were to let the whites age.
So to sum up, aging egg whites is not a necessary step, it could be helpful in a way if you are using French method and not using egg white powder for example, so it’s worth experimenting with it if you feel inclined to, but by all means it is not absolutely needed.
You can’t add too much food coloring
Let’s debunk this myth! You CAN and SHOULD add a lot of food coloring if you want to obtain vibrant color shells. There is no way around it. To obtain a vibrant bold black, or a Christmas red, you absolutely need a lot of food coloring. In those cases, not even the powder cuts it for me. I actually like to add powder and combine it with gel food coloring. But if you watch my videos, you will see that I add a lot of food coloring still, even up to a tablespoon sometimes.
Powder food coloring from The Sugar Art for example will definitely help reduce the amount of gel food coloring you will need to add, but for those colors mentioned above, I find it that the powder alone won’t do the trick.
You can read more about food coloring here.
You can’t let the batter sit for too long in the piping bag
Myth myth myth! This is a big myth!
I’ve even heard people saying to not let the batter sit for an hour in the piping bag. This is far from the truth! You can absolutely let the batter sit for hours in the piping bag.
I’ve done that both in humid climates and in dry climates, and the batter survived just fine.
Actually once I’ve seen a teacher recommend letting the batter sit for at least 30 minutes in the bag before piping, for what she called a “hydration process”. Now I am not saying go ahead and do that. All I am saying is that when I am making macaron shapes, it can take me 2 to 4 hours piping those shapes sometimes, and the batter that sits in the bag turns out just fine, actually some of my best shapes are the ones from the last piped trays, maybe because I’ve gotten the practice of the piping, or maybe because the batter did go through the “hydration process” and is less bumpy.
You must delicately fold the batter
I used to also think that macaron batter had to be handled delicately. It turns out it is way more resilient than you thought. You can definitely put some vigor into folding that batter. Don’t treat it like crystal glass. If you fold the batter too gently, first, it will take you a long time to get to the right consistency, and second, you might not be able to get rid of the air bubbles and deflate the batter properly.
I will continue to update this article with more myths as they come by.
Meanwhile check out Macaron School for many tips, troubleshooting guides, the science behind macarons and much more.