Ever since I started this blog just under a year ago, my most popular post by far has been my Red Velvet Macaron recipe. It is the only post I have written that has been viewed EVERY day since I posted it and if you Google “red velvet macarons”, my post is usually the first search result that pops up (not that I’m bragging or anything). But I have recently been wondering how many of the people viewing it have actually been making them and if they are, have they had any success? So, if anyone reading this today has made these macarons, I’d love to know how you went, and if they didn’t work out, what do you think went wrong?
But the purpose of this post, is to share a few of the things I think make the entire process a lot easier – particularly for those people who may be thinking of attempting macarons for the first time. So if you are thinking about making them but are feeling a bit intimidated, just make sure that you can get you hands on most of these essential utensils and they should (mostly) work out!
- The most important thing is to have a stand mixer to mix your meringue. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but you need to make sure that it can be fitted with a large capacity bowl, as the meringue expands quite a lot when you are mixing. The last thing you want to do is to is be standing around with a hand mixer for an extended period of time.
- The second most important item, is a good set of kitchen scales. Measuring the ingredients for macarons needs to be very precise, so I would highly recommend a set of digital scales as they are more accurate. Mine (to the right) have a digital and analogue reader on them – though if you’re in Australia don’t even try looking for these – you will go mad. I know I did!
- A crank sifter will make your life a thousand times easier. The first couple of times I didn’t have one and just used a regular sieve. When you need to sift the ingredients at least three times, it doesn’t make for a very happy person by the end.
- A candy thermometer is essential, as to get the perfect Italian meringue, you need to get your sugar syrup to the right temperature before adding it to your egg whites. If it’s not at the right temperature, it will effect the texture of the macaron mixture as w hole and they may not turn out.
- A pastry brush is handy when making the sugar syrup, as you need to brush down the sides of the saucepan to make sure that no rogue sugar crystallises and spoils the sugar syrup.
- A flexible spatula is essential for the folding together of the meringue and the almond meal mixture. Not only does it make it easier, but they are also great for scraping down the sides of the bowl and ensuring that everything is combined properly. I’ve tried a couple of different spatulas, and my red silicone one is by far the best – it’s super flexible and soft in the hands, making the folding together a very therapeutic time. Also try to get a spatula that is one solid piece, and I would also recommend having a smaller headed spatula, as they are easier to use when filling the piping bag.
- For piping the macarons, a large open ended piping tip is best. The one I use is about 1cm wide, which makes it easier to squeeze the mixture through. For the piping bag, make sure that it is one that you are comfortable gripping onto when you are piping, but also make sure that it’s quite a large one so that you aren’t constantly filling it up with the mixture.
- Finally, a small pallet knife is especially useful when lifting the cooked macarons off the baking trays. Also handy if you can’t find a decent small spatula, as you can use the pallet knife for filling up the piping bag.
Also useful, are a couple of large cookie sheets for baking the macarons, as you can get more on them and therefore don’t need as many trays. You don’t need to have all of these items, there will always be perfectly good substitutes, but they do make things easier and they are all items that you can use again later for other yummy things.
- Lime and Coconut Macarons (bitsnbooks.wordpress.com)