Red Velvet Macarons with a cream cheese filling & Mango Macarons with a Mango Swiss Meringue Buttercream
These were for 3 recent orders I had for Valentine's Day. I let my boyfriend try the mango one, and he LOVED it. He said the texture was perfect, and it melted in your mouth with a good amount of mango flavor.
Previously, most of my macarons in the past when I began making them were quite hollow, or had large air pockets. In many tutorials on youtube, they do not show you how to incorporate the tant pour tant with the meringue correctly. My macaron teacher showed us how to correctly fold it so that there is no excess air in the batter. You fold the batter, scratch the bottom of the bowl a few times, and then turn the bowl to get better leverage over the whole batter. You repeat this a couple of times until you get batter that still has shape, yet flows very well like a liquid. If you tilt the bowl, it should flow down to that side with ease, but not with too much ease that it looks like water. If you pipe them out, they should slowly go down to a flat circle, not a big lump. Here is a comparison:
This one is undermixed..a bit lumpy and doesn't flatten.
This one is perfect! Nice, flat, circles that do not spread too much.
After proceeding with this important step, make sure that you pop all the air bubbles you see after dropping the pans with a toothpick.
One crucial item I bought recently was an oven thermometer! Seriously, you can't trust what your oven tells you...like that one friend you think is telling the truth, but is really screwing you over....
Anyways, I always preheated my oven to 300 degrees...as so it says on my oven. However, the macarons would always seem to deflate a lot when I took them out. Then I got the idea of "Hmm, maybe I should turn up the temperature and see if that helps". So I turned it up to 310, and voila! There were no hollows! What a difference 10 degrees makes. When I put my new oven thermometer in the oven and preheated it to 300 degrees, I noticed that the thermometer read somewhere between 270-280 degrees!!! That's not right at all. WAYY too low for the macarons' structure to set, and probably that's what caused all the fluffy yummy goodness of the interiors to fall to the bottom of the shells, making the shells as light as air. So this time I turned up the temperature to 305, and it came out with better shells, yet still some air pockets. I turned it up to 310, and the shells were perfect. Not browned on the tops at all! The temperature on the oven thermometer actually read 300 degrees this time. Oven temperature is a BIG BIG factor in determining how your macarons come out.
Another trick that I learned in macaron class was to use an offset spatula to scrape all the macarons off the Silpat at one time. It saves you a lot of time, and destroyed shells. I used to have to pick them off with my hands, but that would sometimes end up with their little bottoms still on the Silpat. You just basically scrape through them and they come off cleanly!:)
I also learned that you should rest the batter until they are firm to the touch. Not SLIGHTLY firm, but FIRM. If it's slightly firm, it still may crack in the oven. The best way to achieive this is a fan!:) And if you are baking on not-so-good quality baking sheets (like thin ones you buy at Ross) you should double-stack them. But if you are using good quality aluminum pans like Nordic Ware, no need to double stack!
Well, hope I helped you with some tips. I should post my own pictures sometime...haha