Updated: Sep 19, 2019
So you’ve finally made it past the hardest part of making macarons. You’ve whipped your egg whites perfectly, folded your batter masterfully and now it’s time to get down to business: piping.
I see many of the common mistakes. The good news is: practice makes perfect. Holding a piping bag for the first time is tricky and feels weird, but don’t worry, it will eventually feel natural and you can whiz through. It is most important to make sure that your batter is the right consistency. If it is perfectly fluid and just melts in the bowl, you could hypothetically pipe each macaron like a soft serve swirly cone and it will just settle down to be a perfect, big macaron. Here are the most common mistakes I see and how to avoid them:
Don’t lift your tip:
When you are piping, it is almost too easy. That’s what makes it difficult. When you start piping, your tip should not move up, down, left or right. It stays in the same spot and you just squeeze. I always see people slowly lift the tip up (without realizing it) then they get the Michelin man looking blob on the paper. Resist the urge and keep the tip nice and low.
Keep the tip a fingers width off the paper:
What gives the macaron its perfect little mushroom top shape is the pressure from the pastry bag pushing the batter out, it hits the sheet pan and spreading to the side. If you have the pastry tip too high, you are letting the batter fall wherever it wants and trust me, that isn’t in a perfect little circle.
The tip is round, the macaron is round:
This means that you do not have to draw a circle. If you do, the batter will come out looking like a dog turd. Let the tip do the work. Just keep your bag close to the parchment and squeeze. Don’t move!
Once you pipe your macaron, don’t Hershey kiss:
So your tip is low, you’ve squeeze to the perfect size, now what?! Don’t lift up!! Once you squeeze to the correct size, let go of the pressure on the bag. This way the batter will stop coming out and the macaron will not get larger. Because you’re not squeezing and no batter is coming out, you can stay put here. When you’re ready, keeping your bag at the same height just move the tip to the side. Don’t lift up. If you do you will get the Hershey kiss point at the top. Which looks fine now but when they come out of the oven, they will weeble and not sit flat.
Consistency is key:
This is important not only to have a matching buddy for all your shells, but for baking time. If you have an oreo mini on the same sheet pan as a softball, we have to decide which of your babies will be saved. We either bake for the mini size and the large one is gooey or we bake for the big guys and the mini ones will break your tooth. You can also purchase parchment paper that has the circles traced on it or just draw circles on a thick piece of paper with a permanent marker and place it under your parchment paper each time for consistency.
The more you pipe, the better you will get! Don’t get discouraged if they are not perfect the first time. It took me a solid 3 months of making macarons for me to consistently be happy with my finished product. Always remember too, even the ugly ones will taste just as good. Happy baking!