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I'm making macaroons and I wanted to know what exactly this means and for how long generally do I need to steep gelatin?

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I've never heard the term "steep" - are you sure it didn't say "soak" or "bloom"? – Aaronut May 13 '12 at 1:05
Why are you putting gelatin in macarons? – nico May 13 '12 at 16:50
@nico: Macaroon is not to be confused with Macaron. – Aaronut May 14 '12 at 0:12
@Aaronut: my bad, I didn't read correctly. But, the question still stands, why are you putting gelatin in macaroons? :) – nico May 14 '12 at 5:49

Steeping the gelatin is the same as just soaking it in cold water. Because the structure of the gelatin is now changing, an other word for this is steeping. You need to steep the gelatin until its softened (when using leaves). This will normally not take more then 10 minutes, but just look at the package the gelatin comes in to see what they recommend, and compare with what the recipe tells you. (I don't have experience with powder gelatin).

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Gelatin comes normally in two forms, as sheets (2gr) or powder. The sheets have to be hydrated in cold water for about 10 to 15 minutes, then taken out of the water and put into a hot liquid.

The powder has to be hydrated in a cold liquid and then heated.

You can calculate the amount of powder by multiplying the number of sheets by two (2 gr).

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