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I've tried to make macarons eight times in a row and I failed. I used this recipe (text version is in the description below the video).

They all cracked on top and the surface collapsed as you see in the picture. I did some research and watched youtube videos to find out what I am doing wrong. As I figured the following factor could be the reason behind ugly macaroons:

  • I read somewhere that the time you let the batch sit and dry before putting i the oven is an important factor. I let it rest for 45 minutes to one hour instead of 20-30 minutes, but the result was the same, if not worse.

  • The other factor is beating egg whites to stiff peaks. There, I think this is where my problem come from. So I beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt to medium peak stage, then add in the sugar in 3 batches while mixing with hand mixer. After watching several videos I know what stiff peaks look like, or at least I think so. But trying the recipe keeping that point in mind it still had the same result:

enter image description here

What else is important in making macarons that avoid them crack? What am I missing?

The weird thing is, my first batch was a success without precise measurements and so on! Here is the picture:

enter image description here

  • 1
    Macarons are a really finicky lot. Whatever you do always note everything. So that you can do iterative tests. Check the temperature of your oven with a thermometer and time precisely the cooking time (To the 5s). A less than one minute difference can make or break a batch. – Sharnt Mar 8 '16 at 9:46
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I suspect high humidity, or overbeating.

If they are not getting dull and dry, they are not ready to go in the oven. If you touch it and it wiggles around a bit, leave it to dry longer. It sounds like humidity shouldn't be a problem, as you have already tried letting them dry out longer, but if it is, here are some ideas-

Allow the macaroons to dry for longer.

Heat up the oven to dry out to the room or use a hair dryer to dry the macaroons.

Or turn on the heater or air conditioner to dry out the room.

The top of the macaroons should be very dry to the touch prior to baking.

Add 2tsp corn starch or potato starch to the batter if it is humid in your area. This will add some extra tackiness to your batter and should dry out your macaroons.

Another issue could be the temperature is too high when baking in humidity. Lower oven temperature when higher humidity levels.

In dry weather, I bake for 11 minutes at 350.

In medium humidity, I bake for 12 minutes at 325.

In wet weather, I bake for 13 minutes as 305 degrees.

99.9% of the time, cracks are because you did not dry the macaroons out long enough. The 0.01% is that you overmixed or undermixed the batter.

  • Thank you for your answer. The first batch was successful as you see in the picture, so I suspect humidity is not a factor here because it was all the same for other batches. As I mentioned in the question, I am not aware of a way to make sure I did not over or under mixed the batter, but I think the batter consistency was good for the ones in the cracked picture, but I don't know for sure. I believe there must be another reason, but I will try what you said once to make sure I am right about it. – Gigili Mar 7 '16 at 16:10
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    Ok. What dates did you make the 1st and 2nd batches? If the weather changed, that could be a factor. – Corsara Mar 7 '16 at 16:57
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    Do not underestimate the humidity factor, more generally do not underestimate anything regarding macarons. Just cooking a batch before (dish washing, previous macarons in the oven, cooking prep, etc) might have changed the humidity by 5-10% and made the needed drying time longer. However I never add any problem with overbeating, I am clueless regarding this one. – Sharnt Mar 8 '16 at 9:53
  • Definitely. That's my main suspicion. Overbeating is highly unlikely, but I thought I'd mention it in case. – Corsara Mar 8 '16 at 10:28
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+250

You had too much air in your batter. This isn't a result of beating to much, but rather insufficient macaronage after folding in the sugar and almonds. The excess air expands in the oven and creates a hollow shell that then collapses.

The macaronage is really the trickiest thing about macarons - it is very hard to convey in recipes exactly what the texture of the batter should be after the process. It just takes practice and experience. It is hard to get out of the sponge-making mindset of gently folding ('must retain air, must not overdevelop gluten!'), but you must in fact beat the air out of the batter like nobody's business. Knowing when to stop so you don't end up with batter puddles is the key.

For what it's worth, I have tried many macaron recipes over the years, all with varying degrees of fussiness regarding age of the egg whites, texture of the almonds, stiffness of the peaks and so on, but the best recipe I have ever used is the one that does away with most of that nonsense - you can find it here.

  • Thank you for your excellent answer! I tried the recipe in your question, there were no cracks, but a little issue that bothers me this time is the macarons have no feet! Do you happen to know the solution to this problem as well? – Gigili Mar 12 '16 at 15:36
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    No feet means either the oven was too cool or you didn't rest the macarons once they were piped. I believe that recipe says you don't need to rest them, but I find you get feet more reliably if you do. – ElendilTheTall Mar 14 '16 at 7:39
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Mine used to fail, but now they always turn out well.

The climate doesn't matter. But you have to keep them away from water.

I use following measurements:

  • 35 g almond meal
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 30 g egg white
  • 30 g sugar

Beat the egg whites with the sugar until stiff on low speed, and have patience, as beating on high doesn't stabilize them. Next, fold the other ingredients until the batter flows, the same consistency as the ice cream in McDonalds.

Pipe the macarons, then tap them to let the air out. And then, to make a nice skin, use a hair dryer. Set it on hot and blow at the top of the piped out macarons. Try to blow as much as possible without getting them out of shape. For me, it takes 5 minutes for the shells to dry. The surface becomes like silk cloth, not sticky. It resembles smooth marshmallow skin.

If you don't get that skin, you will get cracks.

I bake mine at 135 degrees for 23 minutes, but that varies with oven.

  • Hello Serene, thank you for sharing that interesting trick! I will be certain to try it, it sounds very promising. You may have noticed that somebody gave you a downvote, I suspect this was because the grammar was making your post hard to read. I edited it for you - if I changed your meaning, feel free to edit again. And if your method works, people will come to give you upvotes and the original poster will probably give you an accepted mark. – rumtscho Jun 4 '16 at 22:43

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