The Brellis House

 

French Macarons (Part II)

French macarons are the holy grail of vegan dessert in my opinion. Following a combination of Hannah Kaminsky’s mint macaron recipe in Vegan Desserts and research into foams and non vegan macarons, I’ve got a macaron now that is fairly reliable, though not close to perfect.

lemon-macarons

My problem, still, is hollow centers. I have theories, but I don’t get around to making macarons everyday to experiment. I think my biggest problem is that the batter is too thick (too much almond meal slash powdered sugar), so the shells get too big and puffy. Playing around with temperature and the egg whites might also help.

A macaron after a bite. It's crushed because of the hollow center of the shells.

A macaron after a bite. It’s crushed because of the hollow center of the shells.

Regardless, I’ll share with you my macaron recipe as I work on it now. I hope this can be useful for many people as a jumping off point and I really hope we can collaborate to improve the recipe. As before, my recipe relies on Versawhip as the main foaming agent. Also, I’ve since gotten a stand mixer, and I love it. The whisk attachment is good for making the foam.

Vegan egg whites with my Artisan stand mixer.

Vegan egg whites with stiff peaks using my Artisan stand mixer.

This recipe is a lemon variation, which is all too appropriate for summer.

Ingredients

  • 15 g cane sugar
  • 57 g almond meal
  • 115 g powdered sugar
  • 57g water
  • 1/2 tsp Versawhip
  • 15 g Ener-G Egg Replacer powder (~2Tbl)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine lemon zest
  • 2 drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Methods

  1. Put the 15 g cane sugar in a food processor and pulse to create superfine sugar, set aside.
  2. Whisk the water and egg replacer until foamy, let stand for 2 minutes.
  3. Put the almond meal and powdered sugar in the food processor and pulse to combine and destroy any clumps. Don’t over mix or over heat the mixture (we don’t want almond butter).
  4. Place the egg replacer/water foamy mixture in the bowl of your stand mixture along with the Versawhip and xanthan gum. With the whisk attachment on low, slowly add the superfine sugar. Increase the speed to medium, add the lemon zest and food coloring, and then increase to high until you get stiff peaks (the volume wasn’t enough to get my whisk attachment into, so I had to lift the bowl up a bit).
  5. Once you have stiff peaks, turn off the machine and fold in your almond mixture, carefully. Many macaron recipes say that the batter should flow in ribbons like hot lava (whatever that means).
  6. With a piping bag or zip lock bag with the corner cut, pipe 1.5″ circles of batter onto a silpat or parchment paper which is on a baking sheet. Smooth out any bumps and tap the sheet pan to knock out any air bubbles.
  7. Now, importantly, let the batter sit, at room temperature, in a well ventilated room for 1-3 hours. This is essential in keeping the shape and making feet. You want the shells to be dry to the touch.
  8. Bake the shells at 300°F for 10-14 minutes. You can double stack your sheet pans to help with insulation so the bottoms don’t burn.
  9. For these lemon macarons, I sandwiched them with left over lemon icing for cupcakes from my sister.

Additional shots of my stand mixer. I love that it’s red. We actually got it for about half off at TJ Max.

kitchen-aid-stand-mixer

artisan-kitchen-aid-stand-mixer

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12 Comments

  1. Hi Dan

    They look great! They’re such delicate little things that take up so much attention but we just can’t help try to make them! I just tried Hannah Kaminsky’s recipe last night. For a first attempt I’m pretty happy. Although I wondered if I could ask – the bottoms of my shells stuck to the paper – did this happen to you or do you get proper bottoms to your shells? It may be I need to switch paper/keep in the oven longer. Also – how long did you leave yours to form skin before putting in the oven?

    I’ve tried this recipe which worked but definitely more meringue like than macaron but Mattie gives some interesting science explanations about macarons and making them vegan that might help… http://www.veganbaking.net/coo.....ue-cookies I’ll be experimenting with xanthum gum and soy protein soon.

    Thanks
    Kirsty

    • Glad your first try went so well. I had a few attempts before I got anything that was close and it was a little discouraging. I leave the macarons out for at least an hour before baking. I’ve read that the shells should seem completely dry and not sticky to the touch. Also, I haven’t really had a problem with the bottoms sticking, though you definitely need to use either parchment paper or a silpat. Maybe lower temperature and longer in the oven would help.

      Thanks for the link. I hadn’t seen that post before and I am exciting to read about his discoveries. Keep up the macaron baking and for sure let me know any new revelations and tips you come across!

  2. hey dan!
    first id like to say thanks for sharing your recipe and experience with baking vegan macaroons! not many will share and like you, i think it could be easily collaborated to make them perfect.
    i own a vegan, gluten free and organic pastry food truck in florida… been attempting to make these for a few months now but always get side tracked with business. When i found your recipe i decided to give it another go so heres my experience!!!
    I made them using your recipe but changed the baking time, after talking to a few pastry chefs (who all also laughed when i explained how ive been trying to make VEGAN macaroons). but the one thing they ALL said that was most important was baking them at a low temperature for a long time. so I let them sit out for about an hour and a half and then baked at 275 degrees for 1 hour. never opening the oven. then as soon as my timer when off i placed them in my bottom oven to rest for 10-15 mins.
    they came out so much better than my past few tries! they had feet!!! the centers did not cave in at all when i bit into them however i may lower the temperature even more next time because i would have like them a little more chewy inside. I hope this helps other adventurous bakers like you and I!

    • Shelbey,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and I’m glad you’re finding some successes. Were your centers hollow? I will experiment with lower temperatures still. Thanks again and please share any new breakthroughs you have!

    • they where a bit hollow but i think if i took them out a few mins earlier or had a lower temp they would have filled in? I also didn’t make the almond flour as fine as it should have been so i will change that as well..

  3. Hi Dan,

    Are you still working on these? I’m starting an obsession, but have had two rounds of big fails!

    I’m using soy protein isolate, as it’s way cheaper than versawhip… But I wonder if that has something to do with it! One round was super hollow and puffy. I tried another recipe that was so flat and just spread everywhere… Wondering if you had any more luck getting yours ‘just right!’ They look great at least!

    • Rose, I can relate to macaron fails… Unfortunately, I haven’t experimented with this recipe in a while to give any additional guidance.

      It sounds to me like you hit the outer ranges of dry to wet, so you could try somewhere in the middle. If they sit nicely on the parchment when you first pipe them out and then they turn flat and runny in the oven, try both a lower oven temp and (more importantly) let them sit out longer before baking. Hollow and puffy might mean too much almond meal/sugar.

      Good luck! I’ll post any new breakthroughs I have; let me know how your future batches turn out.

  4. FINALLY! A vegan french macaron recipe! I’m a pastry chef in New York and this has been my mission for ages! My best advice for you on the hollow centers is to make sure that you sift your dry ingredients 3x before folding it into the wet. It removes the ability of the dry to clump together, and thus, makes it more evenly distributed in the batter. Keep folding until the batter has the consistency of lava-like you posted- or flows off an uplifted spatula like slime. The consistency when you pipe the batter is key to avoiding hollow centers and getting that flat shiny top. My macarons come out best when baked at 350 for about 10-12 minutes. The best way to check is to use an offset spatula to lift the cookies off the parchment. If they pull away easily, they are done. A final tip, macaron are so much more delicious after resting overnight in the fridge. It aids to the chewy texture and avoids the “breaking” that occurs when you bite into the macaron. Take them out an hour before serving. Again, I cannot thank you enough for this recipe. You are a savior! Best Wishes!

    • Dana- Thanks for the tips and for checking out the recipe. Hope you find success with these; let me know how they turn out.

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